a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: And In Conclusion

Sunday, January 22, 2012

And In Conclusion

SUMMARY: Weekend's attempt at attitude realignment.
Well, I tried, I really did.

For the most part, I succeeded at keeping the perspective that I enumerated on Friday before leaving.

I fought with the discouraged feelings and often won, but by the last class of the day, when Tika ran past yet another tunnel in Jumpers and Boost got called on a runout where it wasn't anything she did but the runout line was just annoyingly tight, I just lost it again. (I saw several people actually stop their dogs after the preceding jump before continuing to that one in an attempt to not miss the runout line.)  I ran Boost off the course at that point--she had done her obstacles well and I didn't want to ruin it after that with my frustration.

So, on the down side with Tika: She Qed only 4 of 10 classes and placed in nothing (except round 1 of Steeplechase, where she was 2nd, but that just seeds us for round 2). As last year's #1 Jumpers dog and #2 gamblers dog, we failed in both of the Jumpers and both of the Gamblers this weekend. Tika is doing odd things again; running by tunnel openings that are right in front of her is so Boost, but it is not and never was so Tika, and if it's a vision thing, I'm not yet tuned into when that's a problem, and if it's a handling thing, i don't know why that's changed. Her Standard on Saturday was slow in general and very slow on the contacts and really really determinedly not going down on the table slow--we Qed but were only a second or so under course time, which is also so not Tika. She isn't wanting to play tug before runs so much. She's not grabbing my feet after every run, which until VERY recently was a standard thing that she did from excitement and energy. She knocked several bars this weekend, so this seems to be getting worse.

On the down side with Boost, she Qed only 2 of 10 and once again got no Jumpers and no Snooker Super-Qs. That's just almost too painful for me to bear at times.

On the down side with the handler (that would be me), I made mistake after mistake after mistake. Not forgetting-the-course kinds of mistakes, but so often just moving a little too soon or a little too late, the kinds of things that (at least for me) are really hard to fix, or I'd have fixed them before in my 16 years of agility.

I was so discouraged as the weekend went on that I stopped taking notes (and people around here know of me as a prodigious and detailed note-taker) and never collected my very few ribbons. That's two trials in a row. Sigh.

So now I try to remind myself of the weekend's ups.

With Tika, mostly she ran happily and fairly fast. I am glad that a dog who will be 11 in 3 weeks is doing this well. Of the 205 dogs entered this weekend, only 17 were at least 10 years old and only 11 were at least 11 years old, so she's held up pretty darned well. She continues to amaze me with how well she responds to  all kinds of handling situations--rear crosses, really really awfully late front crosses, distance work, sharp angles, whatever.

With Boost, oh my, we had SO many nice sequences. Like:
  • Saturday's Jumpers, the first 13 obstacles were spot on perfect, and the last 6 also (in the middle is where I moved just a fraction of a second too soon and pulled her off a tunnel entrance for a refusal). 
  • Her Round 1 Steeplechase was gorgeous (except where she missed the weave entry, but it was quick and I was right there and we qualified for round 2, only the 4th time that she's ever done so). 
  • Her Round 2 Steeplechase wasn't entirely perfect but very close to it, and she ended in 5th place to bring $ home, only the 2nd time ever that she's done so).
  • Her Standard on Sunday was spot on perfect. I held her on all her contacts, as I'm not going for Top Ten points and have no reason to blow them off, so she didn't place, but she missed placing by only a second or so out of all those 22" dogs. Someone commented about her table, "She was almost lying down before she even hit the table." And she stayed down (unlike Saturday, where the butt went up and wouldn't go down again). It was really gorgeous. I might have to buy that video.
  • Runouts and refusals were extremely rare, or caused by a blatant handler issue (or in today's dang jumpers, the dang tight runout line). So I guess the running in circles in the back yard is helping.
  • She didn't knock nearly as many bars as usual. No bars in yesterday's jumpers, no bars in the half of today's jumpers that we ran. No bars in snooker, only one bar in today's gamblers opening and none in yesterday gamblers.  No bars in steeplechase round 1. Since I stopped taking notes, I don't remember for sure, but for whatever reason the bars  stayed up more than usual.
  • Her weaves were wonderful: Other than the one miss in Steeplechase round 1,  she made all her entrances, she did them really fast, and she stayed in even when I moved away quite a distance laterally.
  • I think she left a couple of contacts marginally early, but mostly she hit the ends correctly and stayed there even when I ran ahead to get into some useful position.
And the people, as always, are so wonderful. Everyone has their times of feeling discouraged or upset about something, but that's human nature. For the most part, people are helpful, cheerful, engaged, funny, forgiving, encouraging, and on your side all the way.

And then there's this, among all the pouring rain going on outside most of the weekend, with a sudden beam of sunlight touching the far sky and the folks walking a course inside the arena, who a moment before had all been in the rain-cloud darkness:


  1. Great photo.
    And any Q's at all are Really Cool, in my book.
    Good job!

  2. And like my Dad always said...you did your best and your best was good enough.

  3. Hey girl, I didn't see all your runs, but the few that I saw I thought Tika looked so much happier then in December. I know what the wet weather feels like on my old bones...I can imagine that it can get the best of our dogs too. I didn't see any of your runs where Tika didn't look like she was having a good time, but I know they are out there. Hopefully it will be dry in Turlock...see ya then!