a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: November 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lots of Qs, Thank Goodness

SUMMARY: Three-day CPE weekend summary.
Some fun numbers from this weekend:

  • Total runs: 30 (15 each dog)
  • Boost Qs: 11
  • Tika Qs: 13
  • Boost 1st places (out of 6 to 19 dogs depending on class): 4
  • Tika 1st places (out of 15 to 21 dogs): 3
  • Boost 2nd places: 4 -- came in 2nd to: Tika,  Lexi, Tika, Lexi
  • Tika 2nd places: 6 -- came in 2nd to: Rocket, Boost, Missile, Tyler, Tyler, Rocket
  • Boost 3rd places: 2
  • Tika 3rd places: 1
  • Boost Qs earned towards the 16 she still needed for her C-ATCH:  7 (out of a possible 9)
  • Tika Q points earned towards the 965 she still needed for her C-ATE: 280 (out of a possible 325)
  • Titles earned: Tika ExFH and ExJP.
  • Raffle prizes won: 2. (Bag of Ghirardelli peppermint bark (I love peppermint bark!), big box of dog biscuits.)  That's with 4 raffle tickets earned Saturday and 6 earned Sunday. Deal!

I've updated The Campaign table showing our progress towards our one-year goals.

Bragging rights numbers--among the fastest or highest-scoring of all dogs who ran a course:
  • Full House Friday: Out of about 140 dogs, 10th highest points: Tika (44). 11th highest points: Boost (43). (7 of the 10 dogs with more points were small dogs with 5 more seconds.)
  • Wildcard Friday: Fastest of about 100 3/4/5/C dogs: Boost (16.78 seconds). (Only 4 other dogs were between 17 and 18 seconds.) Too bad she knocked a bar.
  • Standard Friday: Out of about 85 4/5/C dogs: Boost 4th fastest (37.79), Tika 5th fastest (38.59).
  • Jumpers Saturday: Out of 21 dogs in her class, Tika 2nd fastest. And that's with 3 or 4 extra yards after she took a wrong jump.
  • Jackpot (Gamblers) Saturday--nontraditional: Out of 167 dogs, Highest points: Boost (88). 2nd highest: Tika (85--because I didn't think about doing those extra 3 points until after I ran her).  (The next 3 highest dogs had 76, 74, and 73 pts; no one else 70 or higher.)
  • Full House Saturday: Out of 140 dogs, 3rd highest points: Tika (52). (Higher points: one BC with 54 and one small dog with 5 more seconds 53. Only 6 dogs scored 50 or more.)
  • Standard Saturday: Out of 107 4/5/C dogs, 5th fastest: Boost (38.65). 6th fastest: Tika (38.98). 
  • Jackpot (Gamblers) Sunday: A friend and I strategized on the sidelines to come up with a high-scoring plan. Results--out of about 80 4/5/6 dogs, his dog was highest (67), Tika 2nd (66), Boost 3rd (65, tied with one other dog--dang, if she hadn't turned the wrong way after that one jump, we'd have had 3 more points).
  • Wildcard Sunday: Out of 115 3/4/5/C dogs, 2nd fastest: Boost (18.16 secs). (Only 4 dogs broke 19 seconds.) 10th fastest: Tika (20.00).
I took a ton of photos and hope to get through them all tomorrow--oh, yeah, and the October CPE photos, too. Plus detailed weekend notes with fun insights into a typical agility weekend (mine, anyway).   [Hmmm, I'm sitting here looking at the Q ribbons and it suddenly occurs to me--did I take the wrong Q ribbons (orange/teal ones) for Boost's level 5 Qs? Uh-oh...]

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (1)

SUMMARY: Happiness is a new paint job
Ten years ago, I had spent the spring and summer desperately searching for a house to buy that had a yard large enough for dog agility, was in good shape with modern wiring, had room for All My Stuff (walls for bookcases, storage in the garage, like that), could easily handle a renter living in the same house, wasn't too far from friends and work, and that I could afford.

I found--and bought--this house in August 2001:

One of my first thoughts on seeing it in person was, "wow, what ugly colors!" After I bought it, some termite/repair work (paid for in escrow) required the replacement of a few beams and boards on the front porch, which I primered but were then otherwise nekkid. Plus, the paint was starting to peel from the fascia boards and eaves in various places, so it was really urgent to get it repainted.

