a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Sunday

Monday, April 29, 2013


SUMMARY: Well, that's over.

We had a rare zero-percent Qualifying weekend-- 0 of 12 for Boost, 0 of 2 for Tika, which has historically been rare for her in Jumpers. I try to focus on "dogs are happy, friends are good, weather is beautiful, exercise is healthy," and so on, but still especially with the aches and pains I felt old and incompetent by the end of the day Sunday.

With Tika's Jumpers today, she ran well--too well, and I didn't get in a front cross that I had planned, and while I hesitated because the course looks different when you're standing in an unexpected place, she took an off-course jump. She still exhibited joy, lunging in and grabbing my foot. Wish she'd waited until AFTER the last jump, not before it, though!

And it's not that Boost and I didn't have some nice bits, and I LOVE running a fast dog, I really do! The adrenaline, the split-second timing, the speed--

But still.

Jumpers: A very nice, smooth run with a decent time of 24 seconds (the three or four fastest dogs in the entire event were just under 20 secs). Even did a rear cross nicely and a couple of push-outs to jumps farther away from me beautifully, no refusals or spins or wrong turns. Time would've been faster if I hadn't missed that same dang front cross with her as with Tika and our last four obstacles were run in a VERY unconventional and time-wasting way. But a bar came down on the double jump in the middle of the run. Happy with her run but sad about no Q.

Snooker: We had a glorious awesome opening involving crazy running and pull-throughs and things. Kept her bars up, did her contacts perfectly, sent out to jumps--and then when we got to the easy part--the last obstacle of the opening she refused the tire and then crashed it, and then knocked the first bar of the closing, so we were out. LOVED the part that we did well, it felt so good, but really, refusing a tire RIGHT IN FRONT of her? I had the sudden revelation that maybe she does her best when I'm acting like every obstacle is difficult and challenging and if it's too easy, she thinks there must be something wrong! SOOOOO--

--oooo--- in Gamblers--picked a fairly challenging opening that required ME to do a lot of hard work, and I worked every obstacle as if it were challenging, and we nailed it, every bit of it, including the "jump right in front of her" that I thought was easy but instead I worked it like crazy and although she hesitated a moment, she got it, and she kept all her bars up, and she stuck all her contacts even though I released her early repeatedly, and we were in EXACTLY the right place when the whistle blew, and she flew over the first jump in the gamble without knocking it and into the tunnel and I was in the right place to call her to the weaves and she changed direction and ran right to the weave entry, slowed like she was collecting-- and ran PAST it! Not just the first pole, but the first half dozen! Then wove around one pole and popped out to come to me. I mean, really? Ran past them???? Argh.

I loved our opening, felt so great to get through it without any flaws--once again, we had the highest opening points of all 69 dogs entered in the class with 35 (tied with Fireball, who lives up to his name; 3 dogs had 34, 3 had 33... so, yeah, we had an awesome opening). But still, that final aggravation. Pff.

Standard was 90% beautiful. Great contacts, nice start-line stay, AWESOME table-down for a dog who's had problems with slowly rising during the count--I put her into a down and moved quickly about 25 feet away to get in a front cross after the following obstacle, and it worked beautifully. Beautiful lead-out to a back-side front cross. Somewhere int he middle, Knocked a bar. But sadly it was an E because she missed the weave entry and then popped out... or soemthing--I actually don't remember, just know that we didn't complete the weaves and I didn't want to go back and muck with them since we already weren't Qing. So, another run that had some brilliant bits through most of it, but still no Q.

And the other gamble of the day--knocked a bar in the opening, did a "what, this jump?" dance wasting time getting to the area of the gamble, so that was 2 points that we didn't get. Therefore had an opening total of 33 rather than 35, which was not bad. But then pulled off the first gamble obstacle for a refusal, so no Q. (For comparison--I love looking at gamblers point totals because it's both strategy and speed and I thrive on seeing what's humanly--or caninely--possible: One dog out of all 86 entered had 38 opening points! (Wings, aptly named) Two dogs had 36 (Dash, also aptly named, and Rowdy, a Boost half-sibling); 5 had 35. So, yes, we did pretty good, except dang the bar and the refusals.)

So, in all, a day of 85 to 90% brilliance and yet no Qs. Couldn't we have, like two runs of 100% brilliance and then I'd be glad to just have 50% brilliance in the other classes?

But, yes, loved the sunshine and mild temperatures and good friends and I really do enjoy seeing other people and their dogs and all that they can do and all the distances they've come in training themselves and their dogs. And I love the agility community--this weekend, on a couple of very challenging courses, everyone cheered when anyone got past the rough parts without faulting, even in snooker where most people are hoping for super-Qs which depends on you doing better than other dogs. All the people who asked for suggestions on the courses and got them, or who were noticed to be walking the course wrong and someone quickly pointed it out to them. I love that sense of community and mutual support.

I would surely miss that if I stopped agility.


  1. Wow. That's a long weekend and a lot of runs for no Q's at all. I can see that you're frustrated. Still...Tika had joy. That's worth a lot, and I know I'm preaching to the choir there...so I won't. Glad you had fun anyway...and had good company...

    1. Thanks. Yes, agility friends are definitely one thing that keeps me coming back for more.

  2. Sounds like you're next agility dog should be about Juno speed- fast enough to make time and place with the small dogs but slow enough to keep up without too much crazy effort- and no need to think too fast;) Glad you can find to positives in a not Q heavy weekend... we've all been there;)

    1. Well, Tika was plenty fast and I never had the kinds of challenges I've had with Boost. Other challenges, yes, but manageable ones. Her speed was also enough to get very high points in gamblers, plenty of super-Qs in snookers, fairly consistent Qs and $ in steeplechase after our first couple of years of bobbles and mess-ups, and placements (although seldom 1sts or 2nds) in any classes. So it's not the speed that's a problem-- But Tika was definitely more forgiving on course and much more likely to take obstacles, even if it was the wrong one, than to NOT take obstacles, which is one of Boost's 2 major faults (besides knocking bars).