a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: SMART USDAA Day 1

Saturday, April 28, 2012


SUMMARY: Tika reliable and slow, Boost fast and, well...

Here's the deal.

We had 6 runs each dog today.

Tika Qed in everything except gamblers, and that's because she was slow enough that she wasn't even close to where I thought she'd be, and so I wasn't prepared, and managed to push her *past* the first gamble jump, which disqualified us, but when I brought her back around, she did the whole gamble perfectly.

My overwhelming feeling is of slowness. She's still Qing with plenty of room, but plod plod plod--compared to her former self and of course compared to Boost. F'rinstance, her yards per second today in standard was about 3.4, which is among the half dozen slowest YPS she's ever gotten on standard courses--all of which have been in the last 6 months. So, yeh, slow.

She even placed:
  • 3rd of 9 in  Standard (but, as I noted, slow, so a lot of that was other people with faults)
  • 4h of 7 in Gamblers (and got few enough points that, even if she had Qed, she'd still have been only 4th
  • 3rd of 9 in Snooker--I picked a lower-point course for ease and comfort
  • 4th of 8 in Jumpers--a full 6.5 seconds slower than the winning dog who ran it in 22.02
  • 2nd of 5 in Steeplechase--2 of the 5 E'ed
  • 2nd of 9 with partner Chaps in pairs relay--and if she hadn't seemed so uncertain in 2 or 3 places, we'd have made up the half second we were behind 1st.
So, yeah, I'm happy and sad at the same time. I'm not quite jollying her through the course, but she doesn't seem drivey at all. Doesn't seem sore or unwilling, but also grabbed my feet only at the end of the first run of the day and no others, so she's not her normal excited self.

I worked on managing her more, to avoid recent hearing-related communication issues, but we still had some iffy spots anyway.

Boost, on the other hand,  NQed in everything except Steeplechase, and even that wasn't lovely-- Backstory: Second run of the day was Gamblers, and I was pretty sure we weren't going to get the gamble, so I went for points points points in the opening for Glory. And indeed, we had the highest opening points of all 40 22" dogs and the 2nd highest out of all 96 dogs at the trial. And we were in a good position for the gamble, but we failed it in 2 different ways. Anyway, after the 1st contact, she realized that I was releasing quickly and so started self-releasing and instead of nipping it in the bud, I let it go so that I could get my Glory. (Which, incidentally, no one else pays attention to because we didn't Q.)

As a result, the rest of the day she continued to self-release, so in Steeplechase she was ahead of me going over the aframe and didn't even slow down, just came off and turned back to face me, so I had to put her into a down to get myself past her to finish the course. Other than that it was pretty nice--kept up her bars, got her weaves fine, etc.

Boost E'ed on refusals and runouts in 2 of the classes today, sigh. 

It was a beautiful day to be out in the open air at Prunedale doing agility. A little warm in the sun midday, which might have contributed to Tika slowing down. Heat never used to affect her, but now I notice that it does. Don't know what that's going to be like as we get into summer!

We came home this evening and I put Boost over some contacts and tried to get her to release early, to no avail. Maybe that'll be  a reminder.

Oh--and practiced some fast table downs with Tika; hmmm, come to think of it, it has also been only the last few months when she hasnt' wanted to go down on the table in Standard, so that sure could be the main thing affecting our yards per second, and today was no exception.

Also, for years I've been putting Tika into a down-stay at the start line, because the Sit-Stay was too tempting for her to stand up and take off early. Lately, she's been not wanting to go down at the start line, either, although I've insisted. Twice today I gave up and let her sit. Sure enough, she was already up and creeping forward at the end of my lead-out, but she hadn't actually taken off yet.

Funny. Odd. Different. Strange. All takes adjustment.

I guess I'll go back tomorrow and give it all another go.


  1. Just a thought: have you had Tika's thyroid checked (full panel: T4, free T4, T3, full T3)? Logan was almost 13 when she was diagnosed and it made quite a difference for the next two years. She had none of the "classic" symptoms like weight gain or hair loss, but the test showed the low levels. Kidder also had a marked slow down in agility and she was also diagnosed as hypothyroid when we tested.

  2. I found my blog post regarding Logan's thyroid diagnosis - http://gordongirls.livejournal.com/90011.html

  3. Thhanks for the suggestion. She's overdue for her general bloodwork and I'll check about that. She's certainly not low energy when the frisbee comes out in the field next to the agility ring!