Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Last Couple of Weeks...

I haven't blogged in a while...its been just a tiny bit crazy around here... ;) Driving to Ohio one weekend and my boyfriend in town the next. Phew! I need a vacation.

The very last weekend of September we had a three day trial in Columbus. Everyone in Ohio just raves about this place but I was not impressed with the surface at all. It was AstroTurf and slick as far as I was concerned. We ran FAST first and she didn't slip so I figured she was okay. She got the send bonus and we got every obstacle out there except for a single bar jump. She placed 1st with 79 points and finished her XF (Excellent FAST) title. Standard was up next and she ran great but slipped a bit in the weaves and then right before a jump, taking a bar. JWW she Q'd but slipped in the weaves in that ring as well.

Saturday went a little better we ran clean in Standard with one little slip on the surface. In JWW with a double Q on the line I called her as she was over a jump and she turned in air, dropped her hind feet and took the bar. UGH! Other than that her run was beautiful and I could just kick myself! Sunday Ruby was nuts in Standard. The course started tunnel to Dog Walk to the chute, she was over the DW and into the chute a lot faster than I thought and I ended up having to layer the table. Me layer?!?!?! I never layer. Then jump, teeter, I front crossed and she took off missing the tire and taking the next obstacle (tunnel). I was floored! Did she think we were doing FAST again? Then she takes three jumps to get back to me and I try to get her back on course. I was so flustered (and she was still being a brat) that I ended up not turning my shoulders enough and she took the off-course chute instead of the table. I almost walked her off then but decided I could finish the run with her. Of course she was perfect! Grrrr!

Later in JWW she was perfect again. And I'm really glad she ran it so well. As we were on the line to run, a dog crated near the ring started screaming. Apparently he got his toe stuck underneath the plastic tray pan and the wire crate as they were taking him out. The poor dog yelped and screamed for 2 minutes straight while they tried to help him. It affected a lot of dogs before they ran and the judge came up to me and told me to take my time getting ready to run. I thought that was very nice of him. I immediately got Ruby to tug with her leash and made sure she was happy and ready to play. I gave the judge the thumbs up and off we went; she was moving really nicely on this run and read my deceleration for a tight turn (most dogs headed to the off-course weaves).

This past weekend we did a trial in Manhattan with the Golden Retriever Club of Illinois. We only did Saturday and Sunday as I need to save as many vacation days as I can. =) Saturday went great: Ruby ran for 2nd place in Standard and placed 4th in JWW for QQ #6 toward MACH2. We've already got the points so we just really need the QQ's.

On Sunday we were having a great run in Standard but Ruby decided that she was done after the DW and headed toward the finish jump. I have no idea why she's been doing this lately; the only thing I can think is that she gets pattern trained very easily and at the last trial the Standard course ended DW to finish jump two days in a row. She's probably also rushing to get to the end because she wants her treat...maybe no more bonus for her??? And I will have to really look at the courses from now on and see where we may pass the finish jump so I can make sure I get a head check from her. Brat! The jumpers course I got lost. I really wasn't paying attention to how quickly the trial was moving. I walked the course twice with the general walk-thru and went over to talk to Tammy because I saw she had just run FAST with Lexi. Then I had River out and saw that Susan was doing the briefing. I put him away and went to walk the course a couple more times. I only got half-way thru it when she blew the whistle. I thought I had the course down but I didn't and turned too soon after the weaves pulling Ruby off a jump (funny how she turned tightly there, eh? damn dog). Oh well, no QQ on the line and she finished very nicely.

We have a private lesson with Dana tomorrow so I can address some issues I'm having with both dogs - mostly River's avoidance of certain obstacles (chute, broad jump & panel jump) & handling for Ruby. Only one day of trialing this coming weekend and it's the Novice Only trial for River Puppy on Sunday. Should be fun! =)

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 19 - WAG - Crystal Lake, IL

I just decided to do one day of the trial to keep my boyfriend company. ;) LOL! The JWW course was pretty tough, a lot of off-courses and handlers got lost. I even saw quite a few dogs cut behind their handlers, very strange. I had no expectations from Ruby since our luck in jumpers lately has been oddly absent. We handled the course great though and she placed 4th behind two Border Collies (one being my boyfriend's dog, Viper, who took first) and my girlfriend's really fast Golden, Rookie, placed third. I was very proud of Ruby. =)

Ruby was smoking the STD course but popped her tenth weave pole - the third obstacle from the end - she hasn't done that in a LONG time; the only thing I can think of is there was a tunnel right in her face after the poles or maybe it was because she was in 20" weave poles all last weekend. These were 24" and it adds 44" to the length of the weaves so maybe she thought she was done. Really sucks because she was 22 seconds under SCT. We really could have used the QQ and the points for ranking. Oh well...Viper placed third (Ruby was only 2 seconds slower than him and faster than the other Vizslas at the trial) and earned QQ #17 for his MACH and QQ #4 to qualify for Nationals.

No video this weekend as the batteries for my camera were both dead. Maybe I'll get some tape next weekend in Ohio. I'm hoping we have a great weekend down there and I'm hoping we finish our XF title too. It'll be nice to trial away from this area as things have felt strange lately.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fox Valley DTC - September 12 & 13, 2009

I was very excited to trial again and to make it even more fun...River Puppy made his debut on Saturday. So I'll start with him:

First we had Jumpers with Weaves, Novice B Class. He was awesome! He got his weaves on the very first try and finished them. =) Only a quick visit to one of the ring crew then right back to me and we finished the course. He was great and very happy! I did one FC with him that was pretty late; I think I was surprised that he'd be moving that fast. So next time I will be running and trust him to do what he was trained to do. :) He had a perfect score and won the class!

Then Standard Agility, Novice B Class. He was a very good boy letting me take a two jump lead out & reading that very well. :) He has just never been on rubberized contacts and slowed to smell the top of the DW. I did a quick release with him into the tunnel, a-frame, chute...Oops! He's never been in a 12 foot closed chute before so he came right out & we moved on to the table. Perfect! To the weaves...slight detour to say "hi" to the judge, perfect weaves, skipped the broad jump, jump to teeter, perfect 2o/2o to tire, skipped the panel jump and a big finish at the double! Yay River! Quick note: River's only seen the panel jump, broad jump and chute one or two times so I didn't expect him to do them anyway.

Ruby...a completely different story. First off, the courses were kinda weird. Both of the judges were "new" judges and need some lessons in course design. She was the pinwheel queen (though she had a higher Q rate) and he put two jumps very close together right before the finish jump in both of his courses as one of many challenges. Not very many Q's this weekend in the Excellent classes, at least for the big dogs, except for Sunday's JWW course. It was tricky but doable. Now I'm not saying that everyone should qualify & the courses should be easy, but when only 4 out of almost 50 dogs qualify and it's an exceptional running surface there's a problem.

I screwed up both days in JWW & my handling was off, though on Saturday I think Ruby was a little full of herself & took the off-course backwards triple just because she didn't feel like listening to me; I DID call her, maybe just not soon enough or loud enough & when we got to the end I really didn't give a crap because the course sucked. Like I said only four dogs Q'd in my class. Sunday's JWW run was going nicely but as I sent her out & over a jump to get into position for a FC, I checked back a second time with her because didn't trust her. That made me late getting where I needed to be for the FC to be smooth so it wasn't in the right spot, it wasn't deep enough and I ended up sending her off-course. She did have a nice ending on that course; where most of the other dogs NQ'd, she read it beautifully & made it look easy.

