a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: On Judging and Tika

Sunday, May 27, 2012

On Judging and Tika

SUMMARY: Last weekend and through the week.

Friday May 18

Friday before my UKI judging trial, we did the Stairs From Heck as usual. Tika was even more reluctant than usual to go up the second time, but I insisted.

That afternoon, out in the yard, I thought I saw a little limp. Or, no, no limp. Or, maybe? No, definitely not. Wait--maybe?

She was perfectly happy running full tilt around the yard to play, so I didn't think more about it.


Saturday morning, we weren't starting until 9, so it was actually lightish out when I hit the highway, and I felt as if I had actually gotten enough sleep.

On the freeway as I was crossing the central valley, I passed a string of old but beautifully restored cars obviously on their way somewhere together. They made me smile, but I regretted that I couldn't take any photos.
To my delight, when I got to Turlock and pulled off the freeway, there were a ton MORE old cars at the coffee shop next to the freeway exit, and I had plenty of time, so I stopped and took a bunch of photos. Will have to post them separately later. They just don't make cars like this any more!

At the trial site, Tika stretches fine, she runs fine in the open field, she walks fine, but when she moves up one pace (trot? I'm so bad at paces), there was a bit of a limp in the front. Didn't slow her down. She looked eager to do agility. We were signed up to compete in only 3 runs on Saturday. She had a great jumpers run--pretty fast, happy, jumping well, grabbing my feet at the end. But when I got her out of her crate for the next run an hour later or so, the limp had become very pronounced (although still only at that slightly faster pace, and she still stretched fine, etc.)

Even though Tika had been on rimadyl since friday, the limp at that one pace showed up periodically all weekend.

So I scratched her from her remaining two runs.

Dustin judged Saturday--this was only his 2nd time judging--and he's a natural. So calm and in control, good sense of humor. Good courses, too. He's a frequent chief course builder, so that helps, I'm sure.

Boost had a great jumpers run--and she actually Qed and won, compared to Tika, whose handler (yeh, me) walked the course wrong and neglected to do a serpentine between two jumps instead of a 280. Boost's Standard and Speed Stakes courses were messes of bars down, runouts, and the like, but boy her jumpers was gorgeous. I offered to trade it for a USDAA Jumpers Q. Sigh.

We were done on saturday at 1:30, then a bunch of us sat around at the picnic table in the shade and snacked on chips and fruit to avoid the heat (90s maybe) while some of the dogs played in the water. Tika kept a close eye on the snacks on the table; Boost kept a close eye on the other border collies. Bump, as usual, had a lot to say.

After that, we drove 45 minutes--halfway home!--to Ghirardelli chocolate's factory outlet for hot fundge sundaes. And that was lunch.


On Sunday, I judged. A very busy day--there were so few competitors in each class--about 7 on average--that we couldn't keep up with the course building and tweaking in the other ring, so there was a lot of sitting around waiting for me to be available or the course to be built (with only about 20 people on site, half were working at any given time and half were running their dogs--a great group of people!). We started at 9 a.m.; I judged 10 classes (2 standards, speed stakes, jumpers, gamblers; 2 levels each); and we were done by 1:30.

I actually ran Boost on my novice speed stakes and my senior jumpers courses because they looked fun. We did OK but not perfect. I also got Tika out, because she kept voicing off when I'd take Boost out (which means she wants to go, too, which she doesn't do when she's not feeling well), so I ran her at 12" in a circle and off the course again, and she seemed happy about that--ran great again, but that pesky limping-when-at-a-trot was still there.

I had a good enough time judging; everyone was really nice. I think my courses were too easy--almost everyone qualified in almost everything, especially the gamblers, where only knocking bars or being out of position disqualified people. Oh--I should say, almost everyone who actually competed qualified--I'd guess that 5 out of 7 runs all weekend were NFC (Not For Competition) because people wanted to practice, so it was a like a fun match with the option to actually compete for points and ribbons.

Here you can see the ENTIRE crating set-up for everyone at the trial. REALLY small.

I learned that I shouldn't put all the high point gamble obstacles on one side of the field--too easy to get all those points! Although people appreciated it.

I loved watching some really good handlers with really fast dogs do amazing things on the course, from right up close.

I sometimes had trouble remembering what I was supposed to be doing--wasn't in the right place for a couple of contact calls, for example, but otherwise I was there. Because the rounds were so short, I'd just get into the swing of where I was supposed to be and how to get there, and it would be over.

I'm not sure that I'm cut out for standing in the sun all day and judging. I did slather on the sun lotion and did not get burned. I wore my street shoes at first, thinking, what the heck, I'm not doing that much walking, right? Wrong! Blisters on both toes by the time I realized that my feet were uncomfortable, so switched into my agility shoes and my feet were happier.

It was a nice enough, pleasant day--much less stressful than competing, that's for sure!--but I also didn't come out of it thinking, oh YEAH, I LOVE judging! Especially not with the hours of course design work ahead of time. I'm signed up to judge again in August at another UKI. Will see how I feel after that.

Monday and the rest of this week

So, come Monday, I didn't do the stairs from heck because I didn't want to go for along walk without the dogs, and I wanted Tika to rest some. The way it worked out was--we didn't do ANYthing ALL WEEK, didn't do the stairs even once, and only one short walk. But playing in the yard, yes. And Tika was fine fine fine. Until we got to class Thursday evening, where for jollies I put her over two 12" jumps, and she moved slowly, knocked both the bars, and came up short with a yelp. Remained hunched over, circling on her leash, for the whole evening. Yelped periodically when something would happen.

Does this dog look sore to you? Other than that the wind keeps blowing the door shut on her?

Mostly her circling kept wrapping her leash around the stake to which she was attached, but I watched from afar with disbelief at one point as she circled Boost, neatly wrapping her leash around three of boost's ankles, pullling it tight, and knocking Boost over onto her side--no rodeo cowboy roped a calf more neatly than that! But as I ran over, both dogs started to panic and Tika yelped some more, so after that she went back into her crate in the car.

Gave her a rimadyl before we left the site, and 20 minutes later at home, no hunching over or anything. But she remains in a want-to-run, want-to-play-tug, no apparent problems mode, and then briefly a little limp, briefly a yelp and then she's fine again.

Trying to find one of the chiros who might be able to give her a work-over before we compete this coming weekend.

Ratz ratz ratz.

Gratuitous dog photos

Paula (Dustin's dog)

Dig (Bump's "sister")


1 comment:

  1. I've been wondering how the judging went! Glad it was sort of fun...and that you'll try it again. Hope Tika's limp can be figured out...and hope you'll get some stair work in next week!