Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Sorry I have disappeared the last week, but I went to a three day trial-that required a few days getting ready because I am a serious over packer and over planner especially if I am going with my dogs...then I was at the trial and then had to recover for a day-...or two ;-).

The trial I went to was a SMALL trial, just a one judge trial and we are in Novice at a one judge trial it was DESERTED by the time we ran and I could only find someone to tape one of our I am just going to post some maps and my thoughts on how we changed over the three days!!!!

***SPOILER ALERT-ABBREVIATED VERSION***Cricket is into the excitement of the game, and we had all sorts of stuff pop up having to do with over the top baby dog syndrome-six runs, all fast but the Q rate stood at zero at the end of the weekend. Some really, really cool moments of brilliance that were cleverly hidden by a wild doggie. We got our second official measurement and Cricket is officially able to kick butt in the 16 in class-but we played with the 20 in kids this weekend.

I got lots of good info this weekend so in the end it was a TOTAL sucess and I feel like we got some great training even if it did not go like I had expected. I really have to tell the truth I had the BEST time, it was such a rush to work with all the excitement and it kept me from focusing on myself, it was really the first time I had a really good time trialing. I walked away knowing the journey really is the fun part of agility.


--I thought on the way to the trial too bad I have to wait for the end of the day to admire my title ribbons since Cricket and I just need one Q in Jumpers to have our novice title and one Q in Standard to have our standard title. PERHAPS this weekend we will one at least one Q in Open too. Yes, that was entirely possible since we would be at the trial for three days.
--I felt totally confident we have our contacts down and I worried just a bit about the weaves. I am so thankful Cricket is just such an easy, good dog, must have a lot to do with all that foundation I did and all the training I made sure to do in lots of places-yep we will have challenges eventually but it is all going remarkably easy! NICE.

*I crated Cricket in a quiet area by the ring but shielded from the ring. I wanted to be close so we could get to our ring early but far enough away Cricket could really relax.
* I worried about not tiring Cricket out, just letting her chill because this was her first day trialing at 20 inches and the footing was going to be a little harder to jump in-I did not want her to tire herself out.
*my only stress upon reaching the trial site was worrying about the second official measurement since Cricket is EXACTLY 18 inches unless she is bouncing which is possible and the measurement was pretty crucial not just a formality.

JWW:-HOLY CRAP Cricket is way faster then she has been, where did this dog come from? I was moving better-Cricket was happy and definitely getting the hang of this game and picking up excitement. Good run but 2 dropped bars, so that is ok.
STANDARD: Still held her start line, hummm, it is a jump/DOUBLE/aframe, Yikes, Cricket hits the aframe sort of unbalanced and a little out of control from excitement and just hitting the aframe unbalanced she sort of falls forward and misses the contact, but great dog walk, great teeter, great weaves, she went out of a chute and missed a jump but baby dog stuff and we already were E'd. We had dropped bars, maybe she can't do 20 inches without knocking bars?? ;-(. Why did I put her in 20 inches? SHE IS FAST and WILD!!! The funnest run of my life, so exciting and so much energy in it. I was proud I was moving better and keeping up-good me!

I worried we were going to have a big bar problem. Usually Cricket repeats a problem over and over, but if I give her some time the next time we come back she has it fixed,so hoping the bars will be that way and be magically fixed by tomorrow.


-I crate WAY BACK into the orange groves, further from the rings-we will just handle getting to the ring from far away and I do more walks with Cricket, not worried about conserving her energy.
-I am first in the class in both runs, we do not have to sit watching the other dogs run, THAT IS GOOD!!!
-I worried when I walked the JWW because NOBODY was walking the path I was walking-I did find a person I respected to look at my plan because I was slightly shaken seeing everyone was walking their path so much different from mine-she Agreed with me ;-), and have to say I like how I ran it best ;-).

