a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: One-Day USDAA

Sunday, January 25, 2009


SUMMARY: Not a bad day altogether.

The short list for the 5-class, one-day Masters-only trial is this:
  • Tika: Three Qs (one a Super-Q), also two 4ths and a 2nd place. (Out of 8-10 dogs competing in her height.)
  • Boost: One Q.

  • What Tika needs to finish her ADCH-Silver: 3 Standards, 3 Gamblers, 4 Jumpers.
  • What Tika Qed in: Gamblers, Pairs, Snooker. (I guess there's a reason we're behind in Standard and Jumpers!)
  • What Boost needs for titles: 1 Standard for STCh, 2 gambles for GCh, 3 Snooker Super-Qs for SCh, 1 Jumpers for MAD
  • What Boost got: 1 ordinary Snooker Q.

The full story:
Jumpers: A tricky handling course but not annoyingly tight and twisty; you just really had to be in the right place at the right time at all times, needed a wide repertoire of handling moves, and it helped a lot if you had a dog who could send to obstacles. Tika handled OK, but she started by knocking the first bar and then a second one not too long after that, and then I rather gave up and didn't bother doing all the rest of the jumps. Boost started by running around the 2nd jump on a lead-out pivot (a KNOWN problem that we KEEP working on -- from time to time -- time to spend that time again--), and had a couple of little refusal problems, but really she was carrying out to obstacles nicely, knocked only one bar (better than Tika for a change!), and we got all the way through without Eing. Except for the first problem, I wasn't displeased with this one for her.

Gamblers: Only 17 of 86 dogs got this gamble, which included a tough turn to the weave poles made even tougher because they sat parallel to a fence with lots of vertical bars of about the same size and color. I abandoned a higher-point opening to start both dogs in the weave poles so that they'd know where they were. Tika did a nice opening, almost missed the weaves in the gamble--came in towards me but not past the runout line before I convinced her to turn around, and fortunately she's good at working to find the entry, so we did it--whew! Of course, 5 (!) of the 17 dogs who got it were in Tika's height class (out of 8 height classes counting Performance); we ended up in 4th place. I tell ya, the 26" class around here is so astonishgly competitive.Boost and I had a few miscommunications in the opening, mostly because I didn't get to where I needed to be to give her enough info, and she knocked a bar, but despite all that--because she's so fast--ended up with the same opening points as Tika, and although she got the first part of the gamble--which many dogs failed at-- I confused her immensely before the weaves and she ended up going back into the tunnel she had just come out of. Not her fault. So not bad, really.

Standard: Another challenging course, although a lot of the nonqualifiers were simply bars, weaves, or contacts rather than off courses. Tika's run was very smooth and fast--she and Boost were both delighted to be out and running, after my week's absence in Portland--but she knocked a bar near the end on a double-front-cross that I might have timed badly. Still, she was 4th place even with that fault! Boost -- sigh -- Didn't stick her start line and so I took her off the course and put her away.

Snooker: Required all four reds, and it was a Jumpers course--all tunnels and tons of jumps--and the 7-pointer was a 3-jump serpentine--so it was a challenging course to try to get all 7s in the opening and a challenging course for bar-knockers. I timed and retimed the course during my walkthrough to find a way to do all four 7s in the opening, and just couldn't do it, so I planned a tricky lead-out with the first red jump near the start line, going BETWEEN three 4-point jumps to a 5-point tunnel on the far side of the field. This meant that both dogs had to stick their start line and then not knock the first bar in their excitement to get to me, which is a known risk for me. But I decided it was less of a risk than trying to actually take the 4-point jumps because--well--my dogs knock jumps and the fewer jumps we had to do, the better.

Then I'd follow it with three 7s and into the closing, but it was still a very aggressive timing with a lot of running and direction changes. Tricky.

Tika's height was last, and Boost ran near the end of her height, and I was delighted to see that, among the 30 22" dogs, it required only a 4-7-7-7 in the opening to WIN the class, so my 5-7-7-7 should get both dogs Super-Qs and wins if we could pull it off. Two of the 16" dogs actually got 7-7-7-7 and through the whole course, but that was Wave and Luka, the world-team members, and OK I don't expect most people can equal them.

Boost held her start-line stay (huzzah, the punishment worked!) and came through the jumps beautifully to the #5 tunnel. We then had to dart halfway across the field over another couple of jumps, which was too far for me to gt there, so we did some of the refusal-dance thing, but she did the first 7-point serpentine, knocked one bar on the 2nd serpentine, did the 3rd serpentine, and got all the way through the closing from 2 to 7, despite a couple more refusal-dance empisodes, she's so fast she made up for it!-- except that we ran out of time one jump from the end. Still, to get through the whole thing with only one bar and no incorrect obstacles and get so close to completion made me pretty happy.

Tika had a couple of iffy moments where, once again, I wasn't really giving her info quickly enough, but she was happy and fast and, as she was in the air over the last jump for the last seven points, I heard the judge call "sev--" and the whistle blew. So we did get the points, but you couldn't cut it much closer than that! So we had the same points as the top dogs among the 30 in the 22" class--but one dog in our height managed 7-7-7-7 in the opening and got all the way through, so we ended in 2nd place. Still a super-Q, for bragging rights.

Pairs Relay-- Tika ran nicely with a really fast "baby-dog" (with many of the same issues that Boost has), and despite them having some trouble with the weaves, we were together fast enough to Q. Boost and her teammate both pretty much crashed and burned.

So that was our day--up to the alarm at 3:50 a.m., pick up a friend and her dogs at 4:30, arrive in Santa Rosa about 6:30, leave Santa Rosa about 6:00 p.m., stop briefly for dinner, drop off friend about 8:30, home around 9. LOONNNNNNG day!

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