The Standard courses we handled great & I'd say that she rocked them! She did miss her A-frame contact on Saturday but we got a "gift" that we were "owed" as the judge didn't see it. Too bad it really didn't matter as there wasn't a QQ on the line. Unfortunately she missed her DW contact on Sunday & this time the judge didn't miss it. That really sucked because the rest of the course she ran awesomely. She didn't take the wrong side of the tunnel, she got her weave entrance & read the rear cross at the end really well not taking the wrong jump before the finish. That really bummed me out because she would have been 3rd on a course where only 6 dogs Q'd. =(

Notice the song choice for Ruby's video. Yes, it's Britney's 'If You Seek Amy' that allegedly has a double entendre but no it's not about sex at all if you listen to the words. It's about the people that watch her every move & everything she does & Brit-brit is pretty much giving them the finger! I know the feeling girlfriend! ;^) Which is why I can't wait to trial in Ohio at the end of the month. LOL!

Monday, August 31, 2009

ICF at McCook - August 29 & 30, 2009

I really don't like this facility and have no idea why I keep going back. Granted it's a nice facility but when you get there early enough to get crating space down in the rings and it's already gone because people have "saved" spots for all their friends...let's just say I don't like crating upstairs. The floor is slick and dangerous and some dogs don't like the heights as they can see over the balcony. River totally freaked out when I brought him in, poor kid, and planted himself on his belly, not wanting to move forward. I ended up having to carry him to his crate.

Not a good way to start the weekend off and to add to that I got a migraine Saturday morning and could barely see straight, I haven't had a hot shower since Wednesday morning and my boyfriend is in town trying to get QQ's to qualify for Nationals. We had equipment to deliver and put together so I was a little stressed out and edgy. Ruby had a gorgeous run in Standard and placed 3rd. So a Double Q on the line and we blew it in Jumpers. It was my fault, the course was tight and she took an off-course because I didn't stop & make sure that I got her head; I kept moving forward. After that run someone that I JUST met that day (a couple from Ohio that know my boyfriend) came up and told me what I did wrong...did I ask for their opinion??? Do I pay them for lessons and/or train with them??? NO!

Sunday we had another nice run in Standard and she placed 4th. Tee up for Jumpers...very near the end of the run, and of course after all the hard parts, she came flying out of the tunnel and over a jump and kept going...partly due to her big stride. I had turned and called her and was almost two jumps away heading toward the finish, she just didn't read it or read it late and missed the jump completely. I was really annoyed with her and as I went to get her leash on said, "Ruby, you're a real jerk!" Apparently that makes me a bad sport and "someone needs to talk to me about the way I treat my dog..." Whatever. She still got her treats and her GoDog! she just didn't get her special Q treat. She didn't get punished, hit, kicked or anything else. We went home later and she & I snuggled up for a nap like always after a trial.

I always cheer everyone on and I worked my ass off on Saturday. I chute straightened for the 8" & 12" class and scribed for the 20" STD class. Made sure that the club knew that a friend was running for her MACH; they didn't have anything ready. And not to mention that I cheer everyone on no matter how bad their runs are. Sometimes people need to take a good hard look at themselves before they pass judgement. Honestly, if I was really mean to my dog, a soft vizsla, she would never run for me nor would she be as fast as she is or the top agility dog. Every once in a while people just have bad days.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The End of Wild Weavers???...and the Judge that Made My List

First I do want to start by saying that when the Wild Weavers equipment trailer was stolen Friday before the trial, I felt bad for them. I also felt bad for them that the Buckeye Equestrian Center changed the surface at this trial location and it wasn't up to par (3 to 4 inches of very loose sand/dirt mix). The incidents that happened at the trial were very bad judgement calls made by an AKC judge in regards to equipment safety and not taking the surface into consideration. To add salt to the wound she made a very inappropriate comment to all of us at the briefing for the RAD demo. She's made my list as a judge I will never trial under again. It would have been a better decision to cancel the trial altogether as they thought they'd originally have to do.

Even with all the problems Ruby ran her heart out, qualifying 3 out of 4 times. The problem with the equipment was what caused her to NQ on our very first run. Someone had the brilliant idea to put tape on the teeter (it was a USDAA teeter and has shorter contact zones) after the 16" class ran. I didn't watch many of the 20" dogs but right before we were to walk I noticed some odd obstacle performance on the teeter; the dogs looked like they were very surprised when the teeter fell out underneath them and the judge called them for fly-offs.

After the walk-thru our class started and dog after dog flew off (fell off) the teeter and I remember telling a friend that I didn't feel comfortable with it. We ran the course cleanly until the teeter, I told Ruby "easy" but she still took the teeter full speed, not slowing at all for the drop. Later Susan Crank said that she thought that the tape made the teeter look like the DW to a lot of dogs, the tape resembling the slats. Really uncool of the club to allow this and after the Excellent class finished they took the teeter off the course to paint new contact zones on it. I hardly think that was fair to the 20" and 24" Excellent dogs. Only four dogs in our class ended up qualifying and two just made time.

My issue was the judge did nothing about the obvious problem with the teeter. 9 out of 10 dogs got called for teeter fly-offs & she does NOTHING. Then in the RAD briefing she's telling us there's no 4 paw safety rule. If your dog jumps off before the teeter tips past horizontal you can re-attempt it. She then says it's a good thing 'cuz some of you need to work on that. WHAT!?!?! @#$%^&*! A LONG, hot day and I should've scratched her but we ran it anyway and she took an obvious off-course. No big deal as it didn't count for anything. Then we debated about coming back and running on Sunday as the club promised to roll and wet the surface down. Ruby placed 2nd in JWW; a nice course which would have been a lot more fun to run on a different surface.

Sunday: Ruby ran as best she could on the surface which was only marginally better but it was wet and heavy instead of just loose. She placed 1st in STD and 3rd in JWW. Here's the kicker: We got 1 - ONE - MACH point in JWW and the surface in that ring was worse. The other judge (not the one on my sh*t list) said that he had trouble wheeling the course, that the wheel wouldn't turn in the sand. I'll bet that's what happened to the stupid woman judge but she either didn't notice or didn't care to do anything about it. There is NO WAY that course was 139 yards (which made SCT 37 seconds). Too bad I didn't have my pedometer with me...

I had made an appointment for Ruby to get adjusted on Tuesday after the trial. I don't know why but I had this feeling that the surface would be horrible and I was right. I just remember the 2008 Kewanee trial and how it took two adjustments to get her right.

Update: Dr. Herlihy said most of her adjustments were routine maintenance. The ones that puzzled her were a very tender and tight shoulder muscle strain that made it hard to adjust her right shoulder, which was out. Her elbow was also out and that’s never been an issue. She thought that the pulled shoulder muscle was due to pulling her front legs up out of heavy sand to lift for jumping. Since the elbow was a new thing she said she would blame that on the sand as well though I'd have to say she probably jammed it when she flew/fell off the teeter. Poor Ruby. =(

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New AKC Agility Class - Run and Done (RAD)

Run and Done


The goal of this class is to present a fun and flowing run. It is a single course open to all dogs. This is a hybrid class; a combination of the Standard and JWW classes.
Seventeen to nineteen obstacles will be used on the course. A combination of contacts (excluding the dog-walk) and weave poles equaling three will be required. At least one contact and one set of 12 weave poles will make up this combination. One set of 12 weave poles or one contact may be taken twice to meet this requirement. Only one spread jump can be used, but it may be used twice to encourage flow in the course design. One to two open tunnels can be used on course but may only be taken a maximum of two times. Tunnels are optional. The rest of the obstacles are bar jumps, single bar jumps and the tire. Jumps need to be at least 50% winged. No dog-walk, table, chute, panel jumps or dummy tunnels will be allowed. The minimum useable course area must be at least 7,000 square feet.
Scoring: The course must be completed within 55 seconds for the 20, 24 & 26 inch heights, 60 seconds for 16 inch height and 65 seconds for 8 & 12 inch dogs (might be too much time for some heights, but testing will help verify). Add 3 seconds for each height in the Preferred class. No wrong course faults will be allowed. A wrong course will result in an NQ. No refusals/run-outs will be called. Dogs will have three (3) chances to complete the weave poles, after that the dog must go onto the next obstacle and will receive an NQ for the run. If the weave pole sequence is broken before the weaves are completed, the weaves will need to be restarted at the first weave pole. Mandatory Eliminations (Failures) and Excusals will apply. Recording time: Round down if it is .499 of a second and if it is.500 of a second round up. Example: a time 33.499 seconds will be recorded as 33.00 seconds, and a time of 33.500 seconds will be recorded as 34.00 seconds.