So the thought of what color to paint it (purple? sky blue?) was on my mind from that first moment of fascinated horror (sorry, previous owners, who really took very nice care of the place). It was only a few months later when, driving down a nearby street, I saw a gorgeous paint color combination that I WANTED ON MY HOUSE RIGHT NOW. However, seeing as how matching paint colors by eye or by description is a lost cause, I actually stopped and knocked on the door.

The nice people invited me in, looked up the names of the paint colors for me, wrote them down, and we had a nice chat about where she got the colors, who did the work, and so on. I stopped off at Kelley Moore on my way home, got some samples of the colors, and mocked them up on my computer like this to see how they'd look on MY house:

Then, on a free weekend sometime after that, I sprayed down the whole house to get it clean and daubed on a bit of paint in a few key places to see how it would look. Realized I didn't have time that weekend to really get started. Aaaaaaaaaand there it sat. Here's the front in 2004, with a little test daubing on the lower right.

And the front porch in October of this year, testing by the window and the front door. Yep, all my visitors saw my house like this for nine years. Nine. Whole. Years.

Fast forward through years of never having the time or energy to tackle it, through 2006, when my sister got married in my back yard and we spent weeks prepping and painting just the back deck (isn't it purty, in its nice tan and green and white?), and I realized that I was never going to have the time or energy to tackle this particular house, and starting to set aside money to hire someone else to do it.

To December of last year, when the eaves and fascias had become so badly weathered--ok, rotten--that chunks were just falling off randomly, and I hired someone to fix that (see my before and after photos of that in this Wordless Wednesday post), which depleted the funds again.

To this fall. Things were looking pretty bad in places by then. The south-facing wall was the worst.

But it was pretty ugly everywhere, including the side with the side garage door (with the mandatory test paint from 2002).

However-- I finally had the dough, got & looked up referrals, called painters, got estimates, and, yeah!, hired someone!
Here's what they saw as they drove up:

They worked really hard at the preparation--scraping the cracking and crumbling paint away made my yard look like it had snowed (well, with patches of fluorescent green here and there). And, oh, the mildew under the peeling paint on the back wall!

And here--finally--is what it looked like when they drove away four days later!

And all is right with the world.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Not The Way I Expected Things To Go

SUMMARY: USDAA weekend results, plus The Campaign and Top Ten updates.

Wellllll I knew it would be an--er--interesting weekend when Saturday's first two runs started off with Boost getting two Qs and Tika none.

Tika ended up with only 3 Qs for the whole weekend of 11 Qable classes, although she won both rounds of Steeplechase, won both Gamblers (although only one was  a Q), won Snooker.  Admittedly, the courses were very hard this weekend, with very low Q rates, but we mostly lost Qs in stupid ways (leaving the table early, called on the dogwalk up contact, things like that). She ran nicely in Pairs on Saturday but her partner Eed; she Eed in Sunday Pairs on a stupid handling move--she did exactly what I asked her to right after we finished what I considered to be the hard part of the run. Just a comedy of errors. 

We were back to having our usual Very High Gamblers Opening Points; on Saturday, that got us the win even though we didn't Q (because almost no one did); on Sunday, that also got us the win (only 2 dogs in our class got the gamble, but also she had 3rd highest points of all dogs at the trial).

I am starting to worry about bars, though--she had 3 or 4 down this weekend, which is nothing compared to, say, Boost, but quite a few more than she's been pulling in Performance. Something to watch, I guess.

Boost also ended with 3 Qs, and floored me by finishing in the top 3 in TWO classes: 2nd in Standard on Saturday (OK, there were only 3 Qs in her whole class of 22 dogs, but her time was really nice, too), and 3rd in Gamblers on Sunday (again, only about 5 of 27 Qed, but she still had about the 4th highest opening points of all dogs at the trial--would've been higher if she hadn't run past the last jump and tire before the gamble). Happy Human Mom.

She missed one weave entry, which I hope is not the first step descending back into "i don't know how to weave", but her other weaves--what few we did--were nice.

She left more than one contact early, so I used our last gamblers of the weekend to hold her for a long time on 3 contacts and she did that nicely. (And still had 4th highest opening points, with that and running past obstacles. If only...   well, ok, don't go there.)

Sadly, we had meltdowns (defined as multiple incidents of bars down, refusals, runouts, etc.) in one Pairs, one Jumpers, and Steeplechase. Nicely, one Jumpers was pretty darned smooth in the handling and running, except 2 bars came down.

