a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: A Few Minutes With Agility Rooney

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Few Minutes With Agility Rooney

SUMMARY: Many random thoughts and maybe some results from this weekend.
  • Dang bees! Why were there so many bees this weekend and why did they care about my can of *diet* soda? (Not yellowjackets, yes bees.) I tried to protect my open can at the score table by dropping my hat over it, but, um, what a mess on the paperwork when i grabbed my hat to go run. I tried  a paper towel over it, but that was awkward. An eraser worked ok--if I remembered. I went to work on my mental game: If, at any time, I were to take a swig of soda and feel SOMETHING not soda-ish in the mouthful, I will spit it out instantly. I like to be prepared!  I wonder how AK knew when she had TWO bees in her can and had to abandon it?

  • One can never play too much frisbee. [Boost and Tika wanted me to point that out.]

  • Don't you love driving through areas where you don't live and looking at the names of all the places you pass? And wondering what's there, and whether you'll ever actually stop there, and how they got their names? Turlock, Keyes, Ceres, Modesto (moe DESS toe), Crows Landing, Tuolumne (TWA-lum-ee), Vernalis, Stockton, Merced (mer SED), Tracy, San Joaquin (wha-KEEN), Patterson, Mountain House, Tracy, Livermore, Pleasanton (which is right next door to Livermore, maybe to make up for having more liver?), Byron, Altamont, Dublin, Walnut Creek.

  • How DO you pronounce Vernalis?

  • Steeplechase Round 1 on Saturday was one of the most flowing, fast, fun-looking Steeplechase courses that I've even seen. I mean, a novice dog could've done that course with her eyes closed!

  • Sadly, Boost was not a novice dog with her eyes closed. Need I say more?

  • Tika seemed healthy and happy all weekend. I scratched her from Grand Prix and Jumpers on Saturday, so she did only 5 runs instead of 7, just to not push my luck. I was going to scratch her from Steeplechase, too, but after Boost and I managed to munge it up, I just really wanted to run SOME dog on that wonderful course. 

  • Tika and Brenn tied for 1st on that course at 38.44 seconds. How cool is that?

  • What's the difference between pragmatic and practical? Adept and adroit? Discomfort and discomfit?  Ordnance and ordinance? Mandatory and compulsory?  (Thanks, Says You on NRP.)

  • I'm going to go see Says You live in San Francisco in April! How cool is THAT?

  • Boost ran completely past at least 3 sets of weaves this weekend and messed up the entry on several more. Gah, they're REALLY broken again! Which doesn't explain why sometimes she nailed them at full speed.

  • OMG, sometimes I just don't have much fun running Boost.

  • Thank goodness for a breeze on days when the temps are well into the 90s.

  • You cannot have too many cold drinks on days like that! Even if the bees like them, too.

  • When I was making notes for this list (2 hours ago), what did I mean by "acan slit stiders?"

  • Just found out (i'm a little behind) that Bay Teamer Dave Grubel is judging at the USDAA nationals this year! He is so perfect for the job!

  • Saturday's Jumpers: Boost was SO ALMOST NEARLY perfect--no runouts or refusals or wrong turns, and only a little bit of wide turns, and one knocked bar! Gah, so close! That's now 55 tries with only one Q.

  • Sunday's Jumpers: Boost! OMG OMG OMG! She was flawless! I mean it, she was flawless! Check out this video! (Hmm, I used a different way of posting it and if you're viewing this other than at my site, youmight have to go there to see it.)

  • OMG, sometimes I LOVE running my Booster!

  • Unfortunately... sigh... her *handler* wasn't perfect and inserted an extra jump. You know that suddenly heart-stopped realization: "oops, I think we were supposed to turn at the last jump, not this jump."  I didn't need to hear the whistle to know that I blew it. Really sucks to waste a flawless Boost performance on a really stupid handler move.  But she got some very excited happy border collie playing and rewarding before handler went off to sulk.

  • Her time was FASTER than the winning dog! *Including the extra jump!* Dang.

  • Oh, man, Katrina sure makes some awesome molasses/ginger cookies! I checked quite a few of them to be sure that the quality was consistent.

  • Steeplechase Round 2: Second place in 22" performance paid $5.28. How come I don't know what 1st place paid? Exercise for the student using this video: Where in the course did we manage to miss beating Brenn, who was .53 seconds faster?
  • They say there is no free lunch, but all weekend all workers wore stickers stating, "Free Lunch." So I guess "They" are wrong again.