Course design should encourage a smooth flow. Only three turns of 180 degrees on a course will allowed. All spacing of obstacles must meet the requirements of a Standard AKC course.

Overall challenge level will be a minimum of 5 challenges and minimum 3 side switches.

To earn a RAD title a dog will need 15 Qs and one hundred points (Points and Qs may change after data has been reviewed). Points are awarded as follows: First place dog will earn 10 points, all dogs under SCT* and within 10% of the time of the first place dog will get 9 points, 20% will earn 8 points and so on all the way down to 10% and less will earn 1 point. Points and Qs start over after each title is earned with multiplier titles indicated by number following RAD, i.e. RAD2, RAD3 etc. The following chart is an example that illustrates the points that would be earned for the 16 inch jump height with first place dog having a time of 30 seconds.


*Note: Points are only available for dogs that run at or under SCT. It may be that lower points are not available with mathematical increments of 10% over time until SCT is reached. If in the 16″ example above, the winning time was 40 seconds, then 5 points would be lowest point total available (from 56-60 seconds).

Since spacing of obstacles must meet the requirements of a Standard AKC course the course will not have to be measured by the judge.


Run and Done

Judges briefing:

RAD is a hybrid course, a combination of Standard and JWW’s classes. One course will be open to all levels in AKC agility. Fast, fun and flowing courses are key elements in this class.

Judging; Dogs will be judged by jump height not by class.

Refusals, There will be no refusals or run-outs (R) in RAD.

Wrong courses will be called and will result in a non-qualifying score (NQ). The hand signal for the wrong course will be an open hand as it is in the Standard and JWW’s classes.

Weave poles need to be completed in three (3) attempts or less, or a failure to perform fault (F) will be called. An attempt is when all four of the dog’s paws cross between the first and second weave pole. If the weave pole sequence is broken (skipping a pole) before the dog completes the weave poles the dog must start the weave poles over at the first pole.

Mandatory Eliminations and Excusals will apply In RAD as they do in the Standard and JWW’s classes.

Time: The course must be completed within 55 seconds for the 20, 24 & 26 inch heights, 60 seconds for 16 inch height and 65 seconds for 8 & 12 inch. These times are both the standard course times and the maximum course times for RAD. These times may change as the data is collected and analyzed.

*Note: during the first stage of RAD both the 12 inch and the 20 inch dog’s path needs to be wheeled and recorded on the spread sheet provided.

This new AKC Agility Class focuses on speed and trial runs are being held across the country. Ruby and I may give it a try this weekend. :D

Friday, August 7, 2009

AKC Agility Invitational 2009

Validation for all of our hard work and that my dog is amazing ~ though I already knew that. I love you Ruby! =)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

July 24 - 26, 2009 ~ GLBTC/GRCI Agility Trial

A big three day trial at a really nice facility ~ woo-hoo! The pups and I spent Thursday night at Kris' house 'cuz she is really mean and made me get up early on Friday to help unload equipment. ;^) LOL!

Friday didn't start off too well. We got called on the Aframe in Standard. I thought she got a foot in but I can't even tell for sure on the video. A Q in JWW and a Q & 3rd place in EXC A FAST. One more leg for her XF title! =)

Saturday we had a repeat in STD; this time I know she missed her Aframe contact; she didn't clear the apex right as she was moving way too slowly on the approach. I've been working more rear crosses into my handling as I need to work on the timing and placement of them (I think River will need me to use rear crosses with him a lot more than front crosses). Ruby's used to me front crossing 95% of the time so she was a little on the slow side in JWW this weekend as well. Poor Ruby, the first dog has to deal with my screw ups and experiments! =( Anyway that NQ in STD really sucked because it was such a tough course that only 4 slow dogs qualified in my height class. Ggrrrrr!!! Another nice run in JWW and she placed 3rd.

Sunday - we had a perfect Aframe!!! And she Q'd!!! And it was a really hard course so she placed 2nd!!! Yea, Ruby!!! Another Q in JWW brings us to QQ #4 for MACH2. She really was a very good girl all weekend, missed Aframe and all. Somehow I don't think that was her fault and may have been the rubberized contacts combined with the artificial turf and me making her slow with the rear crosses. =)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

WAG & River's First Fun Match

Not much to say about WAG except that Ruby was her usual amazing self and we QQ'd. Unfortunately we only got in the one day, oh well. She won her JWW class and placed 2nd in Standard. Here's the video:

The following weekend we headed out to scenic Wadsworth for an Agility Fun Match to benefit Illinois Doberman Rescue. It was held at Tracy's Farm. She has horses & cows and does boarding and grooming there. It's a gorgeous piece of property. I entered both River and Ruby for two runs each. I ran Ruby first and of course, she did very well but she's a pro. Just to show you how challenging Tracy's Farm is though, Ruby got a little distracted by the horses right next to the fence while she was on the DW & popped her weaves when she heard another dog bark. That's not like her.

River was up next, his first run he did fairly well, all things considered: Jump to DW and run over and bark at the horses for 5 seconds. Run back to mom do the tunnel, NAIL his weave entry and complete all twelve, to the tunnel and run past a jump to pee on the fence in the corner...oh dogs...sigh...get him back, two jumps, go bark at the horses again because they had the nerve to move to the other side of the ring. Get him back, jump, a-frame, jump, teeter, tire jump...must sniff ground in front of tire, do tunnel, run around a jump and do the last jump! Yea River! Then he pooped right after we left the ring...if he had done that BEFORE we ran maybe jumping would have been easier. Ugh!

Ruby's second run was perfect. She nailed the teeter and DW with a FAST 2o/2o. We had two very cute little girls about eight years old scoring all the dogs. They loved Ruby and said she was the most awesome dog and gave her a score of 5000. Adorable! =) Wish they were always our judges! LOL!

River was up next for his 2nd try. A little better, very nice jump to DW, only a short detour to bark at horses and right back to me when I called him. Into the tunnel and weaves, got the entry but kept popping at 4. The weaves were pretty light weight and not nailed down so they had moved a bit. I let him try twice and we moved on. Tunnel, three jumps to the Aframe and he was great! On to the jump, teeter, tire sequence and again some sniffing in front of the tire. Don't know if there was something there that was really interesting or if he was stressing over the tire itself. Finally got him to take it, tunnel, two jumps out and he was perfect. The girls gave him a score of 50. Not bad, eh? LOL!

