Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Showers Agility

We just wrapped up the first day of our Friday - Sunday combo for agility this weekend.  This is the same trial that Marge debuted at a year ago, when mixed breeds first became eligible for competition in AKC.  Hard to believe that it was that long ago.

It goes without saying that the weather was HORRIBLE!  Anyone on the East Coast knows that the forecast has been calling for an April Fool's Nor'easter since early this week.  Thankfully, we missed most of the snow, but got pelted with icy rain throughout the entire morning.

A lot of people were absent from the trial.  My first class of the day was Excellent Jumpers, which turned out to be such a small class.  The cool part? I got to do two walkthroughs - the general walkthrough before the trial started as well as the walkthrough with my height class.

I then set up my tent, coincidentally right next to Amy & Layla.  It was great to see them, and Marge took to Layla right away, who serenaded her a couple of times with her Malamute songs :)

I didn't have to wait very long before running, but it was extremely wet and unpleasant.  Marge was dealing pretty well before she ran.. a little excited, even, by the cold temperatures.

The course was a nice course.  I walked the whole thing with rear crosses and didn't think twice about it.

I was extremely calm when I got into the ring, which I was proud of myself for.  Marge read me really well through the first 10 obstacles.. then came the weaves.

And, what do you know? She missed her entry!  The one thing I practiced to death last weekend is the thing she missed!

I think it was just a freak thing.. she looks like she never really collected herself and maybe didn't see the poles that well.  I first I thought I pulled her off or forgot to decelerate, but I actually think I cued it OK. She certainly had no problem weaving once I helped her with the entry.

The rest of the course was fine, up until the last jump, where I had it in my mind for some reason that I had to switch sides at the triple, thus pulling her off of the last jump, the double.  In that regard, I'm kind of happy she didn't weave - I would have been so mad at myself if we had a clean run and then I screwed it up at the last obstacle!

But she came out of the run happy and excited, and we went straight back to the practice jump for some more cookies.

The judge said "oh, darn it!" in a joking voice as we walked by outside of the ring.  I told her that it was Marge's first time in Excellent, and she said that in that case, we did pretty well.  I liked her.

We waited around a bit after that but Marge just wasn't feeling it.  She outright refused to stay in her crate, then would stand there and shiver if I took her out.  I think she was just feeling cold and icky.  She looked better when she was moving around and even played with another dog, but she clearly would have rather been inside and warm.

I went to go walk Open Standard, but I just didn't think it was a good idea to run.  It was still raining on and off, the contact equipment was old (and EXTREMELY rough to the touch, to the point of being uncomfortable).  I knew I'd be hard pressed to get her to lie down on a wet table, and knew there was a significant possibility of her bailing on the teeter or one of the other contacts, so I decided that running would not be beneficial.  I scratched her and packed up and left and am happy with my decision.

So, we went ribbonless, but had a very worthwhile Jumpers run in the rain.  The weather Sunday is supposed to be significantly better, so I'm hoping to finally wrap up that Open Standard title then!


Kathy Mocharnuk April 2, 2011 at 3:55 AM  

Looked nice, great first excellent run and good for you weighing out what was best for your dog and sticking to that! ope the weather on sunday will be better!!!

Sara April 2, 2011 at 6:30 AM  

Wow, an outdoor trial in the first weekend in April! That is risky! You never know what the weather will be like.

Marge did awesome! She looked with you, and was responding to your cues the entire time. That was a hard course, and a difficult weave entry.

Great job you two!

Chris and Ricky April 2, 2011 at 7:54 AM  

You guys did great with that Exc Jumpers course! Marge was reading you well and your rear crosses are so nice! The weave entry was a fluke, I am sure. Can't believe you have an outdoor trial in April. It looked cold, wet and miserable so I would've totally gone home too! Good luck Sunday!

Kari in Alaska April 2, 2011 at 1:47 PM  

Sorry to hear about the crappy weather. I wish we could send you ours but it also isn't amazing (its 95 here)


Kirby, CGC April 2, 2011 at 8:52 PM  

I thought you guys looked great! Marge always looks like she is having fun, even in crappy weather! Good job!

Kirby's mom

Amy / Layla the Malamute April 2, 2011 at 9:17 PM  

What an awesome run!! I give the dogs a TON of credit for running in that shit yesterday and still enjoying it. I can guarantee that dogs trained in ways that would make agility not as enjoyable wouldn't have been as willing to do it!

It was so nice seeing you, Louie & Marge, and I'm so happy that Layla and Marge got along! And also that Layla's talking didn't upset Marge.

I felt the contact equipment for the first time today and I totally agree with you, it is VERY uncomfortable to the touch. It looks like instead of replacing the equipment or rubberizing them, they decided to try and sanding it beyond the point of acceptable. I noticed a LOT of dogs having trouble going up the dogwalk, which is weird because that's not one that they usually struggle on.

Even if tomorrow is windy like today was (it was still COLD), it'll be infinitely better than Friday. That was just ridiculous!

Cinnamon and Mint April 2, 2011 at 11:15 PM  

You did great! Never mind the ribbons. Also, I think that it was wise to skip the second run of the day if the condition was that bad. That is a kind of decision that my Mum will have to learn to make!

Two French Bulldogs April 3, 2011 at 12:12 AM  

Looking good Marge. Ugh, where is the nice weather
Benny & Lily

LauraK April 3, 2011 at 1:27 PM  

You two are awesome! Your rear crosses were beautiful, and Marge reads them very well. That weave entry looked like a tough one with so much space between the previous jump and the entry. Nice recovery though- you didn't make a big deal of it, and got her focused and back to weaving in no time! It's always funny what things they decide "they've never done before" at a trail. Riley and I have lost a LOT of Qs due to her darn weaves, even though she's an amazing weaver in class and when we practice. They sure like to keep it interesting :) Hope today goes well for you gals, looking forward to hearing about it. I can't believe it's been a year since we've been doing Canine Partners- kind crazy!

KB April 3, 2011 at 10:26 PM  

Too bad about the weaves but it seemed like Marge did great aside from that.

I like your decision not to run on the wet contact equipment. I always worry that K will slip on it, and since she's a fearful dog, she might decide that she's forever afraid of an obstacle. So, I tend to be conservative that way too (in our backyard agility - not the high level competition that you do!).

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