2007 training goals

MARCH 2007

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I got to ride my motorcycle to work today. It's finally warm enough in the mornings to not freeze. But, it decided to be extremely foggy. It was no fun riding to there. I couldn't get my helmet visor clear of fog most of the way. The drive home was gorgeous though, and I had to stop to fill up for a whopping $4.

Sparkle did well in obedience class again this week. Her sits are still weak though. I need to keep up the sit, treat at home. But, but by the end of class I could see her brain was frying. I wanted to try the rally course real quick after class and see how far we need to come in the next couple of months. It was a disaster. She had no attention, bad heeling and no sitting. I knew her attention was shot, so I went to the car and got the last couple of nibbles of my Chick- Fil- A dinner. We went back to try the rally course again. WOW! She found her brain and re-attached it quick when she discovered there was chicken for dogs that heel. What a great Rally dog I can have! Great fronts, attention heeling, and sits. Lesson learned! Heeling gets old fast to an 8 month old, so make heeling more interesting with a really good treat and make the sessions short


It was an obedience afternoon. Shelby did her utility stuff. I moved where we did go-outs again and it confused her and she needed help remembering how to go-out. She did watch for the jump signal though. Her articles were a bit scatterbrained again, and she was sniffing a couple and then giving up and grabbing one. It took some work to make her think through the whole pile. Her heeling was once again gorgeous though. And she watched me on the signals. She was great on gloves too. Sparkle got to work on some rally exercises/heeling in the driveway. I bought some of those cheap soccer cones so we could practice doing the cone exercises. As I expected, the first time we walked up to the cones she forgot how to heel (not that she's real sure about it anyway) and crept up to the cone to sniff it. Then we just started heeling close to them and I'd watch her eye them. When she started ignoring them we tried our cone rally exercises. She did OK, but wasn't watching good enough to keep from getting bumped on the cone weave every time I had to weave into her. She got better though. She needs much, much work on turning and changing speeds with me. She's just now 'getting' heel position if I am walking a straight line at one speed.


AHH. A nice weekend at home. Friday night Rich wanted Mexican, so we did an early dinner. When we got home I let the girls (Misty, Josie, Sparkle) in (they were outside playing). Josie didn't come immediately so I called for her. She game busting in the door snapping her jaws, but I didn't think anything of it because she frequently snaps her teeth if she thinks she might be in trouble. She headed straight to a pillow and started hovering over something. OH NO! What's she got? I walk over and all the other dogs inside have circled up around her. I hollered, "JOSIE LEAVE IT." She backed up and she had a dead rat!! ICK ICK ICK! I grabbed collars of everyone I could reach. "RICH HELP NOW!" Thankfully he is less grossed out and picks it up by the still intact tail and carries it out. OK, so it should have been a picture for the blog moment, but I was too disgusted to pause for a photo opportunity. This on the heels of the turtle excitement Thursday night. (Shelby caught her a turtle and was doing her best to crack it open. It was rescued and relocated)

Sparkle, Lego and Shelby went tracking Saturday morning with Cheryl and Bernie and a new 'member' of out informal tracking group, Leslie, showed up with her two yellow labs. After laying tracks for the more experienced dogs I got Shelby out to do a little L shaped track with food on it. She has some enthusiasm for tracking, but has no understanding of the point of the game. She's only tracked one other time and it was a straight line. She did alright. Maybe I will put some work into teaching her this game. Sparkle is outstanding. Cheryl laid her a U-shape with food every 5 steps or so for encouragement. She seems to really get excited over this game. It was her first attempt at a turn on a track and I was pleased with her. She even looked like she understood that the glove at the end was a food dispenser and it was quite easy to get her to lay down on it. We made a big deal over that little track and when I walked her back to the car I set the glove down in the grass to pick up something else and Sparkle started laying down next to it again. GOOD GIRL. I didn't intend to test her article indication, but I was happy to see her think. Bernie was next on a TD track. He does that first leg so well, then when it turns he kinda looks like, 'OH well, it was fun for a minute anyway.' and Cheryl has trouble getting him interested in finishing. But, his article indication skills are much improved. Leslie ran her young dog, Twist, and then it was Lego's turn. He started out a bit distracted, but improved over the track. He seems to track well in different ground surfaces, but not at all on concrete. That needs a bunch of work. He did, however, alert to just about all the articles on his track. He even stopped for a plastic pill bottle. That's the first time he's stopped for plastic so I was thrilled.

