a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: After the Weekend

Monday, October 23, 2006

After the Weekend

SUMMARY: No championship, no weave poles, no knee

Once again, Tika failed to earn that final Snooker Super-Q. On Saturday, all we had to do was complete my planned course, which was a nice, smooth, fast course that I was confident that we could do, even with me not running much. BUT she knocked a bar in the opening, which took us out of the Super-Q running right there, and then had a refusal on #6 in the closing, which was probably me slowing down because I didn't care much any more. So it was another regular Q but nowhere near Super-Q range.

On Sunday, the opening was tricky and I mishandled it right away, so we did exactly 2 jumps--one of them the wrong one--and we were whistled off. It's doubtful we'd have made the Super-Q on that one, anyway, because it became another speed-through-the-weaves competition primarily, not a versatility and sendability course, and sometimes we can compete in that crowd and sometimes not.

Ashley (classmate who's run her in class for 2 preceding weeks) tried to run Tika in several classes, but Tika kept leaving the ring to go find me. Didn't seem to matter whether I was standing where she could see me or not. They actually made it halfway through one course, but missed an Aframe entry, and when Ash brought her back to make another try at it--which is where in real life she'd likely be yapping and leaping and maybe biting at my feet--she bailed and headed back to me. Oh, well. I considered it part of her education (would *like* her to be able to run well with other people) and am grateful to Ashley for making the attempt.

Boost couldn't do weave poles. Period. 6 weeks ago (5?), she had trouble with each first time, but when I'd pull her back next to me and settle her and then send her, she made them all. This weekend--nothing doing, no way. The closest she came was doing 10 and then popping out. But the rest of the time it was skipping, skipping, skipping. So perhaps I need to rent the Power Paws field for half an hour a couple of times and work only on weave poles up there, since we've established that she often skips poles in class.

But most of everything else she did very well and very fast. At Tika's second full trial, she started flying off the contacts, taking off out of the ring to chase something more interesting, leaving her start-line stay without a release, and grabbing my feet and hanging on (the first time that she had ever done it, and boy did it take me by surprise!). But--her weave poles were almost flawless.

This was Boost's second full trial, and she held her start-line stay perfectly every time until my release, she ran to and held her two-on, two-off position on every contact and waited for the release, did some nice sending away when I didn't want to even try to run--including an experimental but perfectly done double loop through a tunnel 20 feet away from me! And never jumping or biting at me. But--she can't do weaves!

She finally earned one Q the last run on Sunday, in Gamblers, and took 1st place as well. (And that's even with a failed attempt at doing weaves.)

I watched her siblings Gina and Bette all weekend--2nd full trial for each of them, too, I believe--and alhtough they each missed some weaves here and there, eventually they both got them all well, and fast, too (Gina flies! like boost when we started!). And Gina is very fast and confident around the course. They're working on running contacts--which is dangerous, as on Saturday's Standard run, where they got called for missing both the dogwalk and teeter contacts--but also glorious, as in Sunday's Standard, where the judge didn't call the contacts and they not only Qed and earned first place, but were 10 seconds faster than we were--and Boost was only 40-some-odd seconds around the course. Of course, I'm holding her a LONG time on the contacts while I walk up to her (minding my knee), and I did try twice for the weaves before going on. But, still--when Gina and Tim get it together, they'll be tough to beat.

Still, when I looked at the scores through the whole weekend--Boost Qed only once, Gina and Bette each Qed only twice. And Gina took only one 1st all weekend, too. So in fact the scores don't show us that far apart...

My knee is not happy with me. (Although it's already better now, at 3 Monday afternoon, than it was when I got out of the car last night.) I think I'm going to be in for a rough time with 5 days at the Nationals. I'll take my cane-with-a-seat and my crutches, just in case. (Heave deep sigh.)

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