Youngsville Agility Club AKC trial 3/27-28/10: Miles gets QQ #7!

We participated in local AKC trial this weekend, but just Miles was entered.  It was a nice low entry trial since many folks had headed to Tulsa for Nationals.  This is Miles’ favorite outdoor site so I was looking forward to fast runs and hopefully lots of points 🙂  Again my goal for this weekend was speed….accuracy at speed would be an added bonus!

Saturday:

I had heard from the folks entered on Friday that this judges’ courses were uber tough, but I tried to not let that bother me on the way to the show.  When I arrived I grabbed the course maps and what do you know, they weren’t bad at all.  In fact, both Std. and JWW had some really nice areas to open up in, yay!

I debated about how to start with Miles in Standard….with needing to manage the aframe exit a bit, it was necessary to lead out just a bit.  Ideally I would have handled it with the aframe on my left and pushed out to the 270, but that would have required a longer lead out.  So keeping Miles in mind, I elected to lead out just 2 steps and put a FC after the frame into the 270.  He had a nice hit in the contact, but I almost lost him to the offcourse jump right in front of us.  He readjusted, but then had a fly off (ba rely but it got called–a first for us) on the teeter and little miscommunication with my FC after the teeter.  I’ve been practicing my handling off of both the aframe and the teeter, but these offcourses were really pretty close to the obstacle, so maybe I’ve been making it too easy in practice 😉  Anyway, I thought his speed in this course was really good.  I got nice lateral off the poles, but then had another late FC with caused him to tick and then knock a bar.  He had a really nice table though, woot! 3.9yps with the sloppy FC’s!

During the long break between runs I took Rue out to play.  We did a lot of the things we used to do before she started trialing.  We played on/off switch games near the ring with her leash as a tug.  We did lots of fun tricks for cookies….I even taught her a new trick, “leap”, which she really digs 🙂  I also worked her on the practice jump to continue to figure out what might be our best startline routine.  She seemed to really like it if I slowly crept away from her in a lead out and said “reaaaadyyyyyy????  OKAY!”.  Something to continue to practice anyway.

JWW was a really fun course that allowed for lots of speed if you set the lines correctly.  I elected to start with Miles which forced a rear in the beginning, but still allowed me to get into position for the remaining FCs.  He was absolutely HAULING on this course!  Unfortunately he knocked a bar coming down the final stretch.  Will need to watch the video a couple more times to see if it was me or just a fluke, but either way he had a BLAST!  This was a 5.7yps run and gave him the fastest non-BC time even including the 20″ dogs!

I stayed for a while after his run to wait for his time and to watch my friends run their small dogs.  I again took Rue out to work on some stuff.  This time we did mini recalls. loose leash walking, and other attention exercises all intertwined with getting her revved up to tug on her leash.  She had a blast and amazingly she was so focused on me and didn’t even try to visit other dogs after that.  Makes me rethink her warm up routine.  I had been taking her out just before her run, getting her jazzed up with her tug or cookies and then just going in the ring.  Perhaps she needs more of the attention stuff beforehand to establish more of a connection with me and to put her in “working mode”.  Again, something to experiment with…

Sunday:

JWW was first and again I planned to start with Miles.  I told myself that I just needed to run fast and show him where I wanted to go and to not worry about the very tempting offcourse tunnel.  He did a fantastic job with that piece, but then we had a little miscue at the serp which then put me very far behind handling the jump after the tunnel.  He was very smart and sent out to that jump and saved my butt 🙂  Q and a 2nd place for the Mr. for 16 points!  5.2yps 🙂

In between runs I took Rue for a long walk with some of my friends and just spent some time sitting with her.  I also spoke to a woman who was selling really really cool braided slip leads and decided to see if Rue might like one of those.  She had some that were really fuzzy like fur with a nice wide collar part to help protect the neck.  I really wanted to get one for both dogs, but they were kind of pricey.  Rue *loved* the furry leash and tugged with vigor on it, so I got it.  It’s black and white and the collar part is like a cow print, hehe.  The woman told me that every time someone bought a new leash from her and took their dog into the ring with it the first time, they Q’d.  Well perfect, Miles needs a QQ so why not try it! 

So with his new black and white furry boa lead, Miles and I walked into the Standard ring with pride.  I was conservative with my handling in the beginning as I wanted to make sure he didn’t fly off the teeter (#4 obstacle).  He did it perfectly and then we were off to the races.  He was brilliant in this run and finished in just over 43sec (4.2yps) to take 1st place for 38 points!  In fact, the next fastest dog was 47 sec and his time was up there with the winning 20″ dogs!!  Go Miles!!  This made QQ #7 overall and #4 for Nationals which we just found out are in Perry, GA next year…..YAHOO!!  