Sunday we ran errands and I did a small amount of work on SIT with Sparkle since I noticed she doesn't really understand sit.  Rich worked on changing oil in the afternoon and worked in the flower bed.  We like to have some of the guys out with us in the front if we're out there working. The majority of them can just hang out in the front yard, but not Lego, Sparkle, Jedi and Josie. They require a nice tree tie-out or they'll leave the yard to do their own thing and ignore us when we call. So Sparkle was also introduced to the evil tie out. She was royally spooked by it and didn't understand the end of the line. I had to go and sit with her and then she had to be touching me or she was sure the evil tie out cable might eat her. On the other hand, Lego seems perfectly at ease with a tie-out and almost content to be there since we're there close by. He even managed to restrain himself from barking at people across the street and only really lost it for a second when the neighbor's rude Golden ran down its driveway next to our property. We also had return of the turtle. Seems that Rich didn't relocate it far enough away and it spent the last few days journeying back to it's 'home'. I found it when the dogs were bashed the picket fence gate and scratching at the ground under it. Mr. turtle was attempting to slip under the gate back into the back yard. Rich relocated him farther this time.


Sparkle was much more mentally fit for the obedience class this time. We felt right at home instead of sorely behind. She even did some OK heeling. Her stays are improving enough that I can walk around her without her breaking, though I haven't added much frontal distance yet. Maybe 3 feet max. I have discovered for sure that I never taught her to sit. She has the most beautiful and responsive down. Down from Stand, Down from Sit, Moving Down, but no real sit on command. She stares at me all intent when I say sit, but I get no response. HRRMMM... Guess I just figured she knew sit. I'll have to go back and train that as a command I see. I also need to teach 'get in heel position' as a command. I have printed out the rally signs we might see in Novice so I can focus on working those particular exercises. I'll have to buy me some cones at Wal-Mart this weekend so we can do the weave and spiral signs.


As much as I wanted to play agility again this afternoon, I decided a better use of my time to reach my goals was an obedience session or two. They did good agility yesterday and won't forget anything that quickly. I'd really love to get Sparkle showing in Rally for our trial at the end of May. Somehow, now that it's the middle of March, the end of May seems awful close. And, poor Shelby hasn't been worked in Utility in some time. It would be a shame to miss out on an obedience opportunity so close to home just because I was too lazy to prepare. Once again I put Nikita out in the small yard to roam around while I trained. She seemed a slight bit sore from yesterday's roaming, but I don't know any other way to strengthen the leg without making it a bit sore in the process. I did a full Utility work out with Shelby. WOW! She did great. A bit rusty on remembering to sniff all the articles before picking one. Her signals were a bit weak as well. The down needs some work. Her heeling was superb. Better than I've seen in years from her. She did enthusiastic go-outs and took direction for the jumps properly.  She was thrilled to be working. It never ceases to amaze me how much positive can come from a long break from training. These guys don't' forget. Sometimes I think they even process better with a break. Next it was Sparkle's turn to try heeling again. This time I tried it on leash with her slip collar on her. (we've been doing mostly off leash 'choose to heel') WOW! She's catching on fast. Her brain must be maturing now. She's even watching me when we walk instead of sniffing. She's almost got the auto sit when I stop too. We didn't do more than 20 steps at any one time, but I was thrilled with her heeling. We will re-enter obedience Thursday and see how she does in a different place. Maybe Rally in a month and a half is doable. I kept it short and her reward was a rousing play session with Jedi. (after a good treat of course) Nikita seemed very interested in the training going ons. I took my treats into the small yard and she started offering behaviors. So, I did go-outs with no sits with her. She seemed excited to do them. Then I tried the signal exercise. She did fine at that, but it took her a minute to figure out how to lay down from a stand without stressing her leg. Obviously the leg is still a concern of hers, so there is still much rehab to do.

I went to the website of the guy who took photos this weekend. Here's some links to Lego photos.

