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.