Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Next stop, Reno!

Next stop, Reno!  Okay, there is a stop for work in there first but I will hopefully survive that.  I haven't had so much fun packing my RV for a trip in a long time.  I'm quite sure packed enough food for 2 weeks so if anyone at nationals gets hungry or thirsty I can help with that.

We had our last lesson today.  It was lots of fun!  Nancy and Laura were there as usual but we had some ghosts from the past, Rob and Wings.  They have been out of commission for the last 5 months or so because Wings was busy having and raising new puppy agility stars.  You wouldn't know it though, they looked great today and I'm sure they'll do great at nationals.  We also had special guest stars Tori and Rev visiting, which was lots of fun.  Rev is so teeny!  I think Cassidy and Wings were both a bit self conscious about Rev's runway model weight.

I ran both Icon and Cassidy and was reminded why I never run both Icon and Cassidy in the same lesson, it was a bit hectic (and I had to rely on other people to keep Cassidy quiet when I was running Icon).  Icon and I could barely get get through 12 obstacles without an issue.  I really hope that at nationals there isn't a course with a tunnel under the dogwalk at the end where they're NOT supposed to turn away into the tunnel because I could 't get Icon NOT to take the tunnel.  But bad dress rehearsal, good show... right?  Cassidy was actually really good aside from a few bars here and there.  Cassidy says, "Bars?  I'm not supposed to touch them??  Honey badger don't care."

I really hope I do well with all the dogs at nationals, all for different reasons:

For Cassidy it's because she's been living with me since the end of November just so we can prepare to run at nationals.  Her mom will be there watching (which is pretty stressful!) so that's another reason I hope we do well.

For Apollo I'm sure this will be his last big event (yeah, I said that at 2010 invitationals as well too, but this time I'm pretty sure) so I really want to do the best we can do.  I know he'll give me his best, he always does!  Love my Polly!

For Icon this is his last nationals at 26" and how we do here will decide whether or not I go to Tryouts this year.  I'd really like to, but we'll see...  Icon has been showing classic ETS signs lately, well for quite a while now but it's only the last few months that I've acknowledged it.  It's your typical stuttering before spreads, after tunnels, when there are large spaces between jumps, etc.  It's very dependent on environment (surface, lighting, course design...) as well but it's definitely there when the conditions are right (or wrong, depending how you look at it).  After a particularly bad USDAA trial in January I tried to move Icon down to 20" for nationals but it was just past the closing date.  So nationals will likely be our swan song at 26".  So yeah, I'd like to do well. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy National Puppy Day!

I can't think of any day I'd rather celebrate than National Puppy Day!  It fills me with peace and joy and joyness.

This is pretty much my only puppy picture I have of Foster.  When we got him he was around 4 months old and I don't think I had a camera at that time.  Poor Foster, he always gets the short end of the stick.  But he knows I love him.

Ah, puppy Icon.   It's hard to believe that Mr Serious was ever an actual cute puppy!


And Rampage was painfully, adorably cute.

Even the professional photographers couldn't stay away from him.

But the most, THE MOST adorable puppy ever born was Apollo.


He was even adorable peeing.

He won Foster over immediately.



Holy crap, I want a puppy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm done with agility trials!

at least until AKC nationals.  I'm already starting to feel unprepared though.  Maybe my handling will become rusty over the next few weeks... maybe I won't get to train again before nationals... my lesson today was cancelled due to high winds and I'm out of town next week.  I really love pre-nationals anxiety :).  This will be my first year running multiple dogs at AKC natioanls.  I hope I am able to give each dog the attention and focus they deserve. 

The trial was good on Saturday, the arena is really wonderful, the dirt is a sand/felt mixture that is great for the dogs (and people).  And there is really nice natural lighting.  We had a wonderful audience along the back side of the arena behind the rolled-up walls.  Horses in their stalls watched with great interest as the dogs ran around the agility course.  They could have applauded more, though.  I only wish the arena was a bit closer to home so I could drive back and forth (it's 2hrs away) or the RVing was more convenient and less expensive, it's 50/night for an RV and 1/2 mile from the arena.  I'd be better off staying in a hotel, but a hotel with 5 dogs?  I don't think so...

All the dogs got a QQ except for Rampage, and I'm kicking myself for that one.  I got lost on the JWW course and forgot to put in a front cross (it was my 4th time running the course, you'd think I'd have remembered by then!) and he dropped a bar when I added an emergency serpentine.

Cassidy got a bonus run this weekend because we tied for first in JWW, so we got to have a runoff.  Cassidy loves bonus runs!

The front cross before the triple got us a much tighter turn than the rear cross we did in the first run.

I'm still struggling with Rampage's contacts. There was a point when I thought we had it solved but we have regressed. "But they're perfect at home!" Yeah, yeah, I know. There is a fine line with Rampage between enforcing behaviors and keeping agility fun. And I haven't found it yet. But on the bright side, it's the behaviors that are missing, not the funness. :)  Rampage isn't entered at AKC nationals.  He was a QQ (or maybe 2) short from qualifying.  But I don't think I would have taken him even if he was, we're not quite "there" yet.

Cassidy got a QQ despite dropping the middle bar of the triple in standard. It dropped late and the bars make nary a sound on that surface so the judge didn't see it.  I'm not complaining :).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Soooo busy

This Saturday I will finish my marathon of agility trials; my next trial after that will be AKC nationals.  I went to trials most weekends in January and February and I had fun but I am ready to be done.  I feel like I haven't had a moment to breathe in forever.  My goal was to get the dogs on dirt as much as possible before nationals because they don't get to run on dirt very much in general.  I was pretty successful in that.  I'm so sick of dirt.

I was hoping I could cut back on my work hours after we had a rollout last weekend, but it seems to be getting crazier rather than quieter.  Oy.  Something's got to give there and I hope it's not me.

In the last two trials I met Icon's co-breeder's sister and niece (got that?)  They were both very nice.  They have a cattledog that they do agility with.   The niece was there taking photos and she offered to send me some, and how could I say no?? :)

Rampage is always so happy


Serious Icon

Cassidy, aka The Honey Badger.  There's a story behind that nickname and maybe I'll find some time to share it in an appropriately amusing way.  At least it's very amusing in my head, I just need some TIME to write it down.