Monday, August 3, 2009

Jada's CPE Agility Trial Weekend

It's been a couple of weeks now, but I'm finally able to tell you about our latest Agility Trial. Joni's been hogging the computer non-stop since then, and it's been tough talking her down from the keyboard to give me a chance here!

Our last CPE Trial was a new one for me - a THREE day trial. Whoa! I thought two days was exhausting! But we had so much fun that it just flew by. Joni bought me a spiffy new crate for the trials. I was SO excited whe
n I saw it - it's huge! No more being cramped up in that wire crate with just enough room to lay down!
Check it out:on the right here (just ignore the pug - no idea who this critter is!)

This thing is so awesome - I can stretch out in the 50"x50" interior! She puts in a couple of portable fans and I'm in hea-ven! Once there, I found out that I don't get this room by myself - I have to share it with Tyssen! TYSSEN!! What's he doing here? He's never been here before at a Trial! I figured he'd ruin the whole weekend with his non-stop talking and whining. Maybe Joni drugged him or something, but he was great! He didn't ruin anything! He was in there rubbing my shoulders down before we ran, giving me encouragement and some last minute tips. Oh,'re not believing that? Okay, he was great, though. He was very happy every time I came back from running, but I strongly suspect that was because he got treats when I did. I'm not all together sure what he did to deserve the same reward I got for all my hard work while he just sat on his ass, but maybe he was off doing something worth rewarding while I was gone.

Let me describe a typical Agility Trial weekend. We get up bright and early on Trial mornings - at 4:30. Joni is insane. That alarm goes off and she stumbles off to get dressed and Tyssen and I just lay there on the bed in utter disbelief."Is she SERIOUSLY getting up at this hour". Yes she is. Not only that, she gets us up and we're out walking around the neighborhood in the dark. Geez.....we just went to sleep a few hours ago! She feeds me when we come in. Sure, I'm tired...but I'll EAT any time anywhere! Then she's off to go get ready herself. We usually left around 6:15am, but now we can leave later since Tyssen is coming with us and we don't have to drop him off first. You'd think she'd figure out this time difference and let me sleep in another half hour, wouldn't you? Maybe next time she'll do that. Are you listening, Joni? I want to sleep in till 5am, not 4:30!!!!!

We get to the Trial and Joni makes us sit in the car for a little bit while she takes some stuff in. That's always fun, though. Just Tyssen and me in the car watching other dogs and people arrive. I made up stories about the dogs and what they're doing there....which Tyssen totally believed. He's wide-eyed back there in his crate and has his eyes glued on what he really believes is the Queen of England and her dog (just one of my many elaborations!). I had him totally believing this guy walking by was the Dog Whisperer dude. Ty's always good for a few early morning chuckles. We get inside and Joni sorta forgets about us for a little while as she's off running around and talking and deciding how we're going to run our first run. She sorta goes a little OCD over these things...just obsesses over them. Me - I just go out and run it perfectly the first time having never SEEN the course before! So I think she just needs to relax, chill out and do what I do!

So our first run of the day is ready to go! It's called "Full House", and it's the last leg of Level 3. If I "Q" - Qualify - in this leg, we can move up to Level 4. In Full House we get to make up our own course, but there is stuff we have to do - a Pair (2 round objects like a tunnel or tire), 3-of-a-kind (3 jumps) and a Joker (a contact). That's 14 points and we have to have 23 total points to Q. So we get to make up the rest of the course myself for these extra points before the horn sounds and we have 5 seconds to make it to the Table, which ends the game! We only got second place in this today, but we'd have done better if Joni was as quick as I was!

Our 2nd run of the day was Level 3 "Standard", which is a course that we have to do in a certain order. We got First Place in that one!
Our next two runs of the day were Level 4 "Jumpers" courses - which is all jumps, tunnels and weaves. Lots of fun and speed here! We got Second Place in both of those. So far we're 4 for 4 on Q's for the weekend!

So - end of the first day, and we go home where Tyssen and I both crashed and slept. Not sure why Tyssen had to crash, but he tries to do everything I do - just less successfully! I go
t a new Title on Friday - our CLF-3 Title.

Saturday morning started out the same, except Joni was a bit nervous about our first run of the day. It was "Jackpot". She said, "no, not just Jackpot - but a Traditional Jackpot!". Whatever. She worries about the silliest things. Jackpot is a little like Full House - we run around and accumulate points under a certain time. Different obstacles have various point amounts, blah, blah, blah. We have something like 30 seconds to do this, then they blow a horn and we have 18 seconds to do the second part of the game, called the "Gamble". The "traditional" part that had Joni quaking in fear was that this Gamble part has to be done in a very specific order...but Joni had to stay behind a line on the floor while I do these obstacles. I'm on my own. By myself. While she's way way way over there. By herself. Waving her arms frantically while I'm confused, shaking my head and saying "you want me to do what?" Now how can I do these things while she's way over there? She's supposed to be right by my side! So until she comes to her senses and comes close to me - I'm just not gonna do these things! What if I fall off? What if she runs off while I'm in the middle of one of them? The possibilities of what can go wrong are endless. So I just choose to look confused and bark at her. I've seen so many Border Collies go in circles and bark crazily at their person that it must work - so it's worth a try. I can't bark too long since some buzzer that hurts my ears goes off and Joni is putting my leash on. ??? Wait....What happened? Don't we get to finish? Apparently this was an "NQ" - a "non qualifying" score. Do I still get a treat?

