a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: After 2 Days Of USDAA--

Saturday, December 10, 2011

After 2 Days Of USDAA--

SUMMARY: Agility: The manic-depressive simulator for those who don't come by it naturally.

Friday was not a good day.
As I noted in my post earlier this week (USDAA Weekend Is Coming), Friday was nothin' but Team day, and Tika just needed one last Team Q for her Performance Tournament Platinum, AND that she has Qedin all 9 prior Performance Team events (and usually with a placement medal as well) and 8 of the last 9 that she did in Championship. AND that we teamed with a great partner.

So it really never occurred to me that we might not Q. In fact, only about 4 out of the 18 Perf teams didn't Q, and we were one of them. Tika's day went like this:
  • Gamblers: High opening points, but knocked a bar in the gamble. Teammate had great opening points and got the gamble, and lots of dogs did not get the gamble, so we were 5th of 18, but I was bummed about the bar knocking.
  • Standard: A nice, smooth, flowing course that you could pretty much not E on without some pretty difficult machinations. Tika E'ed (after also flying off the dogwalk big time), a costly error--120 points off our score. We dropped to 3rd from last.
  • Snooker: I didn't go for big points. Just wanted a pretty simple opening course that I could get through. We got through the opening and then somehow she went over the wrong jump getting to the closing. Even Boost did it right! (And teammate crapped out earlier than we did.) We stayed at 3rd from last.
  • Jumpers: Thank goodness we got through this without Eing, in a decent time. And so did teammate. And so did everyone else. Still 3rd from last.
  • Relay: Another blankety blank easy course for us, and Tika ended up running past a jump that I had never anticipated that she would--she's typically so good at working hard to take jumps. And since I had trusted her to do it, I was way ahead and couldn't stop her from taking the next obstacle, so E. Another 150 faults.  ANd also flew off the danged dogwalk.
  • Sooo--we missed Qing by 130 points. If we had even just hung in there during the relay, we'd have Qed. Now I have to wait for April for our next chance, and keep keeping my fingers crossed about Tika's continued well-being.
Boost's day didn't start much better. She and a younger dog teamed with a dog who needed only a Team Q for her Championship. We warned her that neither of our dogs were very reliable and she'd be better off with another more reliable team, but she said this was just what she wanted, a team where she wasn't the weak link. So we shrugged our shoulders and said OK. Then Boost:
  • Gamblers: The Booster who often has highest opening points of all dogs at the trial (even if she doesn't get the gamble) left the Aframe early, so I made her stop briefly, left the teeter early so I made her stop briefly, missed the entry to the weaves twice, and then popped out at the end, then of course wouldn't go out to the gamble, ending with about the 3rd lowest points of all 70-some-odd dogs entered in Championship. Teammates points were higher but nothing spectacular--we were in 21st place of 24 teams and well away from a Qing path.
  • Standard: A nice, smooth, flowing course that you could pretty much not E on unless...  well, yes indeedy deed, by way of not taking jumps in front of her, she E'ed on refusals. A costly error, 120 points from our taem., although teammates did not E, which somehow moved us up slightly to 19th, but still 4 places out of the lowest Qing Team.
  • This is where I went and had a good cry and rethought my whole push to try to do more agility, since I and my dogs were obviously incompetent and incapable and why do I keep doing this to myself and, really, I should not be forcing my dog on other teammates when we drag them down so much, etc. etc. etc. And I hate doing so badly and I do NOT have fun when we do badly.
  • Snooker: Got through my opening and 2-3-4 in the closing, then whistle off by running past a jump RIGHT FRIGGING IN FRONT OF HER and I was even right in the right position and everything. SO frustrating. But apparently a lot of people had difficulty with the course--we moved up to 18th place and now only 1 position below the lowest Qing team.
  • Jumpers: Boost still had two run-bys of Jumps that we recovered from, so our time wasn't fast at all, but the managed to miss (by only one run-by or refusal) Eing on refusals again. And parts of the run were brilliant.  Teammates also held in there, and, wow, we moved into15th position and Qing range, if only we could hold it together for the Relay.
  • And, wow, we did--after Boost knocked a bar and scared me by almost going into the wrong tunnel (much screaming of Boost's name occurred), and we ended up 11th of 24 teams with a Q for our teammated to complete her ADCH.
But, for the day, Tika Qed only in one out of 5 possible Qs (Jumpers), very dismal for my run to get as many Qs as possible, and Boost  got only the Q for Team. Still, OK, better than 0 Qs.