Lego jump
Lego Chute
Lego Weave
Lego Tire

I also realized he was in Pensacola in October at the USDAA trial. I never looked through those pictures either. He got some good Jedi and Josie photos, so I'm going to order a collage of them as well.
Josie weave
Jedi Jump
Jedi Frame
Josie Frame
Josie Jump (look at that tail)

Since Rich works until 7 on Monday and Tuesday, tomorrow we'll be eating a one of my favorite restaurants to celebrate my birthday.  :)


Happy Birthday to me! We'll skip the mention of actual age :)

I worked on some agility with Sparkle this afternoon. She now does tunnels (with curves), jumps, chute, and teeter with fairly good reliability. I also got Josie out for some weave and teeter work. She's started this "I don't do teeters in shows happily" game so I thought maybe it was because every teeter falls a bit differently. Thankfully my teeter has adjustable tension. I thought I'd try throwing her off a bit by making it tip slower than she's used to. It didn't phase her at all. As a matter of fact I couldn't get her off the teeter. She would do it and then turn around and do it backwards... over and over. Now I am at a loss as to her concern at a show. So, we worked on weave issues. She seems to get her concentration broken part of the way through and just quit sometimes. We went back to 6 poles. I layered a tunnel between us as I sent her to weave and then I stood still and just cheered her on. She stopped at pole 4 to look for me. UH HUH! Thought so. I have crippled her previously wonderful weaves somehow by making her think she needs me. We worked through that pretty quickly until she was driving through the 6 poles with me standing still behind her. There is still work to do for 12, but definitely better than before. Jedi got to play teeter and weaves too. He is not thrilled with weaving, ever, anywhere. So I tried to make it a great experience. It was tough because I couldn't get him to enter the weaves and actually weave without standing next to them. Once he did them I threw a party and ran to get some tuna I had hidden next to the house. That seemed to perk up his spirits some. 

Nikita has passed her 8 week "strict confinement and exercise under control" mark. Now it's "slowly increase activities". So after her walk today I put her in the small yard by herself while we did agility. I felt certain she wouldn't just race around since it was warm, there was nothing to chase, and I'd just walked her good. I was right and she basically just roamed around the yard and paced. At least that was exercising it instead of just laying in the house. She was out there about an hour. Hopefully it'll help strengthen that leg if we keep up the pacing around. Maybe well try again tomorrow.


I got home around 6:30. Maybe it was me, but this show seemed to run slow. It didn't help me any considering I got excited about how good I felt Thursday so I ate a steak for my first real meal. I paid for that all day Friday. I felt awful. No food for me, and it was all I could do to stay upright to run Lego. He actually ran rather well on Friday and looked like an agility dog. I went to the hotel after Open Standard (leaving Novice Jumpers, Novice and Open FAST yet to run) and didn't get checked in until 4:30 or so. The kids and I didn't do anything but sprawl on the bed. Well, Sparkle destroyed toys on the bed and Lego and I sprawled. I felt considerable better on Saturday when I woke up and tried a biscuit for breakfast. I still felt fairly weak though and running Lego took all my energy. We had a different judge on Saturday and Sunday than we had Friday. She was a provisional judge. This did not end up pleasing me much. I liked Friday's courses and felt at least a chance at a Q although it didn't happen. On Saturday when I walked Jumpers all I thought was "how ugly". Lego actually ran fairly well though. Standard didn't feel any better. And for the first time in a long time Lego got whistled off for not working in Standard on Saturday. He got a wild hair and did a bunch of dancing around. After she whistled me Lego came right to me and I took his collar and started walking him off and she trotted over to tell me to I needed to watch that jumping up on me at the weave poles. I looked her right in the eye and said "If I could stop it I would". DUH! Like I trained him to do that? What kind of response would I have gotten from her if I'd actually grabbed his collar and physically corrected him when he bounced on me? I figure a whistle and a stern talking to for training in the ring. Sunday didn't go any better. As a matter of fact it was probably our worst showing in some time. I actually had to haul Lego off the Jumpers course for deciding to sniff the ground forever instead of run. I haven't had to do this in a loooong time and it was quite depressing. After several calls and him ignoring me I told him to lay down and he did. When I walked toward him to grab his collar he started the "Can't touch me" game. I turned my back on him and started walking towards the exit. He was like "HEY you can't leave me" and he started racing towards the exit. I stopped a couple of jumps shy of the exit and put out my hand and he came close enough I snatched his collar as he went by. He was a bit shaken that I managed to snag him and I got to stare at him with the "BAD DOG" stare. Straight to the crate and no treat. I let him think on it through the rest of Open Jumpers and all of Novice Standard then I went back to forgive him. I got him and Sparkle out and we strolled up the huge embankment by the arena and sat in the wildflowers in the sun. Lego and I got lazy and  laid down. I used Lego as a pillow. We dozed in the sun. Sparkle ate grass and pounced on invisible creatures. After 40-50 minutes we got up and took a stroll and went back to the crate to cool off. He ran better in Standard that afternoon, but not great. He did finish with me and we only missed about 2 or 3 obstacles on the way. There was also a photographer there. He got an awesome few shots of Lego. I ordered the jump shot in a 5X7 and he said he'd hold the other 2 until our show Easter weekend (he's coming here) because I'd like to buy a collage, but I need a couple more good shots.

