Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Iberia Trial

Maxie, 6 runs, 1 Q, XJ (5th place)
Videos posted.

Just got back from the New Iberia trial, where Maxie only Q'd 1 out of 6 runs on his FIRST EXCELLENT B trial.  Not sure why we did so poorly.  He only completed the weaves correctly twice, which could be the 22" spacing or the gap between the 2 6-weave-pole assemblies, but there were many other faults.  I was well rested the first 2 days, feeling confident and focused, weather was balmy and beautiful, everyone was friendly, the atmosphere was jovial.  I brought Willow to keep Maxie company in the crate.  Left Lucky home. Sheryl Mc and I roomed together Fri and Sat nights at LaQuinta Inn.  Charlie, Willow and Maxie got along well.
I used my new collapsible red wagon for the first time.  It carried everything in one trip except the wheeled cooler, and got lots of compliments.  Well worth the $150!
Applying my new Pre-Competition Routine skills, I was able to memorize the courses quickly.  In fact, Sunday morning with small dogs running at 7:30, I arrived too late to pick up a map or walk the standard course, but by getting successfully bumped back to the last 8" dog to run, I was able to watch 6 dogs run before I had to run it myself.   I was proud of myself for being able to memorize the path in that short time, but Maxie popped out of the weaves so we NQ'd anyway.  This is the first of Maxie's runs that did not get videoed.

I was NOT proud that on Saturday's Standard run, Maxie went into the tunnel (3rd obstacle from the end), and when he finally came out after what seemed like 3 minutes (about 8 seconds), he stopped and pissed on the tunnel exit!  OMG, how embarrassing!  I was in AGONY, but was so far ahead of him and on auto pilot, I asked him to finish the last 2 jumps.  The trial came to a screeching halt while a ring crew came out with spray cleaner and paper towels and we commenced wiping down every little groove in that tunnel exit.  Then Snow, the next Papillon to run, stopped to sniff the cleaner so out I rushed again with water to wipe off the cleaner scent.  I found out a few runs later that all the equipment had been locked in a trailer all weekend, and when the crew opened it a cat jumped out.  Apparently the cat had marked in the tunnel and several dogs either stopped to sniff it, and in Maxie's case, PROTEST the conditions found therein.  After the 8" dogs ran, the ring crew changed out that tunnel, so I guess he did everyone a favor!  I would have asked for a re-run, which would have been fair, but Maxie had also messed up his weaves so we would have NQ'd anyway.

There was a VMO present, so Maxie finally got his permanent Jump Height Card., at 10"

Judges:  Friday, Heather Dickenson; Saturday, Chris Dewey
Both judges were fair and pleasant.  Their courses were challenging but not too difficult.
Trial Site Summary: see Trial Site Summaries, New Iberia, Sugarena 

Lessons Learned:
  1. If your dog pisses on the equipment, don't finish the run! Pick up and remove them from the ring immediately, indicating totally unacceptable behavior. GAME OVER! I did get some praise for helping the ring crew clean up the mess.
  2. Just before and during a run is NOT the time for Conflict Resolution.  Susan Garrett warns about this in her PreCompetition Routine course, which recommends developing a mental strategy for dispelling all negativity and focusing instead on the task at hand.  A conflict happened to me on Sunday and I didn't do worth a crap dispelling it. I staggered thru the course feeling knifed in my back, Maxie felt my pain, exceeded course time for the first time, turned wide, and faulted 6 times (more faults than any other run ever). I clearly need to develop a strategy for handling negativity. (see 1 below).
  3. Once you get to Excellent B, you stay there forever, with 20MACH dogs competing in the same class with pre-MACH dogs.  That seems grossly unfair and I'd like to see this changed (see 2 below).
  4. Nedra says I take too long to get to the start line when the previous dog has cleared the appointed obstacle, and too long to remove Maxie's leash after the judge says GO.  I thought I was doing fine but I'll try to be more conscious of that. 
  5. Videos: I am becoming more comfortable with the hand held camera, it is more convenient, and easier to zoom, but also easier to screw up, and end product shakier. Transportation and set-up of the tripod is more time-consuming, I still prefer the tripod method, especially with multiple users, except that it's harder to find friends willing to sit apart to operate the camera. Sitting apart is essential to avoid recording unwanted commentary.
  6. Leashes: I started out using a clip-on leash, but the ring on Maxie's tiny collar is so small and my hands used to shake so badly after a run, I could not get it back on.  A few times I just picked him up and pretended the leash was attached.  Since then I've switched to a slip on leash (much easier) but sometimes the leather slide gets tangled in his ear feathers.  I now try to loosen the noose before we enter the ring then just slip it off at the start line. 
Actions to take:
  1. After the trial, I visualized carrying an aerosal can of "Knife Dissolver" in my pocket, that I can immediately spray on any psychological wound. I plan on keeping it handy as you can never predict when a poison dart will fly at you.  Best to turn off the phone, leave family and friends at home, crate in a quiet space, tag and avoid folks who repeatedly mess with your head (whether intentionally or not), learn to dispell negative thoughts or feelings immediately. Concentrate on the thrill of trialing with your dog.

2. Write to AKC to create a new class so pre-MACH dogs don't have to vie for placement with MACH dogs who routinely Double Q.  It wouldn't cause much trouble.  They'd still all run the same courses.  Same run orders.  Just one more category in the computer.  Here's the letter I finally wrote, and AKC's response.
So much to do this week.  Download, process, and upload to Picasa over 120 videos and photos, which takes about 3 days.  Help Nedra set up a course Monday afternoon, Monday night class, Tuesday night meeting, teach Wednesday night Beginners class, Thursday and Friday prepare for Lucky's first trial, USDAA, in Baton Rouge, on Saturday and Sunday.  Help Kathy with the raffle. Deal with the puppies, whose incredible drive, curiousity and enthusiasm keep me endlessly entertained.
Upwards and onward!

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