a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: USDAA in Turlock

Sunday, November 01, 2009

USDAA in Turlock

SUMMARY: An oddball weekend.

The weather was just about perfect for agility: Sunny but not hot, just warm enough that by midafternoon for a brief while I didn't need my fleece in the shade of the score table. No rain, just a tiny breeze to keep the air moving. Plenty cool for the dogs. Couldn't ask for better weather.

Which of course is unusual for agility trials--usually they're very hot or they're rainy or they're windy or you're huddled around one of those portable propane heaters trying to defrost the icicles from your nose.

Here's one weird thing: Boost. Got more Qs. Than Tika. Can you believe it? My little baby dog is almost hitting her stride--at 4 years and 9 months! Can you believe it? My older experienced Qing machine dog managed only 3 Qs out of 10 runs.

Here's another weird thing: Gamblers. Tika is a wonderful gamblers dog. So often we manage to get high opening points, and often pick up gambles that other dogs find challenging. And that's in Championship as well as performance. This weekend, Tika didn't come close in TWO gamblers. This is a dog who has been  so consistent at gamblers this year that--OMG--just looked at the USDAA site and as of mid-September she is *IN* the top ten! Yowza! I had thought we might have crept in at the bottom. Unfortunately, at the last trial, we popped the dogwalk in the opening so ended up in a position to collect only 3 top ten points, then in the 2nd gamble completely hosed it, and this weekend we completely hosed TWO gambles for NO top ten points. Tsk. What an opportunity wasted to finally get a Top Ten pin! But how much fun to be there right now. Really, if I had known we were up in there, I might have actually *practiced* some gambling recently.

And Boost, my baby dog who still has trouble sometimes sending out from me, ALMOST got the gamble Saturday--in the air over the last jump when the buzzer sounded. 0.3 seconds over time! (But particularly nice as this course had a dismal Q rate. Only 2 out of 30 22" dogs got the gamble--I didn't see anyone else get it and be over time, so Boost makes it 3 who got it.) AND she DID get the gamble Sunday! Managed 6th place out of 28 dogs.

Here's another weird thing: Tika, my Performance Tournament Qing machine didn't qualify in either the Grand Prix or the Steeplechase. Well--Steeplechase was my fault, I ran the wrong course. Grand Prix was her fault--flew off the dogwalk from a mile up without even pretending to get to the bottom.

Boost, however, DID Q in the Steeplechase with a clean and smooth but oddly slow run.

And here's another weird thing: In all of my thousands of agility runs, I've not yet had a dog who eliminated in the ring. Boost's Steeplechase came SO close--we went over the last jump, headed for the exit, and about 2 feet from the gate at the far side of the field she squatted. This from a dog who sometimes won't go for hours because life is too interesting to waste time pottying. I blame it on the antibiotics she's on. Explained why she was slow--about to explode!

And here's another weird thing: Tika either crapped out completely or completely aced it. We don't usually get such a sharp division. Crap out: E in 1st Standard, not even opening pts in Gamblers, E in steeplecahse, E in 2nd Jumpers, nearly low points in 2nd Gamblers, E in pairs (although actually Tika was clean; her partner had the E.

Aced it: In the 1st Jumpers, Tika had a beautiful blazing course and missed coming in first out of 10 dogs by .01 seconds, dagnabbit! Beat by our traitorous pairs partner! In Snooker, whupped the competition with a first-place (of 12 dogs) 55 point super-Q--nearest was 51 points--in a run that would've been also good enough for a super-Q in Championship. And in the 2nd Standard, soundly took 1st of 11, beating everyone else's times (even those with faults).

So: Boost Qed in Relay, 5th of 21 pairs (missed her weave entry or we'd have placed higher). Qed in the 1st Standard, placing 9 of 28--dang hydraulic elbows on the table lost us a huge lot of time again, or we'd have placed higher. Qed in Steeplechase. Qed in Gamblers, 6th of 28 dogs.

Mostly for my own info: Tika ignored my "COME! COME! COOOOOME!" twice to take off-course obstacles. Blind-crossed me once into an offcourse, a puzzling move that I really can't explain. I forgot the course once. She flew off the Aframe twice, dogwalk maybe 3 times, much worse than average.

But I don't think she knocked a bar all weekend! Good girl on that one.

Nine out of Boost's 11 runs looked very much like master dog runs. 2nd round steeplechase she was the 3rd fastest dog but knocked a bar. Very pleased with the run. 2nd Jumpers was OH so close--took an off course tunnel that many dogs had taken (OK, Tika took it, too, but for a different reason)--but otherwise did the course perfectly! No bars! Sooooo close--

But her 1st Jumpers run looked like the old-style disaster: ran past the 2nd jump on a lead-out pivot, knocked 3 bars, had at least one refusal-type mess-- . And Snooker, she knocked the bar in the opening on #7, then sucked into a tunnel at a bad moment, for a 9-point run.

But the rest were lovely! And her bar knocking was way down. Very happy about that, too.

Hmm, Tika getting yet another Snooker Super-Q makes me check the USDAA web site again for Snooker Top Tens. If you remember, as of late August, I reported that we had just barely squeaked our way into the top 25 vying for a top ten position. So it's just a thrill to see that, counting scores through mid-September, we've edged upward:

I still don't think this 17th place will  hold, either.  Since the date of that update, we earned only 1 Top Ten point at our last trial. 7 more for today's run (and we beat Hobbes). But we're doing only one more USDAA trial this year, in December, and I doubt that most of these dogs are doing that few competitions. Guess I picked the wrong year to back way off on my agility trials, or Tika might really have had a chance at a Top Ten in Snooker. That's OK. It's still fun to have earned 5 SuperQs  out of 9 runs in Performance to date.

From this weekend: No photos. As usual, worked my buns off at the score table, didn't have much time for anything else. For once, we had enough score tablers that I could've taken a couple of breaks, but I feel obligated to be there as much as possible since they give me one free entry for doing the job.

And now I'm tired. Bedtime.


  1. sounds like you had a great weekend. I guess the toe was ok. Congrats. Diana

  2. Oh, yeah, I forgot about the toe completely! I guess that's a good thing. ;-) Vet clipped it off way down and cauterized it so you couldn't even tell there was anything wrong with it except it was really really short. Boost paid no attention to it at all. That was a much better solution than anything I could have done. Guess it was worth the $$.

  3. Wow. I'm exhausted just reading about all these runs! Glad you had a good weekend! And the dogs did as well!

  4. They love it. And want to know why I'm just back to sitting at the computer all day today.

  5. Woo hoo! What a great weekend, one to remember for sure.

  6. I thought the Top Tens counting ended with the start of the new USDAA year? I guess not.

  7. I don't believe so; I think the tournament season is sept-sept but top 10 is calendar year.