Sunday, February 24, 2008

Van Nuys day 2

I slept in until 8 this morning because, well, I could :). But apparently I needed to sleep more :(.

The rings ran a bit faster and as I arrived at the site at around 9:45 they were setting up the Exc Std course. I had time to let the dogs run and potty before I had to walk it. Walking the course it seemed tight but definitely do-able.

Sadly, I let both of my dogs down during the runs. Apollo was first and I was totally concentrating on having him stop on the contacts. He DID stop and was a very good boy! But I didn't support him for jump #12 after the tunnel and he ran passed it. I think we also got a refusal before the weaves, but I think that was a bad call.

Icon dropped the 2nd bar on the course. I was trying for a really tight turn to the teeter and we got it, but dropped the bar. After that I worked contacts, they were fast and he stuck them all. What a good boy :)

The JWW course was really nice. It was smooth and flowing. Both dogs Q'd on it and Icon came 1st (only dog) for 36 points and Polly 3rd for 14. I think Polly ticked 2 bars (one was the triple) but they stayed up :).

This weekend I'm off to Arizona for the Fiesta Cluster. 4 days of agility! Am I crazy, or what????

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The trip to Van Nuys

I left this morning at 3:30 am, according to schedule. The trip was pretty uneventful and wasn't bad at all. I listnened to the radio, a bit of an audiocd and sms'd with caroline and debbie a bit. I arrived at about ten minutes after 8, which was 50 minutes ahead of schedule. Along with that, I didn't even RUN until after 11! All 4 of my runs were between 11:30 and noon, I think. So I really could have left at 5:30 or 6am instead. But I would have been worried about missing my runs the entire way there so it's ok.

I was expecting Icon to go first in std since it was tall to small, but it turned out that 24 was before 26" and Apollo was the first of the 24" dogs. Apollo was very naughty on his standard run. He didn't stop on the dogwalk OR the aframe. I let him get away with it both times (aside from a "bad dog" comment) but then he dropped a bar during a pinwheel at the end of the course. She might have also called us for touching after the a-frame since Polly ran straight into me. Tomorrow I will pull him or down him or something if he doesn't stop. I need to nip this little problem in the bud! We seem to get this problem after we do a lot of USDAA. I guess I tend to push him more.

Icon was next in the standard ring and he did a good job. I held his contacts for a fair amount of time thanks to Polly. The course was really close so it was hard to keep a healthy distance from him. both our dogwalk and aframe were ok speeds if I recall correctly. I was able to get in a tricky front cross after the chute, which was nice, but I probably should have rear crossed it for the experience.

Apollo was naughty once again in JWW by not staying at the startline. But we did manage to pull it together for a Q. He placed 3rd and got 12 points.

Icon had a really nice JWW run. There were a lot of turns were dogs were going wide and I was able to keep him tight in those sections and he even COLLECTED for me at least twice! So that was double Q 13 and he got 44+34=78 for those runs.

We were done running by noon and I didn't want to get to the motel until at least 2 pm since checkin is at 3. So I just kind of hung out for a while. I took the dogs over to the cricket field to let them run around a bit. At one point Polly found an apparently dead rat on the ground. It was laying on its back with its feed up in the air. Polly sniffed it and as soon as his nose touched it started wriggling. Ick. Luckily the dogs left it alone when I said "leave it".

Once I got to the hotel I realized that they have wifi here now. Yay! So I was able to update my blog. Yay!


Courses from the day



Off to Van Nuys

Well it's 3am and I'm on my way to Van Nuys for a trial today and tomorrow. It's a 5.5 hour drive and somewhere I got the brilliant idea to drive down Saturday morning instead of Friday night. I really don't know why I'm going to this trial. I originally signed up because I thought Polly might need more trials to stay in the top 5 for boxers, but he seems to be doing fine. Yet I'm going anyway... Hmmmmm. Don't worry, I'm staying at a hotel tonight, not driving back and forth :P

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Results - Which way is faster?

Sooooooooooooooo, on saturday I did manage to get some practice on the first course I showed on Feb 16th.    I will list the videos at the end.

Overall when I did side-by-side comparisons Icon was about the same speed on all three.  He was slightly slower on the pull because he didn't drive out of the turn, but I also didn't drive out of the turn I think he held up because of me.  For me the FC felt the best.

I also tried in the other direction (starting at the red tunnel) and the blue tunnel seemed to have a much greater gravitational pull on Icon.  His turns to the 270 were very wide on all three different ways of handling, but I think the turn was tightest on the front cross, because I was right there making him come in to me.    I was pretty lazy putting together the videos because it's a real pain to work with the video editing software that came with the camera.  I did buy an upgrade to my pinnacle software so it will work with the HD format and I'm just waiting for it to arrive.

