Chaos Crew

Chaos Crew

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

USDAA and Patriots

Last weekend we were at a USDAA trial at the Boulder County fairgrounds. Since I grew up in Massachusetts, I've remained a Patriots fan, even though I live in Broncos country. The Patriots - Broncos game was on Saturday, so I wore my Pats logo t-shirt to the trial. I did catch a lot of grief being nearly the only Patriots fan among a sea of blue and orange, but it was all in good fun. I was one of the few happy football fans the next day after the Patriots blew out the Broncos.

Anyway, onto the agility!
Rip and Skye were entered in everything - the trial was extra crowded and was originally supposed to be a 1 ring trial that turned into a 2 judge, 2 ring trial due to high turnout - seems everyone in Colorado is trying to qualify for USDAA Nationals now that it's going to be local this year.

On Thursday before the trial, Rip came up limping on a back leg. He probably slipped on the ice - not sure. I figured I would end up having to pull him from the trial, but come Saturday morning he seemed fine. I did run him the whole weekend, but Sunday night he was back to holding the leg up again. Looking at his runs, he is maybe a little slower than he should be - he knocked 3 bars all weekend, which isnt great, but not excessive. He's been on rest mode since then and isn't happy about it! He seems fine now, but I will keep him from running at all until at least this weekend.

As for how we did, Rip only got 1 Q this weekend, but it was a Grand Prix Q, so that's a good one to get! That was the 2nd one we needed to qualify for Nationals.
Rip ran a nice Standard course on Saturday, but he had 1 bar down on a wrap jump. He also did really well in Gamblers, and if he had succeeded in getting the gamble, he would have had 2nd place in the 22" group. He did give me a really nice distance teeter, but wouldnt push out to the next jump and took the trap jump instead.

In Steeplechase, the run was going well, but I somehow pulled him off his line to the AFrame. By the time I put him back on it and we finished, we had taken too much time to make it to round 2. Then in Pairs, I thought we ran a good course - turns out I didn't walk the course correctly and took a jump from the 'normal' side when it was supposed to be a threadle, but we were clean on MY course!

In Sunday's Standard run, I did a run-with and he knocked the 2nd jump and then went in the wrong end of the tunnel, though the rest of the run was good. We had an OK snooker run, though not a planned! The 7pt was an AFrame, but there was the #4 tunnel under the frame. We could do 4 reds, so I planned for the #2 tunnel, and 3 AFrames. On two of the frame attempts, Rip actually ran into the tunnel instead! That wasn't going to be good for a superQ! He ended up hitting the bar in the part B jump of the #5 sequence as it was a slice, so not enough points to Q.
Finally, we were having a nice jumpers and I did a Rip taboo move. I rotated too soon on a front cross, giving too much of a collection cue and brought Rip to a stop before the jump he was supposed to take, so we incurred a refusal. Except for that, he ran it nicely.
Here are some of Rip's runs

Skye had a pretty good weekend. On my quest for PDCH-Bronze, we just need Gamblers and Pairs Qs. As it turns out, we Q'd each of them this weekend! That leaves just 2 more Gamblers and 1 more Pairs needed.
Skye Q'd both of his Standard runs this weekend. He had been missing all of this AF and DW contacts at our last AKC trial, so I had been reinforcing contact behavior over the past week. This really paid off, as Skye did not miss any contacts all weekend, though he gave me a couple of the slowest AFrames he has ever done!
We also Q'd Perf. Grand Prix, giving Skye the 2 Q's he needs to qualify for Nationals. That makes him fully qualified for Perf team, grand prix and steeplechase.
As mentioned, we Q'd pairs - we ran with Katrina and Baby again and we were the 1st place performance team.
He did a real nice job getting the Gamblers Q. Skye has a good distance teeter, and I was able to get him to push out to the correct jumps to finish the gamble.

Though Snooker is usually our game, I underestimated a pull through and Skye ended up taking a #1 followed by another #1 very early in the run for a total of 4 points!
In jumpers, he knocked 1 bar, so we didn't get that Q either, but overall he ran really well for me!

We are playing more USDAA in a little over a week - this time with DAM team. I still need to get Rip qualified in team, so hopefully we will get it.

Skye's runs

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Goals Recap

Earlier this year, I posted my annual goals for Skye and Rip. Now is a good time to recap and see what kind of progress was made against the goals.

