a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Just One Little Thing

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Just One Little Thing

SUMMARY: Another weekend with pretty much no colorful fabric items to hang on my wall.

Here's a quick note about this weekend.

Ha ha! Just kidding, no it isn't.

I really hate having the alarm go off 3 or 4 hours before my normal wakie-wakie time. Groaaan.

Worst thing this time was how much my lower back hurt. One muscle on one side had been bothering me, but probably loading the car Friday evening put the finishing touches on it. Walking very very gingerly as I got ready and headed out.

But, as always, once I'm on the road--and especially at that certain hour of the morning--it all faded away and the excitement of being on the road crept in. I love going places, and moving along the highways at this early hour when so few people are out makes it feel special and almost magical, wondering what's just a little farther down the pike.  I think i got that from all the years of traveling with my parents, who took us to so many interesting and entertaining places.

About 90 minutes later, arrived at the fairgrounds. This sat in the parking lot, blaring recorded loop messages over and over about being kind to the rest of the world. Don't know what this was really about, but it's pretty cool (love the "STOP" flag on the side) and it's a good message.

And then, well, agility. Gah.  Tika had 3 runs, Boost had 10. Out of those, i came home with one Qualifying round that I was happy with, one Q that I accepted but wasn't what I wanted, wayyyy too many near misses, and a couple of disasters.

Like this:

Award for Best Run of the Weekend:
  • Tika's Saturday's Snooker course: She ran my 50-point plan perfectly, and so few dogs of any height or level managed to do it. First place, a Q, and proof that she's as fast and as happy and as expert on the course as ever.
Nominations for Just One Little Thing:
  • Boost's Sat Snooker: Some bobbles during the opening that wasted time, but no faults (same course I ran with Tika). Closing perfect, perfect, perfect, but near the end I got worried about running out of time because of the bobbles and started pushing hard... and she knocked the next to the last jump, augh! Maybe she would've anyway even if I'd stayed relaxed, and turns out that we did have time (not much, but enough).  But I'll take the blame for that one. (A Q, but not a Super-Q.)
  • Tika's Sat. Jumpers: I forget that now, even in class and at home, when I send her to a tunnel, she often pulls away or veers past it. Not sure what that's all about, confidence or hearing or vision, but whatever--I still forgot. First half of run: Fast and perfect. Last half of run: Perfect. But right in the wee little middle there, I sent her to a tunnel and turned and burned... and she went past it on the outside for a runout fault. 
  • Boost's Sat. Jumpers: She was PERFECT! But I forgot the course in one spot, hesitated, and she ran past a jump while I looked around to find my position. My fault again, and wasted a perfect Boost run!
  • Boost's Sat. Pairs Relay: Only 9 obstacles; 1st 8 were spot-on perfect and fast, then she popped out of the weaves at #10.
  • Boost's Sun. Grand Prix: Another almost perfect run on a very difficult course where very few dogs Qed. But. Knocked one bar (the 3rd one). One crappy bar.
  • Tika's Sun. Jumpers: Crashed the first bar, the rest perfect and fast and delightful. 
  • Boost's Sun Jumpers: Fast and beautiful and kept all her bars up but I moved for a front cross just a little too soon and pulled her off a jump for a refusal. Crap crap crap! (Of course it WAS right in front of her and she WAS running straight towards it...)
  • Boost's Sun Snooker: Another gorgeous completed opening, then knocked #4 in the closing, so not even a useless Q.
OK, Fates, I don't mind a couple of near misses, but really, 8 of 13 in one weekend with only one thing?? Why couldn't we convert *some* of them? Jeez--

On the other hand, on the spur of the moment I decided to get Boost tested for the [nonagility] Canine Good Citizen title (Remington, Jake, and Tika all took it and passed it years ago). And she passed! Woot! So I'll probably send away for the official certificate and title. 

Plus, as always, Boost is just fabulous at winning raffles. Here's what she won for me on Saturday:

    It was, indeed, hot on Saturday. Not Super Hot, but plenty hot enough. I wanted to try to give the dogs some grass to lie on instead of being zipped into their crates.

    This spring I bought and started using a low x-pen (instead of the 42" one I've had since I started agility)--so much easier to carry around and move and get things into and out of, and the dogs stay in it anyway although they could perfectly well hop right over it. (Boost is lying in the crate, you can just see her through the mesh.)

