a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: CPE Agility in Turlock on a Cold Weekend

Monday, March 13, 2006

CPE Agility in Turlock on a Cold Weekend

This weekend in Turlock was quite chilly, with occasional drizzles. I took my long down coat but never ended up wearing it; as long as I was up and moving around (OK--all weekend--sat down for lunch briefly both days), my body was warm enough with long underwear, jeans, henley shirt, fleece sweater, fleece jacket, lined thigh-length windbreaker. Wore a baseball cap a good portion of the weekend to keep the drizzle off my glasses and to keep the top of my head warm. There were times when my nose, ears, and fingers ached from the cold. Note to self: get cheap gloves that I can chop the fingers off and see whether those work better than full gloves (which I've pretty much given up wearing at agility trials because i have to take them off every few minutes to do whatever it is that I'm doing).

Some club members couldn't get here because they were snowed in--in parts of California that almost never get snow. There was a mongo 30-car pileup on 101 in wine country, I believe, due to ice and snow. Reports said that there was snow on the ground at Altamont Pass on Saturday morning, but when we went through about 5:30 it was too dark to see.

Jake Qed in all four of his runs, but never managed a first place. Barely Qed in Saturday's snooker, where I couldn't pull him off of a wrong jump, but he had just eked out enough points to earn that Q. Missed one weave-pole entry in his Colors run by a mile despite me trying to pull up short and give him plenty of room, but then in his Sunday Snooker run he blasted quite rapidly into a correct weave pole entry on his own and completed them nicely.

Tika, as usual, was fast and excited to be running. Saturday we Qed only 2 out of 5; knocked *2* bars in Jumpers and the last bar in Standard (which was probably me pulling up instead of pushing through) and I tried something tricky in Snooker that almost worked--she hesitated and slowed way down when I called her, but then I let up and she took the wrong obstacle. It probably served me right, because in that run, she did NOT stay at the start line and I let her go because I wanted to try out that snooker course. Fortunately, that's the only time she left the startline without permission all weekend; sometimes that slip on my part escalates. But I *was* more cautious and conservative with leadouts the rest of the weekend as a result.

Tika Qed 4 of 5 on Sunday, once again missing a Standard Q. Still had one of the fastest times of all dogs despite over-calling her on a couple of u-turns so that she turned before a jump instead of first going over it and then turning; knocked a bar again and went into an offcourse weave on one of those over-called turns.

She placed first in 9 of her 10 runs. I'll admit that wasn't hard this weekend because she was the only 24" C-level dog on Saturday and one of only two on Sunday, and the 2nd one is a veteran who's consistent and reasonably fast but slowing down. However, in CPE I always compare against all heights, all levels who ran the same course to get a better feel for how we're doing. There were between 60 and 100 dogs for each class running the same course. She was:
  • Tied in points with one other dog (Brenn the border collie) for 1st in Saturday's Jackpot, although Tika had fastest time, so she was top dog
  • 3rd highest in Full House and she had a spectacular run; I couldn't figure out how Chance the super sheltie (with 4 more points) and Elvis the super Boston (with 1 more point) could possibly have gotten those extra points, until my friend Arlene (who was trying to be patient with my incessant invented rivalries) pointed out that small dogs got 5 more seconds in which to accrue points.
  • 5th fastest overall in Jumpers despite the 2 knocked bars and one missed jump entirely that we had to turn around and come back for; Brenn was 2.5 seconds faster with a smooth run and Chance 1.5 faster.
  • 2nd fastestin Sundays' colors with a really lovely run; still, Brenn was.7 seconds faster, which just floors me. Maybe tika's turns weren't as fast and tight as I thought they were.
  • 2nd fastest in Sunday's Wildcard; there's some variation depending on which on-course options you choose, so not everyone is running the exact course, but I really thought we had the fastest possible flow and I came off the run totally delighted. I'm sure we couldn't have done better. And...Brenn was .13 seconds faster. The next-nearest times were almost 2 seconds slower.
  • 2nd fastest of all dogs who got the highest possible 51 points. For a change, we beat Brenn by .4 second--but little Keeper the BC snuck in and bested Tika's time by .7! Argh.
  • 4th highest points in Sunday's Jackpot (Gamblers); we had an oncourse miscommunication that ended up with me struggling to get her to turn and start moving again in the right direction. We probably missed between 3 and 6 additional points by doing that, although of course I can't be sure. Elvis and Chance beat us by 5 points, and Brandy by 3 points--all small dogs with 5 more seconds. Brenn's mom left the event early and didn't do Jackpot. Arlene pointed out with what *I* thought was quite an evil grin, "Look, you beat Brenn!"

At any rate, I'm just glad that Brenn agreed to have Tika on her DAM team for the April Haute Traks 5-class team qualifier and for the Bay Team's May team qualifier. And Arlene's Sparkle joins us as the 3rd for Bay Team, where she can keep an eye on my competitive excesses.

'''Boost''' got to play with her sister Bette on Saturday. This was after both had been playing fetch for a little while with their respective human Moms. They chased each other around and around and around and around and around and around...OK, you get the picture. We practiced some recalls and they did OK--better than the last time we tried this a couple of months ago. When we finally stopped them, they were still chasing each other but in slow motion with tongues dragging on the ground like you might see in a cartoon where a dog keeps chasing a cat but they're both so hot and exhausted that all they can do is drag themselves along. And then, when I put Boost's leash on, she wanted to play tug full force and chased the frisbee a few more times on the way back to the crate. Man, wish I had that kind of energy.

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