Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day in the Dirt

Today was our first attempt at trialing indoors, at the most popular indoor venue near me (if you count 90 miles away 'near'..), Dream Park.

The whole thing went so quick, that it's honestly hard to write about it effectively.  We got there just before 1.  We went right in and found our friends, Spirit and her mom, and went on a long walk around the huge property (and snuck in some time on a children's playground - Marge loved the slide!).  Marge was extremely happy to see her Golden friend and I am glad that they spent some time together so shortly after we arrived to keep the pressure way off.

Marge was totally cool with going indoors.  She really had no issue with it... not even the noise.

I went into the main part of the building to see what they were up to in the ring I was scheduled to run in.  I went in at just the right time.. the briefing was just starting.  I handed Marge to Louie and walked the course.

The only time Marge got nervous is when the judge blew the whistle for the course to be cleared.  She recovered fairly quickly, though.  I now know that she'll be better off waiting outside or in a separate part of the building while I walk to avoid the whistle.

I did a bit of warm up at the practice jump.  Marge was very attentive, reading my cues well.  She hung out like a good girl near the start line before her run with all of the other dogs with absolutely no problem.

Our turn in the ring came up rather quickly, like it usually does in Jumpers.

Of COURSE, we got stuck waiting on the start line for about 20 seconds while they re-set a bar, which was frustrating.  But Marge was really calm and actually plopped in to a sit.  I told her to "stand" and asked for a kiss (a nose bop) before walking off in my very, very short leadout.

I thought the run was great, and really believe that the missed jump after the tunnel was my fault.  I neither cued her to go "out" nor kept my arm out/pushed my body in that direction to get her to take that jump.  Since she didn't come out of the tunnel as far away as I anticipated her to, she simply didn't see it. If not for the off course, we still could have qualified with a refusal, but that's OK.  This was a lovely run and I got exactly what I wanted - a nice, connected run, Marge reading me and not too stressed out.

After our run, I jackpotted Marge with hamburger and chicken sausage and took her right back to the warm-up jump, where I also rewarded her.

The only bad news of the day is that I realized that they are using the automatic table count rather than the judge counting down.  This was partially responsible for Marge's demise at Princeton's trial in September (our worst trialing weekend yet).  I don't think it'll be as big of an issue here, since the surrounding noise of the trial kind of drowns it out.  However, I had specifically e-mailed the trial chairwoman before entering to ask about this, and she ensured that they would not be using it.  So, I'm a little upset, because I spent money on an entry for this coming Friday (the same club is having back-to-back weekends of trials) that I'm not sure if I want to use.  It may seem silly to drive 90 minutes in the car for one 30 second run, like we did today.. but I'm not sure if I want to attempt Standard yet and might skip it.  I might be better off running her in Jumpers only and then doing Standard outdoors at a park very familiar to us, East Freehold Park.  Going to sleep on it a couple of nights and then decide.

My little girl had a fun, but short day.  I actually think the stress of not having to wait around or be crated greatly helped her focus and her attitude.  She was pooped on the way home!


Unknown February 27, 2011 at 6:11 AM  

It seems Marge and you had a fantastic day. In the video, Marge was so eager and full of enthusiasm. She is really great, what a clever girl she is.

Diana February 27, 2011 at 6:19 AM  

Great run!!

Lavi February 27, 2011 at 6:59 AM  

I'm still amazed at how well you both perform in these competitions. Marge is like a little firefly on the course, zooming left and right over the obstacles.

Sara February 27, 2011 at 7:35 AM  

No ring stress that I could see! Awesome job! Marge looked happy and connected to you.

I give you a "whoohoo!"

Chris and Ricky February 27, 2011 at 7:47 AM  

Awesome JWW run! Seriously Marge is one of the happiest dogs I have ever seen running agility - you do such an amazing job with her!

Kirby, CGC February 27, 2011 at 8:16 AM  

Marge looks like she is having so much fun! I thought you both did a great job!

Kirby's mom

Cyndi and Stumpy February 27, 2011 at 8:52 AM  

When I think about how far Marge has come, I am truly amazed! great run!

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ February 27, 2011 at 9:35 AM  

Once again, we have to say that we aren't terribly knowledgeable about all of this activity, but that video was quite impressive to us. Marg did really well, and we loved watching her zoom through the weave poles. Good luck with the upcoming runs.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Sue February 27, 2011 at 12:46 PM  

She looked good on the course. A tired dog is a happy dog.

Amy / Layla the Malamute February 27, 2011 at 1:28 PM  

That really sucks about the automatic table - ESPECIALLY if you had already emailed her and specifically asked.

