Friday, March 30, 2012

Fleet Feet CPE Agility - March 24&25

We have not run in CPE since last August, and that trial didn't go so well for Leo. Long story short, he basically shut down on most of our runs. If he took off from the start line it was to take one obstacle and then stop and stand. In retrospect, it was fear and a lack of confidence. He was new to trialing and not as confident in what he was doing, period. Since that time he has run confidently and gladly in a variety of venues including the Rose City Classic in January. Last weekend was a new location for him to run although he had attended with Vegas on multiple occasions. This location is one of few in the area that is 100% dedicated to dogs. The owner teaches classes for a living and rents the facility for trials almost monthly all year long. So the equipment is always there, dogs are always there, and it's not used for anything else. Plus the surface is mostly sand so it's consistent, smooth, and flat. All in all, it's a pretty ideal environment for the dogs to run.

Typically we have four runs a day at the Fleet Feet trials. Standard is run both days with the games filling in the rest. I had entered Leo in all runs. At the time I had hoped to have him teeter ready; in retrospect, I could have left out Standard but gambled on the rest not requiring the teeter. 

Saturday we started out with Full House. It's a nice way to jump in and have everyone running in fairly short order. One thing fortunate when running Leo is that I don't have to avoid tunnels. Here I needed two circles, three jumps, and one five-point obstacle (contact or weaves). I honestly don't even really remember what we did other than the start. We took the jump on the far left into the tunnel then into the second tunnel under the dog walk, came across the back and took a couple jumps... I think we took the tire then turned to take the a-frame and tunnel combo a couple of times until the buzzer. He had plenty of points and qualified!
Next up was Standard. Kind of a wonky start but just fine with a lead out (Thank goodness I trained that one solid for Leo!). So the plan was to lead out, release, and send him into the tunnel. Then up the dog walk, over the jump and into the weaves (no cross necessary as I'd be on the "right" side). Into the tunnel and I debated on a cross somewhere either before 7 or between 7/8/9. In the end I figured I would rear cross 9. I planned a front cross after 10 and a rear cross into the tunnel, #15. Of course I wasn't planning on him successfully doing the teeter, but I wanted to at least show him it was okay to get up on it so I directed him there. He did climb up there, made it 1/3 of the way and stopped. We had a "discussion" for a moment then I queued him to come down from whenst he came. :-) And on we went. NQ. sometimes nemesis. I didn't make a good plan for Leo as I was too busy focusing on what Vegas would need to do and I couldn't keep two plans in my head. On that note, I saw some people with their maps in a sheet protector and then using a highlighter or dry erase to write/draw on the map to work on plans. I thought that was a good idea and something I might try. For Leo I worked on something similar to what Vegas did using the #7 combo as my first color obstacle and the #6 combo for our second and third. It worked pretty well and we made it through 6, I believe, before the timer went off and we had to run to the table. Another Q.
Last up for the day was Jumpers. Although Snooker had involved a lot of running for Leo, his energy didn't appear to be flagging. Instead he seemed fairly amped up what with getting to play so much. That alone was an awesome feeling. I planned to lead out from #1 a couple of steps and then send him into the tunnel. I then just planned on staying on the right for 3-5, making a front cross after 6, and then debated on 8/9. I walked it multiple ways with the primary objective not taking the tunnel from 7. In the end I chose to handle it like a serpentine. Out of the tunnel I believe I planned a front cross between 11 and 12 or a rear at 12 and then a straight run to the finish.
This run went really well! Leo was very good at following my queues and I didn't mess him up either. However, coming down the finish toward the end, I did urge him to "go faster" and he tried hard to put on the speed. Unfortunately I think he then misjudged his stride to #14 and took a little tumble. The judge, Dorris Wigglesworth, said he made a full rotation. I caught his not being with me at the tail end just long enough to see him look back at the jump in a sort of accusing manner like he wasn't sure what happened. Then he ran for the finish, appearing none the worse for wear. Such a very good boy! I'm sure it startled him a bit but fortunately he's small and "bounces." I did rub him down and make sure he didn't appear hurt though; all was well. And he Qd, too!

All in all, a very good day with the little man. Three out of four runs were Qs...and the one we didn't I didn't plan on anyway. Super happy with him and how happy he is on course. Confident, happy, enthusiastic, and fun. Those are the things that matter.