No videos of Apollo due to the above-mentioned video editing software issues, but he wasn't so good with the pull.  He actually back jumped a few times.  I didn't know we had this problem, but I should have realized it since we lost a couple of snooker q's due to back jumping the red.  Polly did pretty well with the front cross, but for the serp he came in the 270 once or twice, I was early with my hand change though, which you can also see with Icon.

Another problem with my video editing software is that once it's uploaded to photobucket it goes from widescreen format to non-widescreen so I'm really not as skinny as I appear in the videos and my yard is wider than it appears.

Also, the next day I cut my hedges so they are looking a bit better as well.

Icon with the Pull

Icon with the Serpentine

Icon with the Front Cross

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dock Jumping

On Saturday Debbie and I met in RWS for some fun at the dock. It was Nalu's first time jumping off and she did great. She was a bit hesitant, but I'm sure that she start launching soon (being the crazy girl that she is).

Foster also had a blast jumping. He'll never win a competition but he sure loves it!

And of course Icon loves to jump too. Poor Polly was stuck in the xpen the entire time. Polly doesn't DO water.

After they had fun in the water we let them run around outside to dry off a bit before putting them back in the car (well Nalu had to go back right away) and Polly got to run too. Then we went to Suraj and met with Anne for lunch!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The gangsta nod

Ok, so I'm sure that there is some logical explanation for this, like he is just sniffing the air, but everytime I walk past Pook on his favorite spot on the back of the couch, he gives me the 'gangsta nod' as if he's saying "hey". It's the 'nod' where he lifts his chin up in the air once and then lowers it. A cool move, very fitting for the cool cat Pook. But quite funny.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Which way is faster?

Lately I've been thinking of which way to turn Icon on course. When all things are created equal, there is probably not much difference path-wise. So in the below sequence the distance turning both ways is about the same, however the speed at which dogs do it is probably different and dependant on the skills of the dog (and handler, of course)

The benefit of turning inside is that your dog dosen't have a lead change until after he lands, however the turn is a sharper one so he would have to slow down a bit more.

Turning on the outside the dog would have a lead change before the jump but wouldn't have to slow down as much.

I plan on setting this up and taping to see which was is faster for my dogs. For the inside turn I will just handle with a pull and a front cross at the stanchion. For the outside turn I'll try handling it two ways. With a front cross on the outside of the 270 and with a serp of the 270 to the last jump.

My theory is as follows: Icon will be faster turning outside with the front cross move. We've been working on that inside turn, but I still think that at this point he will like the other direction better. I think the tunnel will be too much of a draw for him for the serp to be nice and tight. This probably means we need to work on the lateral motion cue and serp arm cue. Apollo will be faster turning inside, he has always been a good turner :). Foster will be faster watching the other dogs work.

Once the jump moves a bit to one side, the benefit of turning one direction as opposed to the other becomes more clear. My paths are a bit overly tight on the following sequence, but I think it's still pretty obvious that the shorter distance is with the inside turn. But again, the dog will need to declerate more to get that tight inside turn. I will try handling both of these paths as well.

The last turn I've been considering is something that I saw on a gamblers course at the Turlock VAST. A friend and I handled the same opening course. We went from the a-frame to the jump and back to the a-frame (unlike in the course below where it's tunnel/jump/aframe) and I took Icon the longer distance around because I didn't like how her dog hit the aframe.

However, she beat me in that course because the buzzer rang as Icon was coming down the a-frame, while she made it off and got the points. I guess it's a trade-off of safety for speed in that case. For gamblers I would choose safety every time, but for a GP finals course? I might take the shorter route.

(I hate trying to format this blog with photos on it. What a pain!)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Photos from Las Vegas

Caroline and Dan are the greatest photographers ever! And I'm not just saying that because Caroline dresses so fashionably and Dan tells me all the best video games to buy. It's really true! Although Dan SHOULD stop pressuring me to buy a nintendo DS. Doesn't he know I have to save all my money to spend on agility??

There was something special in the air for Foster in Las Vegas. They got the best pictures of Foster that I've ever seen! He totally outshined Apollo (not easy!) and Icon that weekend.

Look at the colors in this photo! And Foster looks so happy! He really likes jumping 20" :)

Another happy dog photo with gorgeous colors. Look at his smile! These to photos of Foster are my favorite, EVER. Now that I have them his job is done, he can stop doing agility!

Polly's first ever a-frame shot. His ears were very expressive that day.

More ear expressiveness from Polly.

Caroline pointed out that Icon always looks very similar in his jumping pics. He is a consistent jumper. Good for agility,not so good for photos!