Now, as for my friends... Erin and Gandalf got another Novice Standard Q on Friday. I think that's 2 now. He hit a bar in Jumpers or he'd have Q'd there too. Saturday he had a great Jumpers run with Bob, but he back jumped the one jump he passed for an NQ. He's come a long way since October. Cheryl and Emily got their OAJ on Friday and their OA on Sunday. CONGRATS girls! They even had a stellar first showing in Excellent Jumpers on Sunday and really should've Q'd there too. Brittany and Mardi and Shiner got double Q's all around on Saturday. Great day for her!

I'm looking forward to a month at home now. OH yeah, BTW this week Shelby turned 9 and Bandit and Jedi turned 8. Wow! Hard to picture Jedi as 8.


 I was back at work today, although still very weak and tired. I had a small sandwich for lunch and it tasted good and felt good.

 Josie had her yearly checkup today and all is well. Sparkle went along for the ride to get a grown-up weight. She's a whole 18.9 pounds. She'll also go along for the ride to the AKC Mobile, AL show tomorrow. Hopefully Lego can pull one jumpers leg out of 3 days.


OH MAN! Here I am at home again all day. I couldn't get comfortable to sleep last night. If it wasn't itchy hands and feet it was upset tummy. I was awake from 10:45pm to 3:30ish am just trying to sleep with no luck. I had every intention of making it to work anyways, but my tummy had other ideas. Now I seem to have caught the nice stomach flu that the judge had at the show last weekend. It's all I could do most of the day just to walk to the bathroom from the couch. (which happened many times) I spent almost all day in and out of consciousness on the couch. Lego and Shelby kept me company, and Lego even woke me up sniffing my face a couple of times. I guess he was a bit concerned and checking to see if I was still breathing or something. So today I managed about a dozen grapes at 2pm and a couple of pieces of toast at 5pm.


I was determined to get in a bit of agility training this evening no matter how I 'felt' about setting it all up. After I took Nikita for her rehab walk I set up a semblance of the weave pole gamble from the weekend. Just as I got the tunnel drug out and the last weave pole in place the skies let loose a nice storm on me. I scooped the tunnel up and set it on the carport and left everything else out in the hopes the rain would stop while it was still daylight out. Thankfully it did stop, but Jedi was none to happy about doing agility in the wet grass. He did not excel at going out to the weaves and actually weaving. Josie was much less upset with the wet weather and ran OK, but seems to be having the 10 pole pop out syndrome. I tried working on that issue some and it seems maybe I helped her some. I also practiced entering the weaves with Lego, who can weave like a demon once he gets started, since we are going to Mobile, AL this weekend for one last shot at an Open Jumpers before our home trial in April. Sparkle got a quick session on jumps and I led her through the weaves a couple of times.


