a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Can We Go Platinum?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can We Go Platinum?

SUMMARY: USDAA trial this weekend.

This is it, wrapping up the 2008 agility year this weekend at a USDAA trial in Santa Rosa, under a covered arena. That won't necessarily make it warm, as it's open on two sides and they're predicting snow down to 3000 feet this weekend (we'll be at about 3.4 feet, so it'll just be cold and rainy probably).

Here's what Tika needs for her Tournament Champion Platinum, which is the highest tournament title one can achieve, and which consists of 50 qualifying scores among Grand Prix, Steeplechase, and Dog Agility Masters (DAM) Team, with at least 10 in each:
* 1 DAM
* 1 of anything else

What's offered this weekend:
* 2 of anything else (e.g., Grand Prix AND Steeplechase)

Tika is teamed (as Black and Blue) with two young fast Border Collies with top-of-the-line handlers. This means that we could excel beyond our wildest dreams or every one of us could crash and burn spectacularly. That's the gamble of Team. You have to rely on three whole dog/handler partnerships holding it together for 5 whole classes.

In Grand Prix, as of the 2008 season, you have to run clean. Tika always makes time by a mile (can you measure temporal values using distance analogies?) but only 9 of her 29 Qs were faultless. On the up side, 6 of those have been in the last year. So it could happen.

In Steeplechase, Tika is always under time if we don't flub any handling things (e.g., going past a jump or the weave entry and having to go back for it), but just barely under time. In Steeplechase, in theory, you can qualify with faults because it's time plus faults scoring. But because she's usually barely under time, we usually don't Q with faults.

All of which means: She's got to hit her contacts! And she's got to keep her bars up!

So this week I've been practicing (a little) fast, accurate 2on/2off contacts, and (a little more) bar-knocking drills. We can do it! We can!

Also this weekend: Jumpers, Pairs, and Gamblers. Boost could really use that Jumpers leg to finish her MAD. We've been practicing bar-knocking drills with her, too. We successfully knocked the same jump 10x in a row trying to to a tight front cross on it, and I thought I was making it simpler after 2 or 3 failures to try to get a success. I guess I know a weakness.

Also this weekend: Strategic pairs. This is just-for-fun chaos. Could be interesting. Maybe I'll post an old SP course later this week.


  1. Good Luck!!! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

  2. >time by a mile (can you measure temporal values using distance analogies?)

    Can you do the Kessel Run in under 9 parsecs? :-)

    Good luck,


  3. LOL! I remember that! Star Wars was a wonderful story (original 3) but maybe not really way up there on scientific accuracy.