    So, the other things of note that happened this weekend in agility:
    • Boost's weaves were broken all day Saturday. We attempted 4 whole sets of weaves that day, and of those four:
      • As noted above, popped out at #10 in Relay.
      • Sat Standard: Popped out at #10. 
      • Sat Steeplechase: Popped out at #10
      • Sat Gamblers opening: Ran past weave entry, then after she went in, yes, popped out at #10.
      • Gah! What's with that???
    • Boost's weaves were superb on Sunday. We attempted 2 whole sets of weaves:
      • In Standard, at a very sharp angle on her weak side, she worked hard to make the entry and, although she bounced slightly against pole #2, made it in with little help from me.
      • In Grand Prix, blasting out of a tunnel and needed to make a sharp turn to the left to the weaves, I was behind and just yelled "Left weave!" and, Lo!, she did. Perfectly.
      • Funny dog and her weave poles.
    •  Some meltdowns:
      • Saturday standard: Pulled off a jump, popped out of weaves, left Aframe early, turned back at last jump instead of continuing.
      •  Saturday Steeplechase. Instead of doing a 180, came through the middle and backjumped, popped out of the weaves, a bar. (But DID carry out over 5 jumps all the way to the end very nicely.)
      • Sunday Standard: Ran past the first jump and it went downhill from there, not sure HOW many jumps she ended up missing in various places. I think that's where I stopped in the middle and said to her, "You know, you have to take SOME jumps, that's what this is all about!" before continuing. (But her weaves and contacts were all good.)
    Oh, but then she won something else that I dropped a ticket in in the raffle-- a replacement for one I used to have that broke:

    Wasn't nearly as hot on Sunday, although it remained shirtsleeve weather all day.  While I tore down my set-up, sllloooowwwwwwllllllyyyy, trying to save my poor back, they hung out in the shade but let me know what it was that they'd really wanted all along. That purple thing lying there. Yes, that.

    Then, the drive home. I had high hopes as the first hour went by without a single slowdown, but then as we hit Berkeley--complete standstill, just little movements here and there.

    Things to take photos of while at a standstill in traffic:

    What is that a statue of? Angry villagers with rakes and hoes, and a dog with a frisbee? Couldn't quite make it out. Maybe people with kites?

    Other end of the same bridge. Obviously Berkeley protesters, with the UC Berkeley Campanile and someone in a wheelchair? Is that The Thinker with a protest sign, too?

    Ohhhhhhh noooo, this can't be good: 54 minutes to the Oakland Airport, which is only 14 miles ahead?!?!?

    Hum de dum de dummmm... The Oakland Fire Dept. can set this tower aflame and practice their high-rise rescues alongside the Oakland marina.

    Whew, it really took only 20 minutes to get to the airport exit, and I did hear on the traffic news that they had cleared away two big accidents in the meantime. Glad I decided to stay an extra hour at the end of the day to hang out and talk with various friends, or it surely would've taken me 54 minutes.

    Still, took me over 2 hours to complete the trip that was only 90 minutes on Saturday morning. And my lower back is just a mess. It overshadowed even my sore foot (which felt better sunday than it had on saturday) and my knees (which were--well, not great, but not as bad as they'd been a couple of days before). Always something, dangit.

    Fortunately, I found some chocolate chip mint ice cream in the freezer when I got home. Thanks for stocking that for me, Ellen.

    For further reading:


    1. I always loved the "going there" part of an agility or flyball road trip too. Even the most ordinary drive to some place we'd been too a bunch of times already, still fun to head off to a different city.

      Very entertaining post and photos and wow, does that jump ever have your name on it! (Well, Boost's name, anyway!)

      1. The Sunday raffle also had a purple jump in it, but that one apparently didn't have Boost's name on it. Ah, well, can't have everything, even if I want it.

    2. Wow, you sure are lucky at winning stuff. The stuff is way better than a Q. LOL

      1. Funny thing about winning the jump--I always put most of my tickets into the certificate drawings (for dollars-off-entries certs). Usually I drop a ticket each into 3 or 4 other random things, so I dropped one ticket into the jump drawing. Voila--a jump. All the other tickets in the certs, nada. But I'll take the jump. ;-)

    3. I love road trips too...to almost anywhere...always sort of sad when I arrive, even if it's somewhere I really wanted to go. Glad you got some good stuff out of the weekend. Love the purple jump. Glad Boost pasted the Good Citizen thing too. Have thought about seeing how Katie does. She doesn't like strangers brushing her so I guess I need to work on that. You know. LIke take her on a walk with the brush and ask people to brush her while I give her treats and such....

      1. That sounds like a training plan to me!