Monday, March 28, 2011

March AKC Trial 3

We had a yet another trial this past weekend. I think this is the first time that we've gone to 3 trials in a single month - Philip is on a roll :)

Saturday wasn't his day... On Jumpers, he took a wrong course, also causing a bar to fall down as I was trying to get his attention. On Standard, he was all over the place - missing a Dog Walk contact (bad dog!), jumping off of the Table too soon, and skipping the last pole on the Weaves. So two NQs for us on Saturday.

Sunday was a bit misty and cold in the morning, so I wasn't sure how we'd do, but the courses were very nice, which was gratifying for a change. When Philip started off on Jumpers, he nicked the very first bar, which I heard, but couldn't see if it fell or not. As the course went on, there was a point where we were running kind of back towards the beginning. So I decided there would be no harm in sneaking a peek to see if the first bar stayed up. So I looked and saw that it was fine, but meanwhile Philip took a wrong turn because I wasn't watching him! Ugh, I'm so mad at myself. My instructor always says how you should never look back at a bar - there isn't anything you can do about it anyway, so keep focused, you'll find out later if it stayed up. Of course, it's very difficult not to look, and it bit me in the butt this time. Philip ran the rest of the course beautifully, and would have qualified had I not made that mistake.

I was bummed out and not looking forward to Standard, thinking Philip will probably mess up the table or take the wrong turn as usual. However, when the time came to run, Philip was paying attention and I got back in the proper mindset. He did the Table okay, and I really stressed the Dog Walk with him, telling him to wait a good 5 times, so he slowed down and got the contact. Lastly, he did the Weaves well, and finished the course clean! So we got a Q for this run :) Philip took 7th place again (he really likes being 7th I think), and got a whole 18 MACH points - good boy!

Too bad I was an idiot on Jumpers, otherwise we would have gotten our first double Q - oh well, maybe that bad run is what caused us to run better in Standard. Good weekend anyway :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Watch Philip run!

Yay, I was finally able to upload a video of Philip's run :) This is from last weekend when Philip earned his third and last Q in Excellent A Standard. Excuse my terrible screams, I had to do it to get Philip's attention :)

Here are a couple of things to notice...
We started off to a good start, you can see that Philip has a nice lead out. Before the Dog Walk, he either thought we were done, or saw something interesting in the corner, but I quickly got him back on track. Then it all goes down hill from there. At the end of the Dog Walk, I tell him to "pause" which is his two-on-two-off command, and you can see that he clearly ignores it and takes off for the Chute. It's the correct course, but now I'm way behind him, so as a last resort I screamed for him to "Go Weave!" and amazingly enough he listened (he doesn't normally do the weaves well unless I'm right next to him, plus there was that tunnel he could have taken instead). Continuing, Philip tries to sniff under the Table, and then ignores the two-on-two-off again from the A-Frame, dashing for the Teeter. I'm seriously amazed that I managed to get him to turn back to me, his paws were almost on the Teeter! Definitely lots of close calls there, but qualifying the run was certainly a nice surprise, and just what we needed :)

Video Fail

Well, I was going to show you guys a video of one of our recent runs, but apparently YouTube is a total failure now, requiring me to link my account, and blah blah blah - stuff I don't wanna do. So now I can't upload videos to my channel anymore, since I refuse to comply...

Does anyone have a recommendation for another video hosting site that I could use to upload a video, without selling my soul to them?

Monday, March 14, 2011

March AKC Trial 2

We went to another trial this weekend (told you there are lots coming up!). We had a good weekend, and I'll try to make this short :)

Saturday Jumpers had a really tough weave entry, and unfortunately Philip missed it, getting to the second pole instead of the first. Otherwise his run was really nice, Philip paid attention, and made no other mistakes.

Saturday Standard had a few tricky turns, so it took a lot of screaming on my part to get Philip to go the right way. However, the screaming actually worked this time! One time he got super close to the off-course Teeter, but I managed to get him off just as he almost stepped on it :) He also got his weaves spot-on even though I wasn't next to him - good boy! He got a Q and took 1st place out of the Excellent A dogs in this course, and this was our 3rd and last Excellent A Standard Q!!! Woohoo, after 10 painful months (he finished Open Standard last May!), we are finally moving on to Excellent B Standard!

