a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: It Was The Best of Times, It Was The--Not Best of Times

Monday, September 07, 2009

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The--Not Best of Times

SUMMARY: southwest regionals personal results

A summary because I'm very tired and need to go sleep. (OK, I lied, this is turning into more than a summary.)

Tika the down side

Tika ran beautifully this weekend--ALMOST perfectly. Out of 14 runs, she Qed in 10. Two of those four were completely and totally my fault; she ran perfectly what I asked her to do. OK, I can deal with that. The final two were sad and then almost heartbreaking.

That danged last 26" Jumpers leg, the one that Tika needs for her silver ADCH--knocked the first bar again! Jeez, she ran so smoothly the rest of the way!

Then, last run of the weekend: Steeplechase Round 2. At the Regionals! We've done great! I think we can beat almost all of the dogs in the class if all goes well. I'm revved and excited; I think it's our kind of course. Two Aframes, which Tika can gain time on with her "modified running contact" if she gets a foot into the yellow zone, and the course is laid out such that I can be right there to add emphasis. I've got her revved and excited, too. I lead out only a couple of steps and then release her for added excitement rather than a longer ideal lead-out. I sprint for the first front cross and make it, and we're on our way! We make it through the first 13 obstacles of a 19-obstacle course, including a gorgeous legal running A-frame. She is HAULING and I am feeling good!

#14 is a tunnel. Tika blasts in--then yelps in pain and hobbles out on three legs. Oh, poor Tika! Oh, sad me! The judge looks inside the tunnel to see whether he can see anything--nothing. No idea what happened. Did she slip and fall? Stub a toe? I jollied her up a bit, since she can be a drama queen at the slightest little thing, and she looked perky, but then when I tried to get her running again, she wouldn't. Took her off the course, rubbed her a bit, then tried walking her around. Definitely, definitely limping.

Took her back to her crate, more massage. She relaxed and enjoyed it, but stood up and limped again. Left her in the crate for half an hour, came back to get her out again, and she came out hunched over--like the sore neck/back/whatever it is that she gets--and favoring the same foot. Gave her some rimadyl. An hour later, she still wasn't comfortable coming out of the crate and wanted to lie down.

But 2 hours later, after I'd packed everythign up to go, she felt fine and wanted to run run run and was disgusted with me for holding her back. I'm sure it was the rimadyl kicking in. Will have to see how she feels tomorrow.

I guess I'm glad that she held up so well for three and a half days of agility. I'm always watching for any sign of soreness with her now, and there was never anything. She was in full form right before that run.

And there's yet another reason not to go to Nationals: Tika actually has a good chance of doing well in all the Performance events. BUT. It would REALLY suck to get down there and then have her come up sore again, unable to run.

Tika the up side

Tika ran clean in Pf Pairs Relay; her partner's not the fastest but they Qed, completing Tika's performance relay title.

Tika ran clean and very well in Team Standard, for a 4th out of 20 dogs.

Had an excellent opening and OK closing in Team Gamblers, for a sort of average 12th of 20.

Got the highest possible points in Team Snooker, placing 4th of 20 only on time vs other dogs who got the same points.

Ran a gorgeous clean Team Jumpers run, placing 3rd of 20.

And popped her dogwalk in the Performance Team Relay, but between Tika and her excellent partner Brenn, after the cumulative 5 rounds, they place second! for a silver medal! among 36 teams at the Regionals. Human Mom is proud and pleased.

Tika's Performance Grand Prix Round 1--I couldn't have been happier; she placed 1st of 19 dogs! And only 3 dogs Qed! It was a tough course.

On Sunday, Tika's Perf Gamblers run was excellent, missing 1st place by only a point, so placing 2nd of 21 for a Q.

Her Performance Steeplechase Round 1 was gorgeous. Not a high placer; one dog had a stunningly perfect run and beat Tika by 3.5 seconds. The times of the 2nd through 7th place dogs ranged between about 39.75 and 40.5 seconds! Yes, in good competition, the times are so bloodly tight that a tenth of a second costs you. But it was plenty good enough for a Q to go on to Round 2.

She did well in Grand Prix round 2, although I didn't signal a threadle well enough, and she veered wayyy away from the correct path, barely missing an off course, and wasting probably 2-4 seconds (hard to tell); still, she placed 4th of the 10 dogs in that round, off 1st place by about 6 seconds. WHich is really an eternity. But I'll take it.

And on Monday, although we didn't quite get all the points we tried for in Pf Snooker, neither did almost anyone else, and our points were high enough for 3rd place out of 32 dogs and another Super-Q. Yesss!

Other than the Jumpers and the Round 2 Steeplechase, the only things she didn't Q in were the two Standard runs--which are proving to be as elusive lately as Jumpers Qs--and they were both so pathetically my fault:
* We were clean almost to the end, then I noticed in periphery that the jump she was about to take didn't have a number on it, and I second-guessed myself on the correct course and pulled her off it. Turns out, of course, it was correct--the cone had just been knocked away from the jump. So an otherwise perfect course marred by a 5-point refusal.
* I left Tika in the weaves and went out for a jump off to the side to manage a tighter turn, trusting her usually awesome weaves to finish the last couple on her own. Apparently took my eyes off her and moved too firmly, because I didn't know that she had popped the last weave until the judge blew the whistle. Other than that, the run was perfect. Sighhhh--

So, summary for Tika: What a wonderful agility girl she was this weekend! Very happy with her. Very sad that she was sore, because usually she loves to play the game.

