a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Shiny Happy Tika

Friday, July 03, 2009

Shiny Happy Tika

SUMMARY: Day 1: Team Tournament--we won, we won!

Today was all team, all day. The Dog Agility Masters (DAM) tournament consists of four individual events and the 3-dog relay--or, for Performance dogs, 2-dog relay. Boost was in regular, one among 27 teams, and Tika ran in Performance, one among 15 teams.

Our first run of the day, Standard, set the pattern. Tika and Brenn both ran nice, smooth, clean runs. No bars down, no missed contacts, reasonably fast. We didn't win the Standard event, but we were I think 2nd or 3rd combined. ALL THREE DOGS in Boost's team popped out of the weaves early and then took off courses for Elimination. Sheesh! In Team, the penalty for off-course is very high. We landed at the bottom of the 27 teams (with at least a couple of others who E'ed with all 3 dogs), and determinedly held that position all through the day.

Second run, Gamblers, had some interesting nonstandard rules. Tika did well except that I mishandled her going into the weaves in the opening and I went back and redid them, meaning that we didn't quite finish our last 5-point obstacle before the whistle, so ended in 5th[?] instead of 2nd individually; Brenn did better than that, and combining our scores after the first 2 classes landed us at the top of the 15 teams, and we determinedly held that position all through the day.

I've always liked how Tika and Brenn complement each other. Brenn did better than Tika in Standard and Gamblers; Tika did better than Brenn in Snooker and Jumpers, in fact taking 2nd place (of 10 in her height group) in the Jumpers class with a very nice, fast, smooth run.

Boost also had an amazingly smooth and fast Jumpers run, although she had 2 bars down. No refusals, no runouts, not even significant hesitations. It was a joy to run her there.

I messed up Boost's very short Snooker run; she did her part in keeping the bars up (yay!) but I didn't handle her well; I also am mostly to blame for messing up the gamble run because I changed my course at the last minute which turned out to be a mistake.

When we got to the relay, Tika and Brenn had only about a 25-point lead over the 2nd place team. Relay *really* counts heavily against your team if you off-course--150 points. So if either one of us were to go off course, we'd plummet through the rankings like a boulder dropped from a cliff. We could *conceivably* earn enough 5-point faults between us--knocked bars, popped contacts, like that--to drop below the 2nd place team, but it seemed unlikely. And, indeed, Brenn ran clean and Tika's only fault was ticking the broad jump with a toenail as she went by; it's metal and boy could you hear it!

We celebrated enthusiastically--neither of us have ever been on a team that even placed in a team event, and this time we won gold medals. Yeeha! (Dang, medal is turned sideways in my snapshot:)

[A friend took photos of all of us; will get them eventually.]

It's funny to see how DAM team works: You don't have to win everything (or even anything), but if you do WELL and do so CONSISTENTLY, you beat out everyone who had issues of any kind with any of their team. So--neither of us won any individual class; our combined scores didn't win any of the classes (although I think we were 2nd & 3rd in a couple), and we came in pretty low in the relay based on our speeds plus Tika's 5 faults--but we had enough of a lead that, since we held it together, no one could really expect to catch us at that point.

Meanwhile, Boost's 1st teammate ran very nice Snooker, Gamblers, and Jumpers rounds; the 2nd teammate was having a lot of problems and ended up scratching from the rest of the day over concern that the dog might be ill or injured.

So we went into the finals--in last place--with one "E" automatically against us because we were missing one dog. We both ran fairly nicely, though--we might have pulled out of last place, but I didn't get a good look at the scores.

Sooo the day went well, I am a happy TMH Human Mom, weather was just about perfect, dogs are healthy, friends are fun to hang around with--OK, I'm up for another 2 days of this!


  1. Woohoo! w00t! Yippee! And all things wonderful to Tika and her glorious handler!

  2. Congrats, that's great!! gold medals -- wow!