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August 27, 2011

Video Links for August 20, 2011 Trial

Blogspot wouldn’t let me edit my previous post, so I have to create a new one for the video links…

Dandy in Excellent Standard on Saturday

Tempo in Novice Jumpers With Weaves on Saturday

August 26, 2011

Agility – A Family Affair

August 20-21, 2011 – What a very special agility trial! It was the weekend of the only local agility trial here; Monticello Kennel Club hosted an AKC Agility trial at New Hope Farms in Port Jervis, NY. It’s one of my favorite trials since it’s only about 25 minutes from home!

This year was extra special as it was overflowing with friends and family. As usual, many of my fellow club members from Tri-State Dog Obedience Club (most of which are also students) were there competing. It was fabulous to see them have great runs and be so successful. Even the non-qualifying runs were still ‘great’ as everyone was able to learn from ‘what went wrong’. When we can recognize why something went wrong, it’s a great lesson! It’s not unusual to see my students get more ribbons than I get, but I’ve learned to appreciate that as my own positive reinforcement.

However, this weekend was a successful one for me as well. Dandy was entered in the Excellent B classes while Tempo was in Novice B (Tempo did one day of AKC back in May, this was just his 2nd AKC trial). On Saturday, Dandy qualified in Excellent B Standard with a 3rd place, in a very competitive 26” class. He was having a super Jumpers run until I said his name one too many times, and incurred a refusal, so no “Q”. (yes, one of those lessons from ‘what went wrong’!) Tempo earned his first Novice JWW leg, with a score of 95 and a First place. He had a bar down in Novice Standard, so no Q there. The last class on Saturday was AKC’s newest class called Time 2 Beat. I entered both Dandy and Tempo in it, and it was a blast to run! I ran Tempo first, and he was clean and perfect until we were just 2 jumps from the end, I fell behind and he arced back and took an off-course jump. So no Q for him. I ran Dandy next, and since I was able to handle more aggressively with him, I was able to keep him on course at the end. He was clean and perfect through the whole course and earned a Q and First place. OK, so my two boys were the only 26” entries in T2B…but Dandy was faster than the 1st place 24” dog, so he deserved his blue ribbon <g>!

Sunday was a rarity for me…four runs, and four Q’s! Tempo earned his second leg in Novice JWW as well as his 2nd leg in Novice Standard. Both were scores of 95 as I incurred refusals in both (over handling <g>). And both were blue ribbons as he was the only 26” dog in Novice, but I am very proud of his runs, he absolutely deserved to get blue ribbons. He did amazing weave poles all weekend, totally independent and flawless, which most Novice dogs cannot do. And I did two-jump lead-outs with him as well and he was brilliant. In the Excellent rings, Dandy was truly brilliant, qualifying in Standard with another 3rd place, and in JWW, with a 1st place, on an extremely technical course that ate up the small dogs as well as the big dogs. This was Dandy’s second “Double Q” and he earned 54 MACH points. Now I have had no aspirations to go for a MACH as I do AKC so rarely, I prefer USDAA. But who knows, maybe one day we’ll do more AKC….

Great runs with both boys was fantastic. But what truly made the weekend special was the addition of family. For starters, my mom came to watch on Saturday, and got to see both Dandy & Tempo run. This was just the second time she came to a trial to see my dogs, and see what my obsession is all about. I was really glad she was there this year. The other family members that joined us were Token’s kids…Jan and Dandy’s littermate Seeker came all the way from Pittsburgh, running in Excellent; and Lynn and Jenny, also Dandy’s littermate, were there to run in Novice (just their second trial ever). They both did great, walking away with several ribbons. Tempo’s littermate Quid was also entered but he was absent as he had been exposed to kennel cough several weeks prior. A total of five of Token’s kids were entered, four of them actually competed and earned multiple ribbons. This was a proud and bittersweet moment for me, seeing Dandy, Seeker, Jenny & Tempo in the agility rings. Token’s star still shines brightly in his pups. Star

Dandy’s & Tempo’s breeders, Terri & Ed, were also on the roster of special guest stars, how wonderful that they were able to see so many of their pups! They even stayed until the bitter end of Saturday to see Tempo & Dandy in the T2B class. Since I had to run them back to back, Terri helped me out by holding one while I ran the other. Ed, Lynn & Chris (& Jenny & Bryn) made a grand cheering section!

