a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Moderately Successful Weekend

Monday, September 04, 2006

Moderately Successful Weekend

This amazing photo of the flying Hi C-Era Interstellar Propulsion (Boost) is by pro photog Bruce McClelland's brother from this weekend.
Tika looking like she's snoozing over the Aframe. She's not.
SUMMARY: We've had worse weekends. Tika 2 more titles. Boost debuts.

We didn't have that many Qs this weekend to show for all our runs. Tika had 6 Masters runs and Qed only 3 of them--but one was our final Jumpers for our Jumpers Master (JM) title. Now all we need is that danged Snooker Super-Q! Who'd'a guessed we'd get 5 clean Jumpers legs before managing 3 Super-Qs?

The second Q was a Gambler's leg on another challenging Gamble that defeated 22 of 29 dogs, which is pretty exciting--it was another layout 50% of whose success for us I can directly attribute to that same backyard layout we'd been practicing with. The other 50% I don't know exactly what to attribute to; surprised me a little that we got it.

What's really interesting is that we suddenly seem to have hit our stride in Gamblers and I hadn't quite realized it. After Tika moved up to Masters Gamblers, she did 12 runs with no Qs, then one Q, then another 9 with no Q--and no we've Qed 5 of the last 6! Boy, I hope it lasts.

The Masters Snooker this weekend required speed and precision, which we sometimes achieve, but in this crowd it was *real* speed and precision, and unfortunately Tika the Weaving Queen chose that opportunity to miss her weave entry early on, which almost nailed our coffin, but then for some reason chose to be barking and jumping in front of me instead of pushing way ahead of me to jumps or tunnels straight ahead of, so we earned enough for a reqular Q but were out of time way way way early; probably needed another 9 seconds to finish the obstacles at that point. It was a stretch challenge for us anyway, but there's no good excuse for being so far behind the others. Oh, well.

She had a lovely Steeplechase run with one little unfortunate offcourse that was just a half-second move too early on my part, but they recorded her time and it was well in the qualifying range even with the extra obstacle, but noooo...

She earned yet another Grand Prix qualifier, and amazingly enough it was a *clean* Gran Prix run! First clean Q in 13 GP Qs. So we moved up to Round 2 this weekend, but there was that unfortunate danged up contact on the dogwalk, so we were 16th of 26 and only 13 earned Byes into the semifinals, drat drat drat. I'd have been better off taking the faults in round 1 if I could've traded it for a clean run in round 2. Sigh.

And after the 5 Team runs, Tika and her teammates placed 20 out of 72 teams, so we once again Qualified for Nationals, making that Tika's 3rd Team Q and our Tournament Bronze title. Now (dare I say it) she needs only 2 more Team Qs and one additional Q in any of the three tournaments (Steeplechase, GP, or Team) for her Silver. It's those danged Teams Qs that are hard to come by.

Boost had no Qs out of 3 opportunities and a 4th run that was just for fun, although I really went in to try to practice being in a trial and doing stuff with me in competition, and many things went very well. She stayed at the start line perfectly every time, even with longish lead-outs. She did all of her contact downs beautifully; none were super-fast but they weren't slow, either. She missed 3 of 4 weave approaches--oh, that's not exactly fair; the last one she hit the first pole but skipped the 2nd and then skipped some later down the line. The one set she did perfectly I stopped and set her up for, and she just flew through them.

We really need to practice working together as a team on longer sequences of obstacles. I went ahead and submitted our entries for two more USDAA trials in 2 and 3 weeks, but I have until Wednesday to decide whether to scratch her from some or most because it's kind of an expensive way to do training and I also don't want to stress her out by having her confused in a competitive environment. But I'm too tired to make a coherent decision today.

And I had Jake out at the end of the day today while packing, just letting him sniff around, and then he started looking eagerly at me, so I got out a frisbee, and he chased frisbee very happily (other dogs in the crates) for quite a while. It pleased me immensely.

And now to bed.

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