So now we have a weekend off–going to the mountains for some R&R–and then traveling to SC for 2 days of AKC.

Danville Kennel Club AKC trial 3/19-20/10: Miles earns his MX and gets QQ #6!

Wow, I’m getting bad!  Here’s the report from last weekend’s trial 🙂 

On Friday we headed to a new site for us in Providence, NC.  Indoors on dirt is typically ideal for my pups, but this place is a very active horse arena with horses still in the stalls for most of the day both days.  Amazingly this did not phase Miles at all!  I guess my boy really is growing up, hehe.  Rue, on the other hand, was very distracted by the smells and sites in this facility.

Excellent Standard ran first.  I only entered Rue in JWW for this weekend since I wasn’t sure at the time how last weekend would have gone with putting her back in the Standard classes.  In any case, my goals for both dogs were speed and that’s it.  I felt that the Charlotte weekend did a little damage to Miles’ confidence with the call-off, the lead outs, and the conservative handling….so I wanted to make sure I kept it very fun for him.  And with lil’ Rue, I was eager to continue to work on our start line routine.  Miles had a fantastic Std run at 4.2yps and rewarded me with his MX!!  He actually won the class and earned himself 42 points, wow!

JWW was even more fun.  I challenged myself to make all FCs and I did it.  Miles was smokin’ fast and turned in a 5.4yps run to earn 4th place, 12 points and QQ #6!  He even saved my butt at the end because my frontcross was totally in the wrong place 😉

Rue and I apparently had a different agenda.  I had her tugging on her leash really good as we went into the ring, but it got wrapped around her leg.  The second it took for me to untangle it was enough for us to lose that connection and then had to wait a bit on the line.  She still took off rather well, but I sent her out to a jump so I could get into position for a FC and that stressed her into sniffing 😦  After a visit to the finish jump and to a ring steward, we got it together for a really nice rest of the run!

Saturday brought two more great courses by Sionag Black.  I was excited to continue my push for speed without regard to accuracy with Miles.  An unfortunate miscue off the teeter led to a refusal, but he really blew it out in that run!  If not for the time wasted at that jump and a few seconds delaying his down on the table this would have been a sub 40 sec. run.  As it was, he still had the 2nd fastest time for the class 🙂

JWW was a nice course which allowed big dogs room to open up.  Rue’s run was first and again we lost a tugging connection on the way into the ring.  She went off the line well, but didn’t like that I didn’t tell her where we were going out of the tunnel so she went to visit a spectator.  We had an offcourse on her way back that I ignored and I got her moving a bit better.  She slowed to sniff the dirt in the poles, but never truly stopped.  I’m hoping we will work through these issues soon, but I may need to stop trialing her for a while to add more positive associations in with agility.  I will see how she does over the next few weeks before our next trial and make the call after that.

Miles, OTOH, was brilliantly fast in this run.  I should have done more of a lateral send out of the tunnel because my forward motion sent him off course, but he was movin’!  I also pulled him off the 3rd to last jump, but that was just sloppy handling.  Very happy with his speed on this one!  He had the 2nd fastest time among some very fast dogs on this run even with the extra yardage of the off course!!

This weekend I’ve just entered Miles locally for two days of AKC.  It’s at his favorite outdoor venue, so look for some super fast runs!

Charlotte Dog Training Club AKC trial 3/12-14/10: Rue gets her AX and Miles earns QQ #5!

A little delayed on this trial post due to a new computer and issues uploading my videos to YouTube, gah.  Things finally seem to be working, so I will give this a shot 🙂 

The pups and I headed to Charlotte last Thursday evening for 3 days of AKC agility.  I was looking forward to seeing some friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and I just generally love this trial.  They always have great judges and awesome prizes.  Things typically run very efficiently as well. 

Furthermore, I had set this trial as a goal date for putting Rue back into the Standard classes.  She had been showing me that she was comfortable with the teeter in several different settings, so I was visualizing nice drivey teeters for her.  I was also excited to see if we could get a good startline routine going.  The weekend before last I brought Rue to a local CPE trial to give us an opportunity to work on this in a low stress environment.  What I found was that if I crated her very close to the ring, took her out 10 minutes before her run to potty and get some food rewards for the practice jump, let her rest and take her out just before run and jazz her up with her fav tug toy then she was really excited to run!  I was excited to try out our new routine here in Charlotte.

Friday:

No video for today unfortunately 😦  I entered both dogs in FAST and JWW, but only Miles in Standard today as I didn’t want to overdo it with the baby dog.  Exc. FAST was first and I planned a fun opening which went easily in the send bonus.  Miles handled it all like a champ and also had a gorgeous aframe in the opening.  He won the class with 74 points!