We even got photos to commemorate the special reunion!  Family, Friends & Agility…what a wonderful weekend!

Photo: Seeker, Jenny, Tempo & Dandy with Terri

Terri & Pups_082011-5Terri & Pups_082011-11

August 10, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer 2011

This summer has been hot, hot, HOT! And that means I have not done much training, but have been taking the dogs swimming at the lake more than ever. They are happy no matter what we do, but a bit more training would have made the summer more productive!

It’s August already and June seems like a very long time ago, when we competed at the USDAA Northeast Regional in Bethlehem, PA. The first day was so hot & humid that I was not my best at all. But the next two days were a bit better and we had some decent runs. Dandy placed 7th in Team Gamblers and 5th in Round 1 of Steeplechase, in some very fierce competition. He had a bye to go into Round 2 of the Grand Prix, so he was in the Finals for both Steeplechase and Grand Prix. Unfortunately, an uncharacteristic missed weave entry in both classes blew our chances of any placements or byes for Nationals. But aside from the weave entries, our runs were super!

The following weekend, we spent 3 days at The Blackthorne in the Catskills in NY for another big USDAA trial. Dandy was on a team with two other Border Collies, and his team won the Team Relay and qualified placing 5th overall. Individually, Dandy placed 5th in Team Standard. He also qualified in Steeplechase placing 2nd in Round 1. The weave poles bit us again to cause an E in Round 2, as he went wide on a turn and passed through the weaves for an off-course. He did well in Masters titling classes, qualifying in Gamblers, Pairs, Standard (2nd place), Snooker (3rd place & Super Q), and Jumpers (3rd place). I ran Tempo in Starters Standard, and he earned his 2nd leg with a First Place.

In July, we attended one day of an indoor USDAA trial at a soccer/sports facility in Rahway, NJ. It was unbearably hot inside. One ring had good footing but the other ring was slippery for dogs, and many, including mine, were unable to get any traction. I was glad I only entered one day. Dandy qualified in Masters Snooker to finish his Snooker Champion title. And he also won Steeplechase (26”) despite the slipping in that ring. Tempo did not manage the footing well in his one run, and he also crashed the tire, but thankfully it was a breakaway tire so he did not get injured.

July 23-25 was spent at KineticDog camp in Barto, PA. The instructors were awesome as usual, but the weather was again far too hot….and then we got hit with pouring rain & lightning on the last day. The camp was Masters level, so I only worked Dandy. I did get Tempo out each day at lunch break to work for a few minutes. I have things to work on from our camp experience, but the weather has not been very helpful in getting me motivated.

We closed out July with another indoor USDAA trial in Hatfield, PA, and thankfully this facility had A/C. Not super cool but it was heavenly compared to the 90+ degrees outside. Another Team event for Dandy, and another Team Q and another Silver Medal!!! After my E in Team Standard, Dandy made up for that by earning a 2nd place in Team Jumpers, and 3rd place in Team Gamblers & Snooker. This team Q earned Dandy his Tournament Master-Silver title! Dandy also qualified in Masters Standard with a 4th place, finishing his SACH-Bronze title. Tempo had a good weekend, qualifying in Starters Standard with a First Place, finishing his Starters Standard Agility (SSA) title. He and his littermate Quid qualified in Starters Pairs with a 2nd place, which finished Quid’s Agility Dog (AD) title! I also had Tempo in Starters Snooker which was all jumps which did not give me hope…but Tempo didn’t knock any bars and was doing wonderful…until I missed a jump in the closing. Great dog, bad handler! So we did not qualify but Tempo was super!

Besides the dog stuff, I went to quite a few Little League games to watch my nephew Aaron play on the Wallenpaupack All Star team. Aaron did a tremendous job with his pitching, very proud of him! I also enjoyed taking hundreds of pictures of the kids throughout their All Star journey. My sister Gail came home to PA (from CA) for a visit in July, and she got to see Aaron play ball, so it was good timing for her visit.

A couple more agility trials are on the calendar before the big event in October, the USDAA Nationals in Louisville, KY. I’m looking forward to running Dandy there, though it saddens me that I won’t be running Token, too. Not a day goes by when I don’t miss him. And every agility event is a reminder to me that he is gone. Dandy & Tempo are my salvation, they are the best dogs ever. But there is still a huge hole in my heart for Token. The healing process is slow going but Dandy & Tempo will get me through it.