I got back around 7:45 tonight. We had fun and got to hang out and eat with agility friends. Friday started well with Jedi in Advanced Gamblers. He had a nice opening and even did the gamble. It just so happens he needed to be told twice that I really meant for him to do the teeter so he got a refusal there on the first attempt. Oh well, still he gambled, and at least he didn't take off to smell in that arena. He is known for a dead run to the back corner there. The other runs Friday were Standard and Grand Prix. Jedi had an OK standard run, but in Grand Prix, of all the durn classes, he decided he needed to sniff the corners and completely blow me off. I refused to holler at him and beg him to play agility so I just stalked to the back of the arena and snatched him up and carried him to his crate. Josie has never run particularly well in this arena. The smell must be rather odd or something. Her Master Gamblers run left much to be desired and she wasn't about to do a teeter that far away form me. She's sure it might eat her. Her Advanced Standard run was much improvement though and had I been able to keep her out of the off course chute we would've Q'd I think. I was pleased with that run. In Grand Prix she was much slower and nervous like. The kicker is we got first place in it as we were the only survivor, but no Q because she was too slow to make up for the weave pole pop out so we ended up with 7 faults. Dang it! That could've been a voucher too. We were done way early Friday evening so we managed to get checked in to the hotel and feed dogs and still make it to dinner by 5:30 to beat most of the crowd.

Saturday started with Master Pairs for both my guys. I was determined that Jedi was not going to screw up the poor Corgi people again. Every time I take him to Shreveport he gets paired with this same family's corgis. (they are very gracious!) I stayed right on top of him and wouldn't give him an inch. It took us 35 seconds to do our half, but he managed to do it clean. Unfortunately the Corgi was a bit slow too and we ended up just barely over time. Master Standard was the one on Saturday that he decided he didn't need to do and he could sniff. Once again I didn't holler. I just stalked him and picked him up and put him away. He ran a nice Master Snooker course, but we didn't get points to Q because I took my eyes off him and he took an off course Red. The last thing Saturday was Jumpers. He needed one leg for his Jumper Master. He started a bit rocky with some stern calls to keep him out of the corners, but he held it together and we ended up clean just a few tenths of a second under time. So Jedi is now a Jumper Master!! That's his first Master title. Gravy was the first place ribbon for being the only 16 inch survivor. Imagine me getting to blog that JEDI was the only survivor on some course! How utterly amusing it seems. Josie ran a nice pairs half with Harry Fleming, the sheltie, and they got a first place Q. That's 4 for her. One more for Relay Master. Hopefully in Tylertown! Advanced Standard was a bit slow and tentative, but she hit every contact and right up to the next to last obstacle it looked like a Q in the making. I sent her into the tunnel. She got the right entrance. I look over at the timer clock because I know we were pokey and I want to see the time. Can we make it? OH NO.. out of the corner of my eye I see her come back out the "in" side and soar over the final jump. Lesson 1: Never take your eyes off your dog and break that connection! I am still pleased with both standard runs this weekend seeing how much trouble we've been having. Steeplechase was even worse for pokey and nervous! What an absolutely awful run! I was very disappointed with it. Imagine my surprise when I was informed we'd Q'd. Thanks to super fast sheltie with 4 faults and the other sheltie with a knocked bar the average was brought low enough for our disastrous run to be almost as good score wise as the rest. I guess I'll take that Q. Master Snooker was also slow, but not awful and once again we didn't get points because I lost that contact with her and she took an off course Red. I was hopeful for Master Jumpers since she only needed one leg for her Jumper Champion. Hopes were dashed quickly with a refusal at jump #2 caused by slow, nervous dog staring at the ceiling and not running agility. She did however perk up and have a nice run after that.

