I've made the leap and integrated all of Lucy and Walter's blogs into one single blog. So from now on, updates on Lucy's agility fun will be at www.muttsandaklutz.blogspot.com. Hope to see you there.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
The way the schedule worked out I decided to enter Lucy in only one event, Advanced Standard which was a nice course. Lucy was definitely on the slow side and though she did have a few loopy moments there were no zoomies. I'd rather see her in fast mode even if it means the crazy offcourse zoomies come out! Note to self: Must practice having her ignore the timer and scribe when they are located right next to her at the start line. She broke her stay to go visit them. Little miss socialite. A couple other distracted moments, one of which took her over an offcourse for our only faults of the run. Great news is she did a nice 2o2o on all her contacts, unlike at Dream Fields a few weeks ago.
Would have liked to run a few more classes with her this weekend but it just didn't work out. But no worries, if she stays healthy and well there should be lots more runs to look forward to next year.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Today was Lucy's first time at Dream Fields on Masters day!
Although she was there the whole day for only one run, I think/hope it's good for her to spend time there just getting more used to the place.
So anyway, her one run was Jumpers which was the third event of the day. Overall, I'm quite pleased with how it went. A great start, including a part where she had to turn 180 away from the direction of the exit gate. That was a great success. A bit later, I did a bad job of cueing a tunnel, but she came right back which is another success. But then a weird part where she crossed behind me and then went to check out both exit gates. Great timing on the part of the gate wrangler in closing the gate! But, she did finally come back, so that's good. Pressed the reset button and finished with the last line. Nice that there were no contacts to blow which probably accounts for why I liked this run a lot more than yesterday's.
Q or no Q, it sure is fun running her when she's in a good mood. Love how she dives into AND out of that tunnel at the back! Walter felt so slow when I ran him right after. But, he's my good boy, always wants to do the right thing. Love running them both when they're feeling good.
Here's the video, Lucy followed by Walter:
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Started with Advanced Team. We were supposed to be paired with our friends, but there was a mix-up so we ended up in the draw. I would never put Lucy into draw given where we're at right now, so I felt bad for my partner! But she was totally understanding, and it turns out neither dog went clean, phew. Lucy didn't do 2o2o on the frame, but she had touched the yellow so there was still a chance of a Q, so I kept going (another reason not to do Team regularly yet!). Missed the weave entry coming out of a chute, and then popped toward the end in her rush to go over the offcourse jump into the box of our teammate, not sure if it might have been related to the dog being a very handsome intact male, or just "because". She came back quickly though and we finished the last two jumps.
Our second and last run of the day was Advanced Standard. She had a good opening line including happily holding 2o2o on the teeter, but then she didn't do 2o2o at all on the frame, same as in the Team run except this time she went running ahead toward the exit gate and the rest of the run was a "bit" of a mess. Oh and I would have redone the dogwalk but was sure we'd run out of time any second, so didn't. Anyway, the video speaks for itself:
Sigh. I don't mind NQ runs -- I was thrilled with her NQ Standards a couple of weeks ago at Morning Star -- but when the exit gate is a magnet for her, it's just not fun. Although, she doesn't look too unhappy in the video... I don't think? Perhaps it's more that she's eager for her treats rather than she's eager to be out of the ring? That will be my optimistic interpretation. But the whole exit gate magnet thing has been a recurring theme for her at Dream Fields.
I'm disappointed at today's exit gate magnet issue, but not discouraged. I don't think Lucy has ever had a single nice run at Dream Fields, not sure why, but we'll keep trying. Hopefully today was just a minor blip and she'll be back on track again soon!
Of note, she hadn't done any agility since Morning Star, so I think I need to take her for a practice a few days before every trial for the next while, to remind her about contacts and get in some weave practice too.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Perhaps Lucy's best ever trial!!
(As background to this post, note that the last time Lucy ran at this facility, in March 2008, my blog post was titled "A-frame shame"... It was not a fun time.)
Originally Lucy was signed up for just one run, Advanced Jumpers on Saturday, first thing in the morning.
