Sunday, August 23, 2009

Woo hoo! HADC at last.

I am very pleased to announce that at today's Dogz trial, six-year old Lucy earned the last Starters Standard Q required for the Agility Dog of Canada title! But more importantly, she ran the course in happy mode! I give you Lucy, HADC (Happy Agility Dog of Canada):

The last time Lucy ran Standard in a trial was... oh my, over a year ago, in May 2008. I knew it had been a while but didn't realize it had been that long. We'd taken a break to fix her a-frame and work on getting our agility groove back.

Although she had been licking at her feet in her crate earlier in the morning (no raw spots or anything though), while we sat around before her run she seemed really relaxed and comfortable, with a nice perky look on her face while I handed out treats.

The course was extremely easy, even for a Starters course, but hey, no complaints from me. Only two changes of side which were at the table and a tunnel, and only six weaves.

So in we went, I set her up in her stand stay and led out just a few feet (the video's missing just the first little bit), then off we went. At the contacts I waited for her to offer eye contact before starting off again. She gave me her nice happy face each time, woo hoo! Afterward it occurred to me that waiting for her to offer eye contact on the contacts is something I should probably do every time as it's a nice opportunity to reconnect. It's also a great way to gauge how she's feeling because when she's stressed out she either doesn't do 2o2o, or she does 2o2o but doesn't look at me. A new meaning to the term "contact" obstacle! Granted, it can eat up a lot of time -- she was just a few seconds under SCT -- but taking the time to check in with her is worth it.

Some trouble in the weaves, but Starters rules are pretty forgiving so there are no faults for having to restart them.

I must say, I'm not thrilled about the impact on her front end when she hits 2o2o on the frame. A few years ago after I saw video of Walter doing 2o2o I changed him to a point-and-pray running a-frame. Soon after I did the same for Lucy, but in her case this led to stress issues since she no longer understood what her job was. But, since Lucy has a lighter build, and since she really likes knowing exactly what her job is, 2o2o it will be. She'll never have a heavy trial schedule anyway, and I'll limit how many frames she does at any given practice or trial.

So, that was our day, just the one run. She was also entered in the second Starters Standard, but since she had run so well and it was starting to get pretty hot, we opted to go for a nice walk in the woods instead.

Oh and the best part is that Lucy's favourite dog buddy, Sammy, also got her ADC title on the same run! Lucy and Sammy have both had their share of issues in the trial ring, so the ADC title was a few years in the making for both of them.


Elayne said...

Woo Hoo indeed! Big Congrats to you and Lucy!!! Sometimes those Starters titles are the hardest to get and feel like the biggest accomplishment when you get them.

Muttsandaklutz said...

You said it!!

andrea said...


very proud of you and her for that - well deserved and patiently waited for

nice work both of you!
Sally will be lucky to get her starters title by the time she's 6 :)
Thea is already 6 so that ain't happening ;)

Nat said...

Congrats!! She looked really happy while running. It's amazing how much she's improved, it's awesome!


Elf said...

Wonderful! I like your "point and pray" Aframe method. Very much like Tika has evolved to. As one agility friend said, when asked how he taught the running aframe, "through gradually deteriorating criteria."

Muttsandaklutz said...

Thanks all! It felt great to be running the old Lucy again instead of cheerleading and dragging her around the course.

"As one agility friend said, when asked how he taught the running aframe, "through gradually deteriorating criteria."" Ha HA! Love that! Gave me a good chuckle.

Andrea - Interesting having a dog like Brody/Walter on one hand and having a dog like Thea/Sally/Lucy on the other... Nice to have a Mr. Reliable to play agility with while waiting for the Ms. Not Quite There Yets to get there :)

Anika said...

Good Job!!!!!! I wish i could do agilityy! YAY LUCY!