a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Should I Be Thrilled or Dismayed?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Should I Be Thrilled or Dismayed?

SUMMARY: Saturday at the SMART trial.

NOTE: I might put up some course maps later in the week. Or not. Check back.

Qualifying summary:
Tika Qed 5 of 6
Boost Qed 3 of 6.

Tika's Day

It's hard to get back to "normal" after the preceding exceptional weekend with Tika. Once we start winning and Qing left and right, we should keep on doing so, right? Alas, it is not to be.

Same dogs we were beating last weekend, were beating us today. It was kind of fun to have a couple friends come over and say, "Whatever my results are, I just want to know: Did we beat Tika?" [grin] The answer was often, yes, EVERYone beat Tika.

Gamblers: First run of the day. Again, with Tika's general consistency, I know that we'll eventually get all the basic Qs that we need. What I want is Top Ten Points! Wellllllll Tika didn't hold her start line stay, so she took a 1-point gamble obstacle as she raced by me, which meant that not only could I not do the back-to-back 3-point gamble obstacle that I had planned on doing, but we also had to sort of threadle clumsily among all the gamble obstacles to get to where we were going, wasting a ton of time, which meant that at the end of the opening when the whistle blew, she was *on* hte 7-point teeter but did not GET the 7 points. So we got 12 points fewer than my plan.

In fact, we barely got enough opening points! (Instead of having enough for 2nd place.) BUT she did get the gamble. BUT 5 out of the 12 dogs in her height group beat her, so no placement, no Top Ten. BUT that was her 10th Performance Gamble, completing her AGD (like Gamblers Champion) title, which is always a nice thing to do.

Mixed feelings.

Steeplechase Round 1: Very fast and happy, although a couple of wide turns. She is still running so nicely! We place second out of 8 dogs, just half a second behind the winner, so we're 2nd seed for Round 2. I'm fairly pleased with that, AND with the Gamble Q last run, that completes 250 Masters/P3/Tournament Qs for her Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA) Silver title! A big milestone that we enjoy mostly quietly.

Jumpers: She FLIES around that course! But I go in too deep before a serpentine and then I'm crowding her over the serp jump and she knocks the bar, so no Q. 2nd fastest time of 13 dogs, but no Q so the speed isn't worth anything except just gratification.

Standard: After not being able to get Standard Qs forever, this is her 3rd Standard Q in a row. It's a pretty good run but we managed to place only 3rd. For 3 Top Ten points and a ribbon. Better than none. 2.5 seconds off 1st place, and that's OK, probalby wide turns again, which are a real problem for us again with her running so fast, I'm just not getting the info to her soon enough. BUT That's her 5th Standard Q, which is all she needed for her APD (Performance CHAMPIONSHIP)!!!! Yayyyyy! We get a victory lap and a huge ribbon. And I kept thinking: Haven't I done this before? Not that I'm saying that it's become dull to earn a championship, but the Nth one doesn't seem nearly as exciting any more. Especially when for the first time ever I can actually focus on Top Ten points and have a chance of doing something there!

Snooker: I stand in the Snooker ring during walkthrough, despairing of finding a course that I like. Don't know why the brain just froze up; I consider myself to be pretty good at coming up with gamblers and snooker courses, but I'm flummoxed. So I beg Ashley for his course, which he gladly shares with me, which we execute to perfection (well except for that scary moment in the closing where I forgot the course for a moment) and we win by a wide margin, 1st out of 15 dogs, so 7 Top Ten points. Yeeeha, love it!

Pairs Relay: Tika and partner are fast and clean, so another Q, and we place--2nd. Just can't get those firsts in today!

Steeplechase Round 2: Surprised me that we're doing both rounds in one day. But that's OK. It is one amazingly fast and simple course with two Aframes. And I get casual about the first Aframe and she leaves a bit early, and sure enough I see the judge's hand go up. SOOOOO this time everyone else did NOT have faults, and we end in 4th place (just enough for a pretty white 4th place ribbon but no cash to take home). Curses. Even so, we were .8 of a second slower than the fastest dog, so the best we could've done was 2nd anyway. Sheesh.

Boost's Day

Both dogs are very happy to be doing agility again.

This is the second trial at which I've noticed Boost with a bloody nose before going into the ring. First one was also at this site last year. Is there something at this site that aggravates it? I'm thinking that she plays shake-it so hard with her tug of war toy and/or leash that she messes up her nose, or when she yanks it out of my hand maybe she hits her nose on the ground. It's just one run, and the rest she's fine.

