There have been lots of trials since my last update. 2 USDAA trials, an IPO trial and a TDX test.
The first USDAA trial was at OTR. I was chief scorekeeper so I was there both days. Seven got to run in a Veteran class each day – Snooker and Jumpers. He qualified in both classes. He ran OK. Not like he used to run though. But I think he had fun. Vada got to run in 2 classes each day. P3 Standard and another class in Veterans. Saturday the start jump in Standard was so close to the wall, she has no lead out and I had to be on the “bad” side so I didn’t get behind on the aframe and risk her coming off the side and getting hurt. Once we got thru that mess with a few bars down then it went well. On Sunday we finally earned that last Q to finish her Performance MAD title (MPD). There was a period there where I did not think she could jump 20″ and maybe not even do agility so I was thrilled that she was able to get the chance to earn the last Q and finish that title. Kind of sad at the same time but so happy she will only be doing 16″ Vets in USDAA now. I am not planning to enter her in Standard either so she won’t be doing 12 weave poles. I think Fringe and Letty ran well. I think this was the trial with super hard tight weave entries and Letty nailed them. I’d have to check their records to see what all they Qd in.
Vada got into the Croix Valley TDX test. I was super happy about that. Then she got into the test the following weekend too.
Sonic had a checkup with Dr Julia and they are going to try a med to replace the tramadol that might help with his anxiety. He’s been on it a few days now and it has reduced his anxiety but has made him very dopey and unable to stand or walk. We see her again this week. He will also get fitted for a cart.
Narc also had a check up. The only change we made was to quit doing the leg lifts since they are not going well. Instead we will do balance disc work with all 4 feet. I ordered one of the big 22″ discs from Clean Run. Hopefully it is here soon. Recheck in 2 months.
Saturday the Isanti group was back on track with their normal training schedule so I was able to get one last session in before the trial. Bryan really put a lot of pressure on her and threw her around and she did really well. Great catches. We went through the routine and it was really nice. She’d been working great on Warren too. We felt ready!
Saturday Karl was going to go to SQL Saturday but he wasn’t feeling well and his eye sight was changing. Plus his blood pressure was high. He was able to get in to see an eye doctor thankfully. They did a bunch of tests and promptly sent him to the emergency room to get his blood pressure lowered. The ER then checked him in to the hospital. They needed to lower his blood pressure slowly. He ended up being there 2 nights. He had a lot of great nurses and he got to have cable TV. He would have rather been at home though.
Sunday I drove up to Duluth to play USDAA in the barn. Karl was in good hands at the hospital and there was nothing more I could do. Narc and Sonic stayed home so I just set a time that I had to leave by. The dogs love running in the dirt there. Seven got to play in Snooker. He did not do well at all. He was running very cautiously and he knocked a bar. He was running slower and slower and finally I thanked the judge and we took a tunnel on our way out of the ring so he wouldn’t know. I might try him at OTR one more time since it has bright lighting and solid consistent footing. But he may just be done jumping 12″. I put him in Specialist for the next CPE trial to see if he likes jumping 8″. Seems like he is aging so fast since his spleen was removed. Breaks my heart. None of the dogs Qd in any of the runs until the very last run. Fringe and I earned a Q in Snooker.
Karl came home from the hospital on Monday. We were glad to have him back home. He’s been slowly working more and more. He worked from home all week to pace himself. He’s been eating better and exercising more. Trying to get more sleep. He got a Fitbit which is motivating him to exercise more and he’s using it to track his food and make sure he’s eating the right amount of calories. His regular doctor has already lowered one of his meds. His blood pressure is staying low so he may be able to go off another soon.
Tuesday my boss and coworkers and I went to do some volunteer hours at Second Harvest Food Shelf. The time went by pretty quickly and we all had a good time.
Wednesday Letty and Vada got to see Dr Heather. Dr Julia wanted Letty’s pelvis checked before the IPO trial. And Vada was due for her monthly adjustment.
Thursday I had a private lesson with Nancy with Vada to work on Utility exercises. Then me and the girls hit the road to Omaha. We got to the hotel when it was still light out.