Boost's weekend

The baby dog (who is now over 4 and a half) is doing SO much better! Continues the last 3 weeks of sudden "I get this game now!" behavior.

Friday night, Pairs Relay, she teamed with her mom. It was very cute--reported that the two of them waiting on the start line to go were like bookends, not only physically resembling each other but with exactly the same eager, ready-to-go pose. Boost knocked one bar near the end of her half, for a 5-second penalty, but between the two of them, they had the 4th fastest time of ALL SIXTY! teams and still placed 6th even with the faults. An awesome way to start the weekend.

Boost's Team runs weren't steller, but OK. Worst one was Snooker: She hit the first red and I froze, ready to push her off the next obstacle if the bar fell. The bar didn't fall, it kind of bounced. So I turned and put her over the next jump--and as she was taking off, the *#&@( bar FELL! So we were whistled off, for 0 points.

(One partner also Eed in Jumpers, and with all of our assorted missteps and issues, we were sure that we weren't going to qualify. What another heartbreaker to discover that, after all was said and done, our total 948 points missed qualifying by 6 points! Oh crap! Just four successfull obstacles in that Snooker run would've qualified us. Or just about anything else that any of us missed on, anywhere in our 5 runs. That's almost worse than missing by a mile.

On Sunday, Boost's Jumpers run was SO ALMOST wonderful; she kept up all her bars but earned a refusal when she ran past a serpentine again. That would be the OLD Boost, but keeping the bars up and not having other refusals or runouts is the NEW Boost.

Her Steeplechase Round 1 was kind of a mess. Oh, well.

Her Gamblers opening was nice although she startled me by missing her weave entry big time, and I had to stop and put my hands on my hips for a moment, so we didn't get as many points as planned, although it would've been good for a placement with the gamble. BUT--She actually did the hard part of the gamble but then was too busy looking at me to take the next jump right in front of her. Sighhh---we'll keep working on that.

But she delighted me by doing fairly nicely on her Standard round--only a few gotchas, like coming up off her elbows on the table, delaying the table count by a few seconds, and a couple of other bobbles that I don't remember--but none of them fatal! So we Qed and even placed as high as 14th out of 94 dogs. Human Mom pretty happy with that Border Collie!

On Monday, we blew Snooker early because I tried to do a wrap and she turned the wrong way then backjumped. But she did keep her bars up.

Then she redeemed herself with a completely flawless Standard run. She went down on the table immediately and stayed down. She stuck all of her contacts AND didn't veer around at the end, so I didn't have to either make her down or try somehow to get around her, so she had to hold them for only a fraction of a second before I released her. Kept her bars up. NO runouts, NO refusals, NO turns in the wrong direction, NO turning and waiting for me to catch up to her. Placing 6th of 79 dogs! Yowza! VERY happy Human Mom! Very talented looking Border Collie!

And so the trial sinks slowly into the sunset--

My knee help up just fine; weather was lovely; rotation groups worked great in keeping the trial moving well without conflicts. The only other bleahhh thing was Boost having diarrhea Friday night, keeping me up a good part of the night, then ending up soiling her crate partway through the day, poor puppy. But she never acted ill; it cleared up just fine, and I slept fantastically Saturday and Sunday night.

Speaking of which--goodnight!


  1. sounds like although there were some lows, mostly it was a great weekend- congrats on some great runs and best wishes for Tika- hopefully you can figure out what happened...poor girlie!

  2. I hope Tika is o.k., poor thing. Lola comes up limping now and again too, so frustrating that they can't tell us what's wrong.

    Sounds like a great weekend for you though, congrats on all the successes.

  3. Ellen, I missed your Steeplechase run and I'm so sorry Tika came up lame. I hope it is a minor thing that that she is up and about soon.

    I did see a number of your runs with Tika and a couple with Boost. You guys looked GREAT.

    Congrats and I'll see ya at the next trial!

  4. Tika seems mostly fine this morning. Didn't want to play thrash-it-about with her bed this morning, nor play tug with me and boost in the bedroom, but out back she played tug & ran & chased her toy with no sign of pain at all.

    Thanks, all.

  5. Heyyy! Congrats! Great news that both dogs were running so well, especially Ms. Boost who, it certainly sounds like, is really starting to come into her own. Sorry to hear about Tika's trouble in the tunnel though. Hope she'll soon be back to her usual bed-thrashing self.

    I hadn't realized how different the Regionals format is in USDAA compared to AAC. In AAC there are only six events (not including the optional Steeplechase rounds), and clean runs don't get counted as Qs. Well, I learned something new today!

  6. Thanks, everyone.

    Lisa--I've been thinking I'd post something about our regionals & how USDAA works; sounds like this is an indication that I should really do that! :-)

  7. Sounds good to me! And I won't mind if you blame your dogs' staring at you on the computer on me. "Sorry, dogs, you know I'd rather be doing something with you as the center of attention, but that darned klutz up in Canada is *making* me do this!"

  8. Sounds like a great weekend. Congrats on all the "Q"s. I hope Tika's leg is feeling better. Diana

  9. Poor Tika, hope she's doing OK. Reads like you had some really great moments, congrats! I remember JoJo had an explosion in his crate last year at Regionals and was fine after that, weird! Maybe it's all that fine, exciting competition :)Glad everything ran smoothly.