Tuesday, October 21, 2014

USDAA Cynosport World Games 2014

No idea if anyone visits here any more, but I thought I'd share about Philip's adventures at USDAA Nationals (aka Cynosport World Games). This year the Nationals happened to be taking place within a manageable driving distance from me, so I made it a goal to qualify and go with Philip. We went to many local (and not so local) USDAA trials during the year, and we reached our goal of qualifying for every single tournament at the Nationals, as well as earning the ADCH title along the way! So this past week the Nationals took place. This was my (and Philip's) first time at a national agility event, so I didn't know what to expect at all. I had booked a hotel right across the street from the event center months in advance and I drove over there the day before. The trip to the location was pretty uneventful - Philip does great in the car, so we made a few stops on our made and made it in time to check-in and grab a spot in the self-crating area. The following morning, the walk-throughs started early in the morning, so I had to be up by 5:30am to get ready and head over there. Needless to say, this was very hard for me since I don't normally wake up so early. However, I was there to put my everything into it, so I was up and running bright and early. First up was a warm-up run called Power & Speed. This course didn't count towards anything, and was more to get used to the equipment and to the surface. We were on artificial turf which was new to many dogs including Philip. He was noticeably slower during the warm-up run, so I was glad we signed up for it and figured that out. To help him better adjust I took him to an empty corner later-on and ran around making tight turns. That seemed to help him figure out how to grip the surface! In the afternoon, we had two more runs - the quarter-finals for Steeplechase and Grand Prix. Philip had no earned any byes, so we had to run these to progress farther. Philip ran Steeplechase clean and was above the cut-off for a while, but once the known fastest Papillon ran the course, he brought the bar was up, putting Philip out of the game. Next up we ran Grand Prix, and Philip unfortunately knocked down the very first bar, so that was it for GP as well. Two tournaments over, and two to go - DAM team and MC Biathlon. We started with the team runs on the second day. First up was the Standard run. It was a very difficult turn with a tough tunnel / dog-walk discrimination that got a lot of dogs. I wasn't sure what Philip would do, but Philip was a good boy, listened to me and went to correct way. Later on in the course, I got a little lost and earned him a refusal, but was able to fix it. All in all Philip had the slowest time, but he didn't E. Unfortunately our two team-mates both made mistakes and got Es. Second up was the Snooker run. Philip is generally good in Snooker so I wasn't too worried. We were to take 3 or 4 reds, so I planned for all 4, with a 7 point, 5 points, and two 4 point colors in between. When we approached the 5-point color, I heard a bar go down and I stopped momentarily, trying to think if I need to change anything (was this a red bar? if so we'd need to find another red immediately!). Shortly I heard the judge call out "zero" so I knew it was no problem and continued with my plan. All in all, Philip got through obstacle 6 in the closing before the buzzer - a good run for us! That concluded day 2. On the third day we only had one run - team gamblers. As is typical with DAM gamblers, the bonus round was not distance, but rather a point-collecting system before the buzzer goes off. In these gambles, you collect points by the laid-out rules, and must cross the finish jump before the buzzer. If the buzzer goes first you lose all the closing points. I changes my plan many times, but once our turn came to run, I stuck to a fairly safe route and Philip listened to all my directions very well. We finished the opening pretty much as planned, though a bit farther than desired from the closing obstacles, so we hurried back there, gathered and few points and headed up at a safe time in order to ensure we don't lose the points. All in all 44 points for the run. By the end of the day, our team was in 100th place, and there was no hope getting back to top 30. We had only one more team course left to do - jumpers. Day 4 also started the biathlon tournament, and we had to run the MC Standard course. Surprisingly, I thought this course looked easier than the team standard a couple days prior. Once Philip got to the line, he was feeling spunky and took off a bit faster than usual. This was good since we don't usually make time in MC courses. I guided him through the course and he followed like a pro. He had a bit of a slow down on the dog walk (which was actually due to the sun hitting him right in the eyes there), but he made it over the finish line just barely in time and clean! The course time was 55 seconds, and our time was 54 with some change! After the biathlon run, we went over to jumpers. I was planning to just have some fun with this course since our team was so far behind, but yet again Philip did very well - not the fastest run, but clean :) Later in the evening I learned that having run clean and under course time in MC Standard put us in the "finalists" for the MC Jumpers run the following day. I was so happy that we would get to run in what I called "the fancy ring" where all the big events were taking place. Philip was one of just 8 dogs in the 12" division to make it to the finalists there! First (and last) day had just this last run in store for us. I was a bit nervous to be on camera in the fancy ring, so I walked the course many more times than usual, and I had several back up plans depending how Philip would be running. As we waited for our turn though, I encouraged Philip and tried to get him pumped up to run faster, but once we got to the line and he started running, I knew almost immediately that the poor pup was exhausted from running 5 days in a row. He was going pretty slow and practically fell asleep in the weaves. However, I pushed him and we ran the course clean, though not fast. I wasn't sure what the course time was, so I first watched the rest of the dog in our height - 4 made mistakes, making Philip one of only 4 to run both biathlon courses clean (good job mister!). Then I walked over to the screen and saw that we were almost 5 seconds over time - too bad! In the end, we actually still ended up taking 7th place overall, which was our biggest achievement of the weekend :) So that's a quick and dirty overview of our trip. It was super tiring, but what great fun! I really enjoyed watching all the amazing handlers and dogs. I stayed for all the finals, cheered on my friends, and took awesome pictures. We got home late Sunday night and both got some well-deserved rest. I'm so proud of my little guy - the courses had been very tough all through the Nationals and he took them all in stride, not once going off course! He might not be the fastest, but he is a very solid agility dog, and I love running with him all the same! In March we plan to drive to Reno for the AKC Nationals. I just might post another update then :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hello, catching up