  • That early-morning smell in the agricultural central valley--sort of a composting/manure/swamp smell infusing everything. Not quite pleasant, not quite unpleasant, not at all like early morning smells in Silicon Valley.

  • Boost quick recap:
    • Relay: Partner took a long leadout and had 10 faults. No Q.
    • Steeplechase Round 1: Not pleasant.
    • Grand Prix Saturday. Didn't stick aframe. Ran past weaves (for 2nd or 3rd time already), so took her off.
    • Standard Sat: Not pleasant.
    • Standard Sunday: Nice contacts (whew, finally!) and weaves. 
    • Gamblers Saturday: Very high opening points, did the gamble, but 1 sec over time because of "what this jump" on my key lead-in jump.
    • Gamblers Sunday: Very high opening points, but missed the gamble because she turned back to me when she got ahead of me instead of  keeping on going.
    • Snooker Saturday: A really beautiful 4-red opening and knocked 2 in the closing.
    • Snooker Sunday: A really beautiful closing and OH so close in the opening but screwed up a weave entry so, instead of a super-Q, we got merely another Q. But it felt good.
    • Jumpers sat & sun: Two VERY close runs. See above.

  • I sure sweated a lot this weekend! Tried to always have a cold soda at hand to replenish.

  • Feels REALLY good at the end of the day to peel off that sweaty shirt, bra, and socks before the long drive home.  (Yes, you silly people, I did put on clean ones.)

  • Tika quick recap:
    • Steeplechase round 1 and 2: Pretty good. See above.
    • Standard: 1st place Saturday and Sunday.
    • Gamblers: 1st place Saturday and Sunday.
    • Snooker Saturday: Beautiful 4-red opening, and then I lost my dog. At least the audience was amused. But everyone had so much trouble with the course, we actually place 3rd with a mere 25 points and got a Top Ten point for our trouble. 
    • Snooker Sunday: Picked my course and stuck with it, didn't try to outdo anyone. Had a couple of bobbles. Result: Tied one other dog for points but 2.5 seconds slower for a 2nd. I'll take it!
    • Relay: Partner E'ed.
    • Jumpers sunday (scratched Sat): 2nd place, 1 sec slower than 1st. No particular reason that I remember.
    • Top Ten points: Not a lot of dogs at this trial, but we did pick up a few points. More than when I was actively thinking "Must Get Lots of Top Ten Points" and went back to just doing what we do. A learning moment.

  • I had to keep abandoning the score table to go run my dogs. As the trial was coming to a close, I finally sat down to work again--where EM and LB were holding down the fort-- picked up my soda can, poured a cold mouthful--and there was SOMETHING in my mouth other than liquid. Without a fraction of a second's hesitation, my weekend-long mental conditioning kicked in and I spewed out the whole mouthful--yes, bee and all--all over the score table, the paperwork, my fellow score table worker, the score table box, the calculator--

  • I don't know that I've ever seen LB laugh that hard. Thank goodness she has a good sense of humor. Agility people are the best--as, for the 2nd time in two days, I'm mopping up soda from all over the score table.

  • Dang bees.


  1. That Steeplechase course does look fun. But I don't know, there are some tricky angles that could bite you in the butt if you took them for granted.

    Boost and Tika look great in the videos, sounds like a fun weekend.

  2. Well, OK, what really happened was that not very many dogs Qed on that course. I guess what I was really thinking was that, for me and my dogs, we should have no trouble at all. For tika, that proved true; for boost, she completely ran past the first set of weaves even though I front crossed to give her a nice line to them (I mean, she didn't even try to go in--same thing on 2 or 3 other sets this weekend, so not sure what's going on), and she ran past a jump somewhere, and I couldn't even remember where, it made so little sense. And annoyingly, the tougher parts that got other people (1-2-3, piece of cake,I can't tell you how many went up the aframe! How is that even possible?; full speed pull to the #10 tunnel both dogs aced (more offc's there), and 14-15-16-17 was lovely). I dunno. Odd stuff.

  3. I say, just blame it all on the dang bees. Dang bees.

  4. I groaned out load when reading that second bullet after Boost's Jumpers video. AUGH!!! She looked fantastic though.

    Once again I'm giggling about Tika's unique after-run tradition :D