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Month: April 2010

One HOT Spring!!

One HOT Spring!!

The boys and I have been staying busy since the Mid-Atlantic Showcase.  I came to realization that I have not given Zorro the attention he needed with regarding to his training.  I think I have been so focused getting Dasher and Zip to their ADCh and through the Showcase, I have been neglecting Zorro.  Zorro hates to make mistakes so I really need to help his confidence by regaining his fundamentals that we had in the fall.  I started working with Zorro in the evenings and mornings brushing up on fundamentals, contacts, and back to our 2×2 weaves.

The last few weekends we have been to two USDAA trials and this weekend we attended Salisbury Kennel Club’s AKC trial.  The USDAA trials have gone well, Zorro’s hard work is paying off and he is gaining confidence with each run.  The Hog Dog USDAA trial Zorro earned his PII Snooker title, he also got another PII Jumpers leg.  Dasher and Zip both earned Super Q’s in Snooker, and Q’s in Jumpers, Pairs and Zip got a Standard Q and another Snooker Q.  The GP eluded Dasher and yet again with the 1st rail down in an otherwise amazing run.

Mid-Atlantic MADness trial was another great weekend.  Although we seemed to have a blast of winter weather, the dogs ran great.  Dasher won Jumpers, Gambler, got another Snooker super Q and a Pairs Q.  Zippy had a few handler induced errors but we managed to win Pairs.  Zorro was running great, got on all the contact both days and even got a serious case of the zoomies in Standard on Sunday.  I let him yee-haa around considering in the past speed has not been our strong suit.  On Sunday Zorro earned his PII Jumpers title and got a PII Pairs Q.  Little Zorro is growing up!! He is eeking his way into Masters!!

This past weekend we switched gears and attended the Salisbury Kennel Club AKC trial.  I will doing a bit more AKC in an effort to get Dasher and Zip qualified for AKC Nationals.  Saturday was a mixed bag, I made a few handler bobbles which cost Zip and I a Q in Exc A Standard and JWW.  Dasher had a great Exc B Standard run which was good enough for 1st place.  Dasher broke his start line stay in JWW and I was ticked off at myself for not stopping the game immediately I caused an off course then stopped later on course.  I know better than to keep running after a start line stay problem, shame on me!!   Zorro’s 1st class was Open JWW and he was a bit distrated and stressed.  He made his weave pole entrance but kept popping out.  After the 3rd attempt I stopped the game and we left.  I wasn’t too harsh as I don’t want to diminish his confidence but I do want him to understand this is not the behavior I am looking for in the ring.  Well I think it made some sort of impression because in Open Standard he was a champ and got his weave entrance and weaved great.  Zorro earned a 1st and Q in Open Standard.  Sunday was stellar!!   Dasher and Zip had great Excellent Standard runs.  I put in a late front cross with Dasher which caused us to get a refusal, but otherwise a great run.  Zip was a star and earned a 1st and Q in Standard.  Zorro ran Open JWW first and he was a little champ!! I was hoping he would retain his weave confidence from the day before and he did!! He nailed his entrance and got a 1st and Q in JWW.  Both Zip and Dasher had smokin’ JWW runs, each earning a 1st and Q, (Zip in in Exc A and Dasher is in Exc B).  Zorro had a couple of bobbles in Open Standard but still earning a 1st and Q.

Here are a few runs from the weekend:
Dasher Standard Exc B

Zip Standard Excellent A

Zorro Open JWW

Zip Excellent A JWW

Earlier in the week Jeannette told me about a blog entry on Susan G’s blog that she thought I should read.  Susan talks about the pitfalls of labeling our dogs in a negative manner, i.e. bar dropper, out of control, etc.  It was perfect for me because I am guilty of this with Dasher, calling him a “first bar dropper.”  The blog entry was an “ah-ha” moment for me making me realize that by labeling Dasher this way I am limiting him  and being quite unfair to an amazing agility partner.  I came into this weekend thinking about this and keeping the “journey” into perspective.  Susan said when she looks at her dogs she sees greatness.  I could not agree more!! I look at my dogs and all I see is how wonderful they are and how much they add to my life everyday.  I cannot let my own frustrations with Q’s cloud the waters.  They truly are great athletes and companions.  Thanks to Jeannette and Susan for helping me keep this in perspective.

Mid-Atlantic Showcase

Mid-Atlantic Showcase

Two weekends ago the boys and I headed down south to Fredericksburg, VA to the first annual USDAA Mid-Atlantic Showcase.  Over the course of three days, this trial was offering all titling classes as well as all tournaments, Steeplechase, Grand Prix and Dog Agility Masters Team.  Also for the first time ever they were featuring a Triathlon class, in order to be eligible for this class your dog needed to have at least one Grand Prix or Steeplechase Q in the last year.  The Triathlon has 3 rounds which consist of Team Standard, Team Jumpers and then the final Triathlon round.  Scores are taken from both Team Jumpers and Team Standard and the top dogs will advance to the final Triathlon round.  Dasher was entered in Team, Grand Prix, Triathlon and some titling classes, Zip was entered in titling, Team and the Triathlon and Zorro was entered in titling only.

Friday classes were mainly titling classes and the Grand Prix.  Dasher and Zip did great.  Zip was 1st and Q in Gamblers and Jumpers and Dasher got 2nd and Q in Gamblers and a Q in Jumpers.  Dasher had a great Grand Prix run but unfortunately had a bar in a 180 turn.  Zorro is still getting his “sea legs” with regard to showing so I decided to scratch from Standard in case he decided to bail off the the dog walk or teeter.  I don’t want him to think this is ok.  Zorro did end up with a PII Jumpers and Snooker Q.  He had a nice Gambler run but did not get the gamble.  I was able to send him out to finish the gamble so I was very pleased overall.

