Sunday, February 14, 2010

Triune Weekend (February Edition)

Back from Lawrence and another good show weekend. We only showed 2 days out of four which I think was a good move for Miller. He does seem to get tired quicker now and because of the abundance of crappy weather, I haven't been able to really condition him like normal. Plus, every year I say I will never show for four days straight and every year I do and regret it. Imagine four days in a hotel or driving 2 hours, eating out, and getting up early. Seems like everyone is tired and grumpy after four day shows and I am happy to say I am rested and ready to go! I was interested to see how he ran after so many runs last weekend and I have to say I was very pleased. While he hasn't been placing in any runs, he got 19 points in standard and 12 in JWW which is pretty awesome for an 11 year old dog. I decided to really put my revelation to the test this weekend (trust your dog dummy) and I am happy to say it really worked. I was out of position a couple of times and he saved my butt, but I can trust that he will do that. He knows his job and I have to let him do his job and not micromanage. I am still not sure exactly why he popped the poles in our Sunday standard run, but it could have been a couple of things. I had attempted a blind cross after the a-frame and I think I was not far enough ahead and he read it as a push and not a cross. He kind of did a push, nose dive off of the a-frame and when I looked back, he was completely twisted in the air. The weaves were 6 obstacles later and he might have been feeling a little sore by then, thus causing him to pop the poles. The other reason could be, he doesn't train on 24 inch poles and sometimes looses his rhythm in them. Every year when we go to the MAC trial in Minnesota, he does this so I think we are just going to have to train more often on them. Whatever the case, to be cautious, I did not run him in JWW and Tony also pulled Harley. Daytona is today and it is the start of the NASCAR season so he was very anxious to get home. Driving home was very odd, drove through bright sunny skies one minute and blowing blinding snow the next. Kansas weather is so very odd!

I would have to say the weekend was good but weird. Had a very odd spell this weekend that i can't really explain. After we ran on Saturday, tony and I decided to go to Home Depot to see if they had anything different than the one in Manhattan. While we were in Home Depot, I started getting very dizzy and very nauseous. I literally had to hold on to Tony to get out of there. Even though I was a little green, it was about dinner time so thought maybe I was just hungry. Took Tony to a Chinese place that I thought he would love. Well, it wasn't as good as I remembered and it didn't help my upset tummy, even though I just ate beef and egg noodles. Ended up having to go back to the hotel room and just lay in the bed. I was so bummed because the major reason why we got a hotel room in Lawrence was to get to go out and eat with our friends, and instead I was laid up in the hotel room:( Oh well, we got to sleep late the next day and take our time getting to the show site. I guess it was worth it and I do feel normal today.

I have to comment on a blog I read about sportsmanship in our sport. A fellow competitor wrote about how negative things have gotten and I have to agree. People are alot more serious about agility now than when I started. More and more people are getting dogs based on what wins at nationals or what is going to get them on the world team and not what dog best fits them. More and more people are going to trainers and seminars to be their very best and that is a good thing. Wanting to be better is a good goal and whatever means you do to get there is awesome. We all have goals, some as simple as getting your dog walk contact, to getting the win and going to nationals. Some people are pushing themselves and their dogs way to far, thus creating unhappy sore dogs and and unhappy competitors. I do agree cliches are forming, some new, some that have always been there but I think in any sport or in any competitive venue or event this will happen. I don't think there is anything you can do about it. All you can do is to set the best example for everyone else. Don't sink to anyone's level!!!!! Let them wallow in their own misery. Karma is always a bitch and it will always come back to haunt you. Try to be the most positive person and you will create positivity that will spread. We all need to stop gossiping so much !!!! It brings us all down and doesn't help any situation. I know it is something I need to work on because who doesn't like juicy gossip! I think the true meaning of a champion or lets just say, a leader, is a very positive person who can maintain this demeanor no matter what situation arises. It is so hard to be positive when you are handling bad or if you are handling good but the chips just aren't falling in your favor. I will try and be the best example I can be of a positive handler and I will surround myself with positive people. Maybe we can spread this positivity! We do this sport for fun as most of us can't do this for a living. We need to remember that time with our dogs is short and we need to cherish every run, good and bad.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

USDAA weekend Casa De Canine

I will have to admit, I was very nervous about this weekend. Mainly for two reasons. One, I had entered Miller in team so I had five runs on friday, then three on saturday and two on sunday, and I had 0 q's for nationals going into this show. I have to admit, I don't do very well when I am behind. Usually by now we have been to at least 2 USDAA shows so I normally already have my team Q and one Q in either PNS or PSJ. I don't do really great when I am coming from behind and I am behind right now. We have had absolutely no chance to condition our dogs either due to a very harsh winter. We have not had class since probably October so I know Miller isn't in the best of shape, nor am I. I LOVE USDAA and would love to enter him in everything, but reality is setting in and I know he isn't a spring chicken anymore. Plus, Tony got laid off about the time I needed to enter this show and I had no extra money so could only entered a very limited amount. Anyway, top that with bad weather being predicted and I was a little nerve wracked!

