a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: USDAA, CPE, Precious Weekends, and Precious Dogs

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

USDAA, CPE, Precious Weekends, and Precious Dogs

SUMMARY: Big decision #1. What to do?
Here's what I'm thinkin'.

Tika is doing pretty good for a going-on-11 dog. She still tugs full out, still runs full out after the toy or frisbee. But I'm seeing signs that signal "old dog" in so many subtle ways. First, there's the mixed speed in competition--still not entirely positive whether it's soreness, eyes, hearing, or what. Then, around the house, there are little things: She doesn't always immediately stand up when I do any more. She doesn't always get up out of her bed when there's food offered unless she's sure it's worth her while (and this from a dog whose #1 priority will always be food). She's been reluctant to come upstairs for bed at night--not sure whether that's soreness, tired of having Boost scratching off and on all night (me, too), or really is more comfortable on her bed downstairs for some reason. She sometimes does the wrong "trick" when I give her a command, but if I say it louder, she gets it right. Maybe just confusion or lack of practice, maybe hearing. Dunno.

Just things like that.

So I'm pondering what to chase in terms of titles.

My working theory is that she'll continue to be happy and healthy doing agility for another year, and that then, that's probably it for us. I mean, I could get lucky and she'd keep on going--but here are the statistics from our September trial:

# of dogs 9 35 31 56 42 41
39 35 27 14
5 3 2 1 340

The odds aren't good that she'll be going a lot longer. Even another year with her in agility would be precious.

So: Do I cram in as much as I possibly can in one year? Remember that I've discovered that my nonagility weekends are also precious; I've been much happier at 14 weekends a year than I was getting to be at 20-some-odd weekends a year. I'd probably be happier with even less.

CPE choice

A C-ATE (CPE agility something extraspecial, or whatever), which is wayyyyyyyy beyond a championship, requires roughly 250 Qs at the Championship level--that means clean runs, unlike Tika's C-ATCH championship, which required only 20ish Qs (at that time), most of which didn't have to be clean. This makes it like a USDAA LAA silver in number of Qs. However, it's also THE highest title you can get in CPE.

Tika currently has 178 Qs, so needs maybe another 70ish-- Actually it's a bit more involved than that--it requires 5000 points and she currently has 3855, so 1145 to go. There are 7 different classes, worth between 15 and 25 points for each Q. Soooo if we could do all 25-point classes, she'd need only another 46 Qs. Of course they won't all be 25-pointers. So, say, 50-60 Qs to finish.

We've been doing only one or two CPEs a year since I cut back on agility. But Tika's Q rate in CPE is generally pretty high, 80-90%. So *if* we could go to all CPEs that offered 5 classes a day (10/weekend), that would be "only" about 5-7 weekends... hmmmm... but I'm thinkin' that most clubs only offer 8 classes a weekend. That bumps it up to 8-10 more weekends.

Either way, that's a LOT of weekends to add to my dozen USDAAs/year. I don't really want to go back up to 20+ weekends of agility in a year.

However, add to that: It would be nice to earn a championship with Boost, and I think we could do the CPE one in about the same amount of time that Tika could get her CATE. For her C-ATCH, she needs:
1 jumpers
2 jackpot
3 each wildcard and snooker
6 colors
8 standard (and most clubs offer at least 2/weekend)

It's doable. The Colors Qs are the ones that are killing me at the moment. But, still, yes, doable.

I just have to decide I want to do a bunch more expensive CPEs (because I don't get free entries at any of them except bay team's). Now that I've actually punched in the numbers, hmmm, maybe I'll go for it. Of course I'm also trying to get Qs in USDAA for Tika's platinum LAA.

USDAA choice

As I discussed in A Woman, A Plan, A Dog, I figure that in a year with 13 weekends of USDAA, Dogs Willing, we could finish her Platinum LAA. That's THE highest title you can get in USDAA.

I'd like to do that, too.

But 13 weekends of USDAA and 10 weekends of CPE in a year, whoa!, that's as bad as my worst year ever--er, I mean, as many weekends as my busiest agility year ever.

It is true that I could work on the CPE title later; she doesn't have to be as fast, and jumps only 20" rather than 22" in USDAA. Hmmm, and maybe (have to double-check the rules) I could move her to Specialist, which actually jumps 16", and keep going, so concentrate on USDAA first and then go back to CPE. But that pulls me out of my tentative plan to just do agility for another year.

Also, that's a lot to expect from a dog's longevity and health. Plus, really would be nice to have a CH for Boost.




  1. Interesting...been pondering some of that myself sometimes. I don't like seeing the stats :) Not ready yet!

  2. Well, Jake did keep competing until he was 15, and he was I think probably part sheltie.