Thursday, May 29, 2008

All Dogs trial; Lucy destined to stay in Starters forever?

Ok, I know I said Lucy would be taking a time out from trial events involving frames. I actually had emailed the trial secretary shortly after making that decision, to cancel her entry. Well, all of a sudden two weeks ago I received an email confirming her entry in the trial. It would seem that my email to them got trapped in a spam filter or something. So, rather than complicate things for them I just let it go with the hopes that maybe, just maybe, it was a sign that she should be in the trial and would maybe, just maybe, end her ever-lengthening non-Q streak and get her Starters Standard title.

Well. In fact, perhaps I should have paid more attention to another sign, a potentially ominous sign indicating that maybe, just maybe, Lucy is destined to stay in Starters Standard forever.

What, you ask, is that ominous sign? This is what the entry confirmation said:

Trial Date: May 8, 2029

# Event Name Event # Judge

1 Starters Standard 1 1 John Willis

2 Starters Standard 2 2 John Willis

Yup, apparently Lucy will still be trying for her third and final Starters Standard Q in 2029. Simple computer program glitch, or sign of things to come? Time will tell! But hey, if she's still doing agility in 2029, Starters or not, I'll be thrilled. ;-D

Down to business. In Standard #1, she had actually a pretty good run. However, I was in spectator mode watching Lucy hit the yellow on the #4 frame (using the highly trained, highly respected method commonly known as Point and Pray) and my delay in directing her to the next jump caused me to lose her to several seconds of sightseeing, refusal-incurring, and backjumping.

In Standard #2, I lost her after the second jump. I think I have figured out that one of our problems is that if my handling isn't at least close to being spot on or if I'm late in cueing the next obstacle unless it's right in front of her, I lose her. She goes off on a little stress sightseeing (not groundsniffing, and not really zooming, just loping around in a most unfocused way, looking at everything except me). So back to Standard #2, there was a front cross after the second jump which I must have bungled, because off she went. She regrouped fairly well for the second half of the course.

Also, I noticed that at the end of both runs, she was quick to leave the ring. Last year, she used to check in with me at the end of the runs and we'd leave together.

So, darn darn darn. I was hoping that our stroke of bad runs at Dreamfields and Morningstar was due perhaps to those facilities being indoors which maybe she didn't like too much. Blame it on the roof, yeah, yeah... Blame it on the walls... that shut her in... Whatever you do... don't put the blame on you... There's your Milli Vanilli fix of the day. Anyway, nope it's not the roof because I don't think I've ever seen her as zoned out and unresponsive as in her little "zoomy" in the second run today.

I really really hope we can get back to the place we were last summer when she was awesome and really having fun out there playing agility with me.

As a pick-me-up to remind myself of Lucy's enthusiastic agility year last year, here's a repost of Lucy's 2007 agility compilation video. See, there are benefits to doing such little projects. :-)


Gussie said...

I enjoyed the video. Must go and make my own bloopers agility video, it'll be like the Titanic ...

LucyandWalter said...

Thanks. Yeah, there is a little bloopers section to my video, but to a lot of people much better at agility than me, my non-bloopers section is probably no less bloopery than my bloopers! :-D

Jasmine said...

Well my friend, you've convinced me of several things today.

1. You've have many hidden talents.
2. No matter what happens, Lucy is always happy to work. Bloopers? What bloopers?
3. I may just go and buy the artist's cd
4. I never doubted the utility (may I use that word in English?) of the video taking. Having seen Lucy's year in the compilation video, I WILL hound you to film Jasmine.
5. Lucy is GREAT.

andrea said...

awwwwww hang in there - this too shall pass .. and that too shall come

Lucy and you have a bazillion talents and retraining things is TOUGH work ... I don't think you messed her up running two standard runs (sounds like she got the contacts??) at ALL so obviously you were supposed to learn something from the experience and it sounds like you did

hang in there


Roxanne said...

Oh, dear. I'm still giggling over the "point and pray" method.

LucyandWalter said...

Jasmine's human: Awww, thanks. And you know, I am always more than happy to record for you! :-D

Andrea: Thank you :-) It's always helpful to put things in perspective eh. Funny enough it's not the lack of Qs that was bugging me, it was the lack of Lucy having fun :-( But, I am confident that as you said, this too shall pass!

Roxanne: It's a good one eh! I take no credit for it, having read the term in some blog post or magazine article or something. I got a good chuckle out of it too.

andrea said...

you know something Lucy - there was a point in August last summer when I said - Brody does this for me - not for him .. I am quitting.. I spent nearly a month not working him at all - walking on the beach and just being - and THINKING - OMG I overthink agility like nothing else

I decided to run til December and reasses then in December I realized

he still runs for me but I can see that he loves parts of the game - particularly the warm up - I do a very specific warm up - his trick stretches; one jump work for turns and tuning (with high high reinforcement rate) and the race to the end - I always race him right at the end and jackpot him afterwards - he is not a dog who can ever know he did wrong-
he demotivates so easily

pretty glad after the last two weekends I have stuck with it - and very very glad I had competitive experiences as a teen to help me keep my head in the right spot ;)

hang in there - and help her find the fun ;) we'll help too!

Pacco de Mongrel said...

for non-agility folks, all our blooper can be label are 'impressive stunt' anyways... LoL...

so far, we have yet to hit any yellow zone on the frame yet... hope that 1 day we can Q in standard, rather than keep Q-ing in jumpers...

last time we used your 'point and pray' technique, which never seemed to work b4.. now we are using, stop till release...hope it can work.

Johann The Dog said...

2029! We think that may be when Gracie gets through Starters too! Woofs, Johann

LucyandWalter said...

Johann: lol! Thanks; we'll be in good company then. ;-)