Monday, December 29, 2008

December 27 & 28, 2008 - Christmas Trial - Grove City, OH

Despite the horrendous driving conditions - ice, fog, rain - the three of us made it down to Grove City in one piece although a lot later than I had hoped. Once again I have to say how much I love this trial site. With nice, firm black dirt and big rings it's an agility dog's dream. The people are always very nice and friendly and it's great to see such amazing handlers and their dogs.

After having 3 weeks off from agility, and this means no class time as well, I wasn't expecting much from our first day. I figured that we'd just get some of the kinks out and work on some problem areas - table, weaves etc. Surprisingly Ruby did fairly well in the first class of the day which was Standard. We had a tiny miscommunication at the beginning when she ran into me at the start. I led out two jumps for a lead-out push and I either didn't move soon enough or she just didn't know where I was going. Anyway she almost took me out at the knees and I thought maybe the judge had called us for contact but she didn't as I guess I didn't change the direction of Ruby's path - apparently I was just IN Ruby's path, stupid handler that I am. =) Oops! She ended up being 5th in her class and all the dogs that placed ahead of her were really nice Border Collies. So I can't complain...well sure I can! Darn Border Collies!!! =)

Jumpers was a very nice course by Scott Stock and Ruby placed 4th, again behind three Border Collies, earning her 8th QQ.

Sunday we had another nice run in Standard and she took 4th place. A very fun course to run, I just wish I could trust her to stay on the table in a down. She's been such a brat about it lately. A sit maybe but a down...ggrrrr!!! Her darn elbows come up & I have to babysit her so I didn't get the lead out I wanted and was a little out of position for the next obstacle. It all came out okay though and we had another nice run in Jumpers for QQ #9. We're almost halfway to her MACh! Very exciting! I just wish I could have stayed for the third day of the trial. Oh well...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Day - December 19, 2008

How we spent our snow day last Friday:

Lots of running...

Some hunting for mice while Mom shoveled...

And some good old raw bones!

We love when Mommy is home!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Cluster - December 13, 2008

I'm a little late posting this, sorry, we've been a little busy. =) Last Saturday we headed out to the Rosemont Convention Center for the annual Christmas Cluster. I entered Ruby in Rally but there was also a Conformation show going on there...uh...actually the main attraction.

Ruby and I got there a little late as when I read the Judging Program it said that walk throughs for Excellent B would be at 9:00am. Apparently the judge wasn't aware of this and didn't allow for an Excellent A walk through. She was ready to start judging us as soon as she was done with Excellent B but finally allowed us a VERY brief look at the course. It wasn't difficult by any means and it consisted of stuff that Ruby knows very well. She practiced the stations perfectly outside of the ring, however the second we stepped into the ring she became sniffy.

I snapped my fingers a couple of times and clapped my hands once earning some deductions but once I had her attention she decided to listen. She wasn't perfect however and I opted to re-do three of the stations as I knew she could perform much better and more precisely. If you choose to re-do a station it's a deduction of 3 points, much better than losing 10 points if the station is performed incorrectly. She also barked at me a few times, which I'm sure garnered another deduction of points. Brat! But she finished beautifully to pattering of applause and we headed to the last station, the Honor.

In the past she's performed the Honor perfectly. All the dog has to do is sit or down at the end of their leash and stay until the handler/dog team running the exercise is finished. The judge decides what position she wants the dogs in at the beginning of the trial. This time it was a sit and the Honor Judge started talking to me about Ruby because she has a vizsla too. All I did was take my attention from Ruby for a split second and she laid down. Prior to the new judging changes this would have NQ'd us, as it stands now it cost us 10 points. Strangely enough after signaling her back into a sit, the dog running the exercise charged right in her face and she didn't budge an inch. After all was said and done, she ended up passing and taking 4th place. I truly felt that we had a bad showing but it was enough to pass and place so I'm not going to argue! =) She now only needs one more leg for her Rally Excellent title. Yea!