On Saturday the DAM Team competition started and things got a bit more hectic.  I ended up scratching Zorro from everything except Gamblers because I had too much going on in the other rings.  My goal in Gamblers was to get Zorro on the dog walk and teeter and I did.  Zorro was slow on the teeter and initially blew off the dog walk but when I brought him back around he did it.  YAY! Baby steps for the baby dog!!  Dasher and Zip had a full plate on Saturday.  We started the day with Team Gamblers.  Boys were superstars! There were various options available for the gamble.  We decided to attempt the tougher but higher pointed gamble.  This was two jumps to a far set of weaves then keeping the dogs out to a final jump.  Both Dasher and Zip made it look easy!! Easy send out to the weaves and they stayed out to take the final jump.  I was so proud of them!! Zip ended up 2nd and Dasher was 3rd.  After Gamblers we had Team Standard.  Again, both boys were superstars, Zip went clean and ended up in 1st place and Dasher got through with only one rail (5 faults).  The Team Standard class was the 1st class to count toward the Triathlon finals so I was pleased that both boys did well.  The next team class was Team Jumpers, this course was super fast with lots of off-course possibilities, including a straight tunnel right through the middle of the course.  Both Zip and Dasher were brilliant! Dasher knocked one bar before the weave poles and Zip went clean.  This was the second class to count toward the Triathlon finals so I was super excited that both boys did so well.  Many dogs went off course in Team Jumpers.  Saturday was a long day, with not only team classes but a few titling as well.  Dasher got another Standard leg which was great.  At the end of the day I went to check our team standings.  Zip, Munchie and Beauty were sitting in 13th place out of 55 teams and Dasher, Surge and Beau were sitting in 14th place.  WoHoo!! Not too shabby for the caliber of competitors here this weekend!!  Another great surprise was that Zip was sitting in 1st place in overall individual standings for team!! WoHoo, way to go Zippy!!

On Sunday we had our final team class before relay, Team Snooker.  Team Snooker is the most heavily weighted class in the team competition and it usually results in many teams getting eliminated and dropping in rank.  As we looked at our options in Snooker, Jeannette and I decided to lean toward a more conservative plan, incorporating mid-range and high points as opposed to trying for all high points and possibly making major mistakes.  Both Dasher and Zippy did great and got through the entire course in plenty of time, each accumulating 53 points.  I think our conservative plan worked great because Zippy placed 3rd and Dasher placed 5th overall in Snooker.  After Team Snooker was over, they released the current team rankings to see who made the cut for the relay finals.  Unfortunately, Zip and Munchie’s team-mate did not accumulate many points in Snooker which bumped us down a bit, but luckily still well above the cut off for qualifying, which was all that mattered.  As I searched for Dasher’s team I started to get worried as I didn’t see us listed.  Turns out, I should have looked at the top of the list because after Snooker we were sitting in 1st place!!  Dasher, Surge and Beau all had very consistant Snooker runs which carried us all the way to number one!! My other team-mates and I were floored, we were so proud of our little dog team!! It is very unusually for a small dog team to be sitting in 1st place in such a competitive show.  The team relay is run in reverse order so Dasher, Surge and Beau would run last in the relay.  Zip, Munchie and Beauty had an o.k. relay round, unfortunately Munchie took a jump in the wrong direction, but both Beauty and Zip went clean.  Zip’s team ended up in 16th place and qualified.  Dasher, Surge and Beau had a spectacular relay run, all dogs ran clean and fast.  This cinched our 1st place win and the little dog team won the Gold!!  All three of us could not have been prouder of our little guys, they ran their heart out all weekend, couldn’t ask for more.

By mid-morning they also had posted the dogs that had advanced to the Triathlon finals.  I was pretty sure that Zip had advanced since he was sitting in 1st place in the individual standings.  Zip had in fact made the cut and was sitting in 1st place so he would run last in the finals as they also run the dogs in reverse order.  When I checked the 16″ division I was ecstatic over the results, Dasher made the cut into the finals!! He was in the middle of the pack but holding his own and after the Team Snooker round Dasher was in 3rd place in the individual standings!! WoHoo!! I was so proud of both Zip and Dasher!!  The Triathlon finals course was fast and trappy with a threadle right in the middle of a very fast course.  The 12″ dogs ran first, I was too busy warming up my dogs to notice what the other handlers were doing on course, so as I stepped up to the line with Zip, the last 12″ dog, I had no idea how fast we needed to be.  Well as usual, Zip gave 110% and put in a smokin’ run.  He handled the threadle like a champ and was efficient throughout the rest of the course.  As he sailed over the last jump and we left the ring for cookies, another 12″ competitor came up to us and said “You smoked it by 3 seconds!”  Little Zippy won the Triathlon!!  What a man!! I was so proud of him!  Of course all Zip cared about was getting his cookies, and he got plenty!   I didn’t have much time to savor the moment however since the 16″ division was starting and Dasher was up in a few dogs.  Dasher put in an amazing run, kept all the rails up even with me pushing for all he had to keep up with the bigger Shelties.  Dasher’s run was good enough for 5th place! I could not have been prouder!

Needless to say Jeannette and I had lots to celebrate on our way home as well as lots to be grateful for.  My guys gave me 110% all weekend, I could not have asked for anything more.  I am truly grateful to have such wonderful companions who also happen to be amazing athletes.