We finally had 2 (3 actually) beautiful days in a row. I got majorly sun burned. Saturday I went to Schutzhund tr taining. They had predicted snow over night Friday night and it was pouring all day on Friday. Saturday we woke up expecting snow but there was nothing and it was pretty nice out already. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to decide to go to training or not and I did not. I did get going a bit late and had to stop for gas and to put air in my slowly leaking tire. I had been hoping to track Saturday morning but with prediction of snow I gave up that plan. I’m a whimp in the cold. We ended up blessed with a beautiful sunny day. Where we train is kind of in a hole too so there is no wind. It was perfect! Training went late since we had alot of new people. They were just wrapping up when I left at 5pm to meet Karl at the Blaine house to go to church. Then we went grocery shopping on the way home. The cupboards were bare so we did a pretty good trip. Then we had burnt pizza for dinner.
Sunday morning I had to be in Saint Cloud by 7:30am for check-in. I hadn’t sent in a copy of Vada’s USDAA card either. Check-in was 7-7:30am and they said they’d start running dogs at 8am. So walk throughs should have started at 7:30am. Well, I set the alarm for 5:20 to leave by 6:15am at the latest since it was a good hours drive. I woke up to Vada’s barking at 6:20am! I looked closer at the alarm clock and saw that I had set it for pm instead of am. Dumb! So I was instantly in panic mode. I got the dogs loaded up in a short amount of time and hit the road. I was almost there and it was 7:30am so I was probably ok on time. Then I realized that I was lost. I had followed the directions exactly but I was lost. Luckily I have a cell phone thanks to my job and I called Karl who was home and awake and he guided me to the trial site. It was 8am when I got there. They had not walked the course yet! Of course Vada was the 2nd dog in the ring so I had gotten very lucky! I was also able to check-in and show them Vada’s card.
My one goal for the weekend was to keep connected with Vada on the start line. Our first class was Gamblers. She held her start line until I said “good girl”. That was too much for her. We did the opening really well. But she was on the teeter when the whistle blew and I pulled her off. That was really dumb of me! That’s two trials in a row now since the last one I did the same in pairs. I guess we need to get the teeter our and reinforce her “bottom” alot on the teeter before the next trial! And I need to quit doing that! The gamble was tough. It was a serpentine at a distance. It was not difficult but we have not practices serpentines enough and I did not keep moving forward enough and she took the dummy jump on the gamble line. But we tried!
The second class was Pairs Relay. My partner was nervous as it was only her second day ever of doing Pairs. And she wasn’t sure how her dog would be with another dog and she was the smaller dog (22″) and the judge dictated who ran which part of the course. I told her to be calm and be comfortable with the control she had over her dog before she passed me the baton. I reminded her that it’s time plus faults and that we both had fast dogs so we’d be ok unless there was a major screw up. I wanted to lead out with Vada too. The other dog dropped the last bar and the handler downed the dog to pass me the baton. The dog jumped up and took Vada’s first jump and knocked the bar. She trains by downing him after a knocked bar and then going again so she thinks that is what he thought. Vada broke her sit when I got the baton but then sat again and I was able to lead out. It was an easy course but I couldn’t remember afterwards if we had knoced a bar in the corner or not. I asked my partner later and she said no. Vada did come off the aframe and then downed. But I guess I deserved that after pulling her off the teeter. The hardest part about Pairs is that you worry about screwing things up for your partner. I would much rather they screw up then me. But after I beat myself up for my screw up at the last trial I realized that anything can happen and I have control over very little so this time went much better. And I was able to help my partner be calmer too I hope. We Q’d! I was surprised and very happy as it was Vada’s 3rd and her Starters Pairs Relay title!
The next class was Standard. She started to get up on the start line but since I was connected I was able to tell her “no, sit” and she did. She ran the course really well. She got her shoulder jammed into a weave pole but recovered and didn’t miss a beat. She kept all of her bars up. She didn’t go into a down on the teeter so I had to remind her a few times to “bottom”. She did and I released her. The last jump was a triple but I was planning to run to the ring barrier and not worry. It worked! She kept all her bars up and she got her first ever Standard Q! I was so happy with how things were going! I was also thinking that if things got goofed up that I’d just make note of them as things to work on in training. That kept me in a much better mindset and it allowed me to let things go.
Next was Snooker. I agonized over a most beautiful opening. I wanted it to be flowing. I put the goofy part at the beginning and the rest was flowing and flowed right into the closing. She held her stay beautifully. She handled beautifully at the beginning. We came out of the tunnel and I was behind. We had to run past a jump to another jump. I told myself a million times not to put my arm up at all. Well, I put my arm up and she flicked away and we got whistled. 😦 Totally my fault. I was bummed since I didn’t get to finish my great plan! That’s the punishment of handling poorly in Snooker.
The final class of the day was Jumpers. It was almost 2pm at that point. The run was more similar to past runs. I think that we both were mentally fried. I tried to do a lead out pivot. I was going to lead out 2 jumps and quite a bit laterally. Vada did not like that. I remembered to stay connected but I did not feel connected and I didn’t feel like I knew where my spot to be was. She broke her stay. I think she took down the bar on the second jump since my timing was off. Then she took down another bar when I rear crossed her into a tunnel. So, it was a sucky old style run but I think we were both just tired and I probably pushed the lead out to more then she could do.
We were done by 2pm and home by 3pm. I was either running my dog, walking a dog or setting bars/chutes the Advanced class. So I got alot of sun on Sunday too!
After I got home Karl grilled steaks and baked potatoes and steamed string beans. Then he went and started working on taking down the chicken coop. I started working on painting agility bars. All white jumps were getting pretty old. I got 6 bars painted. I learned after the first one that I would have to tape the entire area that I did not want painted. It was windy out and the spray on the cans had quite a wide spray path. I hope the paint is solid and doesn’t scratch easily. They did at first but hopefully the paint just has to cure. Then I went in to watch Desperate Housewive and Brother and Sisters.
I was very happy with how well the agility trial went. I was proud of her and I was proud of me. I learned alot at the Lynda Orton-Hill seminar and I was able to use alot of the knowledge at the trial. But now we must concentrate on Schutzhund until the HOT tournament. We have one more agility trial – the MAC spring USDAA trial the last weekend of this month. I am doing hospitality/awards so I will be there all 3 days and trialing Vada for 2 of them.
It was a great weekend! I got to do Schutzund and an agility trial *and* spend some time at home!
Tonight we went tracking. But it’s gotten too late so I’ll have to write about that tomorrow. Again, I was very proud of Vada. Narc too!