Lil’ Rue came out next for Open FAST.  I got her jazzed up with her bunny tug outside of the ring, then stole the toy, ran in the ring while simultaneously removing and dropping her leash.  We had a nice transition into running the course and she was wicked fast.  She did a 2 strided a-frame with incredible air time and landed in the yellow, whoa!  Unfortunately the send involved a forced layer and she did the offcourse jump (she actually did the Excellent send, hehe).  I was very proud of this run.

Next was Miles’ standard run.  Randy Reed typically has really nice big dog courses, but this one was a little tricky.  Miles handled a short lead out very well and flew over the dogwalk and nearly into an offcourse tunnel.  I probably didn’t decel or he was too far ahead to read it and I ended up calling him off the tunnel very very hard 😦  He had his snout in the tunnel hole and I admitedly thought we got called for the offcourse.  I was so pissed at myself for calling him off that hard that I forgot to handle and pulled him around a jump with ultimately NQ’d us.  Again he had a brilliant a-frame in this run.

Last to go was Exc. JWW and both dogs were entered.  It was a pretty tricky course by Tracy Hanna with 4 boxes that we had to navigate through, bleh.  I decided to do a lead out to a lateral send with Miles and then planned to just try to show the correct line of motion through the rest of the boxes.  He did a fantastic job and took 2nd place earning himself 12 points!  However, at only 4.75yps, I’m not sure where we lost time on this course…definitely bummed to not have video to look at his striding. 

Rue and I did the same warmup/startline routine as we had done for FAST, but this time unfortunately we went to the line too soon and we disconnected.  She took the first jump and then stopped to stare at a piece of bar tape that was hanging down off the second jump.  She stared at it for probably 4-5 seconds (again wish I had video), but then went on to blow the course away.  I think she probably would have had a time very close to Miles’ on this one if she hadn’t have stopped since her official time was 38 seconds 🙂

Saturday:

It poured rain over night so the fields were a bit sloppy today, but the air was brisk and the sun was shining so we were off to a good start!

Excellent FAST was first and I wanted to just try to rip it up with Miles and have a fun run since yesterday’s call off probably had caused him to slow down in JWW.  I left him in a stay and he really was moving out!  He had a fabulous send and we took 3rd place with 71 points.  I had to repeat the teeter since he got on it from the side at the pivot, silly boy, so that cost us time.

Open FAST was next and I was excited to see what Rue thought of yesterday’s runs as it would be evident in this run today.  I decided not to do the teeter in either FAST run just to keep it fun and motivating for her.  We started out great with good speed over the aframe, but then she started to slow down.  This is odd as the frame usually propels her into high gear, so I figured something was wrong.  Well 1 jump later and Rue took herself to poop, oops!  Poor little girl was so embarrassed 😦  I must say this was a first for me….hopefully I won’t have to revisit this again.

The day was running Small-Tall, so for the next two runs I knew that I’d have to run Rue before Miles.  I was a bit nervous about her Standard run as it was, but now even moreso due to the events of FAST, ack!  I forced myself to let it go and just visualize a happy dog who wants to do the teeter.  Well I guess it worked because she was brilliant!  We started out a bit slow and she was looking around and the judge and ring crew, but as soon as she hit the poles we were off to the races.  She had an amazing dogwalk and gorgeous teeter, yahoo!!  This earned her her 2nd AX leg and she got 1st place!

Next I got to run Mr. Miles.  I planned a lead out push past the 2nd jump, but I could tell he was not comfortable and he got up out of his sit so I just released him and did a forward motion front cross.  He was slow through the beginning of this course and then took 10 seconds to lie down on the table, sigh.  He managed to still make time and earned MX leg #9, but I was worried that something just wasn’t right with him.  Either it was still the call off from yesterday, or maybe it was too many lead outs, or maybe god forbid something physically awry.  He got 4th place and 4 measly points for this run, bleh.

The last run of the day was Exc. JWW.  The opening was a large circle of jumps and then a pull into a tunnel hole before opening up into a really fun a fast course.  Both dogs found the opening demotivating and Rue did some trotting, but then really opened up at the weaves.  This earned her MXJ leg #2 and 4 points 🙂

Miles and I managed to pull out a QQ with this run despite me nearly pulling him off the second-to-last jump.  He had an amazing save with that one!  I made sure to start with him on this course.  No placement, but 5.2yps and 11 points for my boy!

Sunday:

Even more rain overnight made for really sloppy fields this morning.  The club put a lot of mulch down which helped a bit, but wore down pretty quickly.  I knew that I wanted a motivating run with Miles, but also didn’t want to push too hard for speed for fear that he would get injured (his fall in Savannah really messed up his front end according to our massage therapist).  I led out about 1-2 steps just to shape his approach to the teeter a bit and he did a really nice job with his course.  I predicted that we’d have an issue with the rear at the jump before the poles and we did.  I need to learn to be more patient with those crosses and I also need to teach him to have more obstacle commitment in those scenarios.  Overall a great run!