No FAST this weekend, so I waited for little dogs to finish, put in the move-up request, and headed home. Sunday morning started way too early due to the time change. As a matter of fact, Philip was still asleep when I got up - not a usual sight at all, he usually waits eagerly for me! Also, being so early, the grass was all wet from the morning dew at the site, soaking my shoes completely - that wasn't so pleasant, yuck...

Sunday Jumpers had another tricky weave entry, and again Philip messed up and took the second pole :( Looking back, it was totally my fault for not correcting his approach, but since he was one of the first dogs on the line, I didn't get to realize this till after our run. The rest of the run was really nice, I even had several people comment to me how well Philip ran :) He paid perfect attention, I didn't have to scream at him at all, and I got all my front crosses in as I wanted!

Sunday Standard wasn't bad at all, and I even had high hopes for it, but unfortunately Philip knocked one bar down :( I'm really not sure what happened there, as he doesn't knock bars much at all anymore, but the rest of the course was clean, so it gives me good hope that Philip might finally be getting better at paying attention to me. I'm starting to believe that getting out of the "terrible twos" really did wonders for him now that he is 3 years old!

So all in all, just one Q for us this weekend, but a very desired Q, and only 1 mistake each in the other runs, so I'm very happy with the results. Now that Philip is finally in Excellent B for both courses, we can start shooting for doubles, and we'll have more opportunities for points - yay!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March AKC Trial 1 - Saturday

Hello again! March is a busy month in the Agility world for us. We have 3 trials this month, and just got back from the first one this weekend!

This was a really big 4 day long event, but Philip and I only went on Saturday and Sunday since I have to work and all :) The event also had Obedience, Rally-O and other fun stuff going on, but more on that in a bit.

Saturday's Standard run was a usual disaster, though it was an extremely tough course. Our fiasco started off with a missed contact on the Dog Walk! That was definitely a first for Philip, and I actually didn't know it even happened until after the run. I really need to enforce the contacts with Philip more. He tends to run off without stopping in trials, even though he does his two-on-two-off in class. Besides that, he also took a wrong jump (I totally expected that one, it was a really tough turn), and made another mistake that escapes me right now.

Before having our JWW run, I went to check out the Obedience rings, and saw the CGC testing area (that was going on the whole weekend as well). I've been wanting to get Philip his CGC for a while now, but I always felt like he'd fail the dog greeting and stranger greeting parts of the test, since he is a jumpy boy. I told the CGC lady that I wanted to watch a test before trying it, but she encouraged me that Philip is behaving really well and I should just try it. I wasn't convinced yet, so I told her I had an Agility run to do, but that I might come back later.

The JWW run was a much better turn out. Philip was getting nicely tired by the time it came up, so he paid attention to me, and he did the course very nicely. There were a couple of spots where I had to scream for him, but he actually listened and came back to me. He got a Q taking 7th place, and earned 4 more MACH points :)

Being such a big event, there were a lot of dogs there, so we had to wait quiet a while for our FAST run. So while waiting, I went back to the CGC area. I thought I would sign up for a spot with Philip, but apparently the tester lady figured we came to test, and started it before I even realized it! She petted him, looked at his ears and teeth, lifted his paws, brushed him, and Philip just sat there like a sweet little angel boy! I was so amazed at it. She then asked us to do some commands - sit, down, stay, come, as well as walking nicely on leash, and working with distractions (two girls did some hula hoop spinning near us). We walked by a dog, and shook hands with the tester. Last but not least, I left Philip with the tester on leash, and went behind a trailer to fill out paperwork. This is usually the hardest part of the test since dogs don't like having their owner out of sight, but Philip has a great stay and has been out of my sight many times, so I knew he'd have zero issues with that one. And so we passed our CGC test! I never imagined it would be so simple, I'm so proud of my boy :)

Anyway, back to Agility, the FAST run. As you might remember from our last trial, Philip had finished his Open FAST title, so this weekend we got to try Excellent FAST. In Excellent there are 5 more points to earn (for a total of 60), and 5 more feet on distance (for a total of 15). Saturday's send bonus included a tunnel, out to a jump, then having to do a 180 from the jump back into the same tunnel. The points weren't so bad to get in this course, but I decided to go for the send first. With Philip's love for tunnels, you'd think this send would have been easy-peasy, but the U-turn proved to be a little too much. Philip took the tunnel, and the jump, and came back around it, but the turn made him lose his momentum, so I couldn't get him to go back into the tunnel. He was just so confused, and then found something to sniff in the grass, so we got a fault for our send. Of course, no send = NQ in FAST.

