An Agility Weekend

November 25, 2010

Last weekend was my club’s CPE trial. I entered Amelia in all 10 classes; she’s now in level 3 for everything. The purpose of this trial was to find out whether the disaster in July was because of the heat or because of her age. It wasn’t really a disaster, she ran with me very nicely, but we had only 1 Q, and she timed out on all her other runs.

And the answer is: it was the heat. She qualified 5 times over the two days. Some of the NQs were my fault; I sent her into an off-course tunnel in snookers and messed up a non-traditional jackpot run. I pulled her from her last class, and should have pulled her from the one before it. You know Amelia is over-tired when she *walks* past a tunnel.

So I’ll show her in spring and fall, and may even think about running her in preferred in AKC. Fortunately, my club has two CPE trials a year, in April and November, so that works well. And I’ll enter her in fewer classes; at 11, she just doesn’t have the stamina any more to run, run, run all weekend.

Professor got to do a little socializing, but was very put out that he wasn’t allowed to run through the tunnels and chase the other dogs. Seemed like a waste of a perfectly good opportunity to him!  But it’s good for his soul to spend a weekend once in a while sitting in the car while Amelia gets to go and do.


A Long Road Trip

November 15, 2010

Amelia, Professor, Joey and I, accompanied by our buddy Kate and her new (to her) silky terrier rescue, all went to Salisbury for 5 days of shows. Amelia was entered in Beginner Novice all 5 days, and in Rally Advanced and Excellent on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Professor was entered in breed all 5 days.

Professor, as expected, went BoB on Wednesday, by being the only basenji there. He was ok in group, but wouldn’t stand still for the judge to walk around him after the down-and-back. Another thing to work on. Sunday, he was WD and BoS; otherwise, he was either second or reserve. There was a very small basenji entry (3 dogs, 1 bitch, no specials) and I tried some things with him, and I learned a lot about him. One of the things I learned, unfortunately, is that he’s a stress pooper, and he went in the ring twice. Fortunately, I show basenjis in obedience so I’m incapable of being embarrassed by my dog. I need to spend less time in the building with him before he shows; he does best if he just walks in and walks into the ring. And minimal treats outside the ring before he shows, just a taste to let him know what I’ve got, then a lot of treats while he’s in the ring. And we desperately need to work on him standing still. He stacks beautifully, then starts fidgeting and turning around to look at the other dogs. I find it interesting that the day he won, the judge instructed us to go around and let the dogs stand naturally, no hand stacking. He does free stack nicely, he just won’t hold it. Oh well, he’s only 10 months old, he’ll get there.

We also did a match Friday night, which was a bit much for him, but did give us some practice. He was FEO because he has a major, but they let him go in for the group anyway and he would have been Group 2 in the match if he wasn’t FEO. But then Saturday was his worst day in the ring at the real show, and I think he was just tired out.

These are really nice shows, in a large civic center with plenty of grooming space, good vendors, and rally and obedience in separate rooms. We had some time conflicts with rally and beginner novice, but only one conflict with conformation.

Amelia went 2-for-5 in beginner novice. It’s the stay that gets her; as soon as I walk to the opening in the ring gates, she breaks and comes to me. ARRRGGGGGHHHHHH. So, we know what to work on with her. Her heeling got better and better (she got a 191 from Phyllis Broderick for her second leg) and her recall is lovely. She had no trouble with the sit for exam.

In rally, she was 6-for-6, so she now has three legs toward her RAE2. Her best day was Sunday, when rally and conformation conflicted. I never got to walk either the excellent or advanced courses, and for the advanced we ran in from the conformation ring as the dog before us was on course. She got a 94 and a second place, doG love her. She is such a trouper.

We got to see some friends I don’t see often, as Salisbury is a bit out of my normal range. But it’s worthwhile for a bit cluster like this. We ditched the diets and ate well every night. And we managed to survive in a hotel room with a silky terrier and three basenjis with no incidents.


November 9, 2010

As reported, we had a good weekend at Laurel Highlands/Upper Potomac Valley KC shows Oct. 22-24. Here’s the picture of Professor going Best of Breed under Judge Joe Tacker:

Proud of Professor!

The following day, Amelia completed her RAE under Judge Nancy Withers, with a fourth place in Excellent and only 1 point out of the ribbons in Advanced:

Amelia finishes her RAE

Both photos are by Kurtis Photography.

Finally back to freestyle

November 8, 2010

We have a little group that meets to practice freestyle and help each other with choreography, music choices, training, and so on. We meet on Sundays, when I’m not showing and there’s nothing else in our training building. The building’s not air conditioned, so we don’t meet in the summer.

That means we haven’t met in (umpty-mumble) months. So today was the first time in a long while. Amelia got to practice both her routines, one of which is basically finished except that I kept forgetting what comes next, and one that we’re just working on. We also practiced some Beginner Novice stays, practice she urgently needs.