So LOTS of positive things and some little things to work on. I do think that there was a lot of dog pee in the agility ring and for him to work for me in such a distracting environment is phenomenal for a thirteen month old puppy. We need a lot more work on his teeter and I'll add a stop to his DW but overall I think he's putting things together very nicely.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Forest City DTC - June 26 - 28, 2009

I haven't posted in awhile...still feeling the afterglow of our perfect weekend...Ruby finished her MACH on Friday with two first place runs for Double Q #20!!!!

Then we went four for four on Saturday and Sunday...2 down...18 to go for MACH2!!!!

I'm so very proud of my special, red-headed girl!!!! =)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Belvidere, IL and Grove City, OH

I went to the Belvidere trial on Saturday not planning on running her; I thought I'd check out the JWW course and if it had too many tight turns I would just pull her from both runs. It turned out to be a GREAT idea as it rained continuously and after 100 people walked the course, it became utter slop. Good thing my plan was to scratch her on Saturday.

For Sunday they moved the rings...thank God! I was watching her closely during her JWW run so I ended up running her slowly and carefully. I'm sure it's hard for a non-agility person to imagine running a dog around a bunch of equipment and be able to "watch" how your dog lifts over jumps, etc., not run into anything and still qualify. LOL! It got warm before our STD run and she did great, only missing her aframe contact, which was weird as she hasn't done that since November when I was twenty feet away from her doing a send in FAST class. Here are her runs:

She was definitely feeling good though and we headed out to Ohio the following Thursday for a three-day trial inside on dirt. Yea! =)

Ruby LOVES this trial facility; its held at the Buckeye Equestrian Ranch in Grove City, OH. Great judges and great courses ~ lots of fun!!! Ruby went 5 for 6 ~ the only thing that kept us from that last QQ and her MACH was a hop off the table...I could have killed her...but I think she was feeling good and was just really fired up. Here's the video:

We all had a lot of fun that weekend and the weather was great. River decided that playing in the baby pool and killing chipmunks is the most fun ever! =)

Friday, June 12, 2009

German Shepherd DTC - June 6 & 7, 2009

It's taken me some time to feel like writing and updating the blog. Things have been a little messy the last two trials and they're getting me down. We've been missing QQ's by one mistake, usually mine, and she's not been as fast as she has been in the past.

Saturday started out nicely, she had a great run in JWW; not the fastest but she was at least working well for me. We picked up 26 speed points and were set up to run and Q in STD. Or as my friend Ashlee says, "We've teed up for the QQ." Not to happen though. Our judge miscalculated the ring dimensions and they had to squish the course together. So normal in some spots and VERY tight in others. Unfortunately Ruby took an off-course tunnel under the a-frame that I didn't anticipate. After my later findings last weekend it may not even have been my failing to cue her to take the frame that caused the off-course - more on that to follow. She handled all the tough spots and I was fairly happy with how we handled the course. The triple at the end...oh my...she took it, cleared it and I held up right as she landed so as not to run out of the ring - remember the course was squished. Well she tried way too hard to turn back to me and slid on her shoulder. It's kinda hard to see in the video but the damage was done.

Later that day she went out in the yard to run around with River. When they run, the run like the devil is chasing them. Ruby flattens out and sometimes she'll turn way too quickly to try to catch River and he's really fast. They came in, took naps and when Ruby got up she was limping, favoring her right shoulder. I gave her a massage, also working on the tight spots in her neck and it seemed to help. Sunday morning she was moving around just fine.

JWW run on Sunday: Tough course with two loops, passing by a tunnel opening twice. Wow! She read everything great except a tough weave entry. I just didn't give her enough room but considering that at that point I knew she was sore, I'm almost positive that if she wasn't, she would've have gotten the entrance and saved my butt as usual. During STD it started raining so I was just careful on the contacts. One VERY hard call off a jump and she nailed the rest of the course. We picked up another 28 speed points.

Sunday night - again the pups out in the yard running, Ruby suddenly stopped and jogged back up to the house. She took a short nap and got up stiff/limping again on that right shoulder. I'm really freaking out at this point but rubbed her down again and iced her shoulder. I also gave her a couple Traumeel to help with any swelling and pain. I'm thanking myself for making that appointment at Integrative for her on Thursday...I'm also thinking that off-course tunnel on Saturday my have been a choice due to pain. The tunnel is WAY easier than the a-frame.

Thursday - Ruby gets to hang out at work with me. She really loves coming to work with me and seeing everyone. On to our chiro appointment. We saw Dr. Collins this time instead of Dr. Mayer. The last time Ruby was in for an adjustment was right before Nationals so around the end of March. Dr. Mayer didn't have much to do; just a couple spots in her neck and she was good. This time however...right side of her pelvis out, three spots in her neck, a couple spots in her back and...BOTH of her shoulders. Yikes! She really didn't want Dr. Collins to touch them and do the adjustment either so I had to distract her with food, which is not normal for Ruby.

She's all back together again but this weekend's trial is up in the air which sucks because we have awesome judges. Dr. Collins wants me to wait until Sunday before Ruby returns to any activity. Most of the time she's gotten adjusted and is able to compete a day or two later. Ruby definitely feels good now, wanting to play and acting silly. The problem is trying to keep her quiet until I feel she's ready to go. She is NOT happy. So I figured I'd see how she is on Saturday and also see how the JWW course is and decide that morning at the trial. If the course isn't too twisty I may end up running her and then I'll see how she is before I decide if I run her in STD or not.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Glenbard All Breed Obedience Club - May 30 & 31, 2009

After taking a long weekend off, relaxing with my boyfriend and his dogs down in Ohio over Memorial Day I was ready to trial again feeling a bit rejuvenated. Unfortunately it didn't carry over into the trial. The soccer facility in Naperville is still only a year old and the fumes in there from the rubber gave me a migraine that lasted all weekend. Ruby was also very slow. Her YPS times were way off of her usual speedy self. Here are the runs from the weekend:

I didn't know if the extremely loud whistle during our first run of the weekend had anything to do with her speed, if the fumes were effecting her as well or if she was not getting the usual energy from me due to my head hurting but we were not connected as a team. You can see in her STD run on Saturday that she broke our connection briefly when something near the score table caught her attention. Just a strange weekend overall.

After class on Tuesday, in which she was her usual fast, sassy self, I had Ron give her a massage. He found some tight areas in her neck and middle back so he concentrated on stretching them and massaging her knots. I just wonder that if she's feeling a bit of pain and stiffness during a trial that it makes her slow down and concentrate more instead of having fun like she does in class due to the stressful environment of a trial. I've noticed that she's been a little off lately and I definitely think she needs an adjustment. I really think she may have hurt herself in her excitement at the Berwyn Dock Diving event a couple of weeks ago.

That observation made, I watched our DVD from Nationals back in March last night. We were so connected during our runs and had so much fun there. I need to get that back and I know we'd be back to having as much fun as before as well as getting her feeling better and fast again. I'm going to have Kris keep an eye on her this weekend at the Hanover Park trial, see if she notices anything. If she is really off because of Dock Diving we may stop doing that for good which is a shame because she really loves it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chicagoland Dockdogs & Agility Ability - May 16 - 17, 2009

Whew! What a cold windy day it was on Saturday. The sun tried to come through and help us out a bit but the wind kept up all day. The water was freezing and I can't believe Ruby jumped in at all. She was pretty fired up to play the game though. Her first jump of the day ended up being her furthest - 10' 7" and she placed 5th in the Junior level in Wave 1. From there her jumps decreased to 10' 4" in the 2nd Wave and 8' something for a 3rd place Novice level jump in the 3rd and final Wave of the day.

