Monday, January 18, 2010

USDAA Trial Continued

As promised, here's a recap of our Sunday adventures at the USDAA trial!

We had 3 different courses to run during the day again: Standard, Pairs, and Snooker.

First up was Standard and Philip ran wonderfully, no faults at all, and he even did the weave poles from the first try. I was so proud of him! We took first place for 12" jump height and got our Q in that round - what a great way to start the day, much better than the previous day :)

Second up was Pairs, which is a course that is split in two parts - first half is ran by one dog, and second by another. We paired up with a fellow student from our Agility classes - a rat terrier Willis. Since Philip is not too strong of a weaver, we opted for the second half of the course and let Willis take a stab at the weaves in the first half. Unfortunately, Willis got a bit drowsy from the heat, so he took it slow at this run and messed up the poles after all - no biggie, but that added a little time to the run. Philip did his half well, though it was definitely the easier half, so no hurt feelings against Willis - he is a great little man and we had a ton of fun in that run! Our total time was too long, so we didn't Q this round.

Last up was the Snooker run. This type of course requires a bit of strategy - the course has several point-value obstacles and is split into two parts of the run. The obstacles are 3 red colored jumps, each worth 1 point, and 6 other color obstacles valued 2 through 7 points. The first part or the run involves taking a red jump successfully, followed by a color obstacle, 3 times in a row (that is red-color-red-color-red-color). The second part is to run obstacles 2-7 in order. The rules are set in stone and it is important to follow the red-color combination. If the dog takes two red jumps or two color obstacles consequently, it must exit the ring. Similarly, if the red jump is knocked, it doesn't count, so another red must be taken before continuing. Each red can only be taken once, so the dog must attempt all 3 before continuing on.

Moving on to our run... The course was set up in such a way that most people opted to take the furthest red first, followed by the 2-point tunnel, another red, 7-point jump set, third red, and the 7-point jump set again. Naturally, that was my plan as well, so we started off on the far left side of the start line, and I lead out to the first red jump before having Philip run. As I called Philip to me, he took the red jump and went straight ahead to the 3-point color jump ignoring my screams to take the tunnel. Now I was thinking quickly on the course - he had taken his color, so we must go to the next red, but there is a bit distance and other obstacles in our way. As I called Philip to me to head in the intended direction he saw the tunnel and decided that now he would like to go in (after all I said to go through it at first, right?). Ruh roh, I see Philip heading for the tunnel and start screaming "No, Philip, come here, no!" and at this point I realize that the whole thing is pretty funny, so I start laughing as he's still heading for the tunnel, and then I let out the last attempt at "NO!!!" as his head is about to enter the tunnel, and he finally turns and gives me the annoyed "what?" look. "Over here, this way" I say and he changes direction - whew! So we make it to the second red jump, he takes it as intended and we head for the 7 point obstacle. This is a set of two jumps and Philip stalls on the first one, so I flail around laughing and get him to take it from the 3rd try - yay. Then we are off to the second jump of this set, the last red jump, and back over the 7-point jumps - all is well. He takes the jumps well and we go onto the point obstacles to finish the run. As I run past the judge still laughing she says to me that "he has a better plan" :) We finished the rest of the run without mishaps - even getting the weaves right from the first time again (though VERY slowly), and we still made it in time to successfully complete the run with 47 points and get our Q. Boy, was that a fun(ny) run! When I went to see the placement, I saw that the other dog in our jump height had a better time, but they took our original plan and only got 46 points, so that put us in the first place even though our run was a bit slower - yay Philip, good thinking on the 3-point jump =]

Great day over all, I had a blast and Philip definitely did better than on Saturday, I think he probably just didn't know what was going on at first. Now that the weekend is over, we are waiting to see the forecast for this upcoming weekend. We have our first AKC trial scheduled, but it's supposed to rain all week (already started today), so they aren't sure if they will go through with the trial or have to cancel it. Fingers crossed that the rain will pass by then, and the trial will be on, it's just too much fun and I wouldn't want to miss out!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Why Hello There

Wow, it's been almost a year since I posted anything here... I'm really not so great at this thing I guess, but I have something to share today!

Philip and I went to our very first Agility trial today. It was a USDAA trial and we ran 3 courses. It was a very long day - I woke up at 5:15am and left home by 6:15am to get to the site, set up, and be ready to check in by 7:15am.

Once we checked in, we were soon up and running our first course. It was a Starters Standard course and unfortunately Philip knocked the bar off of the first jump, which automatically disqualified us for that run, but we still finished the course and he did pretty good for the rest of it. He did have a minor hick-up at the weave poles, but that is pretty common with him, so it was expected. He also took a wrong course at the tricky part where the A-frame was set close to the jump. We were supposed to go over the jump, but he went for the frame. Oh well, all in all it was a good warm-up for us.

The second run of the day was Starters Gambler. This is a special run consisting of two parts - first is to gather points by doing whatever obstacles we want in 30 seconds, and second is to do the "gamble" which involves handling the dog from a distance. We started off great on the run and gathered up 23 points (18 minimum needed) before the buzzer to start the gamble. The gamble consisted of a jump, followed by two tunnels and another jump. Philip went over the jump and into the first tunnel like a pro, but he got confused at the second tunnel, so he had to run back to me and back out there. He did do the gamble correctly at the end, but unfortunately took just a bit too long with the detour, so we didn't qualify this run either (there is a time limit for the gamble).

Last run of the day for us was Starters Jumpers. In USDAA this consists of just jumps and tunnels, which are some of Philip's favorite obstacles. I was optimistic for this one, and for good reasons - we did great! We finished first with no faults at all - a great clean run and our first ever Q!!!

After all the ordeal, we got home around 3pm. Overall, I think it was a great first day. Tomorrow is the second day of the trial, and we'll be doing 3 more runs (standard, snooker, and pairs). I'll write all about it when we are back home.