Friday we went tracking. I found a park with a bit longer grass by a dog park and was able to track both girls. They did great. Then we just hung out at the hotel and I worked on computer stuff that I was behind on. Then we went to the trial field to practice. The only person there was James. He was marking the field with spray paint. I got a lot of good obedience in but then he had to leave to go get the judge just as I was finishing up. No blinds up and no helper to practice on. In hindsight I should have asked who was doing the helper work and if he would be there to practice on. A mistake I will not make again. I was so set on trialing on that date that I did not make a good decision for my dog.
So we met for tracking on Saturday morning at a park down the road from the trial site. The grass had not been mowed in awhile and it was super thick. Really really nice. Letty went first. I laid my track straight and found markers. The last 2 tracks Letty had trouble with the wood article. But I had mostly been using wood and carpet. So I wasn’t sure if it was the article or other things. So I had to decide if I should use wood or leather. I stuck with what I had been training the most with – wood. In the briefing the judge suggested that leather and carpet holds scent better. But I stuck to my decision and trusted my training. She did not disappointment me. She nailed her corners and her articles. We lost a few points on some head checks but nothing I would fault her on. I was super happy with it. We scored a 94. A 10 year old Aussie passed her TR1. The other 1, a GSD, failed his track. The 3 GSD tracked really well with a 96.
We did the BHs obedience and temperament tests next. There were 3 dogs – an Aussie, a Giant Schnauzer and a GSD. The GSD and Aussie passed obedience. The GS barked the whole time during check in but then did the down stay well. She had a lot of tight leash heeling onleash and the dog was looking at the other dog a lot. On the off leash heeling the dog left her and went to the judge so he called it. During the temperament test the Aussie passed. The GSD failed due to dog and human aggression. While waiting to go she tried to bite a woman in the face. The judge happened to see it. And the dog was in a down stay when the neutral dog walked by. It was fine the first time but the judge knew so he had the dog walk by a second time. She hopped a bit on her down then took off to attack the other dog and hit the end of the line barking. Neutral dog was neutral and didn’t care.
Letty worked first in obedience. It was beautiful. Awesome heeling and focus. Good motion exercises. Good retrieves except for not coming back over the wall which has recently cropped up as an issue. She did well a few times before I left home and she did fine on Friday night. On the retrieve on flat after I finished her she took off and started running to a white paint spot thinking it was her ball. LOL Then on the retrieve over the high jump she started to go to that paint spot but then veered away to the dumbbell. The spot was there to mark where to put the blinds. Also when we were walking up to the dumbbell tree to put it back she reached forward to grab the 3 dumbbell. I thought it was so cute. She’s such a thinker and tries so hard. And the judge was kind enough to not ridicule us for this baby mistakes. I don’t think I made any handler errors this time either. Perfect scores on the down stay and send out. 5 lost points on the going around the aframe. Most points were fronts and finishes as they were all bad. We ended up with an 83. Winter is a good time to work on fronts and finishes. The other 2 GSDs passed obedience. I think the 1 got a 77 and the 3 got an 83.
Then we broke for lunch. The club grilled burgers and brats and had salads and chips.
