Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dally Keeps Me Grounded: Border Terrier Trial at Queen City

Ohhh Dally. God loves a Corgi, doesn't he? They make sure to keep you honest and grounded.

First let me preface this by saying I was a little worried about how she would handle our first trial back from Nationals. After her spook-out moment in Hybrid, I had people warn me that this might be something that affects her at future trials now, so I was concerned about what kind of dog I'd have for this trial. Luckily, I knew she loves running at Queen City, so I had hoped whatever afflicted her in Pennsylvania stayed in Pennsylvania. I just wanted us to run and have fun.

On Saturday our Jumpers run was awesome! She hasn't run that fast in a long time, and she streaked to first place with a 34 second run, over a Papillon! That's a pretty big deal for us any more. She ran so fast, my friends didn't get a chance to video us! But it was a fun run! Before our Standard run, though, she came out of her crate a little stiff. Thankfully she was wearing her Back on Track blanket and just getting her out for a walk to stretch her stumps did the trick to loosen her up just in time. She wasn't as fast as I would have liked her to be, but she was consistent in her speed, at least. I did have to remind her she needed to stop on the table. (Side note: Nationals doesn't use a table, so sometimes it's hard for dogs to remember to stop on the table for their first trial back.) 

Feeling like I had the "old Dally" back that was happy to run, I set my sights on trying to finish our PACH2 in the next couple of trials. We went into the weekend needing 5 QQs, plus about 100+ points. After our QQ on Saturday, I felt confident...maybe too confident.

Her Jumpers run was great...consistent speed, and a happy dog. I was able to get in all my blind crosses with great timing, and she kept her forward motion because I was never in her way.

But then came her Standard run. Everything was just fine, until we got to the weaves. I walked this different ways and decided I wanted to try pushing her to the correct side of the pinwheel. I felt this was more encouraging to her than a front cross, and I assumed she'd follow my lead. Well...she decided that Peter Liu mislabeled the course and she changed it. I had everything going correctly--my body, feet, shoulders, voice was telling her one way, and even with me calling her loudly, she chose the other way. She even sped up for the off-course! When I asked friends what I did wrong, Melanie said "You did nothing wrong...she's a Corgi and she's ornery and she didn't want to listen to you. I've never seen a dog speed up for an off-course even after being called off!" While we didn't get the whole course, you see the naughty Corgi part. After that mistake, I decided we were running all-out for the rest of the course.

Corgis definitely have minds of their own! Just when I'm starting to feel confident, Dally knows how to bring me back to the ground. Gotta love her for that!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Agility Trial: LaMesa at the Border Terrier Trial at Queen City

I'm a little late in posting the wrap-ups from the Border Terrier Club trial at the Queen City Dog Training Club, and for that I apologize! Instead of boring you with why, I'll just get right to it.

This was our first trial back after Nationals. LaMesa had a nice break after the Louisville Cluster, but she was ready to run like nobody's business.

The courses by Peter Liu are usually very challenging, but always fun to run. This weekend they were fast courses, but they did provide their own little problems that maybe you don't see right away on the course map--off course distractions, etc. I guess I unintentionally decided to challenge not only myself but my dogs in doing different things.

For instance, in this Standard run with LaMesa, I should have just let her do the weaves and trusted her at the end for a front cross or blind cross. Instead, I wanted to rear her into the weaves, which meant me getting in her way (which you hear she does not approve), causing her to get pushed out of the entrance and refusing. I could have just pushed her into the correct end, but I didn't trust her. I need to learn to trust LaMesa now that we're getting more trials under her collar.

Sunday we finally saw some success with a clean run, and her second Masters Jumpers leg! The only thing I wish I had handled differently was the first rear cross--I was too late (or too early?), but thankfully she stuck with me and moved forward.

Peter liked starting his courses this weekend with tunnels. I quickly learned that I need to really work with LaMesa on control when it comes to those start lines. In each run that started with a tunnel, she was fired up, which did not allow me to get the right start. She doesn't have a 100% solid start line stay, yet, and she definitely doesn't when it comes to tunnels/chutes at the start.

In Sunday's Standard, LaMesa was fired up to see the chute at the beginning (when I sat her down in front of the chute she playfully growled at me, and I immediately thought "Uh oh"). I meant to do a front cross on the landing side of the jump (second obstacle) so I could pull her to the correct side of the tunnel. When I couldn't get there in time, I had hoped to beat her to the end of the dog walk to front cross there. When that didn't work, I tried pushing her...yeah...no good. She went into the wrong end of the tunnel. After that, I decided to try a blind cross at the end of the weaves, but to do that I needed to beat her to the end of the weaves...taking off like I did caused her to pop out of the weaves to catch up to me. So, lots of work to do there. (And I'll admit there was a small voice in the back of my head saying this could be LaMesa's first QQ...FAIL.)

We're making progress...slowly, but surely. We'll get that first QQ soon!