Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunflower Kennel Club trial 2010 Wrap up

Wow, what a great weekend! While Miller only had two qs all weekend, he had two almost double qs and I am pretty happy with the way that i handled. I got great distance with him and that will be a bonus in two weeks when I have my USDAA trial. I couldn't afford to enter everything so just entered gamblers on both days so yah for distance skills! I do feel like Miller might be a little sore but he isn't too stiff and seems to be okay. Some one commented that he looked like he was limping when we were leaving today but I didn't see it.

Harley and Tony also had two great runs today too. Tony had one refusal in standard which was his fault unfortunatley. He told Harley to turn and harley did what he was told and turned before the jump, thus missing the jump altogether. He actually got all of his contacts and got his table. I am so amazed and happy that they are doing so well together. I think it helps that Tony is so calm when he runs him and he doesn't push him near as hard as I did. I think this helps Harley to stay focused and not go into race mode. Tony's jumpers run was also really good and controlled. Tony actually got two front crosses in that were so smooth. He had one bobble where harley ran around a jump but I think he was looking at another jump and possibly tony's body was indicating another jump but who cares. He was bummed as that would have been his MXJ but they will get it for sure! I think we have decided not to go to Aussie Nationals this year and just go to the greater KC club show so that he can show since it will be essentially local. I think two shows a week will be good for us both and we can afford to do that if tony is laid off for a long time.

Final thoughts and feelings are mixed. Very, very happy that Miller is running like normal but he was still a couple of seconds off of his normal time so am wondering if this is just him getting older. I do not feel like he is ready to go down to preferred so he is staying at 20 for now. I am still not setting the goals for nationals in 2011 or for MACH 2, just wanting to run him and have a good time but am feeling that ache for the Q. Made a stupid mistake today in jumpers cause I had a double Q on the line so not happy with that mentality. Thought I was over that, but obviously not:) I hope I can keep this mentality but it sure is hard when my fellow competitors are already closing in on their second MACHs! We had i think 5 people get their MACHs this weekend so it sure did bring up those feelings of how nice it was to walk on air for a while after obtaining my MACH. Sure would be nice to do that again! Oh well, I have Deuce for that I guess. I just wish I had gotten miller going earlier in his life as he is such a great dog and runs his heart out for me.

Okay signing off of this blog and heading over to Deuce's blog to discuss some things about this weekend with him. Next show is in two weeks and is USDAA YESSSSSS!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sunflower Kennel Club trial 2010

Our first trial back and so many emotions and thoughts and happiness! I had entered Miller all three days (why?) and at full height. I think my thoughts were that we would be able to train and get back into shape and we haven't. I should have entered him in novice preferred so he could jump 16 inches. The good news is two days are done and he is running great. The bad news (not really in my eyes but in others) is that we only have one Q in four runs. I am super happy that he is running like normal and I am focusing on that. I truly have not shown my true miller since September so we are going through a period of readjustment. I did show him at USDAA nationals but he was not better at all so he was very clingy and not able to work any distance at all. I have been able to work great distance all weekend and he is even driving ahead of me for rear crosses! I am so shocked as usually if I decelerate, so does he! His times haven't been as fast as they once were but he is still running great for a 10 year old dog. I have had to remind myself of my goals this weekend as people have been getting MACHs and double Qing like crazy. The courses have been so nice and fun to run and I have had a great time seeing all of my friends that I have really missed. I do still feel like my decision to pull back to two day shows is probably in Miller's best interest. As one of my fellow competitors pointed out, he is getting older and I need to keep that in mind. I am going to post several of his runs and I will recount them (mainly to bore you to death).

We started out with standard on Friday with an awesome course from Bonnie Drabeck. She always has such great courses and I always enjoy showing under her. She was the judge for both rings and we started later since it was excellent only. I was so happy just to see all of my friends and catch up on all I have missed. So many people have been doing so awesome and so many people are close to their MACHs!!!!!! Miller's start line stay has been horrible the past couple of practices and he seemed very hyped up so I was kind of worried that he wouldn't even stay! The course was jump and then dog walk so I had a feeling it might be a very short course. Well, i am happy to report that he had great stay and a great dog walk! Unfortunately, for no reason other than I may have put too much pressure on him, he popped out of the weaves. I did take him back and he did the same thing again but he is becoming a distance dog for some odd reason as he gets older. I am finding that he prefers for me to be away from him on all obstacles and any pressure in causes him to react. In a way, it is kind of neat that he is developing Independence and distance skills but weird at the same time. Maybe we will get our gambler's Qs we need in USDAA since he is feeling like working away from me so much. We had jumpers next and of course again, a very nice course by Bonnie. For some odd reason he refused a jump but I think it was my fault. I did a front cross to a serpentine and I just think he came into it so tight that he didn't see the second jump. He got his weaves so that made me feel better but I did stay farther away from him and gave him tons of room with no pressure as a jump straight ahead was the next thing. I ended the day with no Qs but so very happy that he was running like his normal miller self!

