Saturday, October 4, 2008

2-day AARF trial (Kingston)

This was Walter's second time at AARF. While driving home from his first AARF trial on October 7th 2007, I swore I'd never ever EVER trial Walter there again. (Not because there was anything wrong with the facility or trial itself, which are great!) A few hours after coming home from that trial, the sting started to wear off; I tried to keep an open mind and opened up the possibility of going back. Then a year passes and the memories of that trial now get a "them's the blows" chuckle from me, so... After vowing never to return, what did I do but sign him up for not one, but TWO days at the very same trial one year later. If he would have the same sniffiness this time around, this had the potential to be a very long and depressing trial! But, I was curious to see how he'd be, and with the need to make the most of the cool-season trials, well there ya go.

Well, he was a different dog this year! None of the constant sniffing that he did inside and outside the rings last year, which he had never done anywhere else except for one run last summer when the dog before him had ripped a toenail on the second obstacle unbeknownst to all and bled allll over the course. Is his 180 turn-around because the weather was cooler than last year's trial? Is it because the rings have been moved down further towards the woods and for some counter-intuitive reason the track-laying critters don't come around anymore? Is it because Walter has matured and is more into the game now? Who knows but I sure did like what I saw this weekend.

FRIDAY (weather: nicely c-c-c-ool for much of the day, requiring warm coats and even mitts from time to time. Perfect agility weather for Walter and for many of the other dogs who were looking so peppy out there. 3 degrees in the morning, slowly warmup up to a partly cloudy 12 degrees)

Started with Jumpers #1. Whaddaya know, he was terrific and clean and got a Q! Last year's sniffyholic was nowhere to be seen.

Then it was Standard #1. Clean except for a wrong weave entry plus he popped out afterwards.

Standard #2: Woo hoo! A nice run with several crazy "TRUST YOUR DOG" moments and he got a Q! Weaves were on-side, "yesgogogo".

Gamblers #1: There are good things about having a dog who's not a tunnel suck, and there are bad things about having a dog who's not a tunnel suck. Walter, the Not Tunnel Suck, had a hard time being sent out quite a distance to the tunnel of the main gamble. He finally got it, but then instead of taking the out-teeter he took the here-6-weaves so it was an NQ. Brilliant job on the weaves though. We tried one of the mini gambles which was tunnel under dogwalk to layered jump on far side of dogwalk. I thought it would be no problem for him as he's done these before, but he came in instead of taking the jump.

After the trial we headed to our motel. I had brought along a kettle and some insta-noodles to supplement the cold but delicious fried tofu I had brought, but thought what the heck, I'll just have a quick peek at the yellow pages to see if maybe, just maybe Kingston has a vegetarian restaurant? Well what to my hungry eyes should appear on the last page of the restaurant listings but an ad for a veggie restaurant, yeah!! So off we went.

First though we stopped at the first place we could find for the dogs to get out and stretch their legs a bit.

Beautiful big tree on the banks of the Rideau Canal.

Another photo op on the banks of the Rideau Canal.

Memorial cross for the workers who died building the Rideau Canal.

Apparently even chimney thingies are in on the ribbon trend. No idea what this ribbon is for.

Lotus Heart Blossoms Vegetarian Restaurant. Associated with Ottawa's Perfection Satisfaction Promise Vegetarian Restaurant, but a completely different menu.

Not to play into the stereotypes, but there were a ton of Green Party signs in the neighbourhood of the restaurant. Of note, this election campaign was the first time that a Green Party leader was invited to participate in the televised leaders' debates.

Back at the hotel. It might not look like much, but the pasta was actually quite tasty. Garlic, salt, and pasta, what's not to love?

Lucy was not entered in this trial but happily came along to hang out with us and enjoy a feast on the cow patties in the pastures surrounding the agility fields.

SATURDAY (weather: coolish in the morning but quickly warmed up to sweater-only for much of the day. Too warm to be ideal agility temps for Walter but still not too bad. 5 degrees in the mornin, quickly warming up to a partly cloudy 14 degrees.)

Standard #3: I was maybe feeling a bit cranky from getting hardly any sleep due to the @#$%^&* motel doors that kept opening and slamming shut and opening and slamming shut and people making no effort to speak quietly in the hallways even past midnight. So I wasn't going into the run on the best of notes. Then, I came this close to forgetting to remove Walter's collar for the run. Scratch that -- actually I *did* forget to remove his collar but someone kindly alerted me about it just as I was starting to lead out. He ran past a jump and probably got a refusal at another messy point, but his weaves were perfect. (offside, "yesgogogo")

Standard #4: Walter had a loopy moment at one point, then at the weaves he got the entry but then immediately popped, doing his best imitation of a dog who's never seen weaves before. Took him back to restart and he entered on the wrong side but what the heck he kept weaving so I let him and we just kept going. On the bright side however, he had a brilliant startline stay while I led out to the far side of the second jump to be able to overhandle the #3 tunnel/frame discrimination to make up for our lack of skills in the discrimination department.

Gamblers #2: Bummer, this gamble was very much like yesterday's, with the exact same sendout to the tunnel, same direction and end of the tunnel and everything. So we never got to the rest of the gamble which included an out-over with two side by side jumps which he likely wouldn't have gotten anyway. One of the mini-gambles was identical to yesterday's: tunnel to layered jump behind dogwalk and he got it fine this time.

Snooker: Ok, would be really nice to get a Q today and running out of chances... No weaves in this course, just jumps, tunnels, frame, and a ton of combinations. We played it safe and did the #5 tunnel three times; not our prettiest run ever but not terrible either and he picked up his 6th MS Q.

Jumpers: Last run of the day. Walter was surprisingly perky and animated despite it being close to the end of a long couple of days. He ran beautifully and picked up his 5th MJ Q.

So yeah, the two-hour drive home was quite a bit more enjoyable this time than it was last year. Yay Walter for being so much fun to run!


Jenn said...

Motels doors opening and slamming at all hours, hmmmm, was there a lot of women wearing little clothing at this Motel?

Congrats on the great trial.

LucyandWalter said...

oh gawd... I never thought of that possibility! lol.

andrea said...


my mind didn't go there either

way to go Walter - I love ARRF and really missed trials there this summer - only made it up once for three classes...

Elayne said...

Congrats on a great weekend! Sounds like some nice successes.

Yeah, I hate noisy hotels, no matter the source.

Johann The Dog said...

Great weekend! Picked up some nice Q's, congrats!

BTW - I hate the motel thing...never get any sleep. Always on guard.

Woofs, Johann

LucyandWalter said...

Thanks Elayne and Johann.

Yeah, normally Walter is a pain in the neck to bring to a motel because every little sound puts him into guard/alarm mode. After a long day of agility, however, he was perfectly quiet all night long. Too bad -- I wouldn't have minded him telling off all those $%^&* door-slammers.