Sunday was gamblers first again. Jedi had a great opening, but wasn't doing no weave pole gamble to save our lives. I was still pleased with the opening focus. Josie didn't get opening points in Master Gamblers because she missed a Dog Walk contact and and 2 A-Frame contacts. She also wasn't doing a weave gamble. I need to set this one up at home to work on! Next was a Master Snooker course for the record books. It was Darlene Woz's last judging assignment and evidently she's known for Snooker messes. There were ten reds on the course. Yes, 10, that's not a typo. Five in a straight line at the start and five in a straight line across the back. (all point obstacles in the middle) The directions said take 3 or 4 reds. Sounds easy enough until you read the fine print. It turns out that each point obstacle must be made into a combo in the opening by adding a previously non-used red jump to the point obstacle. So the pattern turns into Red(1 point) - Point obstacle- Red (points earned here), Red - Point obstacle- Red, Red - Point obstacle- Red. This means you in reality are using 6-8 of the ten reds and if you knocked the red bar after the point obstacle then, in true Snooker combo fashion, you don't get your points. What a nerve racking planning session! So glad both my little dogs can usually run the same plan. Josie was first in the ring. Not just my first dog in, but FIRST. She was pokey and sniffing, but we survived the course without getting whistled off. She was one tunnel from a Q! If she'd only sniffed a few seconds less she'd have made it. With this knowledge and the knowing Jedi's tendency I modified my plan for him to only 3 reds instead of 4. He got mildly distracted a couple of times, but I kept him going and on course. We actually closed with the buzzer going off as he was exiting the teeter (#7). Jedi Q'd on that awful thing with a 45. There were only 4 16's and 3 12's, so we were combined for 2 Super Q's for all. One of the other 16's didn't even make it as far as Josie and the other one finished with 4 reds easily beating Jedi. Here's the worst part of Snooker... I found myself wishing fumbled attempts on all the 12's as they ran. The first one went down without even a Q. The next one was a wonderful team. A little JRT and her kid (11-12 year old girl) that already have their ADCH and have proven a formidable opponent. Is it evil to wish a kid to have an off course?? As I watched, my evil wish came true and she sent the little dog over an off course in the opening with a bad handler move. One more to go. One of the aforementioned Corgis. They were really having a great run and going for the 4 reds. They'd easily beat Jedi with a finished closing. Oh well, I'm proud of my Q on that course! Then I hear it. A distinct thunk as a bar hits the ground. They missed the points on their 4th red for dropping the last red. I watched as they finished the closing. Now, what were the 3 that they did get points for?? I can't remember. I hovered quietly behind the score table waiting for the scribe sheet. I added quickly in my head to see they got a 43. That gives Jedi, bad old Jedi, a Super Q~!~! FLYING HIGH. Josie ran the Steeplechase finals next and it as a really nice run with one missed A frame contact. At least that run deserved the Q! She got a second place and $9. Master Jumpers was last. Jedi was before Josie and he had a nice 3 jump opening and then took off for the corner. I hollered "NO! SIR!" and he actually stopped and come back and finished the course in great style easily under time. Even with a pigeon flying out of the rafters with much flapping and cooing, he stuck with me around jump 13 he stuck with me. VERY PLEASED!  Too bad for that one refusal as he went past a jump headed for the corner. Josie started a bit slow again, but by #6 we were clocking it pretty good. It was nice course. By jump 15 I thought we had it, but for some reason she crashed into the double without even much of an attempt at clearing it. So, no Jumper Champion this time.

As for my friends there... Lucy and Chile got their lifetime PLATINUM!! (50 qualifying scores in each Masters titling class and 500 qualifying scores overall) Gina and Riley got their Lifetime Bronze.(15 qualifying scores in each Masters titling class and 150 qualifying scores overall) Alicia and Cody had some wonderful qualifying runs and have decided to start in Starters again at Championship height.


I was back at work today. Everyone thought the remaining scabbed over bumps looked awful. At least I'm well enough to go to the show without contaminating the whole place. I'll be leaving around 4:30 am, so no obedience class tonight. I need to pack and get my rest.


I didn't make work this morning. The "rash" has become a major irritant, is spreading  fast and it seems it may be chicken pox!? It better be gone by Friday. I have no intention of losing my money for the Shreveport show for some stupid bumps! Here's a picture of the back of my leg for all of you that saw the rather small area of annoying bumps this weekend.

Both legs and arms look like this now.

Oh yes, and on a doggie note Sparkle got measured again a couple of times this weekend and at least she's fulfilling my desire. If you remember I willed her to grow close to 14 inches if she insisted on going over 12. It was apparent at the beginning of February that she was going over 12. Her measurement by 2 different judges was around 13.5 to 13.75 inches. So at least a 16 inch jump won't be too awful and a 12 inch in AKC would be great.


Well, I survived my first trial as Trial Chairman. It was our biggest trial yet with around 70-75 dogs. I think it all went well this year. Time to start thinking judges for next year!

