a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Weekend Steeplechase and Grand Prix Report

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Weekend Steeplechase and Grand Prix Report

SUMMARY: with videos
Actually I don't have all that much to report.

SW Regional Steeplechase Round 1

I think the toughest spot was getting the dog into the right (right) side of the tunnel, but if you launched the dog to the jump after the Aframe and then turned and ran straight (as I did), you'd be aiming the dog straight at the correct side of the tunnel. It was a smooth and doable course--about half the dogs made it to Round 2.

Tika did fine, placing 5th of 16. But then, so did most everyone else in her 22" Performance group: 10 advanced to the second round.

However, in watching videos, I notice that she seems to hesitate or slow in several places in such a way that makes me think "she's not getting the right information from me fast enough." I've thought for quite a while that she's slowed down to accommodate me rather than me learning to handle her speed (and I fear that Boost may be getting to the same place, dang). This video shows it in several places. (And again we won't mention standing up at the start line to sniff for treats--)

Boost's run--well--some nice bits, except when I had to yank on every invisible rope in the universe to get her to come in over the 3rd jump in the pinwheel--a known issue, when she's blasting full speed ahead and I ask her to come back in to me (e.g., with serpentines, too), she keeps runnning in a big loop rather than trying to come in over the jump that's between us. And immediately thereafter runs past the 4th jump in the pinwheel. Yeh, could be she's not getting the info she needs either. Plus two knocked bars, the second on a rear cross after which she pulled in to me instead of going over the next jump that was, yes, right in front of her.

For comparison, here's our classmate Kicks! winning that class (22" chamionship). 30 of the 60 22" dogs moved up.

Grand Prix Final

I tried to push myself and Tika as hard as I could. Funny, watching the video, I look like I'm just loping along, but I *felt* like I was running all out. I clapped my hands a whole lot more than I think I usually do. Also funny, Tika's weaves look fast in the video, but the difference between hers and Boost's is amazing--with Boost, I have to run full speed to get to the other end before she does, but with Tika, I just jog gently.

We ended up 3rd, but the Malinois and Border Collie who beat us were 5 (!) and 4 seconds faster than we were. Still, we easily qualified for the Nationals Semifinals--but, no, we're not going to Kentucky.

(Will add map when available.)


  1. Well congratulations to you and Tika on easily qualifying for Nationals Semifinals, even if you don't choose to go :)

  2. Well thanks! She's become a very reliable agility dog in her dotage.

  3. Hey, Boost's a-frames looked great!

    "not getting the right information from me fast enough" -- sure is the story of Walter's and my agility career. And yup he slows right down to make sure he's doing the right thing... sigh.

  4. Boost's contacts are pretty good. Sometimes she leaves the dogwalk or teeter before I give the release, which is bad if she's in front of me and coming back to see what i'm up to. But mostly she's pretty good. Thanks.