Between Waves 2 and 3, I did try Speed Retrieve practice with Ruby. She seemed to get it but that was also when she decided that it was too cold to jump. I'll wait until Fourth of July weekend at the Summer Splash Event in Rockford/Loves Park before we do any dock diving again this year. She did make it to the finals on Sunday as an alternate for the Junior division but since we were doing agility all the way out in Plano, I figured we'd take a pass.

Sunday started out a lot better and was only chilly early in the morning. It had started to warm up by our first run in Jumpers at 8:30. We were the first dog on the line and she ran great, not even looking at the off-course tunnel trap that got a lot of dogs. She dropped a bar however as the Jumpers ring in Plano is on a slight slope. The timer malfunctioned so I have no idea how fast she ran the course but I bet it was pretty slow since her legs were pretty cashed from swimming all day on Saturday.

About an hour and a half later we ran the Standard course. She did very well again and placed 2nd picking up 25 MACh points. Seems like we are staying just slightly ahead of our competition but since we are taking Memorial Day weekend off for some much needed R & R, I'm sure we'll lose our tiny lead since everyone else will be trialing for sure. Oh well, I guess I should really stop caring about what other people are doing because as far as I'm concerned, Ruby's my best girl and will always be the #1 Vizsla in my book! =)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Quick Post - Training Day!

We had class with Kurt last night. It was our first time training outside this year and with the exception of the water filled tunnel {I think it was rabbit pee ;-)}, Ruby did great. Kurt had set-up one of the courses from World Team Tryouts from a couple of weeks ago. We did Course Eight, Large Agility by Diane Craig with a long tunnel in place of obstacle #14, the chute.

You can check out all of the courses here:
Ruby ran it well the first time except she was slow coming out of tunnel #3 {with the rabbit pee}, went wide from #4 to the dogwalk #5 as she was doing her typical "I know I'm training, I need to take a gallop past the crowd and bark at them so I can embarrass my mom" thing that she does in class and I just needed to tighten her up from #9 to #10 in the sepentine.

Another spot that we made an adjustment on was the ending serpentine line. The first time I ran it with a front-cross after the A-frame staying to the left side of the line of jumps and a rear-cross from #19 to #20. She was a bit wide there as well and Kurt had me change it so I came in between #18 and #19 and rear-crossed on the take-off side of #19 for a nice tight turn to jump #20. She's reading the rear-crosses really well now - look out! :)

Then Kurt re-numbered the course and we worked on some new things - remember, the chute is a long tunnel and we enter the opposite side on this course; I chose to do a push off the A-frame. Again Ruby did really well, but I sucked. I was having a really hard time remembering what I was supposed to be doing and where I was supposed to be going. Maybe it was because it was late and I was tired. Maybe it was because Marietta is in our class and she's very distracting; I have no idea. I finally got my crap together and worked on MORE rear-crosses: One between 15 & 16, the other between 17 & 18. It worked very well and felt nice and smooth. Cool!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lyons Township DTC - May 9 & 10, 2009

Such a strange weekend and kind of a weird place to trial. I had to ask a friend where the Jumpers ring was since we got there a little later than I had planned. That's when I found out I was the second dog in for Jumpers and the JWW ring looked a little like the set of the Ed Sullivan Show! I was a little surprised that I was in so soon as I thought they were running 26" dogs first and then 24" but Beth had moved me up to the 26" class for this trial. Hmmm...anyway being caffeine deprived and sick didn't help and our first run didn't go as planned. I got a little dizzy as I forced a front cross in after the tunnel & couldn't get where I needed to be to support a jump. Oh well...

Our Standard run didn't go as planned either but the first 2/3 of the run went great. The final loop from the dogwalk to the weaves and the jumps after seemed to not be Vizsla-friendly as both of Ruby's girlfriends, Penny and Lexi, also had problems and NQ'd in that area. Ruby popped her weaves as I found myself on the wrong side of the poles and tried a front cross. Then she took an off-course jump and it was a complete train wreck. LOL!

Then we had the THREE hour wait for Rally. River made his debut and did absolutely fabulous! He placed third with a score of 93. I was very proud of my little guy but I did notice that I got him out too early to practice as when we were in the ring he was slow to sit so I think he was tired of sitting so much. He also had a weird little reaction when his feet first hit the rubber mats, like "What is this?!?!" but he recovered very quickly. I also LOVE this judge - Robert T Self Jr. - this is the second time I've shown under him and he's just very nice, helpful and knowledgeable.

Sunday went a little better but I didn't push her for speed at all. My friend Kim had fallen twice on Saturday and Ruby wasn't that crazy about the AstroTurf. She took 2nd in JWW and 2nd in STD but had a nasty slip on her face when I did a front cross a tad late. I totally forgot to bring the stuff for her feet to help keep her from slipping, otherwise I'm sure she would have run a lot faster. I just wish she'd dig her toenails in like a lot of other dogs will do but she seems to run very high up on her feet. Not many points this weekend but we don't need them for our MACH; she earned QQ #17.

Another three hour wait for rally and this time I had heard the judge was rather "unkind." He was a substitute judge under whom I'll never trial again. Many people there told me how bad, mean he is but I thought that the course seemed simple enough; easier than Saturday's and we shouldn't have any problems...Ha! Before we went into the ring however, I had a woman with the club ask me a million questions about River, his breed, etc. It turns out she's from Animal Talent of Chicago and she thought he'd be great for commercials and print work. So she gave me all her info so I could send her some pictures of him and get his portfolio started. Maybe the boy can make us some money and start paying for Ruby's entry fees. LOL!

Okay here's the bad news: the gruff judge handled things a lot differently than other rally judges I've shown under in the past. Most of them say, "Handler #XX," and you walk into the ring. Most of them are also toward the middle of the course. He, however, was right next to the start line and said, "Handler #XX and dog breed," not good for us because he couldn't pronounce Kooikerhondje, gave me a dirty look and leaned in as he looked me up and down and made eye contact with River! I pronounced it for him twice and he just gave me another dirty look as River tried to say "hi" to him. Things were not starting well...I get River back a little. The judge makes me stand there for a minute and then says "Ready?" I say "Yes," and he says "Forward."

We started out okay but the judge followed us about two signs back and at the first stationary sign River tried to go say "hi" again. So tight leash and then he wouldn't perform the halt/sit right away. He was very distracted and sniffy though I thought River's 270's and 360 were nice and tight. The very last station was a call to front, finish right and I lost River again on the finish part when he went to sniff the broad jump by the edge of the ring. I got him to finish and walk nicely out of the ring but the judge NQ'd us. The highest score he gave out was an 85. I felt it was the judge's fault though. I also find it odd that I've only trialed under maybe 12 different Rally judges but I already have two that I will never show under. In agility I've trialed under close to a hundred judges and only two have question marks, like check what the surface is before trialing under them, or be careful what you say to your dog in the ring if this judge is in a bad mood, stuff like that. These obedience people are 'drunk with power' as my friend Amy would say.

This coming weekend we'll be doing Dock Diving on Saturday in Berwyn and agility outside in Plano on Sunday. I hope we finally get some nice weather. I'm really sick of the rain and cold; I think a dose of warm sunshine will do me some good. =)

Monday, May 4, 2009

My Ephemeral Time in the #1 Spot

After my dismal weekend and blowing two jumpers runs with Double Q's on the line it's clear I can't handle this pressure to stay on top so I'm just going to call it quits. I just read Melanie's blog this morning and Austin got more points on Friday than we did all weekend. I've just lost the lead we've had for months in the last two trials ~ though I will admit that there weren't many points to be had. Even if we stay in the Top 5, I won't be making the long trip to California for the AKC Agility Invitational, so why bother? I know she's the faster, better dog out there and she was the fastest red dog at Nationals.