Next was lil’ Rue’s turn to show me what she had for this course.  I decided to change my warm up a bit with her and instead of tugging outside the ring and just running in, I decided to engage her with the bunny tug and then transition her to tugging on her leash so that we could tug into the ring.  This seemed to work really really well for her as she didn’t trot once on this course.  She again had a brilliant teeter and awesome dogwalk despite me getting behind due to the soggy ground!  She actually beat Miles’ time by a fraction of a second on this run, wow!!  This earned her the AX title with another 1st place!!

Our last run of the weekend was a fun JWW course by Tracy Hanna.  I was psyched to not have to lead out with Miles and was looking forward to a really fun and fast run.  Miles looked great on this course, but I got a bit lost after the first tunnel and got caught a bit behind a wing which made me push into his line a bit and sent him offcourse, dang!  He recovered from that fine and really motored for the rest of the course 🙂

Rue’s run was pretty good, but there was a small delay at the start that caused us to disconnect and for her to stop tugging unfortunately.  I’m hoping that this was just a situational thing and that I’ll be able to use this routine with her in the future!  Overall a great run, but she had some trotting in the beginning.  This did earn her MXJ leg #3 and 4 more points.  She now has 17 points and will start going for QQ’s from here on out!  How did that happen so fast?!?!

Overall I’m pleased with my dogs’ performances at this trial.  Historically this has not been Miles’ favorite place and I need to remember a year ago here he couldn’t even go through the tire.  I do think that for the next few trials I need to just focus purely on speed for him and start with him instead of leading out.  I will NOT (I need to write this on my hand or something) call him off an offcourse that I’ve sent him to….I cannot.  It’s very deflating for him.  I was a bit caught up in the fact that he only needs one more MX leg for his title and I cannot focus on that.  If it’s speed that I want (and I desperately do) then I need to just focus on that.  His yps at this trial were definitely below average 😦  Granted I cannot base a trend on one weekend, but I do think I need to make a proactive attempt at correcting that possibility!  Miles had perfect aframes all weekend (5/5) so I can’t complain about that! 

Rue’s goals for the next couple of trials are speed and connection to me.  We will continue to work on our crazy warm up/startline routine as I really think she digs it 🙂  Our next trial, she is only entered in JWW and then she has 3 weeks off before we travel for 2 days of AKC in Columbia, SC.  She is entered in Standard there, yay!  It’s interesting to me that while it’s natural for her to run faster in class/practice when I have a reward on me, but she really really seems to dig the international style courses that we train on much more than these AKC type courses.  Something to think about as to why.  I would imagine it’s because the international style requires more quick send and chase type movements from the handler than a big ol’ pinwheel does.  I wonder how I can keep moving more in these trial situations.  Hmmmm….

Up next:  2 days of AKC indoors in a horse arena this weekend followed by Miles only in 2 days of AKC at his favorite trial location–Teamworks!  Then a couple of weeks off before heading out of town for more AKC agility!

Youngsville Agility Club AKC trial 2/27-28/10: Miles earns his MXJ!

Trying to catch myself up here….still need to blog about my time at camp and some of the training we’ve been doing, but for now it’s easier to just do my write up of last weekend’s trial.

Saturday:

Miles was entered in Std and JWW, while Rue was just entered in JWW.  I had been watching her closely all week and by Thursday she was really starting to act normally again and started back on her regular diet.  I debated about running her, but since I couldn’t get a refund and she was eating/drinking/acting normally with good energy to boot I figured why not?

Standard was first (well no, FAST was first…we didn’t get to Exc. Std until after 1pm, yikes) and with Laura English as a judge the courses were bound to be fun!  This one didn’t really have any tricks up it’s sleeve and I love a tunnel start, so I was excited to run it.  No major concerns, just push for speed and see what happens 🙂  Miles was off to the races and had a nice fast DW and beautiful weaves.  He allowed me to push hard on his line in the poles and we got a nice tight turn to the table.  As is his style, he did waste a few seconds lying down, grrrr.  After that things started to degrade.  I got stuck in the soft sand in the top corner after the chute and couldn’t get down the line to show proper decel, so Miles turned wide and knocked a bar.  Then he launched his aframe.  The rest was brilliant and he read the line after the teeter very well (it was a zig zag, not straight).  This was a 4yps run despite the wide turn and the seconds wasted on the table 🙂

