Sunday, January 29, 2017

January USDAA Agility Weekend

The girls and I played USDAA Agility all weekend!  

This was Perri's first trial back in Championship 24" class.   The 26" height was changed to 24", so I moved Perri back up.  USDAA gave competitors the option to finish their versatility title, fill out some paperwork, and be moved into Advanced class (by a certain deadline), or you could just move and start over.    Perri needed one more Standard Q in P1 to finish her Performance Dog title, but I opted to start over.   Perri is running so differently these days, she is really like a new dog - so I thought some extra time in Starters class would not hurt.  (She already had some Starters Qs from when we tried 26" and did not like it.)

About that, Perri running differently - in the last two months, Perri seems to have become a Normal Poodle.   (Notice how I say Normal Poodle.   Not Normal Dog!)   She is clownish, upbeat, confident and fast - all with consistency.   I love it.   It is not just in the agility ring.   It is with nosework and obedience training.   It is even in the woods and on town walks.   She isn't startling over every little thing and walking in a half crouch.   We recently took a most amazing class on the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy called Empowerment by Julie Daniels that I feel was the final piece of Perri's puzzle - but that's another story for another post.  In short: it changed Perri's life.

But back to the trial.   We started with Gamblers.   The training center was very cramped and there was a lot of energy all around and tugging and barking and it was all really amping Perri up.   She does a little zoomie loop after the teeter but re-emerges from the tunnel ready to work.   All went wonderful in the Gamble, a totally straight forward line of jumps ending with the tire.   Perri ran under the tire!   I brought her back and asked her to do it again but really did not give her the best angle.    In the end, she would not do the tire and we NQd - silly Perri!

Standard was next.   Perri's A-frame is becoming unreliable and so I am managing it pretty heavily until I can decid what I want to do with it (this managing doesn't seem to be stressing Perri out as it used to stress Molly out - not yet anyway).    She pops off the Frame and runs out the tire jump.   I thought it was probably because of coming off of the Aframe wide, and was pleased when she did end up taking the tire.   From there I was overhandling and babying her next line, trying to give a lot of lateral distance so she doesn't go wide the opposite way and pulling her off the third jump.   Since I just did this a week or so ago, I was really disappointed in myself!  

Molly was the shining star of the day and decided to qualify in P2 Standard, since we've only been trying to do that for a year now.   Why not throw me a bone!

Today started off with Molly in P2 Standard again and she quickly reminded me it might be another year before we have our next P2 Standard Q - whatever!   The fourth obstacle, the tunnel was NQing teams left and right so I wanted to try a tandem turn before the jump to get her jumping towards the correct end.   In reality, I didn't wait long enough and just sort of did a goofy rear cross and a pull....then I was late for where I wanted to be for the weaves.    Then I totally stressed Molly out, crowding her and being pushy and well, that was a mess.   We ended it all with a grand finale of not stopping on the dog walk and trotting merrily out of the ring.   She came back in and I told her to get her leash.    Not our best moment!

Perri was next in Starters Standard.   Any uncertainty I may have had about us actually having a tire issue is gone - Perri was like "What is this thing?!"   In fairness to her she has not seen a USDAA diameter tire at 24" in a while and likely just needs a refresher.   I did not think it would bother her, but it did - that's okay!   I am really excited that despite three attempts at the tire, and knowing that something wasn't going right, Perri runs the rest of the course with sass and joy.   I tried to not go wide on the line from the teeter towards the Aframe but she sure enough went wide in the opposite direction to reward my bravery (sigh.) and then returned over a wrong course jump and sassed me and almost jumped on the judge!    Goodness!    Finished the rest of the course nicely though with some lovely weaves that I am very excited about.   Great independant entry!

We finished the day with Molly in P2 Pairs Relay.   We had a golden retriever partner who was nice enough to do the weave poles for us - while we did a slightly tight little pinwheel with some wrong course tunnel traps that we successfully avoided.   Our team's time was 34 seconds and we took first place in P2.   And now I will enjoy avoiding Pairs until we get into P3.   Not my favorite game!

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