Then something happened on Sunday that made me wake up and see what really matters. I was training weaves with Ruby when River t-boned her while she was weaving. She just stopped and wouldn't put weight on her right rear. River got scruffed and put into the house - I've about had it with him doing that to her - and I went back to Ruby and rubbed her leg for awhile and gave her a bunch of treats. We walked around a bit and she just seemed a little stiff. Then she was trotting and loping around so I got some really good treats and she decided that she wanted to work so we did some sepentines to the weaves and she was moving like her old self. She must have just got a stinger but it really scared me and I'm just glad she's okay.

Anyway, I'm waving the white flag; I give up. The 24" class in our area is just sooo competitive that we don't stand a chance. All the 24" Border Collies, Ashlee & Spirit, Kim & Jersey, Abby & Whitney, Kelly & Preacher not to mention Kris & Clever and Renee & Belle who just went to World Team Tryouts. Even Scott and his Terv, Partner beat us on occasion so there's not many points to be had. I'm sure the AKC will be SOOOOO happy that the same OLD f---ing dogs will be there. Nothing like seeing the same 8 and 6 year old grizzled vizslas running around with their handlers for the last 4 years in a row. Great! I'll be sure to tune into Animal Planet next year. NOT!

I only wish I hadn't gone to Nationals. Melanie got a good look at her competition and is pushing her old dog to the limits; I feel sorry for him. And I'm sure she reported back to those catty California women. There is something to be said about having anonymity. Oh well. This WAS to be our year, not so much anymore.

NOCI - Crystal Lake, IL - May 1 - 3, 2009

Friday was an early start for us, not good since I was at the N9NE Steakhouse 10 Year Anniversary Party on Thursday night, 5 hours of sleep ~ fabulous! I got there a little later than I wanted to but had plenty of time to catch both general walk-thrus.

Ruby was the first 24" dog on the line all three days so I had to cut my walk-thrus short and make sure she was pottied and warmed up properly. Friday's STD course was tricky and I was a little foggy so I ended up on the wrong side of the a-frame. Ruby saved the run and took first place. I was just cracking up at my ineptness and had so much fun running her that day. She had a nice run in JWW later and placed third for QQ #16.

On another note: the club had decided to use their new spooky table this weekend and our judge on Friday, Tim Verrelli commented that he's never had to NQ that many dogs for just a table fault. The dogs saw the table and launched thinking it was a panel jump. I'm glad Ruby hung on, she was a very good girl. See the picture below of our friends Fergus and Katie:

I'm also very proud to say that this picture was taken on Sunday during Part One of Fergus' first Double Q! Nice job you guys! =) We are very proud of you! BTW Fergus had no issues with the table. ;)

Saturday: Ruby had another fabulous run in STD but she was a slow as we had dock diving practice Friday night. I just couldn't deny her the thing she's loves to do the most. =) Then I totally forgot the JWW course and got lost. That really sucked because she was moving! I got her back on track and she did everything that I asked, finishing nicely. I'm starting to see a pattern here with either being hung-over or sleep deprived and my QQ rate...

Sunday: Pretty much the same scenario. We Q'd in STD but I pulled her off a jump in JWW and she was running so nice and fast! UGH! I'm so frustrated with myself and I kept thinking that I'd get lost again when I was waiting to go into the ring.

This brings me to a point: Why are people so mean and catty? I've never tried to be anything but nice to everyone and supportive then they turn around and stab you in the back or say nasty things right before you walk into the ring. So not worth it anymore and I know there will be only a few people I'll be talking to at trials coming up. One of my friends also had an incident with her dog and after it happened she apologized to the owner of the other dog - he only got snarled at. The woman was just mean to her and wouldn't accept her apology. Stuff happens, they're dogs for Christ sakes, and the dogs never came close enough to even touch each other. It just amazes me because we do this to have fun with our dogs. I guess that's another reason to like USDAA better.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Contact Sports Agility - USDAA - April 25 & 26, 2009

Weird weekend for us. I had company this weekend that may have thrown Ruby off slightly and the weather was just gross and cold. Other than that it was a blast and all my favorite people were at this trial. =)

Ruby went 8 for 10 and had six of those runs on Saturday. She did start getting freaked out again by all the whistles and buzzers during the games but came around during the Standard and Jumpers classes to be more like her usual self and not so slow and worried.

We finished her Starters Jumpers (3rd and 1st Places), Starters Snooker (1st place) and Starters Pairs titles this weekend. She also had clean runs in Round One of Steeplechase ~ but was slow and choking on a Liver Lady treat right before we went into the ring. Oops! though she picked it up at the end ~ and Grand Prix, which was a tough course. She also picked up her first Advanced Gamblers and Advanced Standard Q's taking 2nd Place in both.

I may have to try USDAA outside again where the sounds aren't going to echo as much and see if that helps keep her more motivated during the games. She did great last September in Wilmot so maybe we'll try that one again.

Paw Power Blues - Merrillville, IN - April 18 & 19, 2009

We finally got some nice weather leading up to this trial. Unfortunately, it made it very warm and humid inside the facility on Friday when we unloaded the equipment. It carried over into Saturday and they finally turned the air on for Sunday.

Ruby ran very well at this trial; our goal was just to break our NQ curse at this facility. We had some close runs last year but no Q's. Last year I was a little emotionally distraught, however this year was quite the opposite. Ruby was fast and happy and so was I. =)

Saturday we just had one tiny problem in each run. In STD I pulled her out of the weaves by getting way too far ahead of her and crossing, it was almost like I was running backwards. I can't blame her for that one. In JWW she dropped a bar - she NEVER drops bars - and looking at the video she just took off WAY too early for the jump.

Sunday we had two nice runs and Ruby smoked the STD course! She placed 3rd and ran it 24 seconds under SCT at 4.55 YPS! JWW was another fun course and she was clean for QQ #15. We're getting close and have a bunch of AKC trials coming up in May. I can't wait! =)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Glen Carbon - GSLAC - April 11 & 12, 2008

After getting my car repaired last Friday morning, the pups and I headed down to Glen Carbon for two days of a three-day trial. I met up with Tammy and she and I grabbed dinner at Zapatas, a Mexican Restaurant right near the hotel. I highly recommend it if you're ever in the area. Really good food and they have different things on the menu. Nancy also joined us and most of our conversation turned to Vizsla talk and breeding and bloodlines; what we like, what we don't like, etc. It's really cool listening to them and I'm learning a lot. No snipe-y heads or gay tails! Yuck!

This trial was indoors at a soccer facility on turf. Ruby hasn't run on turf for over a month so I thought it would be interesting to see how she adjusted. The turf also wasn't like the turf we normally run on. This was a very tight AstroTurf instead of the longer plastic faux grass with the black rubber beads. She did seem a little hesitant on our first run on Saturday which was Standard. I read the running order wrong at the gate and almost missed our run (turns out there was another Ruby toward the end of the 24" dogs which I thought was us ~ oops!). It wasn't a tough course to remember but it was tight in some spots. Not a big deal but she had a slight bobble as she misread a front cross and ran with me right by the aframe instead of taking it.

