Sunday, July 24, 2011

Catching Up: NADAC in Buckner

So my friend Merinda is very active in NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council), having qualified for the NADAC National Championships twice--an amazing feat when you consider there aren't a lot of NADAC trials within close driving distance like there are AKC trials. Because of this, she's always doing her best to talk anyone in our group to join her for a trial. I've been to one trial with Dally last year, so when the opportunity came in July to enter one that's an hour away, I decided it'd be great to run Mesa in an indoor soccer facility on some fun courses...and let Dally play in her favorite class: Tunnelers.

Mesa ran her three classes first, first attacking Touch N Go, a class where there are no jumps so all dogs in all jump heights compete against eachother. The obstacles include the contacts (A-frame and dow walk), tunnels, and hoops (hoops that stand so dogs go through instead of over). Mesa blasted through it--the second fastest Novice dog (the fastest was a Border Collie)! So, she qualified and won her "jump height."

In Regular 1 & 2 (standard, only you run the course one way, then turn around and run it the opposite way), it included six weave poles, jumps, dog walk, A-frame, and hoops. The first way in Regular 1, Mesa handled it realy well, running fast and fluid, even hitting her weave entrance! I was so proud of her--she won her height and qualified. In Regular 2, she ran really well, except coming off the dog walk she noticed that a big fan had just been turned on (it wasn't on during Regular 1), and it spooked her, so she ran into the opposite end of the tunnel (an off-course). I picked her back up, sent her into the correct end of the tunnel, and she came out and nailed her weaves yet again! She ran clean the rest of the course, but with the off-course, she didn't qualify, but still won her jump height. Such a good girl!

Then Dally's turn finally came when she got to run in Tunnelers--all tunnels all the time. She loved it! She was fired up, rearing to go (as you can tell in the video) and you could tell after a while she was like, "You mean I can go through just tunnels?? Yes!!" She won her jump height and qualified. I hadn't entered Mesa in the class because I hadn't thought about it, but I'm sure she would have torn it up as well--maybe a little too fast to be able to direct her.

So it was a successful day at the NADAC trial presented by RuFF (Run For Fun). After that day, I decided to go ahead and register the girls in NADAC so we could hit any upcoming local trials for some more training and fun. I won't campaign hard in it like Merinda, but Mesa seemed to love the big, flowing courses, so why not?

Catching Up: The Hoosier

I apologize for the lack of posting to this blog this summer. I believe I got into the same trouble last summer--too much to do and not much time to do it all. Truth is, when I actually get a break, I try to not even think about getting on the computer, which means my blog posts get pushed to the side.

So while apologies have been said, it's time to catch everyone up on the Stump Kids' summer of agility. This post will be about Mesa's big AKC debut at the Hoosier Kennel Club Agility Trial in Lebanon, Ind., June 10-12.

This was an outdoor trial, so we had to contend with many, many distractions all around--a cow show, high school rodeo, and of course everyone's tents already the two rings. Plus, my friend Merinda drove up with Porter (Dally and Mesa's best friend) to compete Saturday and Sunday, so it was like one giant party for Mesa.

Friday it took a lot to keep Mesa's attention before we ran. In Novice Standard, she was a wild woman, running up and barking at the course workers and anyone else who was around. Because of a lot of the run-arounds, we NQd. I blame myself for not making her focus throughout the run. When she would finally come back to me, I'd run on to continue the course--a tribute to being competitive and running a seasoned dog like Dally. So after really thinking about how I needed to run her in jumpers, I decided that if I had to call her back to me, we'd stop and I'd take a deep breath before we continued. Fortunately the design of the course didn't give Mesa an opportunity to really do much running and barking. We had one hiccup with the weave entry, but besides that, she ran clean, fast, and (most importantly) with me! She Qd for her first Nov B JWW leg with a score of 100 and a time of 30.88/43. Here is her run. Her first Nov FAST run wasn't much to write about. My goal for the run was to get her back on the teeter (in STD she was bounced off the teeter and did a somersault, so I didn't want her to be scared of it) and to work on her weaves. We accomplished those tasks, but ran out of time to do the bonus and accrue enough points...oh well, I accomplished the little goals.

After talking with one of the judges from the weekend that I know pretty well, I spent a lot of time working on Mesa's focus before our run and working on the little ideas that the judge gave me. Our Standard run was better--I used the contact obstacles as opportunities to have her stop, look at me, and we both would take a deep breath (or at least I'd like to think that she took a deep breath, too). However, she still got excited to hear Porter's barks during her run, which would break her concentration all to pieces. We didn't get our weaves, and a few times she just ran like a goof, so it was just a good learning experience. Her jumpers run started off stressed because right before our run I had to take her into the tent where she was crated to get more treats and she saw that Dally's crate was empty (my mom had taken her home because it was getting so hot). Plus, the jumpers ring was right next to Merinda's tent where Porter was crated--you can hear his barks in the background and actually see her try to figure out how to get to him. I did do a better job of getting her to come back to me and focus. I actually tried to Q in her FAST run, but we had some struggles with the send, so NQ. Oh well--it was a frustrating day, but I learned some new things...yet again.

Sunday, the third and final day, saw a brighter time for her STD and JWW runs. In her STD run, she finally nailed her weaves on the third try, and only ran off to bark at a course worker one time. She actually earned a Q in that run with a score 89--her first Nov B STD Q! She ran well in her JWW run, but she wasn't able to do her weaves in the three allotted chances, so it was NQ. However, she ran better with me, so I had to be happy with that.

So her first AKC trial weekend came out to have two Qs--1 leg for her Nov B STD and 1 leg for her Nov B JWW. And lots of life experiences and lessons!

Of course Dally ran all three days that weekend. Long story short, she went 3-for-3 in STD accruing 16, 13, and 17 PACH points along the way. Her Jumpers runs saw an extremely slow Corgi, so NQs. But, hey, 46 PACH points in one weekend for Dally is pretty darn good! Her runs on Friday and Saturday.

Next up: Buckner, Ky., NADAC trial where Mesa ran in three classes and Dally ran in one.