I had decided to go down on thursday night as soon as I got done with work and boy am I glad I did. I was feeling kind of stupid as it didn't snow till friday morning, but I was so glad I was already in Lawrence. Not sure the snow fall totals but it was big and wet and seemed like alot! I am sure the roads were just slushy but it still would have scared the crap out of me! We had team day on Friday and I was nervous. There were alot of good Performance teams with five events to complete. We had gamblers class first and while I felt like we got alot of points, we really didn't. I think Miller got 40 points but most team got at least 50. The gamble was to get as many 1s and 3s as possible before the buzzer sounds. If you touched a five, you lost your gamble points and if the buzzer sounded before you were out, you lost all your gamble points. There was tunnel down by the end obstacle that most people were taking several times but it was under a dog walk and I could so see Miller going up the dog walk and negating any points we got. We ended up getting last place after round 1 but all teams were above the line at that point. Our next round was snooker and I was contemplating either trying to get four ones and at least two sevens or just going for three ones and trying to get as many closing points as I could. Miller ran great in gamblers but I was greedy and went for four 1s and two sevens but only made it to the 4 in the closing before the buzzer sounded. My teammate Buzz did really well so we moved up a couple of spots and were still above the line. Next event was standard, with a very tough standard course. For whatever reason, Miller popped the last pole, in fact did that about three times so ate up a ton of time but then ran the rest of the course clean. Again, my teammate pulled through and had a clean, fast run and we moved up again. Round 4 was jumpers and we both had very fast runs, but Miller knocked a bar barking at me. We moved up again as other teams had gotten Es in both standard and jumpers. Team Buzzing on Miller was in first place going into the relay. We were the only team that didn't have an E so the pressure was going on us. The first part of relay had a tough weave pole entry but otherwise was just jumps and not a lot of yardage. The second part had several tough discriminations but tons of yardage so we decided that the younger faster Buzz would handle that part better. I got done cleanly going through the first part but buzzy decided that the tunnel looked way better than the A-frame and we got an E! We dropped from 1st to 5th but still got the Q. I think Tammie and I were bummed as we had clawed our way to the top but that got us our team Q and that was all we needed!

I had reserved the room for two nights and again I was glad I did. It had snowed pretty much all day and even though the roads were just wet, it was almost 7 when we got done and I was tired and hungry! It was so nice to just go back to my room and have dinner and crash and not have to white knuckle it back to wamego. We had three runs for saturday, two of which were very important so I wanted to be rested for sure. Again, I had no Qs for PNS or PSJ so I needed both runs. I had also entered gamblers since it was the first class of the day just as a warm up. Well, the gamble had weaves in it, a far distance away so I was pretty sure he wouldn't get it. We racked up a nice amount of points in the opening and headed to the closing and miller refused the tunnel right before the weaves which negated the gamble but got the weaves! I was so elated because he has never weaved that far away from me! For whatever reason, the older he has gotten, the farther away he wants to work for me. Maybe I should go back to NADAC and try to get those chances legs I need for his NATCH!!!! Unfortunately, my plan for that being the warm up back fired because we didn't run PSJ or PNS till several hours later. I have been trying to do more warming up with him, mainly through walking alot before he runs and doing minimal warm up jumps. He stresses high so I want to minimize it and doing a ton of warm up jumps would drive him over the edge. So if you see us at a trial and we are just walking circles, we aren't crazy, we are just trying to warm up. Well, I am happy to report that we got both a Q in PNS but also PSJ! Our PNS run was safe but I decided to run all out in PSJ since there were several very fast dogs in our division so he had a really awesome time! I think we were second going into the finals and third in PNS.

I did drive home saturday after running since the weather was good and had already packed up since they were predicting snow on sunday. I figured if I was going to come back on sunday, I would just bring in my little red pop-up crate and just bring Miller and not Deuce. When I got home, I was just so tired and so worried about the weather that I decided not to go back and run finals on sunday. Partially because i was worried about the weather, but also about having so many runs with Miller. He seemed to be okay but I had been giving him Trameel all weekend just in case. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep at 9 pm and didn't wake up till 9 am. I don't regret not going back for sure. Miller got to rest, I got to do some house work and pay some bills and go shopping.

Now, observations for the weekend! I need to trust the old man! Runs where I just trusted him and let him just run his course, he did fine, runs where I micro managed him, he didn't. You would think I would know that after almost 5 years of running him! He seems to be very sensitive on the weaves right now. When I crowd him or stop or hold my breath, he pops every time. I also need to trust he will get his entries to the weaves. He knows his job and got a couple of tough entries this weekend no problem. I also need to go for it! He can do it and I have no clue why I am so conservative sometimes. I could have gotten all sevens in snooker but was so worried about whatever that I didn't go for it.

I am looking forward to going to the MAC trial in a few weeks as I always enjoy that trial whether we are successful or not and maybe going to Fort Worth for regionals. I am for sure going to Nationals now in KY so team Buzzing for Miller is set to go (if she will have me:). I just wish we had more USDAA in our area. I would so give up AKC for good if we had more USDAA! It is so much more fun and so much more challenging mentally. I LOVE the strategy games, especially snooker and gamblers!

On to another dog show this week. Was entered for four days but pulled back to two. Tony is entered too so finger's crossed for a double Q for team Tony and Harley!