It took about 4 hours to finish Exc./Open/Novice Std. before we could run JWW.  By now it was after 5pm, bleh, and they still had to run Open and Novice JWW after we finished.  I heard they didn’t get done until almost 8pm…I felt so bad for the Novice folks.  In any event this course was interesting.  It started with a large circle of 4 jumps with multiple off course tunnel options.  If you made it through that then there was a spot where two jumps were pushed together side by side that you needed to take at two different times on course.  A lot of dogs were taking the outside jump, but each time you wanted the inside jump.  I knew this start would be demotivating for both of my dogs, but hoped I could execute it with as much motion as possible.  Miles did okay, but we took a bar and he was definitely not too jazzed about the weird circle.  Since we had NQ’d I really ramped it up and went for a risky landing side FC after the double…a lot of folks put a FC on the flat between the triple and the double or tried a rear and the 2 jump thingie.  The rear didn’t work well at all and the FC on the flat wasted a lot of time.  I would have done that option however if we hadn’t have knocked the bar.  It was very fun to see that I actually could get there for the landing side FC and Miles was hauling butt down that line, fun!!

Seeing how Miles disliked the opening, I should have just planned to run a fun loop or something with Rue.  But I’m so bad at doing that…and certainly once I commit to running the course it is next to impossible for me to sway from that plan.  Well I think the fact that we had to walk out so far onto the course and then start facing the ring gate and the timer/scribe really blew her mind.  I was also on the line waaaay too early.  She refused the tunnel and then blatantly hated the big circle 😦  I got her perked up but then I think my late FC before the weaves demotivated her again….or the two jumps pushed together puzzled her.  She walked in the poles and then stopped to sniff.  We did eventually finish on a good note.  Of note, since she had been not too jazzed about food, I used frozen Bil Jac as her warm up treat and then used her pheasant wing bumper tug as her reward instead of food.  I was interested to see if that was rewarding enough for her, but only tomorrow’s run would tell me what she thought of that….

Sunday:

Exc. JWW was running first and still Tall-Small…nice for testing how Rue might handle the course if I get to run it with Miles first 🙂  This course looked to be a lot more fun than yesterday’s and I planned to do all rears for Mr. Big stride.  I figured I’d wing it based on how Rue was running as to whether I used FC’s or RC’s.  He ran great for me, but I could tell that he added a stride for each rear.  Don’t know if I would have gotten that with a FC or not or if was just my timing on the rears that caused him to slow down?!  We got 2nd place for this run, 18 points, and our MXJ!!

Poor Rue just wasn’t into it, unfortunately.  She showed promise off of the startline, but then started to slow at the weaves.  She probably was still moving okay until the pinwheel before the 2nd  tunnel.  She probably thought we were finished and then realized she had to keep going and stopped before the jump and then went off to sniff.  I got her back and we finished, but she was trotting.  I haven’t seen her run this consistently slow ever.  I’m hoping it’s just that she’s not back to 100% yet and/or being that it was super windy she may have been conflicted with all of the great sniffs out there.  I again used Bil Jac to warm up and her pheasant wing as a reward.  She was happy to do both…so we’ll see how she is at our next trial.

It was a couple of hours before Standard was ready to run.  I love love loved this course.  Laura always has these little twists that just make them fun to run.  Miles did great on this run and was really moving out.  He missed his aframe contact again, so I again just pushed it for the end.  I didn’t wait long enough for him to get into the poles before I started to head down the line which caused him to enter at pole 2.  I also left him on the table and he jumped off, silly.  Then I just didn’t support the double after the tunnel at the end, but just kept going.  He sure thought he was awesome in this run, haha!

So, we have some work to do on the aframe it seems!  He’s definitely going faster and I’m probably not being as patient on his frame which most likely is the route cause.  However, I’m going to work on some of Wendy Pape’s proofing exercises with both dogs for their contacts.  It ceratinly can’t hurt!  What I don’t want to do is slow this boy down!!

Up next:  CPE trial for Miss Rue next weekend.  We’re just entered 1 day in Level 1 so no teeter or weaves.  I thought it might be a good venue to do some fun, short, easy runs with her in a trial settting.  I’m hoping she thinks it’s as fun as I do!  Then off to Charlotte for 3 days of AKC!

SDTC AKC trial 2/19-21/10: Miles earns his OF and Rue nabs MXJ leg #1 with 9 points!!

Well I’m very behind on updating my blog.  I guess that’s what happens when you trial for three straight weekends, drive to Florida for a week, and have a very sick puppy.  So finally sitting down to try to gather my thoughts.  First off, Rue seems to be fine now thank goodness…more about my scare with her later.  I also plan to write about my time at Awesome Paws camp, but those memories are buried deep right now…..

Friday:

Got to Savannah around 11:30 pm after driving straight up from Tampa after the last day of camp.  I checked into my motel and was immediately feeling insecure about my choice of places to stay.  I was on the first floor with a door that opened to the outside.  The clientele outside my room were rather loud and obviously had been partying a bit.  I tried to quickly get everything including the dogs into the room and double locked the door.  The walls were paper thin and I couldn’t find a remote for the TV (and you couldn’t do anything but turn it on or off without a remote).  So I turned on my computer and played my Pandora radio to try to drown out the noise.  Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very well!