Jackpot...ugg. Did I mention I don't care too much for this game? Okay, so mostly I don't care for it too much on behalf of Vegas who struggles to get points in the allotted time and time is the issue. You must be to the table before the buzzer. But, this is about Leo. So there are three jackpots. I decided the one that worked best for him would be tunnel/tunnel/jump for 15 points. We started with the jump in front of the start line, into the tunnel (right), and into the pinwheel. We did the pinwheel twice for 10 points, and from there I don't remember other than we did get our jackpot obstacles. Interestingly enough though, when I was on course I remember us doing them and not hearing the judge call the points. Then when scores were posted I saw we NQd. I added up the points and couldn't figure why we didn't qualify so questioned it. Fortunately the scribe and timer had questioned it too but just did what they were told versus being auto-scribes (which had been discussed in briefing). The judge corrected it and Leo Qd!
Next up Standard again....So my plan was to lead out from #1, send him into the tunnel, then move laterally and call him so he didn't have to take the teeter at all. Would you believe the little stink took the teeter anyway? Then when I let him come off it he wouldn't weave so I scratched the run. He had started acting freaked ... not sure why.
Wildcard....two As, one B. That was my mantra because I had run Vegas just prior and she had to run two Bs and one A. Whew! My choices for Leo were: 3A, 9B, and 11A. He likes the a-frame so I wanted to make sure he got to do it. Another Qing run!
Last but not least - Colors! Sometimes fun, sometimes not! Funny thing....we were all walking the course and everyone walked the "green" course. They kept saying it was the "no brainer" choice. I decided I liked the other one better. We were the very last dog to run and we were the only dog to run the orange course. The orange course is the one that has circles versus squares. Leo had an off course which normally is an NQ because that would mean the dog took an obstacle assigned to the other course. However, he took the back of the jump so it was actually an "other fault," I believe, and still allowed him to Q. Very good boy!
So all in all a good weekend considering I was very tired despite making every attempt to get extra sleep. Plus the weather was kind of crappy and I was just simply a little out of sorts after not having done CPE for so long and realizing I don't enjoy it as much as I once did. Most of that is any sort of requirement that I course design - it's just not my forte. Regardless, the dogs did great. Leo rocked and I'm so proud of him. 

PAC/GSDCO AKC Agility - St. Pat's Weekend

Leo has been getting to play agility fairly regularly lately. Of course I've been too busy to keep his records up-to-date and with a third weekend in a row bearing down, I just have to do it. So here goes.

Two weekends ago we were at the Clark County Fairgrounds for a co-hosted AKC agility trial. With our teeter "issues," Leo was just running JWW. He'd moved up to the Open level for that trial so 12 full weaves. In theory shouldn't be a big deal since he earned his OAJ title a while back before switching to Preferred/4".

Saturday's Course:
The first sequence was straight-forward; I planned to just handle from the right. While Leo was in the tunnel I figured on making a front cross and moving out toward the #5 jump. I then planned a FC between 6 & 7 and another after #8 into the weaves since we still don't have off side weaves. We then just needed to move out into the pinwheel, complete it and run straight out to the finish. Something funny happened though....just watch. 
SCT: 48
Yards: 121
Leo's time was 40.09 which was 3.02 YPS. Funny...did you see the "watch" part I was talking about? Here's what happened....

We were in the middle of the pinwheel, just after the third jump from the weaves, I think. All of a sudden, Leo wheels to a stop and looks at the back wall. I could NOT get his attention for the life of me. On the other side of the wall is where we were crated.... Here is my assignation of Leo's internal dialog/thought process:

Leo: "What? Wait! Sissy, is that you? Are you okay? (listening....) Oh! You're just throwing a fit. Okay, well I'm going back to play with mom now."

It was too darn funny. Yes, Vegas is known for her crate temper tantrums. And Leo loves her. So what can you do? Lori Sage, our judge and a friend felt badly about having to give him a refusal. I certainly assured her there was no reason to be. We still qualified, it was caught on video, and the degree of truth in my dialog makes for a fun story. So that's how Leo earned his first Open JWW Preferred leg. On another note - I love, love, LOVE how enthusiastic and fast he did his weaves. That's the way he weaves in practice and he just dove right into them.

Sunday's Course:
I liked that the weaves were right off the bat and didn't involve a front cross as I could simply handle from the right. From there I planned a front cross after 3, another after 6, and one after 11. Let's see how that worked out for me...
Funny thing is...I was so pleased with his weave performance (two days in a row) I almost forgot how to
handle afterward. Fortunately Leo was solid and worked with my bumbling.
SCT: 48
Yards: 121
Our time was 34.09, a YPS of 3.55. Much better without the "stop and check on sis" bit. :-)

So that was our second OJP leg. We'll have an opportunity to finish it off and move into Excellent this weekend. So happy with my little man!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Green & Blue

Details to come later...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012