Saturday I started out feeling just incompetent after Friday's messes, not at all confidant that I could go out there and actually do agility.

But, well, Boost ran very nicely today, although she ended with only 2 of 6 Qs.

Pairs Relay was a little disappointing--her partner was clean and Boost had only one bar, mostly being very smooth; I did hold her on her contacts but not super-long, and we were over time even without the bar, so no Q. 

She was one of only 6 of 42 22" dogs to Q in Grand Prix (Yay, one of my goals for the weekend!), placing 5th with a pretty nice time even though I held her a long time on each contact--it was a beautiful run, no flaws at all.

In Standard, she had a mostly really nice run, with just a bar and then ran past a jump when I did a hard calloff on a tempting tunnel. No Q, but it felt good.

In Steeplechase, very nice until she came around a jump when I front crossed it, putting me behind her which 2 obstacles later put her into a tempting off-course tunnel instead of coming with me, but overall very nice, again contacts were good, weaves were good, etc.

In Snooker, I picked a course that I thought we could easily do, not going for the big points and hoping that people crapped out trying for it. We had a couple of bobbles in the opening but ended up getting through the entire course with about 6 seconds to spare, and I was very happy to complete a snooker course with her, but our simple course was 46 points and it ended up taking 47 points to get that Super-Q that we need, so, sighhhh, but at least it was a Q and a success.

Jumpers was a very challenging course, but again parts of it were awesome with one bar down and one runby of a jump when I did a hard calloff on a tempting tunnel. I might be seeing a pattern here.

And Tika's day was much better, too--Qed 6 out of 6, go figure after yesterday.

In Pairs, she again flew off the dogwalk, but she and teammate were fast enough that we Qed anyway.

Tika also Qed in Grand Prix, placing 3rd of 10--dang dogwalk, today she's now decided to  slowwwwwwww wayyyyy down to get a foot into it before sprinting on but at least she's getting it.

Steeplechase was pretty smooth, with one time-wasting one big wide turn, but really fast-looking weaves for her. A Q and only 4th place, but only a couple of seconds behind the winning dog. Now, if only round 2 also has two aframes rather than 2 sets of weaves--

But in Standard, when she came out of the crate, she didn't really want to play tug--didn't look sore, just kind of let go of the toy every time a pulled on it, and she seemed very slow on course. After that, I gave her a rimadyl, which I haven't been doing for quite a while. But despite that slooooow dogwalk and again not wanting to go down on the table, she ended up being the ONLY 22" dog out of 9 to Q, so a first place and that ticks off my list wanting to get a few more Standard points for Top Ten, so I'm almost positive we'll be in that this year (that's 5 more points).

Again, my simple Snooker course of 46 points wasn't enough to get us the win for possible Top Ten Snooker this year--placed 3rd, for 1 point, so oh well no snooker top ten this year for us. But she ran very nicely with about 9 seconds to spare--dagnabbit it, we could've easily (well, maybe), done 1 or 2 more points  in that time. But I was pleased with that and she ran very well.

Then, a couple of hours later, maybe after the rimadyl took effect?, she came out of the crate all pumped, played tug enthusiastically, and hauled butt through the Jumpers course, again one wide turn in a slightly wrong direction (mishandled), dropping us to 2nd place but still an easy Q. Maybe I should go back to giving her rimadyl the day before and through every weekend again--she might just be getting used to being sore (like her Human Mom) and not displaying obvious symptoms.

I'm feeling better about both dogs after today, but, boy, it really does take me from the pits of despair to the elation of amazing successes, and of course the random reward thing that keeps me coming back and thinking NEXT time we WILL do better!

Dang agility.

One more day. Gotta get up early again to start steeplechase walkthrough at 7, and of course tomorrow I also have to pack up the hotel room before that.

So, that's all the details for now. I updated The Campaign page (link above) for the weekend so far.

Time to take dogs for one last potty and hit the sack.

1 comment:

  1. Awwww...I'm sorry Ellen...I'm behind as usual, but I wish it had gone better over the weekend for you and the girls.