Day two of the weekend started with Miller in standard again and another great run! We were clean and he ran around the last jump to NQ us. Who knows why he did that as the video doesn't really show why. There was a tunnel past the last jump and I said just go so maybe he thought go tunnel? Who knows and who cares as he ran like his normal self. I did baby his dog walk and shame on me for doing that. I need to start training for nationals and not for the Q so I need to push his dog walk as much as I can and not baby sit it at all. The exciting news is that Harley and Tony got their AX today!!! I am so proud of how they did!!!! He did have some weird contacts and we all thought Harley missed his dog walk contact but he got it and got a first! I am so proud as that finishes all of his excellent A titles and puts him in the Ex B forever! Now Tony can work on his MACH and work on his contacts! Harley is such an awesome dog sometimes and could be a border collie beater if tony can just get it together with him. I hope some day they go to nationals as I think they could at least place in a round whereas Miller is too slow and too old! Miller got a Q in jumpers and one rear cross with two nice fronts but was a little slow. I think rears slow him down but I wanted to practice some rears as you won't always be able to do all fronts on a given course. I think he got 8 points total which is a little low for him but I will take it. I am just so glad that he is running like his old self!

I will update everyone on tomorrow's run tomorrow. I am hoping for good runs from both of us. Harley just needs one more Q for his MXJ, so finger's crossed! I am so happy to be back in the swing of things! I would love to concentrate on USDAA this year but not many trials in our area so will probably do mostly AKC. Again, goals are just to have fun and to get the Qs and doubles as they come. The videos aren't uploading at this point so I will try and upload them later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Getting Nervous for the Sunflower trial

I have to admit, I am getting very nervous for the Sunflower trial. I really should have entered him in novice preferred so we could jump 16 inches but I guess I also thought we would be able to get out and train more than we have. Miller was released on the 6th of January to start back training and I have been faithfully doing jump chutes and channel weaves spread apart to get him back into shape. Now this is all done in my backyard which started out still having about 5 inches of snow which has slowly melted. We are now down to a crust of snow with some hard ice on top of it. Needless to say, Miller did not want to work today and I didn't get much out of him. I did take him to a friend's place last night and got some good work out of him. Still mainly doing jump chutes and tunnels as I don't have any contact obstacles to get him on other than my teeter. Lori's field is soup so need to get him on an a-frame or dog walk if it all possible soon!

I did have a little scare last night and I want to talk about it. We were at an indoor softball training facility that has turf down. We were just doing jump chutes and I decided to go ahead and do some crosses. He had been doing great, even got to work on some start line stays as he was so amped he kept on breaking them. Anyway, was doing some crosses and he slipped on the turf and fell. He got up and seemed to be favoring his other leg, the one that wasn't initially injured. I was a little worried but he seemed to walk out of it and then stretched nicely. He did have a little knot in his glute muscle which I worked out but it still scared me. I was very careful today to make sure he was okay and used the ball to really stretch him out. He is still jumping okay and is coming up to take treats and staying up on both back legs so I think he is okay. I really desperately need an indoor place to train and love training with my training partners so I really want this place to work out. I really don't want to have to spend the rest of his career babying him and worrying about every little misstep. It makes me a nervous wreck and I know if will affect how I run courses and i don't want that. So, I guess I have two choices, retire him from agility for good, or just not worry about his every little move and see how he does. I do know when I baby him or over-analyze his every move, I think he acts worse. He has always been a tough dog so I know that this injury that he has battled really was bothering him. I have a the sunflower show in a week and I just hope he won't re-injure himself our very first show out. USDAA nationals is going to be for sure in KY so I have to get to as many shows as possible to get him qualified since we are behind. I am trying to be cautious about his comeback and will probably pull him from the four day Truine trial and just show him 2 days just to be safe. We are cutting back to just 2 days for out of town trials and we are going to probably cut out some trials as well. I just hate it because agility is my hobby and is my favorite thing to do in life and I hate having to give it up but need to do what is best for miller and also what is best financially. Tony did get laid off today but they think it will only be for a week or two so we should be okay. Well, time for me to get off of here and get ready to go out. One last going out night before we are poor!!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Miler update and competition fears

