Friday, March 4, 2011

USDAA Trial - Lucky's First Trial

Lucky jumps 26" with room to spare.
She is a jumping maniac.
Lucky Lucy
4 runs, 3 Q's, 4 1st places
Videos posted here

Last weekend was Lucky's first ever trial, and my first entry in a USDAA trial.  I entered her as Lucky Lucy (to distinguish her from another dog named Lucky that runs in just about every trial), running twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday.  She earned one leg each in SStandard, SSnooker, and SJumpers, that's 3 Q's.  But she got 4 1st places!  I found this very confusing, even picked up a 4th Q Ribbon because I got a sticker and assumed that meant a Q, but apparently in USDAA, one can "place" and get a sticker without Qing.  One can also knock a bar, as she did in her 4th run, and still Q.  Exceed course time, though, it's an automatic NQ. So different from AKC.

Her NQ in our first run, Starters Standard, was due to being 4 seconds over SCT, but her run was clean.  By Sunday I figured out how to make her go faster by locating the straight sequences, getting further ahead and running them faster myself.  By her last run she was 8 seconds under SCT.  Also by Sunday she was more used to being in the ring, running on sand.  By reviewing the videos I can see she needs a lot more speed.  How can she run like a border collie at home, and lope along like an old nag in the ring?????????

Here are her scores:

Starters Standard - 26 Inch - Judge: Jelinda Pepper
Distance: 137 yards SCT: 63.00 seconds
Score: 4.08 (NQ) Time: 67.08 seconds 1st Place

Starters Snooker - 26 Inch - Judge: Jelinda Pepper
Score: 40 (Q) Time: 37.75 seconds 1st Place

Starters Jumpers - 26 Inch - Judge: Jelinda Pepper
Distance: 119 yards SCT: 33.00 seconds
Score: 0.00 (Q) Time: 31.91 seconds 1st Place

Starters Standard - 26 Inch - Judge: Jelinda Pepper
Distance: 145 yards SCT: 67.00 seconds
Score: 0.00 (Q) Time: 58.85 seconds 1st Place

It was a very laid back trial, at Parker Coliseum in Baton Rouge, with only about 50 dogs entered.  The ring stewards and staff were very attentive, helpful and supportive, which I appreciated.  Due to so many teenage volunteers, I didn't ring crew.  I got to relax between runs, go home and sleep each night, all way relaxing.  The RV spaces, though, are flat, nearby, and suitable for my pop-up camper.  No nighttime bathroom facilities though.  No showers. No freezer.

I ran into a handler with a dingo.  Third dingo I've ever seen, second one at an agility trial.  Another stab of guilt that I never did agility with FoohFooh, except at home.  He would have been so awesome in the ring!

Roku (left) and Jitsu (right), at 12 weeks old.
I brought the two Papillon puppies I have for sale, and they got a lot of attention. Teenagers and college students held them all day, both days. Both puppies seemed perfectly relaxed, no whining, barking, etc. They weren't as playful as usual, no doubt a bit of stress, but after the trial ended we closed the arena doors let them out and they tore all over the place. I was afraid for awhile we would not be able to catch them.

Roku caught the eye of a local couple who came to my house a few days later and bought him. They renamed him Winston. He is going to a wonderful home, with people who train in agility, and who live nearby so I will get to watch him grow up. All this makes me very happy.

I had time to video all the newbie dogs, including Lucky, and got inspired to put up a new web album on Red Stick's photo gallery, called Doggie Debuts.  It will feature Red Stick Agility students who are running their first trial, also seasoned trialers who are running a new dog.  This weekend, these included Alyce and Ro, Bonnie and Luna, Kay and Toozie, Michele and Lucky.  As time permits, I will go back to videos I've taken from previous trials and see if I can transfer the "first runs" of other students, too.  That should be fun and inspiring for them to watch.

Our crate space, behind the raffle table.
I crated us along the wall, in the arena fartherest from the ring, behind the raffle table.  There was very little traffic so it was less stressful on the dogs. Lucky behaved beautifully when crated -- no barking, whining, or wiggling around.  She seemed to enjoy her crate time.

My red wagon came in handy again.  I was able to pack my entire crate space, including the wire X-pen for the puppies, in one load.  Afterwards, I was able to help Meg, the trial secretary, load up all her office stuff in one load, and then Tracey's crate space in one load.  They were impressed with the wagon, too, especially since it folds up small and fits in the trunk.

I tried to encourage Tracey, Trial Chairman with the sponsoring local club, OverCome Agility, to put on a second trial in Baton Rouge each year, but she said there is too little help. They don't actually solicit members to join, but I'd agree to spiff up their website to attract more members and/or volunteers in exchange for a second local trial and free runs. It would be well worth my time and effort not to have to travel to the next nearest USDAA trials.

Lessons Learned:
  • In USDAA, dogs run without their collars.  Thanks Tracey for stopping me at the start line from running our debut run with Lucky's collar still on, and keeping us from getting whistled off.
  • It's less taxing to video the runs from a hand held position in the crowd, and other people are more willing to help out, but the videos are a lot more shakey.
Lucky and her first ribbons
Unfortunately, I didn't get a good picture of Lucky with her ribbons.  But here's the best I've got and it will have to do until I can stage a better one.  And I'm so darn busy these days, that may never happen.

Meanwhile, upwards and onward!

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