Tammy and Lexi were entered too and they did very well. Lexi finished in 1st place in the Advanced A Class finishing her Rally Advanced title. Way to go girls!

Tammy and I did some shopping and watched some very gorgeous vizslas in the show ring! I think I've figured out where I'm getting my next pup! LOL!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hounds for the Holidays - Dec. 6 - 7, 2008

Hounds for the Holidays is one of my favorite trials. One year I may actually do all four days; this year I decided to only do two for some reason though I could have done Friday & used my last vacation day. Oh's probably a good thing because I think Ruby and I are still a little tired from last weekend.

I drove up on Saturday morning in the snow. Not fun. It took at least a half an hour longer than it should have. We started with JWW and it was a great, fun course from Kimberly Reeher. Ruby ran it very well and fairly quickly though a couple dogs that she usually beats placed and she didn't. Not surprising at a trial of this size but...onto Standard and after a beautiful opening that tripped up a lot of handlers, I screwed her up by not completing a turn and staying open, causing her to back jump the jump she just went over and giving her a horrible approach to the a-frame. I pulled her off as it was just not safe.

Sunday the weather was a little better and we started with JWW again. She qualified but her time was very slow. I heard her trip after I stuffed her into the tunnel and it felt like I waited forever for her to come out. In Standard, another nice course designed by Kim, it was Ruby's turn to be naughty and she just wouldn't collect for her weave entry and then popped because she can't bark and weave at the same time. She's such a blonde! Again we handled the hard parts very nicely but she jumped sideways off the teeter and she wasn't the only dog that did that. Very strange.

I think she was just tired as was I. She'll get a two week break from trialing then we pack up for Ohio since we didn't get into the McCook trial. Don't get me started... }:-(

Monday, December 1, 2008

Capital City Canine Club - November 28 - 30

The facility is at Michigan State University in the Livestock Pavilion. Agility is run on dirt in two very nice, large rings with stadium seating and the building is climate controlled. Conformation & Obedience/Rally was held in the adjacent building and I brought River in there for a bit on Friday to get him used to a different doggie venue and to work on attention. Quite a few people stopped to pet him and ask what breed he was. A really nice obedience judge gave him the once over and she just loved his coat.

The weekend as a whole was pretty good. I got there kinda late on Friday as I forgot about the time difference, so I missed my FAST walk-thru. No biggie: I just scratched her. We had a little problem with our weaves in Standard as she popped at the tenth pole and I pulled her off the last two jumps. Oops! She had a beautiful Jumpers run though earning 11 MACH points.

On Saturday we got the send in FAST (jump a-frame tunnel) only to get called on the a-frame contact! She's about 60% from that distance so I can't always count on it. Then she took 2nd in Standard with 22 MACH points. I am very proud of that run as we were in the land of giant border collies. Then another Q in Jumpers and 10 MACH points though I was running a bit conservatively for that last QQ. =)

Sunday: FAST was definitely doable and we hit every pointed obstacle. In the send (tunnel teeter double) she got the wrong side of the tunnel but got the rest of the gamble. I was very happy with that and the way she ran the course I made up. Standard was a little tricky, tightly wheeled and had a wrap between two jumps on the course. I chose to handle it like a serpentine instead of pulling her through and it worked but I was just a little behind her and had to fix it. She was a good girl though and we Q'd but only earned 10 MACH points. Jumpers was a blast! A beautiful course with a high Q rate and we got another 13 MACH points. I love this judge (Cynthia Kean). I will def trial under her again and I liked Barbara Diaz' courses too.

I was very happy with Miss Ruby this weekend. We qualified for Nationals with 7 double Q's and 450 MACH points. She's understanding distance work; it's just my direction that we need to fine tune a bit and I'm not quite sure what to do about the a-frame issue. I'm going to start pushing for more speed from her. My foot was bothering me a bit from the surface and standing on concrete (I have a bone chip in my right heel along with some ligament damage in the same foot) but I'd like to run her faster this weekend. Run, Forest, run!