SUMMARY: Not our best CPE weekend ever.In the past, CPE has been a pleasant and mostly relaxing way for me to bolster my feelings of inadequacy in the agility ring by bringing home a bunch of Qs and firsts, the benefits of having fast and fairly well-trained dogs.
Not so much this weekend, which makes me think that all of us are sinking ever deeper into agility decrepitude.
The topping on the hard-to-digest cake was the final run of the weekend, the sort of jumpers run I've been dying for and missing so much, where the dogs just break loose and run full out in a double loop around the ring (more or less) and we all have a good sprint and a great time. And I failed dismally with both dogs. It does seem to prove two of my working theories:
- What I really need to do with Boost is to go rent a field and run full speed in huge circles around the outside of the ring and stop working so much on handling. She spent, as usual, so much time looking at me that this course, which a couple or 3 years ago I'd swear we've done similar and aced, that she skipped obstacles left and right and I finally just had to sit her halfway through the course and get restarted, and then it fell apart immediately again.
- Tika is having trouble going into tunnels. Still not sure whether that's a confidence in what I'm telling her, or a vision issue, or something else. She used to be your typical blasting tunnel-suckable dog, but she wouldn't go into the tunnels and also kept pulling off or going past jumps.
So, in more detail--
- Colors: Almost perfect, but turned back to me before the last jump, missing our bid to be the fastest of all heights/levels by .6 seconds. I just want to have a completely perfect run from time to time. Still, in CPE, no refusals, so Q and 1st.
- Wildcard: Odd way of taking an alternate obstacle instead of the one that I wanted. I recovered, but had to bring her around in a figure-8 to do it. We ended up with a Q and a 1st but not a very fast time compared to quite a few other dogs in other hts/levels.
- Standard: Started out OK but I stopped in the middle when a whistle blew--turns out it was on the soccer field behind the ring. We were able to continue, but she ran past a jump that I had to go back for, and then she knocked the last two bars. No Q.
- Snooker: Beautiful opening. Knocked the bar on #3. No Q.
- Jumpers: Knocked a bar. Ran past a jump that I went back for. Refused a jump right in front of her. I have a video, it's just puzzling as always. Maybe will post tomorrow. No Q.
- Colors. Peed in the ring, didn't get to run. (See yesterday's post.)
- Jumpers: Turned the wrong way once, but otherwise pretty good. 2nd and a Q but 3 full seconds slower than the winner.
- Snooker: Beautiful opening. Handling error going into the closing. No Q.
- Gamblers (Jackpot) #1: Started out great, then started running past jumps and weave poles and I actually stopped at one point again to regroup. So instead of doing my beautiful plan with a zillion points (completely doable, a couple of other dogs did something similar), we ended up BARELY Qing.
- Gamblers (Jackpot) #2: Exactly to plan! Wow! Had we been half a second faster, we'd have had one more point but one other dog (Chaps) did have that extra point, dang it, so a Q and 2nd place.
- Full House: Should've been high score of all dogs at the entire trial by a mile, but (a) a refusal at one jump cost us about 2 seconds and (b) I've been releasing quickly on the contacts so near the end she- self-released from the A-frame and jumped towards me at the exact moment that I needed to be pushing her away from me, so wasted about 2 more seconds, so we missed our last 5-point obstacle by one leap--leaving us with 39 points instead of 44, which put us behind two dogs with 42 and 41 points. But fortunately they weren't in our height/level, so we actually got a 1st and a Q.
- Jumpers: Disaster.
- Full House: To show how much time I had to waste with Boost, I ran almost the same course with my older slower dog and got nearly as many points, 37. Q and a 3rd place (behind Boost and one other dog). Again, looked pretty good until I guess I was late on a deceleration for a turn and she slowed and went wandering off and I had to chase after her to get her running again in the correct direction.
- Jumpers: Disaster. We did get through it with no errors, but wayyyyyyy over time, which is almost inconceivable for Tika.
They've hardly moved since we got home. Me, too, except for sorting through photos and catching up on email and such. Think it's time for bed.