Friday night setup went pretty smoothly. We had plenty of help and we managed to build a gamblers course among the members present. I got home in time for a reasonable amount of sleep. Then I went and had all kinds of trial nightmares... the keys to the building don't work, we can't seem to get the teeter on it's base, we can't find 12 weave poles, the judge doesn't show, the surface turns to quicksand, etc. I got up bright and early Sat. to be there for 6:30 to help get things going on time. Nikita got very upset Sat. morning when I was packing up the guys to got to the show, so I took her along for the ride Sat. What's one more? That only made 6 in the car. (By the way, she had her 6 week checkup Thursday (the 1rst) and is coming along better than hoped!) We had a bit of a slow start Sat. as there were things we hadn't thought of Friday. (Where are the stakes to nail down weave poles? Where's the hammer? The table needs three sets of legs?) So now I have more fuel for nightmares next year! We didn't finish until about 7pm. The judge's course weren't nested well for a one ring show and all that weave pole un-staking, moving and re-staking makes for a longer build time. Also, our builders aren't as experienced as most. Thankfully the courses for Sunday were better nested and we got most people on the road by 3ish. 

The worst part of the weekend is this "rash" I broke out with. I have unexplained, itchy red bumps popping out all over my feet, legs, and hands. They're getting progressively worse not better, making sleeping very uncomfortable. OK.. My trial news: Jedi ran the show of his life! He looked like a real agility dog with an occasional brain fart instead of a crazy, stupid dog with an occasional bright moment. He ran every course this weekend all the way through. I never picked him up and walked off. We had so much fun together. The first course was Adv. Gamblers.  He had a few run and sniff moments, but still plenty of points in the opening. He did the jump, go-out tunnel. Then came back to me I pushed to the go-out teeter and he went out to it and looked at it and then at me and said not today. But it was a valiant effort. He ran the Master standard course OK with a couple of sniff arounds. He ran Steeplechase so pretty, but was sucked over an off course jump after the A-frame (the same off course Tommy Whittenberg sucked over so I didn't feel too bad). He was paired with a nice, fast Sheltie. We went first. It was a couple of jumps and a hard turn to the weaves. I kept on him hard at the opening jumps to be sure and control the weave entrance. Which worked and he hit it fine and weaved. Then there was a sharp left 180 to a tunnel. I was on the outside of the 180 and I saw the look of "I'm going to dash to the corner" pass his face so I cut hard behind him after the weaves to turn him. It worked and I kept him in check. A visual blur in my peripheral vision started a background cognitive process at this point that registered as he turned into the tunnel. I freakin' stepped between the last 2 weave poles in my hurry to cut behind him! BAD, BAD handler E'd. Thankfully the sheltie messed up the A-fame tunnel discrimination so I didn't have to feel to awful. Master Snooker he did very well on and would've Q'd with a 42 if he'd have gotten the rest of his body out of that tunnel before the buzzer blew. He only had a nose out. So we had a heartbreaking 36 points. I was a bit nervous getting him out Sunday as he usually gets less focused as the trial wears on. But, not this time! He was even better on Sunday. He made it around the Standard course well, then was Grand Prix. To everyone's joy and amazement Jedi was running clean and fast. He even hit a hard weave pole entrance and weaved! With only the teeter and a jump, jump, tunnel, jump, jump sequence left I began to realize that OMG Jedi's about to Q in Grand Prix. This last sequence is a piece of cake for him!! WHOOPS! shouldn't have let my mind wander! On the turn the teeter he just blasted towards the exit. Why? Still don't know. No problem! one R is still Q-ing. "Jedi, here, here, come!" With a grand moan from the audience he takes the last jump backwards on his pivot to come back to me. He almost had to go out of his way to take that durn jump too! HEARTBREAKER! But WOW what a nice run. Feeling good about things I set him up for a Master Snooker plan I know he can do. He runs a beautiful 6-6-5 opening. Then into the #2 tunnel. "This closing is easy enough! We've done the hard part" was my thought. I look over my shoulder to make eye contact with Jedi as he comes out of the tunnel. "Jedi? hello? where'd he go? It shouldn't take that long to run a tunnel" OH MAN, he came back out the entrance hole! Why? I think I quit talking when he entered the tunnel and he lost me and looked back to see where I was. Another disappointment. One more class. The last one is Jumpers. It looks like a course I can get him around. He's been running well. With guarded confidence we set up. Jump #3 was a hard right turn and the judge was in that area. Jedi wanted to say HI one last time. So we got an R right at the beginning, but he ran the course easily after the quick judge acknowledgement. So, for all the pride and joy I feel for Jedi this weekend we have nothing to show for it except a better relationship and hopefully a long term better partnership in this game we play together.

