a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Cool Things

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cool Things

SUMMARY: Day 1 of USDAA agility.

It was 100 at my house in San Jose again today, per the renter--but we didn't care! It was cool and breezy in Carmel at Quail Lodge! Day started a bit foggy but cleared up quickly.

The site is really lovely--I have never seen a more perfect lawn in all my decades of existence. Denser and more even than some carpeting I've encountered in my day! We'll see how it holds up to two days of a 3-ring agility trial.

The Quail Lodge folks turned this into a major production; they promote their dog-friendliness and their high-quality event capabilities. Man, they really did everything up in amazing detail! Instead of stickers printed at home with the work "Lunch" for workers, they handed out these amazing laminated cards. All their work was like that. Hamburgers at lunch were excellent, with tons of fresh add-ons (lettuce, tomato, etc.)

The only thing about the site was that, even though the rings were arranged in a square, it seemed like I was doing a ton more walking than usual. At 9:00, I already had over 3 miles on my pedometer. Right now (end of day), 9.7 miles.

Of course there were the occasional mandatory adorable Boxer puppy experiences.

I worked at the score table (as usual) most of the day. Erika did, too. She claims that I'm dangerous with a camera.

We're now using whiteboards at each ring to schedule workers on the fly (prescheduled workers filled in, then replaced as needed as the day goes on).

The day started well, with both dogs Qing in Gamblers. Tika won hers and had the 2nd highest score of 43 Performance dogs all heights.

Here's the cool thing: Boost placed 6th of 45 dogs in her height class; her littermate Gina placed 2nd, and her littermate Beck placed 5th. Is that cool, or what?

Also, Boost qualified in Steeplechase with a lovely clean run--only one turn back to me before the final jump. That's only her 3rd Steeplechase Q in her 3 years of competing, and two of them have been this summer already. I like that trend.

Tika ran her Steeplechase perfectly; the problem was that *I* didn't, having a brain hiccup halfway through the course where I put her over an extra jump that wasn't actually part of the course. Sighhhhhh--

Things mostly deteriorated from there. Boost's Standard run was also lovely except for a serpentine move that I botched so that she both knocked the bar and missed the following jump. Tika's Standard run was lovely except that--shortly after a conversation with friends about how Tika doesn't do 2 on/2 off but most of the time gets her contacts--she FLEW off the aframe despite me plowing in front of her to try to prevent it.

Boost's Round 2 of Steeplechase was a thing of absolute beauty; her time was only a second slower that the winning dog, half a second slower than 2nd place...hold that thought... The course had 2 Aframes and I decided to release her quickly For Greater Glory and then worry later about about repairing what would likely be the ensuing damage to contacts that have been almost rock solid the last two weekends.

Learning experience #1: Release early on the first Aframe, and that's all it takes for the Border Collie to not bother doing 2o/2o on the 2nd aframe! (Got feet in yellow but no bothering to stop at the bottom.)

Learning experience #2--on a teeny weeny lead-out pivot, I didn't give her enough info, I guess, because she ran NEXT to the 2nd jump instead of going over it. No point in going back and fixing it, because it's all about the speed, so we just blasted through the rest of the course and it was SOOOOOOO lovely! I really like the trend of her running instead of waiting for me (still doing it, but not quite as disastrously), and mostly keeping her bars up.

Pairs relay: Boost's partner needed the Q for her bronze title and ran clean. Boost popped out of the weaves, knocked a bar, and ran past the next to the last jump for an offcourse. I felt bad about that.

Tika was paired with a pretty slow dog, perhaps in the hopes that Tika's speed and reliability would get her a Q. And the other dog was SLOOWWW... never more than a walk or trot. Tika started out great, but then there was this big wide turn that I didn't worry about because there was NOTHING out in that part of the field that she could go off course on. Except, when we came around the turn, there was a JUDGE out in that big empty spot, and Tika went over to see what was going on, wasting time AND going past the next jump for an additional 5-second penalty.

Tika never does this. I can't EVER remember her paying any attention to the judge, even in her crazy novice days. The result: Our team missed qualifying by 5 and a fraction seconds. Arghhhh!

Jumpers: Tika helped me finish the day not feeling too badly as she earned one more 26" Jumpers Q! Huzzah! One more to go to 25. Only 4.5 seconds slower than the Amazing Icon, World Team member, which is pretty good I'm thinkin'.

Boost's Jumpers was more of a mess, back to looking at me instead of at obstacles, so she crashed the upright of a triple, ran past 2 jumps, knocked 3 bars--back to the old-style Boost for the last 2 runs of the day.

Drive home had some traffic, so the 5:00 AM drive of 1 hr and 15 minutes turned into an afternoon drive of 1 hr 30 minutes, but stopped only in this one merging section and mostly not awful.

OMG, look at the time. Off to bed, then another early day at cool Carmel while San Jose swelters some more!


  1. Carmel *is* the home of doggie-friendliness and pampered doggies.

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun, regardless of the errors in judgment, bar drops or judge visiting! Enjoy!