The rest of the course she ran beautifully even getting a tight turn off a jump to the table. Most dogs went straight for the DW as the jump faced it and their handlers tried sloppy, backing up front crosses but I just hung back and indicated a jump/wrap to the table. I made sure she hit the yellow on the DW as it was a similar set-up as the Challengers Round at Nationals (DW/jump to finish) that got a lot of dogs blowing their contacts. I won't mention who got away with the blatant bad call that Sherry Porter made in the 24" class that day. This dog jumped clear over the yellow, not even a toe on the red line and she didn't call it. She just stared and it looked like she thought about it but her hands never went up! The dog ended up winning the class. Not good...if you're going to set up that kind of challenge in your course design you better get your A-- there to judge it!

We then had a nice, big running JWW course by Blair Kelly. He's a really nice but tough judge and likes to analyse the results on his courses. I've heard he's a mathematician or something. Ruby did really well and had adjusted to the turf though I have to work on where I set her up as we had a slow start off the line. It was a tunnel start and I could have/should have set her up further back but she's been acting up on the start line these last few trials; not sitting where I tell her, throwing her body around and barking at me. She's nuts! She placed 4th in JWW.

Saturday night the three of us went out for dinner again and Whitney joined us for sushi at Nori in Edwardsville. Good stuff and I'm glad she came out with us. It was a lot of fun! =)

Sunday was another good day with lots of straight lines on both courses. If you couldn't get there, you were in trouble. Ruby placed 2nd in Standard and 3rd in JWW for QQ Number 14. Now we just need a couple of good weekends...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

NAC - Concord, NC - March 27 - 29, 2009

Nationals!!!!!!!!! Wow! All I can say is it was very exciting to be a part of such a great group of dogs and handlers. It was a great facility and the surface, though interesting, red North Carolina clay, the dogs seemed to love it! Ruby did very well at her first National event and I couldn't be more proud of her.

On Friday for State Team competition she was 11th overall in the 24" division after Round 1. In Round 2 she had a wrong course that was my fault as I was pushing her a bit for speed. Patience...but the rest of her run was lovely. :-)

For the National Agility Championships on Saturday and Sunday, of the three vizslas competing she had the fastest time in Round 1 (Standard) and Round 3 (Hybrid) and posted the 2nd fastest time in Round 2 (Jumpers) because she had some wide turns. As she missed her contact on the DW in Round 1 (that's a fault and it cost us 18 points) she ended up 49th out of 123 dogs in the 24" jump height.

It was a great experience and we had a lot of fun! I can't wait until next year. I'll put up a link to the video...if I ever get it from BowWow Video...

And here it is:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Louisville, KY - March 13 - 15, 2009

I've been pretty busy and haven't had time to update the blog. I guess the long trips are wearing on me and I didn't feel like doing the write up! I'm just going to be brief here on Louisville since we're leaving for Nationals tomorrow.

We drove down on Thursday to do three days of the trial. I entered Ruby in the ISC classes as well as Standard and Jumpers.

Friday: Standard was an awesome course and Ruby took 3rd place. JWW we had trouble right at the start: Ruby took an off-course jump instead of the tunnel (obstacle #2) I don't know what that was all about. Then immediately we were in ISC JWW, no break. My understanding is that they are NOT supposed to start ISC Classes until the regular AKC classes are finished. She was a little slow and probably tired as well. We were clean though and she placed 4th.

Saturday: Another Q in Standard and a very nice run. JWW again she takes an off-course (tunnel this time) don't know why as I called her THREE times getting progressively louder. She pretty much gave me the finger and went into the tunnel anyway. ISC Standard, again run at the same time as regular JWW. It looked like a tricky course but it actually ran really well. Our only problem was that I tried to rear cross right before the A-frame. I NEVER rear-cross contacts so she bailed. We earned a refusal but we completed the obstacle and finished the course very nicely.

Sunday: Another wonderful fast Standard run; she placed 2nd only 1.11 seconds behind Preacher. I was very proud of her! =) JWW we finally got a Q! She was fifth overall but she went pretty wide in some spots as I didn't get information to her early enough. It was another QQ (Lucky #13) and I'm very happy with how well she did all weekend.

We leave for Nationals tomorrow afternoon and I'm getting really excited. Updates when we get back.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lots of Updates

It's been really busy so not much time to blog but lots of good stuff.

Blitzen at IKC ~ February 21 & 22. Ruby had some good runs the first day but had a lot of problems with the surface. It was pretty slippery. It was so hard to watch her trying to run fast yet having a hard time staying on her feet. We NQ'd on both runs the first day but she QQ'd on Sunday to make up for it. She had a nice 3rd place run in Jumpers and won her class in Standard. That's QQ #11!

Smack Dab in Naperville, IL ~ February 27 - March 1. She had some great runs Friday and Saturday. Sunday was kind of a mess (all me) but she was working great for me and as always trying her heart out. I love my little red-headed girl! =) On Friday she QQ'd and that makes #12!

Though the trial was long it was great catching up with everyone and hanging with people I haven't seen in a while. Katie and Fergus looked great this weekend, finishing his AXJ title. Ashlee and Spirit QQ'd on Sunday and had some awesome runs all weekend. It was great having Julia and Darby back - next time we'll be putting a bet on all front crosses! =) Of course hanging with Whit and Grant - the Lab Collectors - was fun as always. Go Pants! And Whitney and Rumor are really starting to come together as a team.

In a week we leave for Louisville, KY. I'm really looking forward to this trial. Should be a lot of fun and Ruby will be back on dirt ~ her favorite running surface! I entered her in ISC Classes to prep for State Team Competition at Nationals. I've also entered River in his first Rally trial and I think he'll do great.

River and Zoey hanging out at the Naperville trial.

Quick update: River did NOT get into the Rally trial in Louisville. Onofrio didn't get his entry before the trial closed. I don't know why, maybe something with the Post Office but I definitely mailed it on time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quick Update on River

Yesterday in the Beginner Puppy Class Dana told me that River is ready for the Advanced Puppy Class as he can run short sequences already. Eight months old and he's WAY ahead of the curve. I've very proud of my boy! =)

So in last night's class he was great. He's getting very confident on running the dogwalk with some good speed. I can sequence three to four obstacles together for him such as jump, tunnel, dogwalk, tire or jump into the weaves to another jump. He's doing fantastic and is such a happy boy. Unfortunately, I didn't get any video of him this week - not sure why - but I hope to get some soon. I may have to have Dude's mom, Emily tape us and I can return the favor to her.

Another thing that Dana and I talked about was his problem turning to the left. He'll let me stretch him but as I said before he was having problems with turning to the left for rear crosses and still isn't comfortable turning around on the dogwalk if I ask him to turn left. Turning right is no problem for either the dog walk or rear crosses. She asked if he's been adjusted and of course he hasn't. He's a puppy so I never thought he'd need it although with as hard as he is on his body and as rough as he plays I wouldn't be surprised if something is out of alignment. Looks like I'll need to put a call in to Dr. Mayer for him.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nothing to report...

It's been a dead zone lately as far as agility trials go so we've just been concentrating on training. River has been awesome in class, such a good boy. Ruby has been great as well. She's back to her loud, speedy self in class and has had awesome 2o/2o positions on the DW and teeter. Her DW speed is also back to where it was before the pee incident in Lake St. Louis. See below:

If you look up 'mortified' in the dictionary next to it you'll see this picture:

Kurt has been awesome in helping me make Ruby faster. She's fast as it is but using my voice can help her turn more quickly and makes her much more responsive. We still have a long way to go with making her turns tighter. Mostly it's my timing as we really haven't been in Excellent that long, only a year, and she's gotten considerably faster as she's learned to love the game. At home I've been training both of them on end position with the travel plank my dad made me. I can lie it flat or pull the legs out and it mimics the angle of the end of the DW. Right now it's the pups fav thing to do (can't beat anything that involves lots of cheese! :)) We also work one-jump stuff every day in the basement and whomever gets left upstairs to wait their turn throws a very vocal temper-tantrum!