That reminds me, I'd wanted to ask you. The Afghan Cluster in Freehold gets their equipment from someone other than the usual two suppliers. It's the same person who had supplied the equipment when you went last year. EVERYONE is complaining about the equipment, and I don't know if it's the usual "These people are never happy unless they have something to bitch about" or if it's legitimately something to worry about. Did you notice anything odd last year about it? They complain about the wings being too wide (which I do see in pictures, but they don't look unmanageable) and that the dog walk didn't have the center support, so it was bouncy. Do you think anything was specifically unsafe? Oh, did you send in your entries for that one yet?

Amy / Layla the Malamute February 27, 2011 at 1:28 PM  

PS ~ Where is there a children's playground? I haven't seen one at all!

Two French Bulldogs February 27, 2011 at 2:20 PM  

Ride on Marge!!
Benny & Lily

Stella February 27, 2011 at 2:43 PM  

I can't think of anything merrier than watching a dog having FUN! Marge was definitely having a good time on this run. Since today she heard the whistle, adjusted to it and did fine, wouldn't it be better for her to do that everytime rather than be out of the building? Getting used to things has its advantage too! Please correct me if I am wrong.

Cheers and hugs,


Sam February 27, 2011 at 4:23 PM  

Well, Jo, she recovered after the whistle, but she still was pretty panicked and headed for the doors initially. Noise desensitization has been one of those things I find it really hard to systematically work on and I'd honestly rather Marge just be calm and relaxed before her run and have her(hopefully) acclimate to the sounds of the trial in between runs. :)

Gus, Louie and Callie February 27, 2011 at 4:41 PM  

Marge you looked awesome to us in that video.. We are so proud of you. You know that number one thing is that you have fun..
We know that the deaf Red's will probably never be any kind of champions at herding but they have so much fun doing it.. It would be great to have one run in a trial and then explain that they are deaf.. What do you think the judges would think?

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

KB February 27, 2011 at 5:56 PM  

Watching that video, I thought that you both looked awesome. Marge looked happy, enthusiastic, and totally connected to you. I had no idea that she'd missed a jump so I thought that it was a perfect run.

I think that it *was* a perfect run - in terms of being exactly what you Marge needed to make a big leap forward!

Sierra Rose February 27, 2011 at 9:49 PM  

Great! We loved watching you two in the video! Everything must go so fast, and that you just do one run, can be quite a lot. You two are amazing! Looked cold in the ring. We haven't move forward with more agility (just did one class) nor obedience comps (just do training once a week) but always are inspired watching others recount the event!!
Hope you both had a great snooze after the day :)

Sweet hugs,
Sierra Rose

hornblower February 28, 2011 at 3:05 PM  

That's serious commitment to drive that far for a single run :-)

You guys looked great, bummer about the jump, better luck next time!

~hornblower & daisy, darwin + (won't leave) foster bear

hornblower February 28, 2011 at 3:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim February 28, 2011 at 4:49 PM  

I don't know if this will help your decision or not, but I discovered that Steve at Agility Nerd dot com has posted files of the automated Table Count and Go voices that you can download for free to train your dog to get used to hearing them. He has files of both the man and womans voices on his site. If you make a cd out of them and use them at home and then at training maybe she'll won't be so unnerved at hearing them at a trial. I can't blame her...the voices sound really strange to me too!

Congrats on the beautiful Jumpers run! You both looked so relaxed and connected :)

Kim February 28, 2011 at 5:28 PM  

Oh, and I just realized that the files on the agility nerd dot com blog site also have all the kinds of annoying buzzers and horns that AKC uses.

Sam February 28, 2011 at 6:07 PM  

Too funny, because I just found those files today and played them on ridiculously long loops. LOL.

Marge really has no reaction to them at home, but perhaps if they're paired with fun stuff (I was appropriately playing go-to-mat games with her), she might not get so unnerved about it at the trial.

She heard them on Saturday and was fine, but it's always different when we get into the ring.

Kim February 28, 2011 at 7:09 PM  

Sam you said, "'s always different when we get into the ring"...Boy ain't that the truth! I'm sooo with you there!

Just a thought...maybe if you made a CD and played them really loudly at the appropriate times during practice runs, at a fun match, or at a friendly competition created between you and some friends (bet on something to make it "feel" like something is at stake)... the "feeling" of being in a ring at a trial might be there...?

Kathy Mocharnuk February 28, 2011 at 8:16 PM  

I saw someone had the auto table count recorded and on a web site so it could be used for desnsensitization, I tought that was a great idea. Marge did FANTASTIC, she read those rear crosses so well, those were not the easiest rear crosses but she was really listening you guys are amazing. Glad it went so well, congrats, great job you too.

Muttsandaklutz March 1, 2011 at 7:57 PM  

Hey, looking good!! So glad to hear it went well.

A friend of mine often drove 4 hours round trip to do one course, Jumpers, since her dog wasn't ready to do contacts yet. Now that's commitment for sure!

Kari in Alaska March 2, 2011 at 12:16 AM  

Looks to me like you had a great run!


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