Wow, it's been so long since I posted here. Funny how things just get busy and then snowball onto themselves over and over again. I never meant to abandon this blog, but it just got a bit forgotten among everything else, so it lay there dormant. Sitting here, I thought Is hold try to revive this, so I'm hoping this is the first of several posts to come. Forgive the quietness, I see there are still visits to the blog, and I'd love to indulge the readers in our new adventures.

So to catch up since where I left it at... Philip has earned two MACHs in AKC already! That's right, I said two :) He earned his first MACH in August 2012, and his second one just a week shy of one year later, in August 2013. Philip also earned his T2B title in July 2012, and T2B2 just this past weekend :)

Currently, we have 4 QQs and more than enough points towards MACH3.

End of the year is usually a bit sparse in trials for us as I get busy with holidays and stuff. I plan to use this time to recap on some fun stories from the last year though, and other Agility tidbits.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Philip's winning streak

Good news and bad news on Philip's winning streak:

Good news - last weekend, Philip earned another Triple-Q and another Double-Q, bringing him to 6 QQs in a row (3 perfect weekends!), he was definitely on a roll. I gave him some delicious duck as a reward, and basked in the glory of my new-found awesome Agility dog!

Bad news - we went to another trial this weekend, and Philip decided that enough is enough, my crazy child was back in town! He did good in Jumpers both days, but failed absolutely miserably in Standard both days.

To demonstrate, a quick recap of today's Standard run - he started off by ignoring my plea for a two-on-two-off on the Dog Walk, though he did get the contact, so no faults called here. However (and I saw this coming, nothing I could do without the 2o2o), from there he ran full speed to the tunnel ahead, on the wrong side of it of course (that's W #1). Then, I did a blind cross out of the tunnel (who knows why, I think I was just out of it), so he stayed on the wrong side of me, running totally past the next jump (that's an R). He then back-jumped said jump before re-taking it (that's W #2). Immediately after retaking that jump, he took off away from me to the Teeter (W #3). I got him back on course yet again, we ran a coupe more obstacles, and again he ran off to a jump away from me (W #4). The rest of the run went smoothly, but my goodness, he really just went all out!

So he broke his winning streak, but I can't be mad at him seeing as he did 3 awesome weekends leading up to that!

Oh, he did get one more qualifying leg in Time2Beat though, so that was nice. We now have 48 points out of the needed 100.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Fun Commercials

Some people watch the Super Bowl for the game, but I most definitely like the commercials a lot better! As a matter of fact, I don't watch the game, I simply watch the commercials online after the fact :)

Here are some of my favorite doggie themed ones. Enjoy!

Monday, January 30, 2012


Sorry I've been terrible at posting anything lately - I've just had other things going on, and haven't had the time to devote to this blog.

However, I have some very exciting news that I just have to share :)

We had our first AKC trial of the year 2 weekend ago, and Philip started it off with a bang! He had his very first perfect weekend, which means that he qualified in every run we had (4 total), so he got 2 QQs in one weekend!!! I was so proud of him, but that is not all. Our second trial was just this last weekend, and we had entered 6 runs (the regular 4, plus T2B on both days), and Philip went 5 for 6! The only run he missed was the T2B on Sunday, but we still went home with 2 QQs (actually, one was a QQQ!) and a first place in T2B on Saturday with 10 points. My little man is on a roll!!!

So that's our exciting news, here's hoping that he continues this streak for a bit, it's such a great little pick-me-up while I deal with other not-so-fun parts of everyday life :)