Professor doesn’t have a routine yet, but he got some playtime with a young aussie, which he really enjoyed, and then I played a little Give Me A Break with him. By the second time I released him, he was beating me back to the chair! Yay Professor. We worked on his sits and downs, and on heeling. He’s still very easily distracted, but he’s coming along. I think his first routine is going to be to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. I love me some big band music.

Joey just comes along for the ride, and to see his buddy Ruth. She’s one of the few people he’s comfortable with, and she always gives him cookies and loves on him.

Next session won’t be ’til December; there are two agility trials in the building, and I’m showing next weekend. Oh well, there are four video competitions a year, so someday Shine will be ready!

Amelia’s herself again

November 6, 2010

Just because she’s entered in rally and beginner novice next week, Amelia picked yesterday to be sick. Not vomiting or diarrhea, but general reluctance to move, although she’d walk out of it. Sort of plodded along on her walks. It was rainy and raw outside. She didn’t particularly want treats, at least not enough to get up to get them. Didn’t bother to come into the training room with Professor. When she stood up, she looked very stiff and uncomfortable, and sort of roached her back.

So I gave her a Rimadyl, and this morning she was her old self again. Called the vet, and he said to keep her on it, 2x daily for 48 hours, then 1x daily while we’re at the show. I guess at 11 she’s starting to feel her age a bit.

And tonight we reinforced her heeling, and she was her usual enthusiastic self. Hopefully it’ll hold over for the shows. We also did a short session on her balance egg, and she was fine with that.

And this is why I love my mechanic. When I told him I was going out of town, he said he’d get the new part express-shipped and split the cost of the shipping with me, because he didn’t want me to go without it.

The saga continues

November 4, 2010

Got out to vote Tuesday; when I left the polls, the car wouldn’t start, and hitting it with my stick didn’t work. There were a couple of firefighters (there was a heavily contested ballot question that the ff were up in arms about) outside the polls, and they took pity on me and whapped it with a hammer, which started it right up. Had to go the doctor, so I found a spot in the parking lot where I could leave it facing downhill in case I needed to jump it. Of course, it started right up.

Wednesday morning, however, nada. No action. Hammer didn’t work. Called AAA; they sent the battery guy, and he couldn’t start it. Waited about an hour for him, then another hour for the tow truck. Then at the garage, where I was a day early, I waited for the guy from the rental car company to pick me up. Got to work about 1:30, when I was due in a training session. And they wouldn’t let me in. ARRRGGGGHHHH.

However, Marty, bless him, got the starter in and replaced the battery. Still having trouble starting it. Seems there’s a switch on the clutch which allows the car to start only if the clutch is in, and that switch is not working. Did the starter trouble burn out the switch, or did the switch burn out and mess up the starter? No one knows. Will be next week before they can get the part. But Marty managed to work around it, so I get the car back tomorrow, and will have to take it in next week, but it should be a while-you-wait kind of repair.

Not only can’t I smoke in the enterprise rent-a-car, but dogs are banned, too. Fortunately, I don’t need to drive the b’s anywhere.

Bad weekend

November 3, 2010

And it’s bleeding over into the week. Showed Professor at Middleburg; he was third of three in the puppy class both days. I think he’s still the same dog that was BoB last weekend. And I think he’s the nicest-looking dog at the show. Not the best-behaved; the presence of other dogs (that might be female!) make his brains, such as they are, fall out his left ear. We’ll keep working on it. Got to see Professor’s brother and sister. It’s a good-looking family.

As I drove home, the crack in my windshield started to spread. Called around, the prices for windshield replacement are all over the place. The ads are hilarious; they’re all about 24-7 service, but that’s just answering the phone; the actual repair has to take place Mon-Fri, 9-5. So convenient for those of us who work. So I made an appointment with the cheapest guys for Monday. They can’t give me a time, even approximate. So I had to take a day off, and hang around, and the guy finally showed up at 4 pm. He did a good job, though, and it’s a relief not to have to worry about the crack spreading further.

Sunday afternoon I wanted to run out to the grocery. Went out, put key in ignition…nothing. Absolutely nothing. Called AAA, and they sent out the battery guy. Who says the battery is fine, it’s the starter. Just hit it with a stick and it starts right up. Called my garage Monday am, they can’t get me in ’til Thursday, but then they’ll do it while I wait.

This week totally sucks, and it’s only Tuesday.

Road Trip!

October 28, 2010

Amelia was entered in Advanced and Excellent Rally, and Professor was entered in Breed, for the three-day cluster of Laurel Highlands and Upper Potomac Valley in Cumberland, MD. Turns out rally started at 8:30 in the morning each day; Professor showed at 1 on Friday, 2 on Sunday, and… 8:30 am on Saturday. I planned (what WAS I thinking) to get up at 0’dark-thirty on Friday and drive the 2 hours to show. I am definitely too old for that, so I blew off the rally on Friday and drove up that afternoon in time for Professor’s class.