Before walking off course though, I figured I'd do a little contact practice. In our class just a few days earlier, the instructor was talking about how if you mess up your run early in the course, you might as well practice things you have trouble with, and pointed out the contacts is one of those things for Philip. So I took him to the A-Frame, and he blew off it as he usually does in trials. No contact meant no running for him, so I turned around to the exit. In hindsight, I should have picked him up and carried him out (as our instructor told me, but alas - I forgot). By running him out, he still got to take a couple of jumps and have some fun on the way, so it might not have stuck so well that he did something wrong. Oh well, next time I'll hopefully remember.

That wraps up our Saturday shenanigans, and this post is getting long, so I'm going to split it up, read up on Sunday shortly in the new post! :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February AKC Trial 2

This past weekend marked exactly a year since Philip and I started running in AKC Agility competitions. We went to the same trial that it all began with last year, one which is famous to be on a rainy weekend with lots of mud. Even though the forecasts were promising earlier in the week, this year still wasn't an exception, and it started pouring Friday night... Even though last year a few select people (including yours truly) braved the course anyway, this year the trial secretary decided to cancel the runs on Saturday. I ended up driving to the site anyway since the email didn't go out until after I had left home, and it definitely looked slushy there, so maybe it was for the best. Still though, it sucks since we all paid for it and didn't even get to try - don't think we'll be getting any refunds.

The weather cleared up by Sunday though, so we were on for our 3 runs. First up was Standard, and Philip did a pretty good job, except being sucked onto the Teeter at the very beginning, earning himself a wrong course. He also stopped before getting up on the table, though I heard that another dog had peed on it earlier, so that might have been why.

The jumpers course was set up with a very tricky beginning - there were 3 jumps straight out, but the dogs had to only take 2 of them, and then take a sharp U-turn into a tunnel. I managed to turn Philip away from the 3rd jump, but he didn't turn far enough and went for a different jump out to the right instead of the tunnel. He also ended up knocking the 2nd jump bar, and then another later.

So we got two NQs in those runs and had quite a while to wait before our FAST run, which was the last thing of the day. This trial was taking place as part of a bigger dog show, so I went to see the pretty doggies during the break. Philip got quite a bit attention there since he was all muddy (I let him romp in some slush after the runs) - everyone commented on how much fun he must have had that morning :) Unfortunately, I forgot to grab my camera, so no pictures of pretty dogs for you guys, but I saw one super weird dog. It was called a Bergamasco, and you guys should totally look it up, such a strange looking dog!

Anyway, back to Agility. We finally got to run FAST around 3pm (ugh!), and I thought it'd be easy as always, however Philip had gone completely out the window! We began with a tire into the weave poles, which he messed up, and I didn't bother fixing. So we ran ahead to the Send Bonus which included a jump, an A-Frame, and a tunnel. Well usually we have no problem with these things, but Philip just would not go to the jump! I was flabbergasted. Finally he went over it after me taking him in circles for the 3rd time, and he easily did the other two obstacles of the Send. After that I wanted him to turn left, but he totally ignored me and ran straight ahead. It's no big deal in FAST since we can do whatever we want, but he was frustrating me beyond belief, since we needed our points, and were running out of time. I finally called him to the Teeter, which was worth 9 points, and then he ran by a jump that was right there for 10 points, having me turn him around yet again, but he did get over it and to the finish line on time.

In the end, we got barely got our Q, with just 1 point over the requirement, and 0.11 seconds under the course time! This was our last needed Open FAST Q though, so Philip got his title and will be moving up to Excellent A FAST next weekend!