Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monroe Agility Trial March 1, 2, 3 2013

Maxie: 4 runs 3 Q's 1 QQ, 3 2nd places, 30 MACH points, 4 videos
Lucky Lucy: 4 runs, 2 Q's, 2 3rd places, 6 MACH points, 4 videos

Left BR Thursday at 1:30 planning to arrive West Monroe before dark.  Oops, before I got on I-10 I noticed my gas peddle was flopping around.  I whipped into Firestone, they did a “curb side” check and sure enough, the pin holding the pedal onto the shaft had broken.  They rigged up a nut and bolt to get me going.  That put me 1/2 hour later on the road.  Didn’t bother me.  Uneventful trip, beautiful drive, little traffic.

RV park at the IKE Convention Center.  I'm on the left.
First time RV’ing at the IKE Center, a vast asphalt parking lot with no shade, no beauty, little grass to potty the dogs, and a 4 minute hike to the arena from my spot up close to the back.  Arrived, picked a spot way back by the grassy area, backed in, leveled the RV, then discovered the electric was 50V, which I didn’t have an adapter for.  S#%T!  By the time I went looking for a 30V it was pitch dark and no night lighting whatsoever.  Running around with my flash light, I found most of the boxes were locked down.  I finally found a 30V connection open close to the arena, then leveled the RV in the dark in 35 degree weather.  So much for picking my favorite spot!  And with all my strength I could not open the water valve, so I did without city water all weekend. Somehow, none of that stressed me out either.
Only 2 channels came in on my dinky little AIR antennae, but I got to watch Jay Leno for a change.  He’s gotten funnier over the years.  I opened up my couch and used it as a bed for the first time.  It’s so comfortable, I fell asleep watching TV and woke up there in the morning!  But I noticed the RV walls got cold. Heater worked great after I directed all the vents towards the center of the rooms – they were all facing the floor.  Heater ran almost continuously with temps ranging from 28-55 all weekend (4 days), and used up about 3/4 of my LP tank.   Also learned I don’t need to bother with connecting up the water line.  1/2 tank is plenty for all my flushing needs, and I bring 4 gallons of drinking water for coffee, cooking and dogs.

Our crate space -- daytime home for 3 days.

It was too cold to set up my outdoor yard, and since the arena was far away I set up my crate space indoors. It’s easy as pie to set up if all you do is drive up, level up and plug in. Yahoo!  (But first, be sure you can plug in.)

Now, on to the trial: I only got in for Friday and Sunday, so Saturday I just hung out and tinkered. Dogs ran tall to small all weekend, making Lucky the 6th dog on the line in each class, and Maxie was second to last! Only one ring, which went smoothly and Tanya Lee, Trial Sec, says it goes just as fast as with 2 rings if the judges nest the courses properly.

Maxie:  1 QQ, at least 20 MACH points, and running weaves/got my QQ plus another Q and 30 MACH points, but no running weaves which helped cause his 4th clean run to be 3 seconds over time.
Lucky Lucy:  1 jumpers Q, 1 standard Q, at least 5 MACH points, and running weaves/got both Q's and 6 MACH points, but no running weaves.
Pepper:  better leash behavior, off leash sit/stays in arena at practice bar, attentiveness to me, ease with other people and trial environment/got all except better leash behavior.

Theresa & Breeze
Theresa and Breeze, a tiny sheltie
FRIDAY:  Maxie QQ’d with 2 2nd places, placing that high only because Breeze, who usually beats Maxie by 10 seconds or so and working on his 4th MACH, got pulled.  The little 8” sheltie took off from the start line walking– by the 3rd obstacle Theresa picked him up and pulled him out for the weekend – they’re supposed to compete in Nationals in 2 weeks.  She reported he had given a yelp at the practice jump just before his turn.  Musta pulled something. How heartbreaking is that?  Lucky Q’d in Standard by 5 seconds despite walking her weaves, but scratched in Jumpers by walking her weaves plus a refusal in a threadle and taking the table twice. Someone just had to comment that she doesn’t have a good “work ethic”.  I guess that means she lacks drive?  Another chimed in saying I’ve slowed both Lucky and Maxie down by demanding perfection, over-practicing, and not making it fun.  That’s all such bulls#%t, I hardly practice and don't demand perfection, but I wish they’d apply their “make it fun” standards to encouraging me.  I’m going to follow Joe’s advice (who had overheard their comments) –  “Don’t listen to anybody.”

Found out that some clubs comp the runs of their Trial Secretary, Chief Course Builder and Gate Steward, confirming what a few of us have been thinking/talking about recently -- It’s too darn much work to expect key positions of a trial to be filled by volunteers for free, especially when trials are netting thousands of dollars.  We are outgrowing our "hobby" status.  AKC trials have CUSTOMERS who expect competent SERVICE for the thousands of dollars they spend each year.

Tanya Lee studies her club's new tire.
Saw a breakaway tire for the first time, and several of us studied how it worked, with electromagnets holding the bottom sections together. The tire did break apart for several dogs, but Judge Mary Mullens didn't fault that because nobody was sure how to set the tension.  It's clear, several dogs do nick the tire.