Thankfully the trial site was only about 2 miles away, so that somewhat made up for my less than stellar accomodations.  I searched for a good place to set up my tent and proceded to unpack and get things squared away.  I quickly found one of my friends and she helped me finish getting things set up and shaded properly…it was supposed to be a very sunny and rather warm weekend.  I was so involved with making sure we were set up that I nearly missed my walk-through for Open FAST.  I never really care about FAST anyway, but it’s nice to at least have somewhat of a plan even if I’m just using it for training.  With only a handful of dogs entered, there was only 1 dog and a height change between Miles and Rue.  Miles had a fantastic run and was super fast earning his 3rd Open Q and his OF title–yeah off to a great start for the weekend!  Rue also had a fabulous run and had beautiful weaves, aframe and dogwalk performances.  I tugged with her on the way into the ring with her leash and that seemed to be very motivating for her!  Miles’ run didn’t get on tape, but here’s lil’ Rue doing her thang 🙂

We had a bit of a break before Excellent Standard, so I took the time to acclimate the dogs and myself a bit more to the site.  It’s in the middle of a city park in Savannah and the rings were located in the outfield of a baseball field.  The surface was nice and flat.  Adjacent to this ball field was another of it’s kind…perfect for ball throwing with Miles after his runs, sweet!  Today was pretty quiet and not many dogs were entered….I think there were five 24″ dogs and maybe fifteen 20″ dogs.  Pretty nice odds for placing I thought! 

Having just come from an intensive handling camp where my focus for Miles was purely on speed and decreasing striding between jumps, I was excited to practice some of my new strategies.  One of those was to do more rear crosses unless I was absolutely sure I could get in and out of a FC so as not to break his stride.  Plus the more motion I can show, the faster and more confidently he runs.  This Std. course looked very doable with only one sticky spot with a serp that you had to do in each direction back-to-back.  I decided to do 2 landing side fronts which I knew weren’t the fastest options, but the lateral send would have required me leaving Miles on the table.  With his questionable “down” position I figured that would be too hard for us.  He handled this well, but I don’t think he liked it much.  I also planned to serp a line from the dw to a tunnel so as not to break his stride coming off the dw.  It worked to keep his speed up but I was just a bit out of place and he didn’t know that we were going to the tunnel soon enough.  He covered for me, but it wasn’t the smoothest line.  The run was really a great one except for him launching off of his frame, dang it!  Oh well, I’ve never taught him a “running” frame, his is just a “non-stop” so what can I expect?!  I’m pushing for more speed, so it’s to be expected that things will start to break down elsewhere.  My plan was to see if it happened again and then if it did, make a plan to fix it.  In any case, he had the fastest time of all jump heights (4.2yps) except for one 20″ BC that was 3 seconds faster.  Not bad!

Even with the small trial entry, things were moving quite slowly.  I think we finally got to Exc JWW around 3pm.  The course was pretty nice and I debated about FC vs RC for Miles.  Since I didn’t have a QQ on the line I decided to go for all rears.  I was pretty happy with my choices, except he didn’t totally know where he was going for 2 of my rears.  Something to work on for sure.  He was a good boy and helped me out and still turned in a great time for 1st place and 24 points!  This made MXJ leg #8 at 5.1yps.  The video is a mess, unfortunately.

For Rue I planned all FC’s.  She still not striding out enough in triels for me to effectively do the rears, but this is something that I will work on in practice when she’s faster.  We still had a fantastic run and she was only 3 seconds slower (4.7yps) than her brother.  This made MXJ leg #1 and earned her 9 MACh points….my baby’s first points!!  I couldn’t be prouder 🙂  No video of this run, unfortunately. 

After the trial, I headed back to my room to shower and get something to eat.  I also swung by the front desk to see if they had a remote control I could use!  I had noticed some itchy bites on my left hand earlier in the morning but didn’t think anything of it at that time.  The front desk had a remote for me, so I headed back to clean myself up.  My aunt was scheduled to meet up with me in the morning at the trial site, but for tonight I was alone…so I elected to go to Panera for a salad and to use their WiFi to catch up on email.  The dogs and I later fell off to sleep peacefully with the TV on to drown out the noises on the street 🙂

Saturday:

Back at the site with the running order the same as the day before.  Today brought more entries, but still no more than ten-twelve 24″ dogs and about twenty 20″ dogs.  I moved Miles up to Exc. A FAST for today and planned a fun course that incorporated the aframe before the send.  He had a fun time running around and did a perfect aframe.  Unfortunately, we ran out of time before the send, so I just ran into the box with him to keep it fun.  Another whacked out video 😦

I came up with a better plan for Rue’s Open FAST run, but also wanted to do her dogwalk a couple of times just to keep it fun for both of us and get some good practice in on a foreign dw.  Today she launched her frame (bad approach and she scrambled on the up side) and also launched her dw on the first attempt, but then had a beautiful hit on the way back.  She decided to visit a ring steward after her miss on the dw…hmmm.  Was this a pressure release for her since she knew she did it wrong?  Unfortunately, we also ran out of time but on the 2nd obstacle of the send.  I really think we could have gotten it if we had the time.  Silly monkey.

