a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: W Night and More USDAA

Friday, October 19, 2007

W Night and More USDAA

SUMMARY: I hope that good practices make for good competition.

Wednesday night in class, Tika was excited and drivey--I think because we had P-I-Z-Z-A! I saved half a piece to use as a reward for her during class, wrapped it up, tucked it into my bag, and zipped the bag partway. Three minutes later, I turned around to see Tika licking the crumbs off the ground after polishing off the whole piece. Dang dog. But she ran well, had fast contacts, might have knocked a bar but I don't remember doing so.

It was "W" night for food. So the pizza was Wombo Combo. Also had Wasabi-flavored potato chips, White corn tortillas, and assorted dips to dip them in. Topped off with those famous candy-coated chocolates with the little "W" on them, W&Ws (you know--welt in your wouth, not in your hand?).

Boost's practice last night was mahvelous, simply mahvelous! We looked and felt like a Masters team. It felt goooood. She hit all of her weave entries, even some tricky ones, and she stayed in through the end even when they were aimed at a blank hedge and I moved away from her while she did them. She had one really ugly face plant when I signalled badly, and I was afraid she'd hurt herself, but she popped right up and kept going.

Instructor N noted, when Boost knocked a bar, that I had successfully called right on top of the jump AGAIN. I commented that I seem to have successfully trained myself to be unable to do anything EXCEPT call on top of the bar. So she had me try an experiment: For the next run, I *tried* to say something on top of every jump. Apparently I did well at that, from the observers, but Boost didn't knock any bars and it got me completely confused in my handling. The next round, I tried saying something 5 feet before every jump. Instructor said I was all over the place, not just 5', sometimes speaking earlier, sometimes right on top of the bar. I felt mostly discomboobulated.

The third time, I was supposed to try it 8 feet in front of the jump for every jump, and all I did was completely bobble the course and, by the time Boost was showing her complete confusion, we called *that* experiment quits, because we had pretty much proven the point that, in fact, I *have* trained myself to call her on top of the jumps (I thought I was joking athough I know it's been a problem) and that that's something I need to work on at home, just on a straight line of jumps, even, practice just saying "go" or something about 5 to 8 feet before every jump, before working around to actually call her over jumps while turning.

Poor baby border collie! No wonder she has problems--

Anyway, it's off to USDAA this weekend in Madera. We'll see whether, out of 9 runs, she can get her 2nd Masters leg. And whether Tika can get one more Gamblers leg to complete her Bronze Gamblers Champion title--two opportunities. Only one Jumpers this weekend, and Tika needs three of those for Bronze, which would also complete her entire Bronze Championship, so looks like we'll have to wait until well into next spring for that to happen.

Then a weekend off and then it's beat feet for Scottsdale.

THEN it's no competitions (for us--I'm taking the time off--) until the end of january except for the Thanksgiving CPE extravaganza.


  1. I used to call Jaime over the bar, too (well, to be honest, I still do sometimes)so I started watching for him to land from the jump *before* I needed to call him. This seems to work because by the time I've seen him land, formed the words in my brain and then said them out loud, he's in the right place to receive the message.

  2. The trick is that, for a long-strided dog, calling *after* the jump gets a really wide, time-wasting turn at best and an off-course on the next obstacle at worst. So you need to do something before they jump to indicate the turn. I thought I had it figured out with Tika, but maybe she's just figured me out and has learned (mostly) how to deal with it--or else that's why she knocks as many bars as she does. Still, she gets pretty good tight turns when I'm signaling ahead of the jump. If there's ROOM after the jump to wait and call afterwards, I often do so, especially if it's a really gnarly turn.