I've also been doing some strengthening exercises with both of them for their rear. River I'm not too worried about as he has an explosive jump and his little legs are very muscular for such a young pup. I can't wait to see him do some dock diving this summer - should be a hoot! I'm mostly working on stretching his sides so that he can turn more evenly. He turns great to the right but not to the left and he had some issues doing that on the DW.

I have class with both dogs tomorrow night and I'll try to get some video of River. I've been teaching him the rear cross and he's been doing great crossing from my right side and switching to my left but going left to right has been a little hard for him. I don't know if it's due to his having a hard time turning to the left or if it's something that I'm doing. I did eventually get him to do a rear cross but it was more of a flip, like they showed in the "Pigs Fly" article in Clean Run this month and I had to help him quite a bit. I also could only do it on the flat, where he was having no problem doing the right turn rear cross over a small jump. I'm going to have Dana look at it for me tomorrow night.

We have two days of trialing at the IKC Show in Chicago this weekend and I'll update on that as well. I've entered Ruby in the FAST class this time and I'm hoping we get at least one leg. That would be nice. =)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Scott County Kennel Club - Jan. 30th & Feb. 1st, 2009

So I do want to start this post off by saying that for the entire four days of trialing I was without my agility bag. I forgot it, just left it in the kitchen all ready to go and I didn't realize it until I started bringing stuff in for the Lake St. Louis trial. I didn't have my soccer shoes, Ruby's special treats, her vitamins/supplements, out First Aid Kit and my camera. Thank God Tammy got a new camera and taped our runs in Lake St. Louis. Anyway, I just felt off the entire time, like I was forgetting something, which I had. We kinda lost our mojo.

After what happened on Friday in the Standard ring I was a little worried about how Ruby would be on the dogwalk. That wasn't really the issue however as it was more like: who is this dog next to me? She was nervous and worried, carrying her tail tightly between her legs. I haven't seen her like that since the last Fourth of July when our red-necks neighbors were blowing off M-80's! A huge difference from the dog I had on Thursday night.

We had Standard first on Saturday - a tricky course from Tom Slattery. I usually try to get her excited by asking her to speak. She tried but a bark just wouldn't come out of her. She did bark when I left her on the start line and was off like a rocket when I released her. The course started jump to dogwalk & she wasn't hesitant like I thought she'd be but she did just run through the yellow. No stop but not creeping either. I ended up being behind her a couple of times during the run as I just wasn't sure how to handle her nor did I know how she would be running. She did have a gorgeous triple to weaves entry and I got behind her again when she hit the aframe. With her running aframe I need to be ahead of her to push, front cross, rear cross or pull. She almost took an off-course jump but a hard call saved it and we qualified. It was by no means a pretty run but only three dogs in our class qualified and we took 3rd place. I was very proud of her for putting her game face on and gave her lots of "good girl's" and "awesome job" and gave her a lot of super high value treats. 'Puppy Crack' as Kim and I call them.

Jumpers was next - a fairly easy course from Lisa Haidle-Potts with a high Q rate. She still had her tail tucked and again after this run I treated her HEAVILY and gave her lots of praise. I do think she could have been faster though and we qualified but I honestly don't remember the course at all unless I look at it on paper. I was pretty beat on Friday night so I took a Tylenol PM to guarantee some sleep; it made me a little spacey however.

Sunday I pretty much had my girl back. She was excited and barking for our Standard run. The course Lisa had for us was pretty tricky with a lot of wraps and tight angles. We were doing great until the end. I just didn't see her taking an off course tunnel after the table. The very last time I walked it I found out it was a sit on the table and thought "Oh I can do a lead out push to the chute and she won't even look at the tunnel." Somehow I forgot about that during our run and tried to front cross which was late and the backwards motion just sent her right into the off-course tunnel. Even tried to call her off it but she just looked at me and went in anyway. Oh I'm still kicking myself for forgetting to lead out from the table...

The Jumpers course that Tom designed was a bit trickier than Lisa's and quite a few dogs missed their weave entrances. Ruby didn't however and was she great though at one point I could hear River barking during our run. We were crated right by the Jumpers ring and he could see us at the start line. I momentarily forgot were I was for a second as Ruby and I were running but we pulled it out and took 3rd place. So I think I have my dog back and Shawna was kind enough to tape our runs for us so I'll post the links when she uploads them. All I know is do not take Tylenol PM two days in a row during a trial. Oh and don't forget your agility bag. =)

Tri-County Agility Club - Jan. 29 - 30, 2009

It was great getting to sleep in a bit on Thursday and then driving down to Lake St. Louis for an evening agility trial - Excellent Only - felt kinda weird. A very nice facility, this trial was held at the National Equestrian Center on packed dirt.

We had Standard first, judged by Laura English. It looked like a fun course and when I got Ruby to the line she was INSANE, pulling me and barking to get into the ring. She barely held her start line and was off like a red bullet. She did hold her DW contact however ~ what a good girl! She ended up winning the 24" class easily, over a second faster than the 2nd place dog and earning 42 MACH points! She ran it at 4.23 YPS! I'm so proud of this run and when Tammy puts it up on youtube for me, I'll provide a link.

Jumpers was next, a really nice course from Lavonda Herring, and again Ruby almost broke her start line. We had a gorgeous run going but I called her too early for a turn and pulled her off a jump. Once again I blow a QQ! Oh well, even with me having to turn her and resend her over the jump she ran it well under SCT at 5.27 YPS.

Friday was an interesting day. Excellent ran last so the dogs all sat in their crates for an hour and a half before they got to do anything. We had a perfect, fast run going...only the dogwalk, tunnel, weaves and a jump sequence left to go. It was pretty much in the bag. As Ruby came down the DW she slowed down and I thought to myself, WOW! I'm going to have two beautiful DW's this weekend! But as she slowed down to the yellow, she stopped and peed on the end. I had turned to do a front cross and started to release her when the judge said "Hold on." I said, "Oh crap! She's peeing!" and picked her up. Lavonda called for the clean up crew and I stood there holding Ruby and talking to the judge. I apologized to her and she said that it was no big deal, they're dogs and she thought Ruby just got excited and just couldn't hold it. Anyway I was mortified and Lavonda just told me some funny stories about what her dogs have done to her and I carried her out of the ring after apologizing again.

Oddly enough this isn't the first time Ruby has done this. Those of you that know her or have been in class with her know that she's done this on Dana's dogwalk a number of times. I don't know why she chooses this spot to go when she has to go or why she does it. And yes, the times that she's done it I have pottied her before class so I have no idea why she suddenly gets the urge to go when she's on the dogwalk. It's not like she's gulping down water in between runs and before this run at the trial she wouldn't even drink any water. Very strange.

Needless to say neither one of us were mentally there for Jumpers. It wasn't a great course to begin with and I cued her too early for a turn after a jump which she ended up missing. It caused her to slow down quite a bit and her weaves were methodical. The middle part of the course we did well and then she took an off-course near the end I didn't anticipate at all. At that point it didn't really matter and we headed out to Kewanee soon after. The photographer did get some great shots of her during her Standard run though. I'll post on Kewanee soon as Saturday posed some very interesting problems for us.