The Std course looked pretty good with only one hairy section at the end.  By now my aunt had gotten there and I spent some time teaching her the rules of agility.  We watched the small dogs run and dog after dog NQ’d.  I obsessed about FC/RC at the hairy section and in the end decided to go with a front.  The way the course was set up, however, it was nearly impossible to give early cues that a turn was coming and every single dog/handler that did the FC there, it was late.  Some dogs recovered and some didn’t.  Unfortunately with the rear, most folks got stuck behind the wing and couldn’t support the next jump.  So I planned to bust it up there to then show decel and rotate my shoulders into him.  He read the turn, but it was definitely late.  Otherwise the run was great and Miles was 1 of 10 dogs to qualify!  This earned us MX leg #8, 1st place, and 32 points!  3.9yps…not sure where we lost time except I did have to call him off a jump before the weaves 😦

The JWW course today looked wretched.  We were again faced with several sections that made it difficult to show correct motion.  Furthermore there were only like 11 obstacles on course, but it was a “20 obstacle course”…we went over several jumps twice and one jump three times!  Lord that’s sure to make me dizzy!  With a QQ on the line I debated about playing it safe with Miles or continuing to push for speed.  With it being small-tall I figured I’d experiment with Rue and then decide what to do with him.  There was again a serpentine that needed to be taken back-to-back in both directions, bleh. 

At some point several hours before this run, Rue had very loose stool.  She was still acting fine and I figured it was due to all the treats she’d been getting both at camp and at the trial and didn’t worry about it.  Well I knew going into this run that I didn’t have a dog.  She didn’t seem to get excited about her treats before the run and just didn’t have that “sparkle”.  I warmed her up and headed in the ring.  She was slow of the start and did the serp, but when I went to go back in the other direction, she went to visit the judge.  I got her back, but she just didn’t seem to be into it.  Poor girl walked in her weave poles.  I eventually go a little burst of speed at the end and left the ring to celebrate.  She happily ate her turkey babyfood reward and then went back to the tent area and tugged vigorously with me.  Hmmm, was she just demotivated?  Hot?  Or not feeling well?  She hadn’t had any more loose stool, but I was concerned.  I put her in her crate and gave her a piece of cheddar cheese. 

I still didn’t have a plan for Miles when I walked to the line with him.  He was happy to play, but I was just not there for him.  Due to my indecision, I had to call him off several times and he ultimately knocked a bar 😦  Ick, I hate running like that for him.  This was only a 4.6yps run, bleh.

As we were breaking down our tent for the night (again being in the middle of a city park, I didn’t want to leave stuff overnight) Rue vomited in her crate.  Of course she tried to eat it right away, but I pulled her out and asked my aunt if she would mind walking her around a bit to see if she needed to do anything else while I attempted to clean up the soupy mess in her crate.  Another friend of mine brought me some Carafate to settle her stomach, but I elected to watch her before just popping meds in her.  Interestingly as I was cleaning her crate, I noticed that she never did eat that piece of cheese I had put in there hours ago.  Odd…she loves that cheese. 

Once we got back to the hotel, she vomited one more time then seemed to just want to sleep.  Also by now the bites that were just on my left hand were now on both hands as well as my ears and nose.  I had several folks insist that they were bed bug bites (ew) and suggested that I tell the hotel staff.  So off I went again to the front desk, but this time to inform them of a possible infestation in my room.  They were horrified and agreed to give me a free night’s stay, but since they were booked they couldn’t move me to a new room.  She said she’d send maintenance down to spray and bring me new bedding…fantastic.  So I waited for 30-45 minutes for maintenance to show up.  He showed me the spray which looked benign enough (just mint oil really).  I asked him if he could give me an hour to shower and get out of the room before doing anything, which he agreed to.  My aunt came by a little later so we could go to dinner.  At that point Rue was still spunky and had only vomited those two times.  I gave her a bit of water and we headed to dinner.  I brought the dogs with me so that I could check on Rue from time to time since I had given her the water.  Well she must have thrown up about 4 times in her crate while we had dinner.  I checked on her every 10-15 minutes and there was a new puddle of slime each time.  Once we got back to the motel, she just wanted to sleep in the bathroom.  She vomited 5-6 more times…just bits of water…and then seemed to settle down.  I debated about bringing her to the emergency vet, but we both agreed that she seemed to be settled down and it had been a couple of hours since she last vomited, so I brought her in the bed with me and woke up every hour or so to check on her. 