Josie also had a stellar running weekend. Not even once did I get the nervous, spooked dog that walks courses. The gamble was pretty hard, but she gave a decent effort. Advanced Standard saw another blown dogwalk contact and  a weave pole pop out, but she went down on the table fairly fast and seemed happy. She blew her A-frame contact in Steeplechase for a 5 point fault or she would've Q'd there. She was paired with Gumbeau. She went first and had that same 10 pole pop out syndrome she had in Standard. Not a big deal. Then she ran past the teeter. Not like her at all. We would've have Q'd with one fault, but not the 2. We did get Master Snooker Q #10. It was a great run, but only good for 4th place what with all the super shelties there. We did better Sunday in Standard, but somehow had a miscommunication at the double before the dogwalk. She started to run inside the double and when I panicked and pushed hard out she tried to get over the double and didn't get quite make it. She smashed into the wing and the jump uprights. The double upright fell over as did the wing and she land belly down hard on the metal jump upright laying on its side. She didn't scream or anything, but looked a bit out of sorts. I squatted down and was petting her trying to tell if she was hurt. She whined when I picked her up, so I carried her off to check her out. I was concerned she'd cut her belly on the uprights. Thankfully it was all ill founded fears and when we got to the exit I set her down and rolled her over to see her belly. Not even a scratch. So I let go of her and asked if she wanted a cookie. She started bouncing up and down happily, so we went to the crates and played doggies tricks for food. She seemed unaffected long term by her ordeal and never refused the double afterwards. She had an OK Grand Prix run, but had 2 faults. I set Josie up a nice Snooker course and she did a perfect 6-6-6 opening. The #4 was two jumps in a threadle pattern. That was my only worry out there. She pulled between the jumps so nice and when I turned my shoulders to re-direct her over jump 2 of the sequence I let my arm fly out and it pushed her around the second one. MAN! But, she wouldn't have gotten the Super Q anyway, so no major moan. She did however manage her 9th Master Jumpers Q for the finale of the weekend. Another 4th place.

Misty and Bandit only ran 3 times each. Bandit ran Snooker and Standard on Saturday. He was running well in Snooker, but when I tried to run him past a tunnel entrance he got sucked in. Then he had a missed weave pole entry in Standard, but he wasn't fast enough to Q anyway. Sunday was just Standard, but he was slower and even though he was clean and having fun he was 15 seconds over time. Misty ran Gamblers and Pairs Saturday. The gamble was too much for her, but she had a nice opening. In pairs we had a swell partner, but we had one R for a missed weave pole entrance that cost us the Q. Sunday she ran jumpers. She was moving enough she may have made time, but she ran around the triple right after the tunnel. She just didn't have enough time to gauge the distance coming out of a blind tunnel.

This weekend sets me up for a possible 3 titles in Shreveport next weekend. Josie needs 1 jumpers Q for Jumper Champion, 2 Super Q's (not probable, but possible) for Snooker Champion, and Jedi needs one Jumpers Q for Master Jumper.

My friends seem to have a good time as well. Sniper got his 4th Master Gambler Q with a first place beating all the shelties. Only one more for ADCH. It made Rosey's weekend. And Red had some runs where he looked like an agility dog too! He was much better than last time. Cheryl had trouble keeping up with Bernie as he has decided this game is fun! He had some fast and beautiful runs. I know at least Jumpers was a Q. OK, so I know remember that Bernie got a Q in Pairs too (now that Performance Pairs counts) where he had to weave 6 poles. Cheryl says she more proud of that than the jumpers Q. Some USDAA newbies seemed enthralled with the experience and we should be seeing them again too.