Monday, November 14, 2011

Home for the Holidays

2011 travel is officially closed out. This past weekend we made one last trek to Destination: Chicago.  I don’t quite remember how or why we decided to go since we still have plenty of local shows...   Maybe it was habit after going so many times this year, maybe it was because we just loooove Illinois or more likely it was that we are somewhat masochistic since that is one painful drive.

But at any rate, we somehow ended up at the ol’ soccer arena again over the weekend.   The courses were…difficult.  Not really in an obvious way- very subtle with sneaky hidden serps and depressed angles and off-course opportunities that just kept popping out and saying “HI!”  

I mostly just noticed the very evil entries and exits for the dogwalk.  Lots of ‘into the nothing’ and lame obstacles before or after (DW to the table or weaves? Thhbbbbttt).  We’ve done a lot of turns to jumps and call offs, but haven’t even started thinking about incorporating the dogwalk into sequencing like that yet.  And I’ve never worked more than one or two ‘nothingness’ exits in a session so we were educationally unprepared for a judge with an apparent anti- running DW vendetta (I can only assume?).

Alright, I think that covers all the performance disclaimers? Those being said, I think The Dog did a stupendous job.  How about a recap? Ok, reader, since you asked- why not?

Gamblers:  1 for 2.  Round one had a crazy wild opening including one dogwalk with a crazy wild leap, but then another with a lovely perfect dogwalk.  She did the Gamble up until the last jump, finding it easily, then shot off to an even harder jump randomly.  Watch the video. Hilarious!  Round 2 was a Q, leapy dogwalk with odd stride and I think I pulled her off.  She was clearly tired of dumb exits and just plain tired. 

Standard: 1 for 2.  Round one had a PERFECT dogwalk with a tough turn.  Kind of wild still and pretty wide but clean.  Round two had a knocked bar at the very end and a collected dogwalk- this was on to a table though and out of the weaves. How demotivating. 

Pairs: 1 for 1! First place with Black Dog on a tough course.  Collected dogwalk- I cued the turn VERY early.

Snookers:  0 for 1.  Sigh.  I fail Snookers lately.  I’ve got to figure out why.  She knocked a bar early in the close. 

Grand Prix:  0 for 1.  Sigh! The Grand Prix curse continues. One bar, one missed DW. Again, I think I cued early since it was a 90 degree turn to the weaves again. 

Steeplechase: 1 for 1…sort of?  Awesome round one with a Q and 1st place!  Round two continued our Round two curse and she found a super weird off course.  That’s my girl, who needs that money!? Oh, wait…

Jumpers: 2 for 2! Probably the highlight, oddly.  Second place round one and first place round two! I was really proud of her speed and attention on both courses.  Only one poorly timed front cross in round one leading to a WIIIIIDDDDDDE turn but otherwise perfectly in step for both courses.  Round two she found this invisible line buried in the last 6 jumps and performed her secret power of just …going.  Most dogs were frazzled and missing jumps or just checking in for the last sequence but not The Dog. She said ‘c’ya at the leash, k?’

Hm, think that’s it?  Things to note for the weekend- she really needs to have motivating dogwalk sequences to continue running throughout a weekend.  There was just too much calling off and no drive in to keep her speed up.  It’s ok- training point.  Another training point will be jumps after tunnels. Naughty bars down a few times!

Good lessons- thanks to the notes I got at the recent seminar… we can do serps again!! She didn’t miss the middle jump on a single one all weekend.  I finally figured out the right cue for her and got some patience and wouldn’t you know? It worked! 

I also- for the most part- was much better on my decel cues coming at the right time.  She didn’t have any China moments as a result.  And since I didn’t cue too early either, she didn’t slow down and start second guessing me.   We totally synchronized our decel watches finally. It was awesome.

She, lastly, gets a big virtual tennis ball toss for having awesome weaves. Good girl on her entries (I even trusted her a few times!) and really good speed.
Annnnnnnd video:

So at this point, USDAA is done for the year. Tear!  Even bigger sad face since The Dog has her Silver ADCH hanging now on 1 pairs Q, and is within a Q or two of three gold titles.  Guess we have to save something for next year!  
Also have to share a mashup I made of The Pup’s seminar.   Thanks to the videographer for living in the danger zone for the day. She was only mildly maimed.  

Mostly outtakes, but some good girl stuff too.  If you like what you see- go see Tracy for more!

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