But at least he does look happy!

Does he look happy here, or unimpressed? I say unimpressed (I look happy though!)

One final picture. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

My current bets

With all the bets I make I'm surprised I didn't spend my entire weekend in Vegas at the casinos. But apparently I only like a CERTAIN kind of bet (the agility kind)

Current Bets

Icon will get his MACH before Milou gets her MACH 2 - Caroline and I made this bet. I think the bet is for dinner and I can't remember who took what side.

Icon will get his MACH before (dog name hidden for legal reasons) gets their MACH - Debbie and I have this bet. Winner buys dinner.

Icon will get his MACH before Bob gets her MACH - A bet with Pat White. Loser buys dinner.

Lost Bets
Apollo got his MACH before (dog name hidden for legal reasons)- I bought Debbie lunch at Suraj Indian Cuisine for this one. It wasn't even a close call!

Laea, Laea Pants on Fire

The trip to Las Vegas was really fun! Apollo ended up with 1 QQ and 80-some points. Icon had a perfect weekend aside from the first run of the day Friday, where he dropped the first bar on course. We also had an off-course on a tunnel/dogwalk discrimination, but I'm SURE that we would have gotten that if it weren't for the bar down. Uhm, yeah. So Icon is now at 12 QQ's for his MACH. He also got his last Exc B FAST Q for his MXF title! I will stop entering him in FAST now since I have no plans to get 100 more (actually 99 since he also got a FAST Q the next day) for the century FAST title.

The best thing about the trip was spending time with friends! Caroline/Dan with Milou were there, Debbie with Shaddy was there, Kay and Lena with their boxer brood.

We also met some new friends, Beth and her Rhodesian Ridgeback Laea (rhymes with fire when spoken with a boston accent). And thanks to Laea I cannot get they saying "Laea, Laea Pants on Fire" out of my head! Damn!

I guess it's inevitable that if you go to Vegas, you'll eventually end up at a casino. We went to Boulder Station because we thought we saw a sign for cheap prime rib, however we couldn't find it and ended up at a buffet. We got there a bit before Kay and Lena and sat at the slot machines for a bit. I put $1 in and a few minutes later I was up to $26! Knowing how my luck runs hot and dies fast I decided to cash out and consider myself a winner! I did throw away a couple more dollar bills on some other machines, but I did come out ahead at least $20. Score! At the buffet, the food was just OK, I don't think anyone was too impressed with our $12 meal, but the ribs made it all worthwhile for me.

I will be loading my videos, but it's a new camera and I'm just learning how to get them off the camera and online. For now, here's a sneek peek of Icon's Std run from Sunday!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Last week I bought a new camcorder and paid extra for shipping SPECIFICALLY so I can get it before vegas. Well it arrived last night, but UPS requires signature in person. Next atttempt Thursday between 2-5. I wish that they would give me the option of just signing for it so they can leave it on my porch. I like my neighborhood and I'm happy to take the risk that someone might steal it. So it is now possible I won't be able to get it until I can pick it up from UPS on Monday or Tuesday.

Since I'm driving to Vegas tonight I'm working from 7-3, but I'm going to see if I can leave work at 1pm instead and work from home until 3 and then I will wait for UPS to drop off my camera. The downside of this is that it might be 5pm before I can leave!

I'm not looking forward to the drive tonight, and to be honest I'm not really looking forward to the trial this weekend, although a lot of friends will be there so that should be fun! I think I'm ready for a weekend off! But that will be next weekend so I have something to look forward to :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A weekend in Las Vegas is coming up. No, I'm not going to party and have fun. I'm going for an agility trial (shocking, I know)!

But somehow I feel that I have no time to prepare for this trip. I'm driving after work tomorrow and I'm not packed, I have to go grocery shoping. I have so much to do and no time to do it! Where did the week go???

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Vast -Day 2

Wow, we sure got lucky with the weather! Saturday night was really windy and rainy but the sun was out when we got to the trial in the morning. Sadly, Debbie's canopy didn't survive the night. When I arived there was one leg sticking out of the ground and the rest of the canopy was nowhere to be seen. I think Debbie said that it had blown over the top of the other canopies and up against a fence. RIP canopy...

But I digress. During the day today we had a mixture of sun and cloud, windy and still. There was about 5 minutes of actual rain but otherwise just a sprinkle here and there. So I obsessed over the weather for nothing! Yay!

So onto the trial.

Apollo ended up having a perfect weekend. He qualified in everything (well everything he ran - I scratched him from gamblers today becuause I was conflicted with Steeplechase and I didn't want to stress out about it). Apollo even won Steeplechase and made me $20 (and change)! It wasn't a feel-good win though since he dropped the first bar. He got a pGP Q, but missed the entry so it's a 5 fault Q. He came 2nd in standard and Q'd in jumpers, but I forgot to check so I don't know if he placed or not. I still don't know if he placed in Snooker yesterday either! But as always, Polly was a good boy. He really seemed tired by the end of the day though.