I haven't made it back to the PT and I should have but things have just been to crazy at work. We had a tech go from full time to part time to leaving, and while she didn't have enough to keep her busy, it will keep me way busy to do my job and her job. We have another part time tech but her schedule is varied due to her other job so this could get interesting. I fear that my time off is going to be limited for a while. I do feel like Miller is way better. He does some things that let me know when he is feeling good and he is doing those things. He does this play bow stretch and then he stretches out both back legs individually. He had stopped doing that for months but here lately, ever time he gets up, he does it so I think his legs are feeling better. My concern right now is that we have the worst winter since i moved here in 99 with three big snows already and I don't have access to any indoor facilities to train. I have a show in late January and now I thinking I may need to scratch him as I am not going to be able to get him back into shape. I took him the other day get him weighed and he has lost a bunch of weight and I fear that is all muscle. I really, really don't want to take him to the show and then him get injured immediately again because i haven't conditioned him properly. He does run around in the backyard and play with Harley but we still have probably 5 or more inches of snow on the ground, topped with ice where the other snow has melted and refroze so working in the yard on jumps is not an option. I could drag at least one jump inside but i need to do straight line jumping and i couldn't do much with that with just one jump. You know, I am going to admit something here. When one thing stresses me, several things start to stress me so I think cause I am stressed about work, I am starting to stress about everything else. Maybe he will be fine, maybe I am just freaking out for nothing.

I have been thinking alot about what I want out of this year. I previously wrote goals for him and I do feel like those goals are good ones. I am still not sure about USDAA nationals. I am so behind since I have missed two local shows already. I have one coming up in February but because of Tony's possibility of being laid off, we have been cutting back money wise and I could only enter team and the two tournament classes. If I knew where USDAA nationals were going to be, I could stick to that plan or if it is going to be way too far away, I could just do the titling classes and the two tournament classes for fun and not do team at all. I would also like to go on a real vacation this year, with my hubby and no dogs. I am leaning either towards going back to AZ and going up to the grand canyon for a week or taking a long weekend and taking him to my favorite city in the world, New Orleans. I can't do either if I am taking all of my money and saving for nationals. We also need to go to TN for at least thanksgiving this year. We haven't been back to TN in over two years and I fear that my grandparents and his grandma might not be around for much more so we need to see them. I can't do all of that and go to nationals. AKC nationals are in Tulsa so it won't be the money suck that previous nationals have been. I won't have to take off as much as we won't have as much travel expenses. If they have USDAA nationals in KY, it will be the same thing, I can drive, mom can drive and we won't have as much expense. Okay so I am rambling now but all these thoughts have been bumping around in my head for a while and need to get them out.

My other big concern is work for tony. When it is good, we are set but when it is slow, we are not. Even though I have a master's degree, I am not working in my field and have taken a huge pay cut to work in the job I have, but I get flexibility of schedule, a great understanding boss and very generous benefits that make up for the pay cut. Because of this, Tony pays for most of all of our bills and out house payment so I pay for my little bills like cell phone and student loan and then dog showing. If work is going to be slow, my little bit of money i make will have to go to bills and that will cut off my dog showing funds and vacation funds. Now, I am not complaining because the union has taken great care of Tony and kept him working when hundreds have been out of work, but it is still scary to think we might have to make a huge lifestyle change. You know it is has been interesting, I thought I would die without agility in my life, yet the couple of months i have been out of it, I haven't really missed it. I do miss my friends but I have enjoyed the extra money we have had available since we aren't showing. See what I mean, when one thing stresses me, everything starts stressing me!

Okay so this has turned from a blog about miller to a blog about me rambling about all of my fears! You know, I am thankful for all the things we have, all the love we have, all the success both tony and I have in life and I just need to think about those things. We both have great health, our dogs are healthy and happy, and we have love. On that note, I am going to shut up and stop stressing!