Gamblers: In the opening, runs past a 3-point tunnel and we also run out of obstacles, which means I didn't plan this one very well, so we're sort of running around in an open area looking for simple one-point jumps to take before the whistle blows. In the gamble, ends up in wrong end of the tunnel. So a not-great opening and no Q.

Steeplechase Round 1: Not superfast but actually reasonably smooth (with just brief hesitations here and there) and, wow, we're 7th of 38 dogs and Qed to go to round 2!

Jumpers: Sighhhhhhhh... And it's SUCH a doable Jumpers course, too. Bleah bleah bleah.

Standard: Two bars down, some bad turns; not terrible but not wonderful, either.

Snooker: I do a slightly different opening than Tika's because some of those wild and crazy handlers got more points in their opening than Tika's lovely run. But I misjudge and she ends up bouncing around in front of me as we go between obstacles to get to where we need to be, wasting time. Then she knocks the 4th (required) red, which knocks us out of Super-Q competition, so we have to threadle halfway across the field, wasting more time, so we're out of time after doing the 6 in the closing. Well, at least it's a Q this time but still no Super-Q.

Pairs Relay: Our partner runs beautifully. We took the half with the tough weave entrance and I thought she got it but no, went in at #2 so 5 faults and have to swing back around and restart. Then she misreads a rear cross and turns the wrong way, wasting several more seconds. Fortunately combined we're fast enough that we eke out a Q despite Boost's 5 faults and wasted time.

Steeplechase Round 2: The worlds EASIEST steeplechase course, just a couple of big circles, and she CAN'T. TAKE. JUMPS. THAT. ARE. IN. FRONT. OF. HER. I mean, she literally comes to a stop in front of one jump when she's so busy looking at me that she gets RIGHT UP TO IT and then of course is too close to go over it. Plus 2 bars, or maybe 3. I need to stop putting it off and go back in for some more private lessons. This is just insane.

Title Summary

Tika's AGD (Gamblers Champion), APD (championship), and LAA-Silver. Pretty good for one day!

Boost could earn her Standard Champion (10 Qs) tomorrow if she Qs in Standard, but otherwise, that's it--between last weekend and this weekend, Tika sucked up all the titles that she was close to, and now we need to work our way through a bunch more Qs in all the classes before we're in titling range again.

Top Ten

Hmm, thought Tika was further along than we are. As I said, last year it took about 30 points to actually be in the Top Ten. As of today, Tika has:

Gamblers: 17
Jumpers: 22
Snooker: 21
Standard: 17

There's still tomorrow and next weekend, then a lull for a couple of months, two trials in July, and 3 or 4 more weekends around Labor Day timeframe. And probably one in November and one in December. We could do it if we all remain healthy and sane. Which isn't always a given. And, remember, I was wanting to cut back on trials more and more. But--but--this top ten thing is addictive now! Ack, help me, Mr. Wizard!

Database geek

Hey, how cool is *this*? I preentered the info I knew ahead of time for this weekend into the database and then printed a form from the database in which to fill out my results. For the last decade (or more), I've been printing a table that's *all* blank and filling it out. (Which was very convenient, but I'm likin' this new strategy even better.)

If you want a copy of my Word document form to fill out for a trial (not the database one), I'd be glad to send it to you.


  1. Well, I'd be thrilled! :-) Another great weekend all around.

    I laughed at your comment about top ten addiction. I'm starting to feel the same about Walter being on the Top Jumpers Dogs list. We usually don't trial much in the summer but I'm considering driving two hours away several timse this summer just for one or two Jumpers runs!

  2. I don't understand most of this. But I LOVE the ribbons! LOL

    Look at Tika, catching a little snooze,(well earned by the way) while Boost is just raring to go again!

  3. Wow, congrats on your Championship! Seems like you 2 blazed through that one.

    I'd hate to add up all the Masters Standard classes that Lola has entered and compare that number to her one lonely Q. You're braver than me, I'd rather live in denial.

  4. It took Tika a total of 4 years to go from Starters to ADCH; about 2.5 of that in Masters. It took her less than a year to earn her APD (hard to say exactly--her 1st P3 classes were exactly a year ago, but she moved down gradually through July of last year as she finished her Silver titles in Championship). So we did pretty much blaze through it. Maybe I could do a post on that. I love statistics. :-) In case you couldn't tell.