My goals and results on The Campaign and Top Ten:
  • Tika Platinum Tournament:
    Weekend goal:
    Finish the one non-team Q she needs.
    Accomplished (Steeplechase). Now on to December to finish (I hope) that last team Q.
  • Tika Platinum LAA:
    Weekend goal: Earn Qs at [at least] the 60% rate she's been earning them since we moved to performance almost 2 years ago.  That should've been 6 or 7 Qs out of 11 possible.
    Results: Jeez, 3 Qs, a paltry 27%.
  • Tika PDCH-Gold:
    Weekend goal: Well, with our 60% expected Q rate, we should've been able to knock off 5 or 6 of these.
    Results: We got two. (Gamblers and Snooker.)
  • Boost ADCH:
    Weekend goal: Well, trying not to be greedy and hope for two Jumpers Qs AND a Snooker Super-Q, but one of the three would be nice.
    Results: Zilch. Not surprising, really, but discouraging.
  • Boost ADCH-Bronze:
    Weekend goal: Other than needing the ADCH and a slew more Jumpers, she also needs 3 Gamblers.
    Results: Got one of those Gamblers.
  • Tika Top Ten Standard [not officially in The Campaign]:
    Weekend goal: Want to get  "a few more"  points to keep us in the top 10. A 1st place either day would've gotten us 5 each; 2nd place 3 each; 3rd place 1 each.
    Result: One pathetic 3rd place, and it wasn't even a Q. But I'll take the 1 point.
  • Tika Top Ten Snooker [not officially in The Campaign]:
    Weekend goal: As I had observed earlier, our only chance in Heckaroonies to make it into the Top Ten this year is to win this weekend's one Snooker AND the December Snooker, and even so, that probably won't be enough. So actually I abandoned this as a goal. Our Q rate was so low on Saturday that I just wanted to pick something very easy and flowy and not even care if we placed, just get the Q. Not only was it a low-point run, but we also knocked a bar on one of the obstacles, making our score even lower. 
    Results: Oddly enough, we won anyway, for 5 Top Ten points. This could just be giving me false hope that we could do it again in December, because based on our history this year and the expected competitors, that's still very unlikely. But maybe...
  • Tika Top Ten Gamblers [not official etc.]:
    Weekend goal: None; we have plenty of points for this year.
    Results: Well, we won *both* gamblers, for 10 more points--and one of them we didn't even Q. That moves us up from 3rd on the list to a very solid 2nd place. In other words, just bragging points.
I've updated the tracking page for The Campaign  and for Tika's Top Ten.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A NAF Weekend in USDAA

SUMMARY: YAAT (yet another agility trial)
We're heading out of town to Turlock this weekend for another 12 runs per dog. Or 13 for anyone who Qs in Steeplechase and gets to go on to Round 2.

That's a pretty full weekend for me, no matter how many dogs will be there.

There are about 65 to 75 dogs entered in Masters and Performance 3 (P3), the tracks in which Tika and Boost run. As expected, not a huge trial:
  • Tika's group (22" P3) has 5 to 7 dogs competing. For 5 dogs, only 1st & 2nd get top ten points; first three places if 6 or 7 dogs compete.

  • Boost's group (22" Masters) has about 25 dogs competing. Mostly I care only because that means there'll be 4 SuperQs available in the one Snooker run of the weekend.

I'm splurging and going out early, that is, Friday evening, and staying in a hotel. It's cold. I'm tired. I hate getting up at 4 in the morning. It might be raining Saturday. Just don't have those chops any more for setting up and sleeping in the van (or a tent) with the dogs in that situation. Am I getting old and wimpy or what?

For Boost, just hoping for Jumpers Qs, Grand Prix Q, and a Snooker SuperQ. No titles on the line, really--welllll if she Qed in both Jumpers, that would be her Jumpers Masters title, but really, 3 Qs in 80 tries, what are the odds? (Although if you count from when she got her first Q, that would be 3 Qs in 41 tries, so that doubles our odds, yeah!)

Heh. I'm trying to be better at thinking this way:
(Anonymous image from facebook.)

For Tika, it's just Qs Qs Qs. A Gamblers Q would give her 35 Performance Gamblers Qs, which would be Gamblers Gold. That would be nice, but just a bonus while getting, yes, Qs Qs Qs. Hope I'm up to all those runs!