We headed out to Concord, NC Friday straight from work and arrived at the arena around 7:30pm with enough time to get in and set up crates. I also wanted to bring the dogs in so they could both reacclimate to the sights. Miles was a bit concerned when we first walked in, but as soon as he saw the agility equipment he forgot all about it and became a bouncing fool. Rue, as expected, was completely unphased. After setting up, the pups and I headed to our hotel and were surprised to enter into a smokey, loud, dog and people filled lobby 😦 I couldn’t get to my room quick enough only to find that it was a wheelchair accessible room complete with the tallest toilet I’ve ever seen and a large seat in the tub/shower. The bathroom door also didn’t stay open by itself so I needed to prop it open with a chair just to make the room seem a wee bit bigger, sigh.
I was rudely awoken at 5am by what had to have been a 5000lb person moving around incessantly in the room above me. This got Rue very excited and she took herself off the bed grabbed a toy and preceded to whine and wag at the door. Begrudgingly, I got up and decided to start the day. Of course, even with all of that extra time, I got to the arena later than I had wanted to. They had two rings going at once and, you guessed it, I was supposed to be in both right away. I managed to walk the Excellent Standard course for Miles and the Open JWW course for Rue in about 10 minutes and then got Miles out to run.
The Exc. Standard course by Christie Bowers was very fun with room to open up and only a few tricks. Miles absolutely nailed the course to come in 3rd out of 45 entries at over 4yps! This made MX leg # 5 and gave us 18 more points.
I then had to litterally throw him in his crate and bust it over to Ring 2 with Rue for Open JWW. I thought Dan Butcher had some really interesting courses this weekend and this was one of them. I wasn’t sure what she was going to think of running indoors or even if she would run based on her varying responses last weekend. Much to my surprise, she came off the line fast and didn’t slow down once. She had beautiful weaves too (last weekend she popped out in the middle 2/3)! This earned her OAJ with a 2nd place finish at a blistering 4.7yps! Her fastest trial run to date 🙂 Even better, Rue tugged with her new toy before and after her run! She wouldn’t tug as we got closer to our turn, so I did switch to food once I could tell her enthusiasm might have been waning. Furthermore, NO MORE CONFLICTS!!
Pretty quickly I had to walk for the 20″ Exc. Standard class. I didn’t plan on doing anything different with Rue than I did with Miles so I just hoped that she’d have fun with this course. The start was tire-dogwalk, which was similar how it was last weekend when she refused the dogwalk. This time there was no refusal, but she didn’t explode off the start like I had hoped and her dogwalk was half trotting. She picked up speed and seemed very happy….until she saw the teeter. Immediately she went to visit the judge, then found a child standing outside the ring to go see. She came back and I tried to get her on again, but she took off to visit a ring steward. I got her back again, she took herself in the tunnel and as she was heading towards the teeter but before she could refuse it again, I told her to sit and then went on with the course. I wanted her to do something correct and I also wanted to reward her going towards the teeter by relieving the pressure. She finished the course very fast and again had a brilliant set of weaves.