So...not starting off too terribly well. I'm just devastated, but putting on a brave front. Our next two runs are "Standard" runs, like the day before. Nothing major - we've done these lots of time. I was still quite rattled from that NQ, though, and couldn't keep my mind on the course. I couldn't get that stupid "behind the line" thing out of my head. Halfway thru the course I was running over the dog ramp when I suddenly thought that Joni was leaving me! She was right there next to the ramp, but her shoulder turned just a little bit - but just enough to give me the hint that she was going to leave me high and dry up there! So I bailed! Yes, that's right! Something I NEVER ever in my entire life had ever thought I'd do while way up there on the dog ramp - I jumped right off! I realized I made a serious mistake as soon as I saw the stunned look on Joni's face, though. Oh, !@#$% - now I've done it! Joni bravely continued but I knew something was wrong and couldn't shake the ever growing bad feeli
ng. I was right.....they gave us an NQ for that! WHAT? Nobody ever told me I couldn't jump off an obstacle before! Okay, so I know now and it'll never happen again! Sheesh. So we were 0 for 2 on Saturday and it wasn't looking good......

Our next Standard run came up quickly and I was determined to be perfect this time! And I was! I just flew thru that course! We got First Place and according to our time, we ran thru those 18 obstacles at the speed of 4.6 yards a second! That's 13.8 feet a second! I told you I was flying thru it!

Our last run of the day was Snooker. Joni has had her issues with me in Snooker so this one makes us both a bit nervous. Our first couple attempts at this game were painfully bad, but since then it's been okay, so we really need to relax about this game! I get it now! It's a bit different than any other game, so it took me a few times to figure it out. Snooker has a whole course laid out there - numbered 2 thru 7. But it also had 4 scattered "red jumps" around the course. This game is also in two parts. The first part is to do a red jump, then any other obstacle on the course. Then another red jump (not the same one as before) and another obstacle, then another red jump (again, can only use them once) and another obstacle of your choice....that's the end of the first part. Sounds simple, doesn't it? After that last obstacle you run the numbered course starting with 2. It sounds so simple....but it's not! But I ran it brilliantly! We got First Place with 44 points (I only needed 28) and had a great ending to a day that didn't start out so well! All in all - we're 6 for 8 this weekend in Q's and I got another Title today! With our Snooker Q we finished up our CL2-S Title! Two days - two new titles! Not too shabby.

Last day of the Trial and I feel like it's Day O
ne again! I'm just anxious to get out there and run!

Our first run of the day was Full House again, this time in Level 4. We had 35 seconds to get 25 points and the obstacles seemed VERY far apart. But we flew thru it and managed to get 34 points and a First place finish.

Next up we had Wild Card. Wild Card is another game that requires some thinking out there! It's a numbered course, but there are 3 sets of obstacles out there in the course that are set up right next to each other with the same number, but are an "A" or a "B". For this course you got to pick which of these you wanted, but we had to make sure that out of these three options, we HAD to pick two that were "A's" and one that was a "B". If Joni had it planned out a certain way and I picked the other option, we could fix it at the next option, but that took some fast thinking to do while on the run! Don't tell Joni, but I've taken the wrong obstacle on purpose a few times just to see her scramble and try to fix it further down the course....unsuccessfully both times. So I quit playing that little game so we can finally Q and get out of this Level. I'll spring that little surprise on her another time sometime. We finished it with a Third Place finish, and got the "Q" and finished up our CL2-H Title - and finally finished all the games for our "CL2" Title. Now everything we
're doing is in Levels 3 and 4.

Our next run was "Colors". This is basically a BUNCH of obstacles out there at one time - it's literally two different courses out there at the same time, but are numbered (or colored) differently. We pick a course (color) and run that - ignoring the other course and some of the obstacles we'll be running by and not being part of our course. Pretty simple, really. We got First Place in this and finished up the last leg of Colors for Level 3 with this one.

Our last run of the day was Snooker again. I'm actually looking forward to this game now that I get it! We needed 30 points now that we were in Level 3, but that was easy enough. We got 46 points and a First Place out of it! Great way to finish the weekend! Officially we were 10 for 12 in Q's this weekend, and got a few new Titles!

I can't wait till our next 3-day Trial now at the end of August! I'm trying my best to talk Joni into getting me into some AKC trials, and it looks like my begging has finally worked! She knows we have to do it soon as she wants to take me to the Keeshond Nationals the next couple of years for Agility.

Oh, Joni has all of these runs on video, but she hasn't transferred it yet. Maybe someday she'll quit being lazy and get it loaded up online so I can give you a link to them!