a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Not the Best Weekend

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Not the Best Weekend

SUMMARY: Some nice runs but hardly any Qs to show for it, discouraged, and it was hot.

Temps were in the mid-90s (35ish C) both days, but a breeze (OK, an actual wind on saturday afternoon) kept it almost bearable--I didn't have to change into my shorts--but it was still just not a pleasant temperature for running, and it really sapped my energy. First thing both mornings I felt fairly perky, but within an hour or so I didn't even want to, say, get out my camera and take photos.

The only nice thing about it was that it was warm enough first to have a leisurely pizza potluck with competitors after we were done in the evening, and secondly to sleep in MUTTMVR with the doors and windows all open, so I could sleep crosswise and didn't have to haul everything out to sleep lengthwise.

Tika had 9 classes, Qed in only 2, and I scratched her from the last one.

Boost had 11 classes and Qed in only 1, and no, it wasn't a Super-Q.

The courses were all hard--I don't think they were terrible, but the Q rate was pretty low in most classes. I liked a lot of the challenges that they presented. But I did get tired of not being able to Q and, at the score table, of recording so few Qs.

The rundown, in running order:


  • Boost: Really nice! Only flaw--came off her Aframe without stopping, so I made her "down" briefly. Partner made 3 faults, and between those things, we missed Qing by about 1.5 seconds/points. 
  • Tika: OK run, knocked one bar and hit another one hard but it didn't fall. Didn't look perky. Partner off course, so no Q.
Both dogs had LOVELY tables for a change--both went down quickly and stayed down. What a waste, because--
  •  Boost: Really nice! One bar down. But at 3rd to last obstacle, Aframe, AGAIN she came off without stopping, so I picked her up and carried her off to try to put a stop to that.
  •  Tika: Cut in front of me to take an offcourse obstacle. Also turned away from me later for another off-course obstacle.
  •  Boost: High-scoring, but not super-high scoring, opening in which we did two Aframes; she stuck the first one correctly but self-released on the second one--third time today! Grrrr.  Missed deceptively hard gamble the same way dozens of other dogs did--they had to turn away from you from the teeter into a tunnel, but they kept going into the tunnel in front of them instead--over and over and over and over and over...
Picked a middle-range course plan because I just wanted to get through it with both dogs.
  • Boost: Knocked the 3rd red bar and I couldn't save it before she went on to the next obstacle, so whistled off.
  •  Tika: Got through the plan--I just wanted a Q, but the low Q rate made it a 2nd place and Super-Q for my first Q of the day.
  • Tika: Nice start but as I started to make my move in one place, I saw cone #6 not where I expected it to be and suddenly thought that I'd walked it wrong so sent her over that jump. Of course it was #16 and I just couldn't see the 1. I don't know why I even noticed it; I'm don't usually have time to look at cones when I'm running. Stupid.
  • Boost: Really nice on all counts, including holding on the Aframe. Only flaw was before the last jump, when I was behind, where she turned back to me instead of going on. Had a very nice time and a Q.
Grand Prix:
  • Boost: Knocked a bar, got a refusal on a tunnel, didn't send on to a jump and got a refusal turning away from it, started up the dogwalk and then bailed, ran past another jump--and we were only at #13, so I gave up and we left the course.  But she did hold her Aframe.


Steeplechase Round 2:
  • Boost: A mess, a mess, a mess. Bleah.
Neither dog needs a team Q at the time; why on earth did I enter this trial again? Tika, who is officially retired from team, paired with Brenn, who is officially retired from team--we have some first and third-place medals and several team Qs from past years together as well as our showing in USDAA Nationals Team Finals that one year, and thought this might be a fun farewell for a couple of Performance Top Ten dogs. Ha.

Team Standard:
  • Tika: Cut in front of me for an off-course, same as in yesterday's standard. Teammate also Ed. Started our team day in last place. So much for a fun farewell.
  • Boost: I think she was clean, or maybe one fault. One teammate also didn't E, and one did E. Lots of people Eed. So we were in Qing range if things kept up like this for the next 4 classes.
Team Gamblers:
  • Boost:  I didn't think clearly enough about the instructions and so didn't pick a course with the higher-point obstacles in it. Then a bobble as the whistle blew meant that I had to stop and wait for boost to stop jumping around in a frenzy, then she did the gamble perfectly but 0.1 over time. Teammates did OK and very well; we slipped a bit but still could maybe catch up.
  • Tika: Did fine, enough points for an individual Q, her second of the weekend. Teammate knocked the first obstacle in the gamble. We moved up a teeny bit from last.
Team Relay:
Because of a communication error about course order, we ran this next to avoid having to haul all the heavy equipment off the field and then back on again. I don't know whether this has ever been done before. It's the most heavily weighted class of the five in team and often the most exciting as people wait to see how Eing in this class dramatically changes who Qs and who doesn't.
  • Tika: I put Tika over the wrong jump. Didn't forget the course, just didn't remember that there were 2 jumps next to each other at that point. Gah.
  • Boost: I think Boost ran clean and one teammate Eed; we were slipping out of Qing range but not completely out--lots of dogs Ed in this class, so one E didn't hurt us as much as sometimes it would.
Team Jumpers:
  • Tika ran nicely but knocked a bar, and the ringers in the class (well--ok, they're legitimate competitors, but SO much faster) were so fast that she couldn't  Q with that bar. Teammate ran nicely also and that moved us up a notch I think, but still wayyyyyyy out of Qing range.
  • Boost: A complete disaster. Ended just running off the course. Don't remember what teammates did.
Team  Snooker:
  • Tika: Brenn and Tika both scratched for this class. We weren't going to Q as a team and I just didn't want to run her or me another run in this weather for the slim possibility of one lousy individual Q. 
  • Boost: Offcourse on the 4th obstacle, so we had 7 points. One teammate had 0 points. Other teammate had midrange points. So no Q for the team.

End of the weekend

One good thing about Boost's weekend--10 sets of weaves and every one of them perfect!

One good thing about Tika's weekend--she kept looking reluctant to run before the run, but mostly ran nicely and was in a foot-grabby mood at the end, so she was happy and having a good time.

One good thing about teams: Running with friends, understanding each other's imperfections and going with the flow, and a really nice team gift from one teammate. Who gives team gifts?! It was a fun surprise.

Left there around 7:00 I think, so it was a long, hot, frustrating weekend. Thinking now that I might not do the Labor Day regionals this year. Would be only the 2nd time since 1996 that I've missed our Labor Day weekend trial. I feel like I'm getting closer and closer to being done with agility. Weird, isn't it?


  1. Ugh, 90's is too hot for agility (though I've done it). Why do those freak 90 degree days always seem to fall on agility weekend?

    1. The average high temp for June 3 is 87 (30.5C) (in Modesto, which is about 20 miles north, and might be slightly more moderate than Turlock). The record is 109 (42.7C). So low to mid 90s isn't actually unusual for Turlock in early June.

    2. Back in 2006, they held this trial the weekend of June 23/24. The average hight temp for June 23 is 90. The record (still in Modesto) is 107 (41.6C), set on--June 23, 2006. Thermometer on the field said 115. And there was no wind. Pretty miserable weekend. So they kept it early in June. There's talk about switching their june date with Bay Team's May date to get that Central Valley trial even earlier in the season.

  2. Kind of sad, actually, but not so weird. Agility has been a part of your life for so long. I think you'd miss it. Still, there are so many ways to enjoy your relationships with your girls that don't involve running full out...