Sunday, August 2, 2009

AAC Nationals - Day 2

If yesterday's 6:30am start was painfully early, today's 6am start was downright brutal! (Though necessary given the 600 dogs running.) The last time my alarm was set for 4:30am was for driving to Kingston for a trial. For much of the morning I walked around feeling like if I closed my eyes for two seconds I'd be out like a light.

First class of the day was Jumpers. I didn't really like this course - it seemed like a big boring (not necessarily easy, just boring) jump grid exercise. Come to think of it, it's the first time I've come across a course that I actually found uninteresting. Anyway, we managed a clean run.

Then it was Gamblers. It was a fun opening including both minis. Like yesterday, the main was definitely doable, but I messed up and once again sent him into the wrong end of the tunnel. A bit disappointing that I messed up both main gambles, but oh well!

Finally, Standard. A wretched rear cross toward the start with Walter jumping almost from a standstill! What a good dog to put up with my bumbling, I tell ya. I had planned a front cross there but got caught in spectator mode. Popped the first set of 6-weaves but did the second set great, yay!

And thus concluded our time in the 2009 Nationals rings. We ended with 382 points, in 20th place out of 29 dogs in the 22" Specials class.

Here's the video of today's runs:

Overall, Walter ran well although of course he slows right down in the summer heat (not that he's super speedy to begin with!), and he was comfortable and happy as evidenced by his typical startline barking. He wasn't too distracted as he sometimes is at a new venue and was comfy enough to do 2o2o on his teeters and dogwalks. But my handling was definitely sub par this weekend (even for my low standards) - rough and choppy, getting in Walter's way, sending him the wrong way, and so on. Oh and our startline stay, which already was nothing to write home about, really went to pot as I didn't want to delay things by insisting that he sit before releasing him. Will have to work on that for sure!

Walter was super-good at hanging around in his shade tent as well as in the sometimes-really-crowded main areas. If it weren't for the supervised isolation aspect, with a little more work he could maybe even pass the Canine Good Neighbour test! He sure has come a long way in the manners department.

On a side note, I'm thinking about dropping him to vet's next year. He doesn't need the extra time, but it'd be nice to have the option of running him at 16" especially in the summer -- I think he'd like that. If he's spry and fresh in the winter then he could still jump 22" for winter trials if he really wanted to. I dunno. We'll see how it goes.

Anyway, what a fun way to spend a weekend with my dog and friends. Hanging out, doing some agility, watching a lot of great runs... All a 20-minute drive from home! A bunch of the top dogs were local, including the dog who won Walter's class, who also won last year's Nationals - amazing! The winner of the prestigious 26" class was also a local dog, and what I think is pretty funky is that this dog, who thinks nothing of flitting off to Europe once or twice a year to compete in the worlds, also plays flyball. How many world team agility dogs are also allowed to play flyball? Nifty eh.



Nat said...

Sounds like Walter did great! Mika slowed down for one of her runs too that was especially hot. Darn summer heat.

Congrats on Walter improving so much with his manners! Mika needs some work on that, she was the only dog who barked constantly as we walked around the Nationals site, LOL :)


Muttsandaklutz said...

Thanks :) Walter was undersocialized as a puppy (completely my fault... didn't have a car, didn't know any dog people, just didn't get him out and about enough) so we've had a lot of catching up to do to get him over his shyness. It's taken a lot of work to get him where he is, but so rewarding to see the improvement! The "Click to Calm" book was a big resource. Lots of great exercises, presented in a way that really makes sense.

andrea said...

thats a great first nationals :)

can you believe you were there? I think thats fantastic!!

I droppped Brody to vets and have been very happy with that - I think it gives him more years of agility overall :)

Muttsandaklutz said...

It sure was an awesome opportunity, running in Nationals in our own backyard!

Yeah I hear ya about having Brody in vets and thinking long term. That's why Walter never ran in regular - 26" just seemed like it would be hard on his body. 22" is much better. 16" will be fantastic!