Then it was time for protection. I was excited for this last phase so we could be done with our IPO1. I felt really good about it. I reported in to an assistant on the top of the field so we didn’t have to help by the decoy in the blind. Her obedience was good. I got her lined up and sent her to blind 5. She came in to me as I walked up the field and I sent her to blind 6 and she went well and circled the blind and came back to me. Video shows she was scoping the audience. The 2nd time I sent her she went right into the blind looking for a helper. So maybe she didn’t know we were doing bitework? Her barking was pretty good. I picked her up and heeled her out of the blind. It went much better than last time. She did try to turn back but I told her to heel again. When I told the helper to step out she downed but then right before I told her to heel she sit up and then heeled nicely. I told her to down from a stand instead of waiting for her to sit. Not sure why. She did the escape really nice and hit hard. She outed nice and then it all went to hell on the drive. The helper could not get her into the pocket to give her stick hits so he kept driving her and driving her. He went in 2 or 3 circles. I think he paused by the judge but then did another circle. He ended up driving her all the way back to practically blind 6. He finally stopped and I told her to out. She looked at me since I was so close and I probably was too loud. I was getting angry at the helper and things going wrong. She did not bark but just stood there holding her right front leg up. Everyone in the audience went “awwwww” which I have to force myself to ignore. She would not sit so I looked at the judge to see if I had to and he told me to take her down the field. She walked out the zinger to her leg. Someone later said she got a stick hit on it. The helper wasn’t sure if it was the stick or she got stepped on. So I sent her on the long bite and she ran down the field calculating. They ended up meeting straight on so I’m guessing that she did not launch. He started to drive her and she came off the sleeve and he just kept coming at her and she was backing up away from him. She seemed confused and like she was trying to figure out how to bite the sleeve. Once he stopped then she gripped again. The judge called it – failure to engage. The helper slipped the sleeve but did not let it go and kept looking at the judge. Finally I got mad and walked down the field. She had let go of the sleeve so I walked up and told her to sit and took the stick, did the side transport and reported out. I NEEDED structure and to get control of the situation again. Maybe it was wrong but things just felt all mucked up. I just hope that this did not mess Letty up for future trials. It very well could have. I’m hoping she is resilient though. And that is assuming I will even continue the sport. So many thoughts have gone through my head since the trial. I will definitely never trial again on a helper I don’t know or am not able to work on before the trial. They need to see my dog to make sure they know how to drive her. The helper at the DS Nationals did not have any problem. But he is super experienced with all kinds of dogs – lots of Malinois and DS too. I think she got geeked out from the super long drive after the escape and then she got hurt on top of that. Things just kept going awry from what we had trained for and got her thinking too much. But I would much rather have a dog that steps back to evaluate the situation in times of confusion than one that just bites. Much safer dog to have in public. The other 1 earned an 80. The 3 failed due to not outing. I think it was his first out too. Or maybe it was after the drive. So the only dogs to pass the trial were 2 Aussies owned by the same woman – a TR1 and a BH.
We finished up pretty early so I was able to get on the road and be home by 9pm. There might have been some crying on the way home. I was devastated. I was so sure we had it and we were prepared and the first 2 phases went so well. And I felt bad for letting my dog down by not making sure she would have a good protection experience. But she still loves me. I’m sure she’ll be fine working on Warren and Bryan still. Maybe Bryan will do MVSVs trial next year if they have another one.
Sunday morning I loaded up Vada and we drove to River Falls WI for the TDX test. Such a nice friendly group of people. We drew track 6 so we didn’t track until 12:30pm. She started out well but then the 2nd cross track got her. So the judges called it. But then they let us get back on the track just after the cross tracks and then there was an article too. She was able to work out the rest of the track. She had some trouble going across the mowed paths but found all of the articles. Ann was our tracklayer and she thought she was ready and was happy to hear that we got into the test next weekend. So we’ll give it another try. SOMEONE ate 3 or 4 Temaril-P pills that were in my travel bag Saturday night too. It every well may have been Vada so that might have taken some edge off. I feel good now after having gone through a test too. I feel like I can read her pretty well and I got some tips for next time. Next week’s test is 4.5 hours away but it’s supposed to be good fields. After the test I took Vada on a long hike in the state park since we were already there. Beautiful! Nice to spend time alone with her too. Jane’s lab, Lilly, and a Springer were the only dogs of 6 to pass.
Last night we went and saw The Intern. Best movie I have seen in a long time. It had everything – heartwarming, sad, funny, excitement.
Karl took the train to work today for his first time. New adventures!
Not sure what’s next for the dogs. More tracking for Vada this week. Weave pole boot camp for Letty. I’ll keep working on Utility exercises with Vada too. I entered her in Utility on Friday in Orlando so I could get her a crating spot in the agility area. 🙂 Hopefully we’ll be prepared enough to give it a go and not be too embarrassed.