Well. She kicked that course's butt!!!! It was I think our best ever run together. She was bouncy and hyper before the run, so I knew she was feeling good and would most likely be in FAST mode. So I prepared to run like stink! And run like stink I had to! She was just booting it. Unfortunately the run didn't get on video, but I must have done a half decent job of giving Lucy timely information on where to go next because she didn't run off zooming and instead stayed on track the whole way. It felt just great. One of those runs that you feel you're flying by the seat of your pants, teetering on the edge of chaos and brilliance. The best kind of run. Granted, there were only 11 dogs in the whole event, but her time of 27.7 seconds was the fastest clean time, and she was less than a second off the fastest dog. Her yps was 5.4, which according to my (incomplete) trial results database, is the fastest yps that either she OR Walter has ever posted on a clean run. I know lots of dogs are way faster than that, but dang she really impressed me. With this Q, she now moves up to Masters Jumpers! (She's in Advanced everything else.) Since there is no video, my special memento will be the course map:
Since Lucy was feeling so happy both in and out of the ring, and since the trial hosts were accepting additional day-of entries, and since her a-frame re-train is complete, I added her to an Advanced Standard. She was slower for this run, but ran really well. One weird moment where she ran right past a tunnel and then went to tea with the timer and scribe, but she promptly came back and finished the run, woo hoo! A few more glitches with the rest of the run, but whatever, she was happy. She stuck all of her contacts, and I did something I've NEVER done before, which is to pet my dog on course. What's a mere 5 faults for the chance to really let your dog know they did something special? Not sure why I've never done that before, and in fact after this I did it a few more times this weekend with Lucy, and even once with Walter for sticking his dogwalk. Here's the video:
I know I should have left well enough alone and called it a day, but... the Masters Jumpers course at the end of the day was in the enclosed ring... and it was a gorgeous course, flowy with lots of front crosses... and Lucy was still bright and perky hanging out in her crate... So, I threw caution to the wind and threw Lucy into the run! It was the first time I ever got to run both Lucy and Walter in the same trial run, well except for K9 Kup which is a just-for-fun thing. They were running tall to small, so Walter was first. I forgot to call him coming out of a tunnel but made sure to fix that for Lucy. She was quite slow and hoppy, not much gas left in the tank! But, she still looked like she was having a good time. Her running and jumping style in this run reminds me of her look-alike, Tippy Toes, who runs in 10" vets. They are both very cute :)
So that was Saturday.
Since I don't want to run Lucy in the ultra-distracting wide open ring until we are firmly back on track with each other, I limited my options of what runs to add for her on Sunday to what was offered in the enclosed ring. There were two Advanced Standards early in the afternoon, so that's what we did. I'm very glad I resisted the temptation to put her into Snooker as well - we need to keep far away from Snooker for a while yet. So anyway, for some reason, she ran around the first obstacle (or two) for both of today's runs. Weird! And there were other goofups too, like me forgetting she's a baby dog (in agility, not chronologically - she's almost 7) and needs a bit more guidance than Walter, and also some distracted moments. But really I'm sooooooooooo, sooooooooooo happy that she was happy out there! I love watching these videos and seeing her happy face on all her contacts and the table. YEAH!!! A far, far cry from her last time here (see link above).
This is the face Lucy wore all weekend. Relaxed and happy, tail a-waggin'.
What a fantastic weekend. This is the Lucy I once had, the Lucy in the photos at the top of this blog. I lost her for a long time, and dreamed of getting her back.
Dare I say it? I shall.
Lucy is BACK!!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Ran Lucy at today's fun match hosted by the agility club we belong to. She was nice and peppy for the first two runs (a straight-forward Advanced Standard), but for the third run (a curvy Starters Jumpers) she was quite slow. So for the last run I just took her through a few easy lines and threw her food tube.
Also had a try at running a friend's shelties: the vet Tucker (who often does team with Walter), and the crazy spinning Ceilidh. So much fun!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
[Warning: Long post. How I manage to write such long posts about single-run trials is beyond me!]
Well, dang, I messed up today and Lucy was not in forgiving mode so she stressed as high as a kite during her one run, Advanced Jumpers. The course looked nice, there were a few spots for potential offcourses or run-bys but I wasn't worried about that, hoping just to have a good connected run with her, who cares if it would be clean or not. She looked good before her run as we hung out, relaxed and focused with a happy look on her face. Put her over the warmup jumps a few times and she was pretty peppy. A nice non-sniffy start-line stay followed by a good opening line, faster than I was expecting, then she went for the offcourse tunnel. Just as well because my front cross there would never have worked -- I had been expecting the pokey Lucy from our last two trials in which case the front cross may have worked but on second thought, probably not. No pokeying about today though. Then coming out of the offcourse tunnel the poor dog never saw my front cross so she didn't know what to do next -- and I lost her.
My videographer stopped recording at this point figuring she'd save me from the horror of having to watch footage of crazy Lucy, so the rest is a bit of a blur, but my best recollection is that she (Lucy, not the videographer ;) ) did a few laps, taking some jumps and tunnels on her way. We did get back on track for the last two closing lines during which she continued to fly like a bat out of heck. On the homestretch line she totally left me in her dust -- NO WAY can I keep up with her on a straight line when she's running like that.
Don't get me wrong, it's fun running Lucy when she's in fast mode even if it means we don't go clean, but it would be a lot more fun if she were running fast because she's having a good time rather than because she's in frantic stresscase mode.
Watching the video back it looks like Lucy totally locked onto that tunnel, suggesting she was somewhat stressed to begin with (she'll tune me out and become obstacle-focused), but then it's totally my fault that I lost her after that with the front cross that she never saw.
Okay, so here's what i'm thinking for next time to reduce the chances of Lucy going frantic:
- Take her for a good walk before the trial to hopefully take some nervous energy off;
- Plan the course for FastLucy just in case it's she who makes an appearance; and
- Always be in the right place at the right time. Sooooo much easier said than done as we all know...