a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: ASCA Weekend

Monday, August 06, 2007

ASCA Weekend

SUMMARY: Fun with friends, disaster on course.

Friends and dogs

When I was doing both USDAA and NADAC, I never truly realized how separated the user groups were; I just saw some people sometimes and sometimes I didn't see them. It wasn't until Saturday morning, when I spent the whole time chatting with people I hadn't seen in probably 3 years, that i realized how many people I no longer saw after I stopped doing NADAC/ASCA trials, and then ASCA split off on their own with the old NADAC rules.

Still, there were a lot of people whom I see regularly, and others who apparently know who I am but I hadn't met them yet.

It was a full trial, but only one ring with 5 classes, so only about 70 dogs entered, and a good-enough portion (like me) with 2 dogs, so not that many people. What a sense of comradarie among the ASCA folks! Everyone knows everyone; everyone recognizes everyone else's dogs, too, even though they're mostly all Aussies. And many of the dogs are related, too. I must say, though, that even for me, all the different Aussies are much easier to tell apart than all those black-and-white Border Collies.

Contrary to most USDAA trials--but no surprise--most of the dogs were Aussies, with only a bare sprinkling of Border Collies and a few other random dogs--a lady with bull terriers, a miniature poodle, a couple of small mixed breeds, but otherwise no small dogs and I can't remember that there were any other breeds.

Tika's ups and downs

And contrary to our previous CPE weekend, all of my runs felt like disasters. Tika qualified only 5 out of 10, and in USDAA terms, only 2 would have been Qs. Still, those 2 were very nice--both first places in Standard. Of which I'm particularly proud: Here, she was competing directly against 12 other dogs, and (sorry, unlike most of CPE), there were some very fast, experienced dogs AND handlers competing. The times for some of the runs each time thrilled me.

Tika was a good girl and did everything I told her to--the problem was that my instructions were too often NOT WHAT I MEANT AT ALL. For example, in one jumpers run where I did a rear cross to the right, for some reason I *also* said "right", so she turned MORE right than just for the rear cross, thereby bypassing the next jump and taking one off to the right. Duh.

Gambling thrill...in an odd way...

But you know what my biggest thrill was? This is kind of dumb, but the gamble on Sunday was quite challenging; only 6 of 30 dogs got it. We didn't get it. (There's a long story there, involving a mis-set timer and having to run the whole opening twice...my short story is that I'd have gotten it the *first* time if the timer had been working, and I'm stickin' to that story even though I have no rational way to justify it. :-) ) Anyway, after we failed the gamble, someone who always does very well wandered by and said in a matter-of-fact way, "Well, if Tika didn't get it, I don't see how the rest of us can hope to." That was my thrill! How far we've come, apparently, from way back in the dark ages with Remington and Jake, me hiding in a corner and sobbing my heart out because I'd missed my 30th gamble in a row or something like that and thought I'd never get an Elite or Masters gamble ever in my life.

So there's hope for everyone. :-)

Boost's weekend

Boost was very fast, nice start-line stay, mostly nice contacts although I used the opportunity (thinking of this as a Fun Match/Training Opportunity) to proof her contacts, and she actually moved 3 different times (out of 10 runs that's not bad) so I was able to do something about that.

She knocked bars galore, and I was trying very hard not to call over them. I did remember to set her up 10 feet from the first jump every time, and she in fact never knocked the first bar. We also still have issues with not taking jumps that are in front of her.

I've determined that she has trouble entering weaves when she has to bear left. We tried a couple of those multiple times before getting them. She had no problems with fairly straight or entering when she was bearing right. And that's supposed to be the harder one for dogs to learn! On the left turn, she tends to run past them.

And I found out that, at full speed in full excitement, apparently she won't do a tunnel entry that she's crossing the face of. I sent her back and forth across one tunnel face 6(!) times before she finally went in. And it wasn't a dark tunnel or in the shade. Sooooo more things to work on.

With all of that training in the ring, the bobbles, the knocked bars, and so on, we managed only 2 Qs, but they were again first places out of a good-sized class. So, when we get it together... someday...

ASCA Courses

Saturday's courses for the most part I didn't notice as being a lot more open and flowing than USDAA or CPE; maybe a little (except for novice jumpers, which was wayyyyy open all weekend). Sunday's the standards and elite jumpers were much more open. It was fun. It was particularly fun with Tika, because she's one of the few dogs would could be sent full speed straight ahead and make a 90-degree turn into the weaves and make it. Wooo-hoo! Someday I'll be there with Boost. I hope.


Here are some photos of the site. A friend was taking photos of the dogs all weekend, so hopefully she'll have time to look at them and post them somewhere that i can grab a couple.

Driving towards the trial site, 6:00 a.m. The beginnings of sunrise. Long stretch of road through the countryside. No one else in sight, so I could slow down to take a photo.
The trial site: Back yard of Workin' Paws in hollister. Their house is to the right of the garage. All the homes in the neighborhood seem to have 5+ acres. Their neighbors are very nice to be willing to allow events next door.

The site is cozy enough that I could crate right out of my car. Had all the doors and windows open plus sunshade everywhere on Saturday to deflect the rays. It was still cooler in the back of the van than most places at the trial site, except maybe directly under the one small shade tree. Saturday I had to change into shorts by 11ish (me, the no-shorts lady); on Sunday, the overcast didn't clear until noon, and the rest of the day remained almost chilly when in the shade, although quite toasty in the direct sun around 2:00. Heard on the radio that yesteday was the coolest (bay area) August day in about a dozen years.


  1. Can you send some cool agility weather my way please? Oh, and some ASCA trials too, they sound like fun.

    I dunno, 5/10 Q's sounds pretty good for a venue you don't normally compete in. Heck, it sounds pretty good in any venue.

  2. Dang, I just tried cramming some cool weather AND most of an ASCA trial into a box, but they kept leaking out the corners. I'm afraid you'll have to stick to running straight uphill at 9300 feet elevation for entertainment.


  3. Well, now you'll just have to get an Aussie next dog...

    The atmosphere at an ASCA trial is pretty cool. We don't have many here, but I will get my fill at the ASCA Nationals in the fall since they are in NJ about 50 miles from home. I think 5 days of them....I can't even remember what I entered.


  4. I agree, we want some cool weather our way, too!!!!! It's a steaming oven here.

    I love your bit about the gamble. When folks complement you like that, it just....well there's just nothing like it.

    The other day we got a compliment. At AKC trials I usually get 'what kind of dog is that?" The other day someone said, is that one of those old shelties from the working lines way back when? Of course we said yes!!! At least the AKC thinks I'm a sheltie so we get to run more.

    Thanks for the great tips...we think I got more banged up in the car accident than originally thought, so we're taking it easy.

    Woof, Johann (and Mum, Leslie)