Here's a video that explains AKC's new requirement and shows how the breakaway tire works.

Here’s a link to a collection of YouTube videos showing Scary Tyre Accidents, which I’m sure contributed to AKC’s new rule.

Mary Mullens was the most pleasant judge I've encountered so far. She was gracious, supportive, clear, concise, kept things running smoothly, her courses flowed, she nested the courses well.

Dawn in pink with her new pap puppy, Theresa in green
with her new pap, me in red with Maxie & Pepper.
Didn’t make it off the waiting list to run Maxie and Lucky, so Saturday was Pepper’s day.  We hung out all over the place. I had several people hold him while I walked away. We stayed in the bleachers awhile, ringside awhile, alone in the crate awhile, did some heel work, and I worked him off leash in the warm up area.  He sniffed a lot but didn't run away. For those who don't know, this is called "proofing the dog", i.e., desensitizing them to the trial environment long before they ever compete.  It's very important because arenas are very noisy, busy and stressful.   Talked with 2 new papillon owners and we had a little party. Theresa helped me measure him and he's definitely going to jump 12" with his 11 3/8" height.  Sorry, boy, you're going to have to run with much larger, faster dogs.  I hope I can learn to keep up with you.

SUNDAY:  Maxie had 2 clean runs and I really thought he had QQ'd a second time with a 1st place as no other dogs in his class qualified.  Much to my dismay, when the results of the last run were posted, he was 3 seconds over course time.  A first for him. In fact, his YPS all weekend were down, in the 2.8 - 3.2 range whereas he's usually in the 3.25 - 3.8 range.  He seemed to run with nose to the ground a lot, and he never once ran his weaves.  This despite running weaves every day at home for the last week and him begging for more turns.  He sits at the end of the weaves or on the see-saw and refuses to budge.   I literally have to fetch him out of the yard to end his turn. Lucky's Q in Jumpers was icing on the day, with her fastest run time all weekend at 3.68 YPS.

RAFFLE:  Great raffle karma this weekend.

Bought my usual $10 worth, got 15 tickets, and put 5 into each of 3 choices.  I knew I'd win the Addidas baseball shoes because mine were the only tickets in the bag.  I tried them on, they fit perfect, and I have been wanting cleats for training in wet grass or muddy conditions, and the leather cover over the tied shoe laces means they can't come undone while I'm running around.  Worth between $30-$60.

My other two choices had lots of other bidders, so I didn't expect to win.  I was surprised, then, to win a WOOF Leash Rack and assorted dog toys in a plastic sterlite tub.  The rack and tub will go in the RV. We chew through toys quickly so those are always welcome.

And while I didn't win the little plush dog bed, I did congratulate the lady who won it and to my amazement she said she didn't want the bed, just the stuff in it.  I offered her $5 for it and she agreed!  Said it paid for her raffle tickets! Willow is sure I brought this incredible bed home just for her, but they all take turns nestling in. It is very very plush and very very soft, unlike the other cotton, terry cloth or velveteen lined beds around my house. Can they really feel the difference?  The bed seems always occupied, even by Lucky who barely fits.  Except for FoohFooh the dingo, who doesn't go for such froo froo.  In 12 years I don't think I've ever seen him go in a dog bed!  He prefers the hard floor.

L to R:  Willow, Pepper, Maxie, Lucky Lucy

And as I write my last paragraph, I look over and see this vision of adorableness -- Pepper and Maxie curled up together.  Whipped my iPhone out and snapped another pic to show you.  Couldn't resist. It reminds me what the lady said who gave me the bed:  "It wouldn't suit my dog" (a mid size dog but not sure what kind), "but is perfect for your Papillons."  She was right! Before this, I would never have gone out and purchased a plush bed or blanket for my Paps, but by gum, they really can tell the difference and prefer plush to plain!!!
Another bonus: While packing up to leave the arena, I sought out the manager, told him about the dark parking lot on Thursday night, the locked electric boxes and no water, and he refunded me Thursday night's reservation fee -- $20. More details on IKE’s RV accommodations available on my Trial Site Summaries page.  Got home about 8 p.m. and John had dinner cooking for me -- spaghetti and meat sauce, french bread and a big green salad.  Plus he helped me potty and feed the dogs, and unload the RV.  I was quite tired by then, and really appreciated the warm welcome home!
Monday morning I noticed the azeleas had popped open all down my driveway. Picked some for my window sill and used them for Maxie's QQ photo. He didn't much like posing amidst those flowers. Lucky would barely pose. I never could get her ears up and she kept looking at me with those huge brown eyes one is always in danger of falling into, as if to say "how much longer must I endure this torture".

Still have my videos to watch and study, so the trial isn't over yet for me.  I look forward to that, but tomorrow is another Agility Bloggers Event so I have to concentrate on that right now.  I also need to catch up on the 2 courses I'm auditing from the Daisy Peel Online Classroom. Not to mention the rest of my life, which is in a state of complete neglect because it is nowhere near as much fun!

Upwards and onward!

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