Lastly I had to rush over to walk for Exc. JWW. I got half way through my first walk through and they whistled us off the course, gah! Fortunately, the judge was nice and he allowed me to walk with the 20″ dogs and put Miles at the start of that class. I admit I was a bit consumed with what I was going to do with Rue that I didn’t give this course the attention it needed. With a QQ on the line, I really should have concentrated more on what I was doing. He got the opening brilliantly and then all of a sudden I became afraid that he’d take the start jump again that I pulled him off the preceding jump, argh! The rest was perfect except he pulled off the finish jump…dunno why?! He had fun though 🙂
With all of that rushing around, I was done for the day at 11:30! Since I had planned on it being a fairly early day I had gone ahead and found a park online called Reedy Creek Park in Charlotte that promised to have nice trail running/hiking for me and the dogs. On our way there, I got a bit lost and ended up having to backtrack a little. In doing so, I unfortunately witnessed a very fresh accident that no authorities had responded to yet. It appeared that an SUV when through a brick wall and hit another car and someone had either been thrown from one of the vehicles or bystanders had removed the person from a vehicle. It was clear that there were plenty of folks responding, so I elected not to interfere. Ugh, I hope everyone was okay 😦 Anyway, I finally did find the park and was excited to explore the trails on such a beautiful afternoon. We got about 15 minutes into it when I decided to check to make sure my car key was still in my pocket…..nope. OMG, you have to be kidding me!! Lord I had no idea where I was, where I could have lost it, or even really knew exactly which trails I had turned on. I immediately started backtracking and found a young family to whom I explained my misfortune. They felt sorry for me and relayed that I probably would never find my key out there in the woods (um, thanks for the vote of confidence folks!). However they graciously offered for me to use their cell phone (mine was in my car of course) and to help me in my plight. Their young kids were actually excited for the scavenger hunt 🙂 We ended up scouring the trails for over an hour when I expressed that I wish I had taught my dogs to track. Suddenly I started paying attention to the times that either dog decided to stop and sniff. Mostly Rue was searching the sides of the trails for who knows what, but finally Miles put his nose down. I stopped and what do you know….about 3 feet in front of me, in the middle of the trail, laying face up, was MY KEY!! I quickly ran back and hugged/thanked the family for taking so much time to help me and offered to do something for them, but they insisted that they were just happy to help. Phew, what a day!
Since Rue moved up in JWW from yesterday, and they were running small-tall, I didn’t need to get to the arena right away today. I ended up arriving around 9am and glad that I did because the Standard course was moving very fast. I got to watch the 16″ dogs to get a bit of a feel for it. My plan for today was to get Rue on the teeter and then leave the ring. What do you know, Dan Butcher put the teeter as the next-to-last obstacle, wow! My luck really had turned 🙂 Unfortunately, Rue was not too thrilled with the course and moved very slowly throughout most of the run. She trotted even more slowly on the dogwalk, but did have some areas of speed. I got her down the line to the teeter fairly well (although I wish I had just serped it b/c I think the 2 fronts slowed her down), but as soon as she saw the teeter her nose went straight into the astroturf….for 17 seconds (1 second of processing for each of the preceding obstacles I guess, hehe)….and then she looked up at me as if to say “hi mom, I’ll do the teeter now, lets go” and over it she went and then flew to the finish jump for a mega reward. I was so proud of her for doing it, but also definitely concerned about what’s going on.
Miles’ run was just gorgeous though! He turned in his fastest Standard run to date on this course at 4.25yps for MX leg #6, 20 points, and 3rd place! I can see areas where we could have gone even faster too, but I don’t like to push for tight turns on the slippery turf.
Things were moving quickly today, so it wasn’t long before we were walking for Excellent JWW 20″. I was excited for this course by Christie Bowers for both dogs. There were lots of fast parts and only a few areas of twirling for me 🙂 This was Rue’s first time in Excellent, but I was confident that this was a course that we could execute well. I was right 🙂 She still was slower than normal, but I expected that based on the last two runs being Standard runs with a lot of stress. She ran with me though and only trotted once (I think she saw something/someone outside of the ring as she was going into the tunnel and felt some conflict because she came out trotting). I could have done a better job with showing more motion in the pinwheels, but we ended up finishing under course time for her 1st AXJ leg in 2nd place at 4.1yps.
Seeing how well Rue handled this course, I was even more excited to run Miles on it. Well, he crushed it 🙂 Again, not pushing for tight turns so we lost some speed there, but still ran it in 5.25yps. This made QQ #3 and MXJ leg # 6! Unfortunately a lot of fast dogs Q’d in this run, so we didn’t get a placement. However, we still got 12 points 🙂 I’m so proud of Miles for doing so well on this surface in this high pressure environment! He was the fastest non-BC in this large 24″ class all weekend! He really is becoming unflappable.
We now have two months until our next AKC trial, which I’m happy about. I may enter Rue in a NADAC or CPE trial in the interim if I think it will help us on our journey, but for now I’m concentrating on training with her. We’ve got some exciting seminars coming up including Silvia Trkman this weekend and Carrie Jones in a few weeks. Then we’re heading to Tampa, FL for an Awesome Paws camp with Linda Mecklenburg and Wendy Pape in February, woot!