Sunday:

Rue rested peacefully throughout the night until sometime between 5 and 6am when she must’ve gotten up to drink out of the toilet and then vomited.  I woke up to find her laying in her vomit and knew that I needed to get her seen immediately.  I took the dogs out and she had very liquid stool and vomited again 😦 

At the emergency vet, they said she was very depressed and dehydrated, but tested negative for pancreatitis, pyometra, or obstruction.  They wanted to keep her overnight on fluids and meds.  They urged me to go to the trial with Miles that there was nothing else I could do for Rue at that point.  She just needed to rest and rehydrate.  Ugh, I was so scared.

By the time I got to the trial, the big dogs were already running Std.  I hoped that the judge would allow me to walk the course and run at the top of the small dogs.  She oblidged and I proceded to walk the course.  It was another course with several traps where it was difficult to show proper motion and difficult to find motivating.  There were also several discrimination spots that all required pulling the dog which is a weak skill for us.  I found a decent plan and set out to execute it.  I did notice that the grass was still very wet and made a note to handle more conservatively for this course.  The beginning went great.  I did a lead out push to the teeter and then pulled to the close end of the tunnel which he read seemlesly.  He got up out of his sit on the table, but fairly quickly resumed his position.  I think I was trying to overhandle the frame and showed too much forward motion so he read the turn late and slipped in the wet grass and then took a bar.  The picture of this is horrifying as he’s taking it down with his chin…I shudder to think what would have happened if that were a tire.  I think this shook him up a bit as he just wasn’t the same for the rest of the course.  I was proud of him reading the turn out of the chute, but my rear wasn’t good and I had to call him off the tunnel to make the 180 soft side weave entry.  He must have seen something in the poles as he popped out around the 8th pole.  We finished strong with another fantastic pull into the close tunnel hole 🙂

JWW immediately followed Std today and I was anxious to get done so I could go check on Rue.  I went ahead and made a reservation at a Homewood Suites nearby just in case I did have to spend the night….I wanted to decrease my chances of more bed bugs.  As I was walking the JWW course, my friend who had given me the meds yesterday came over and told me that she had seen Rue at the vet and that she was wagging her tail for her.  Apparently she’s good friends with the vet tech and had just dropped by to say hello before coming to the trial.  She smartly blew off Std figuring the grass would be too slippery…uhm yeah.  I was elated to hear that she had perked up for her!  Today’s JWW course was even more evil than Saturday’s course with lot’s of spinning in circles.  I was obviously not focused on my run and hap hazardly walked the course.  Poor Miles has to put up with so much crap from me 😦  Somehow we muddled our way through it and I had to call him off several things…not sure if that was my poor handling or just another reflection of the types of courses we had.  Somehow we managed to pull out a Q and a 1st place (funny as there were only about 6 dogs to qualify in all of Excellent).  Of course when you take 1st place and get double points, it’s pretty sad when the doubled points are only 8!!  Poor man, I was so sucky.  I even audibly apologized to him on course which did draw some laughs 🙂  Oh and I was told that they moved an EZ up tent within the ring during my entire run…that could have been another reason we weren’t communicating well as M’s very nervous about that type of thing.  In any case, this did earn us MXJ leg #9, so something to be proud of anyway!

After this run, my friend took me and my aunt to the vet to see Rue around noon.  She was definitely perkier, but still not all that interested in doing anything but lay down and be adored.  The tech said though that if she continued to improve this way, I should be able to get on the road that night, yeah!  So with that as a goal, my aunt and I went back to the trial site to break down and then headed downtown to City Market.  It was 2pm by the time we got there and neither of us had eaten anything yet.  We settled on pizza outside at Vinny Van Go Gos.  Miles enjoyed lounging out with us and chewing a bone while we filled our empty tummies.  By 4pm I was back at the vet’s office to check on Miss Rue.  As soon as I said her name she jumped to her feet and whapped her tail.  I took her out and she jumped on me and wanted to play.  The vet conceded that if she were to keep some food down for an hour that we could be on our way.  So I sent my poor aunt home and waited in the lobby with the hope that I’d be on the road by 6pm.  With luck on my side, she held down the food and was discharged to me with strict instructions on meds and when to feed.  I happily cancelled my hotel reservation and set out to make the long drive back to NC.  Thank goodness that was over!  I spent most of the drive looking back at my two beautiful goldens curled up together in my back seat and thinking how lucky I am to have them in my life.