For Skye:

Short-term goals:
  1. Continue practicing with toys and not food, keeping Skye very motivated during practice sessions.. Met - except for rewarding on contacts, I always use a toy instead of treats as rewards.
  2. Work on various distance skills, like turns from a tunnel and better push outs. Partial - we have worked on these, but Skye is still not a great gambler dog. We only got 4 out of 11 USDAA gamblers Q's in 2011.
  3. Keep working on the startline in practice – this has been paying off as he’s been much better during competition.. Partial - I have found that it's more motivating to Skye (and Rip) if I just run with them off the line, so I have been using startlines less anyway.
  4. Need to proof frontcrossing the AFrame – these tend to push him off the side. Get him to keep driving down even if I am in front of the frame. Met - I have not found this to be an issue lately.
  5. Work on being able to really peel off the weaves without causing popouts. Partial - I think this is better, but I recall a trial in November when he popped early.
Long-term goals:
  1. In 2011, I would like to earn Skye’s USDAA PDCH-Bronze. This will take getting 9 more Pairs Qs, 7 Gamble Qs, 3 Jumpers Qs, and 6 Standard Qs. This will not be an easy task.  Almost - At the end of 2011, Skye needs just 2 more Pairs Qs and 3 more Gamble Qs for PDCH-Bronze.
  2. Qualify for USDAA Nationals and attend the event in October in Kentucky. Met - had a good time at Nationals!
  3. Qualify for AKC Nationals for 2012, as we have done the last 2 years. Met - We qualified and have entered the nationals.
  4. Earn at least two more placements in AKC. We managed to get a 2nd and 3rd in 2010, so I would like to meet and improve on that. This can be challenging as we never compete against less than 25 dogs. More typically, its 50 - 75 dogs in the 20" class. Met - I didnt keep good track of this, but we definitely had a few 3rd places and a 2nd place.

For Rip:

Short-term goals:

  1. More practicing on the contact retraining. Continue to use the target to get him driving into position – don’t try to fade it so fast in practice. Met - Rip's contacts are holding up really well in competition now.
  2. Keep working his bar issues by varying jumpheights, including lots of crossing on jumpers type courses, doing figure-8 jumps, and other jumping exercises. Met - Rip is really doing well keeping bars up. He recently Q'd his last 6 straight Master Jumpers courses in USDAA and is just 1 Q away from MXJ in AKC!
  3. Continue to push for more speed in the weaves. Periodically open the channels to get him moving faster and faster. Once a month, film the weave performance and time it to measure any improvements. Met - I've continued to practice with channels opened a little, and in competition, he is really doing much better with some fabulous weave performances.
  4. Be more consistent with practice outside of classtime. I’d like to practice at least 2 times a week outside of class, and would prefer 3 or 4 times a week. Partial - Not sure I met the 3 or 4 times a week, but we are practicing usually 2 times a week outside of class.
  5. Enforce contact performance in competition – at the very least, mark an intentionally jumped contact with a down. Partial - I still have a hard time not getting caught up in the moment and quick releasing. We have had plenty of wait-to-release performances, but nowhere near 100%.

Long-term goals:

  1. For AKC, I would like to earn Rip’s first Double Q, which will require us to get out of Open Standard, and Exc. A Jumpers. Almost - Rip earned his AX title and moved into Exc. B Std for 1 run at his last trial in November, so we didnt get but 1 chance. We did however get a 'virtual' double Q by Qing Exc. A Std and Exc. B JWW.
  2. Qualify for USDAA Nationals and attend the event in October in Kentucky. We are already qualified in Team, and have 1 Q in Steeplechase. Met - we had a good time at Nationals!
  3. Improve our speed enough to be within 2 or 3 seconds of 1st place in a big AKC or USDAA competition. Met - Rip has been picking up speed. He got a 2nd place in JWW in November and has been within 2 seconds of the 1st place dog frequently.
  4. Advance to the Masters level in USDAA and earn Rip’s MAD. We need 3 Adv. Standard Qs to get to Masters in everything, and then will need 3 Master Standard Qs and 1 Q in each of the games (we already have Pairs and Gamblers) Almost - We got into Masters, though the Standard legs have been tough for us. We have masters titles in Pairs and Jumpers, are just 1 Q away from Gamblers title, and need 2 more super Qs for our Snooker title. NO Master Standard legs yet!