Icon also had a great day today too. He got everything but gamblers, which was totally due to sloppy handling. He was first in Std, but I was very unhappy with the run, it felt very choppy. Our Grand Prix run felt a lot smoother (and was a very similar course) and he won that one too :). Next we ran SC and that was a really fun course. Open and FAST. Icon won $50 by a VERY slim margin over Focus! Last run of the day was Jumpers. We Q'd but came third to Yankee and Focus. It was a nice course though and I liked how I handled it.

Icon now just needs 1 Std Q for his MAD. For his ADCH he needs.... 3 Std, 3 Jumpers, 4 Gamblers, 4 Snooker (2 SQ) and 3 pairs. Ok, that's a ways to go!

Vast -Day 1

We had a good day on Saturday and the weather stayed dry until a few sprinkles around the last class of the day.

Icon got every run except for Std, which was due to a flyoff on the teeter. He generally doesn't have flyoffs so I figure this one was due to 1. a much lighter teeter than we had last weekend (last weekend was the heavy bay team aluminum teeter) and 2. it was quite slick. But the great news is that Nunes agility field fixed the slats on the contacts! They're quite beautiful now! Other than the teeter flyoff Icon also didn't stop on the a-frame. I gave him an 'Uh oh!' but he was in the teeter by then and he just stopped and turned around. But from there it was a pretty nice course. I liked the way the turn to the teeter felt over the jump, I want to take a look at that on video to see if it looked as good as it felt though.

We got the pairs Q with a parnter I've never seen before. We were supposed to be paired with Kep, but they ditched us for an AKC trial in Santa Rosa. Both our partner and Icon were clean, but I don't think we placed.

We had an ok gamblers run but lost 5 points becuase we didn't quite finish the last a-frame when the buzzer went. But we got the gamble and the Q, which I am very thankful for since gamblers isn't our strongest point.

Steeplechase was a rather tricky course with a tunnel under the aframe and you had to naviate that area 4 times either taking the a-frame twice and the tunnel twice. Icon had a pretty nice run and ended up in first, but I think that Focus had a slightly faster time (with a bar down).

Last run of the day was snooker where I did a fairly aggressive course of 6-7-7-6. The 6-7-7 flowed nicely but we had to maneuver past a few obstacles for that last 6. It wasn't pretty, especially the first 7 (a set of 3 jumps) where Icon passed the 2nd jump and I had to call him back around, but we did manage to get through it for a first place and a super q :).

Apollo had a pretty awesome day and q'd in everything. He was first in std and steeplechase (even though his missed his weave entry), 2nd in gamblers to Annabelle and I'm not sure about snooker, but I didn't do a very agressive course with Apollo since he just needs a q (we did 5-4-7-6). Only one more snooker Q needed for Apollo's APD!

Today it looks like we'll be having lots and lots of rain. I'm not really looking forward to it. I hope the ground isn't too slick! :(

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I'm still holding out for a "no rain" miracle this weekend, but I think that might be wishful thinking... All the weather reports are against me now!

More bad dreams last night but thankfully not quite as bad as last night. I remember at one point I was looking for my car in a huge parking lot, but I just couldn't find it! And these guys carrying big bottles of beer were following me, but I wasn't too worried because my dogs were in the car. At another point we had a buffet lunch at work which included fruity yogurt. For lunch!?! My mind is SO twisted (ok, maybe not so much).

Friday, February 1, 2008

Good morning Sunshine

When I woke up this morning it was really foggy, but the time I got up and ready to take the dogs to the park the sun was out in full force. It was a beautiful morning! Too bad it's not going to last the weekend. Saturday during the day should be dry at least, and I'm glad that we have a day of no rain for the ground to dry out!

It was nice to see some sun this morning because I had a pretty bad dream last night. I dreamed that me and my ex were at Walmart (that's a nightmare in itself) but when we left to go to the car he got in before me while I went to do some other odd thing in the parking lot. I don't recall what it was and it was dark out. But the dogs were in the back of the car and I saw my ex get in and for some reason crawl to the back with the dogs then I heard Foster growl and bark and my ex shout. So I ran to the car and opened up the back and brought Foster out and started getting mad at him. My ex seemed OK at first and then he started coughing. He climed out of the car and was laying on the ground coughing and blood started coming out of his mouth. I asked him if he needed to go to the emergency clinic and he nodded. So I called 911.

Then I woke up. It was freaky!