He was WD/BOW, for another point, making 8 in all. All the girls are in season, and he was definitely more interested in them than in showing. But he did well. Breed was held outside under a pavilion, on a sort of gravelly/bluestone type footing. Very dusty.

We stayed at a Red Roof Inn, and Professor met his first elevator. Nonevent, he just rode up and down with the rest of us. We were on the third floor, and that’s just too far to try to baby blind Joey up and down steps. It was a decent room, not too expensive, and only about 10 minutes from the show site. Only problem was that there was no coffee-maker in the room; you had to go downstairs to their little breakfast bar area and get the world’s worst coffee out of a machine. Ah, the trials and tribulations of the dog-showing life! The room did have a fridge and microwave, which was good. Kept the guys’ yogurt and bait nice and chilly.

Saturday we were at the show early. The rally judge was very nice about the conflict, and moved Amelia down in the order. So Professor and I ran out to the pavilion. And he went Best of Breed! again! still as a 9-month old puppy!!!! Two more points, only 5 points and a major yet to go. He was still way more interested in the gurrrrrrlllls!! than anything else, but he showed nicely. There’ll be another show shot coming soon!

So I take my ribbon and, grinning all over my face, run to the car to drop off Professor and take Amelia in for rally. This could be her RAE, she only needs one leg. We get to watch a couple of dogs go, which was good since I hadn’t walked the course, being in the other ring at the time. I went in, we set up, the judge took my leash, asked me if I was ready (I was), and there was a loud clunk and all the lights went out. They were vapor lights, so it took about 10 minutes altogether to fix the problem and let the lights warm up again. We started over, and Amelia was completely out of it. She wandered, she sniffed, she laid down and rolled on the mats. It was a disaster, and I pulled her. I did run her in advanced, just to get her back into the ring, and she did very well with that. I don’t know if she was picking up on my nerves, because of not walking the course, or the short warm-up, because I was watching the other dogs run to get an idea of the course, or the lights going off and the long delay after the set up, or if she was just having a basenji moment. Oh well, we had another chance on Sunday.

Then it was time for groups. Hounds were next to last, but I took Professor in early. Groups were held in the building, and I wanted him to get used to it. Turns out, I took him in way TOO early; by the time we went in he was tired and bored and generally uninterested in showing. We survived the group, which took a lot longer than the one at Old Dominion, and now I know that I need to just get him out, let him pee, and go in. And carry a chewy in my show bag for when he gets bored.

Sunday morning it was back to rally. This time, since basenjis didn’t show ’til the afternoon, I only had Amelia to think about. I walked the course, got her out, warmed up the way we usually do… and made a stupid mistake on the course that almost, but not quite, NQ’d us. BUT, we survived Excellent, and even beat out a sheltie for 4th place! Advanced went much more smoothly; her score was almost 20 points higher, but she was 1 point out of the ribbons. BUT, she’s now an RAE!! There’ll be a show shot of that, too, pretty soon. I’m very proud of this girl, who now has well over 30 performance titles, including the RAE in AKC rally, an ARCH-EX in APDT rally, an FC and an FCH in lure coursing, and agility titles in AKC, UKC, NADAC, and CPE. The girl’s a star!

Just to prove that dog shows are a crap shoot, Professor was reserve of two dogs in the afternoon. He didn’t show well at all. Don’t know if he was tired, or just p.o.’d about not being allowed to get matey with the girls, or what. Fortunately, there’s always another show down the road.

Everybody was happy to get home and nap on the couch. It’s a nice drive, through the mountains, although the fall colors aren’t as bright this year as they were a couple of years ago when Amelia finished her RN at these shows.

Show Shot!

October 22, 2010

I got the digital copy of Professor’s BoB win shot:

Professor and Liza with Judge Nelson Huber at Old Dominion

I’m so proud of this boy! And now we’re off on a road trip; I’m showing Professor in breed and Amelia in Advanced and Excellent Rally at the Laurel Highlands and Upper Potomac Valley shows. The only problem day is Saturday, when I’m scheduled to be in Ring 4 and Ring 5 at the exact same time. I’m hoping the judge will let me move Amelia down the run list in Rally, but if not I’ll have to scratch her. Hopefully, she’ll finish her RAE (she only needs one more leg) and Professor will pick up some points.

And Joey will nap in the car.

Where, Oh Where …

October 9, 2010

is the handler trade-in center? Amelia wonders. She did a perfectly nice run in Rally Excellent at Capitol Dog Training Club, including a perfect honor sit, only to be NQ’d because her doofus handler walked right past sign 4. AND, it was back up three steps, a sign she excels at. Last year, she got a first place in Excellent at this trial. This year, she got an nq. ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH. Totally not her fault. So I pulled her from Advanced, since she needs both classes to get an RAE leg. And this would have been her 10th leg, and her title. Ah well, she’s entered for three days on the 22, 23, and 24, so hopefully she’ll finish at one of those trials. It’ll be the first time for me to show Amelia in rally and Professor in breed at the same show; should be an interesting experience if nothing else.