a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Sunday More USDAA and a Good Day It Was

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday More USDAA and a Good Day It Was

SUMMARY: Boost does weaves! Tika places in three of four classes!

I started the day with Standard with Boost. She left the teeter before her release, and I made her Down. Then she left that before the release, so I made her Down again, and this time she waited for permission. Held her other two contacts nicely--and I made sure she held them for a bit! She's developed this thing on the table in competition where she slowly rises from a down, so the judge's count keeps stopping while I remind her to go all the way down. The next to the last obstacle was a full set of weaves--which she did beautifully! And so we had a clean run and our first Advanced Standard Q, but only 4th place with all the time spent on contacts and tables.

Maybe five minutes later, Tika did a lovely Relay run and her partner did, too. With Tika's new running contacts (mind you--this was not MY plan for her contacts), our times were really excellent and we Qed and placed 4th of 26 teams. We're placing more and more often--very exciting! And those 2 runs were a good way to start the day.

Boost had Jumpers and Relay before Tika got another run, and they were real messes, going around obstacles and all, more like we were running a couple of weeks ago.

Tika's Standard run--with running contacts, although I did get her to hold still on the ground at the base of the Aframe briefly, and hesitate enough on the dogwalk to get in front of her to prevent an offcourse--again felt wonderful and fast, although we had a couple of wide turns. But--we won! This is Tika's second-ever first in Masters. Of sixteen 26" dogs, an amazing 10 eliminated with offcourses, which certainly helped our placement.

I was feeling pretty good when we went in for our Steeplechase run, but then she went through the side of a broad jump (had I thought a little harder, I wouldn't have cut and run quite as soon as I did, which I'm sure is why she pulled through it). I was supposed to go back and take it again to correct it (note USDAA rule--I didn't actually know this while I was on course), but I decided that even if we were to do that, we'd never be in the money placements, so screw it, and went on, which was an instant E. Then I was out of place for the next turn, bobbled it, had to try again, and then started forgetting where to put my crosses, sent her all over the place, and when she crashed two jumps in a row, I headed for the exit without further ado. All handling idiocy--she was trying to do what I asked!

And then we went in and had a gorgeous, smooth, aggressive Jumpers run that I even got a compliment on from Nancy. My timing is still rough on some of these more aggressive crosses, though; they drive Tika even faster, but also resulted in two wide turns again. Still--we ended up in 4th place of 18 dogs, within .8 of a second of the first 3 dogs, including the very fast Tala (Boost's mom), Hobbes, and Kidd, all perennial national finalists and Top Ten candidates and all that, so I was very pleased.

So THREE placements in a single day! Including a win! But in the Steeplechase looked like rank amateurs! How funny is that?

All in all, I had fun, Tika had fun, Boost had fun for the most part but I hate confusing my poor dogs; I don't think they like it much. They'd rather know exactly what I want so they can just run!


  1. Cograts again! the same thing happenend to me in Steeplechase a couple of trials ago. I made one mistake and that distracted me just enough to make another mistake which in turn led to another mistake and so on until I was *praying* for the whistle. I think Jaime can feel that I'm not fully there with him when I'm distracted and that makes him do things he normally doesn't do.
    Oh well, as I always say: A bad day of agilty beats the best day I've ever had at work :-)

  2. Oh, I'd agree with that!

    It's funny, though, because usually once I make a mistake and I know I'm not going to place or Q, the rest of the run is usually perfect. I think this time it was because it wasn't an error that I had ever experienced before and I had to actually fire up some computing power on course to process the what had happened, what it meant, and what to do about it (vs. familiar errors like knocking a bar or pulling the dog too soon for a refusal or missing a weave entry). That must have pushed my main handling program down on the stack and it never had a chance to fully reload again.

    Not that I'm in a software frame of mind or anything.