At the ring Cricket could not take food, she was a lunging wild monster-BUT SHE HELD HER START AND GOT HER WEAVES ALL WEEKEND.
Standard was up first: the course was a tire/aframe and Cricket just hit it so unbalanced I am not sure there was any real contact of her feet with the aframe on the way up or down. It did not take a rocket scientist to know that was UGLY!!!
My pride and joy- my gorgeous Aframe was BROKEN, and really UGLY!!! The judge later told me it was the scariest Aframe she had seen in a long time. Cricket did a gorgeous teeter but sort of bounced off before I released her so she jumped back on breaking the four paw rule, and to make it consistent so she could be faulted on all contacts...she blew past her dog walk contact-another first and stopped about a mile later like ..hummm did I forget something. At that point I took her off the course, but it was the second to last obstacle, that will teach her to use her brain, LOL.

The scribe yelled across the ring "your dog is so fast" lots of people came up to talk to us, she made an impression. Cricket was so over the top, but still did FANTASTIC weaves, she had a ROCK solid start and this time NO BARS-she did figure out the 20 in bars.

I had so much fun, the judge said she looks like she will be really good and everything else looks so solid that she said the aframe is going to be an easy fix. She said her weaves are gorgeous. Hey one thing stayed consistent.

I knew she was wired, but she had a little energy burned off with the standard run. I knew it was a fast course I yelled "Tunnel" at the start of a line of three jumps-I did say jump or support the last of the jumps enough so Cricket did what I said and DROVE to the tunnel, but went around one jump that was just a little off her path, she was driving so I was not going to correct that jump, way more important to reward her driving ahead and build her confidence, especially because it was such a baby dog thing an she did what I said, so that is one Q I do not mind losing I chose to support our training over the Q. We got a lot of compliments on that run, and NO BARS.

**I was a little more real today
and did not really think our problems were over, I was getting with the program and knowing that the chances of us getting a Q this weekend were pretty slim, I knew it would happen eventually that we would have an increased speed and excitement to deal with but I had thought we were going to sail through novice first....well it was happening now, LOL.


I had been knocked down a few pegs over the weekend. I got overring nerves and my fear of people thinking I had not done good training. I was no longer worried about what anyone else thought and just focused on me and Cricket. I felt good I felt like I kept my focus pretty well no matter what happened over the weekend. I just hoped today we could find our inner contacts and our good aframe-I no longer cared about any titles or Q's, LOL, although I would still take any of those if they came my way....I was really happy with the weaves and the start line even with my over the top dog, hoping they stayed beautiful-no longer just taking that for granted

-we went to the beach an hiked for hours in the deep sand-(I am so sore days later, LOL)
-We got to the trial and went out for about 45 minutes into the orange groves and did lots of tic/tap training (tight turns) around the orange trees. We did a lot of throwing the ball and then having Cricket lay down on her way to the ball-using some impulse control.
-when it was almost our turn we went to the orange groves again and did some more ball chasing, LOL. She does not look tired.
-I crated in the car at the far side of the parking lot, forget worrying about getting to the ring on time, we will work that out.

Once again we were first in the class in all our runs, YIPPIE!! We don't have to watch the other dogs run and try to keep Cricket connected. As soon as we come anywhere by the ring Cricket it at the end of her leash trying to get on the start line, she is READY!

STANDARD- PRAISE THE LORD!!! Someone has decided to be kind and the Aframe is not in the opening sequence it is safely buried in the middle of the course. HOLY COW my prayers have been answered.

On the down side the course is CHUTE--DOUBLE--WEAVES--TUNNEL staring the dog in the face. On a novice course, yikes!!! I could not get too far ahead because the chute was sort of faced toward the fence, not sure Cricket would take the tunnel and not just come to me unless I stayed at the end of the chute, which means.....I could be way far behind for the double and about ten feet + behind for the weaves.

Cricket had to DRIVE AHEAD OF ME without looking back, AND pay attention to getting those weaves without being sucked past the weaves to the ever so enticing tunnel entry. COULD SHE DO IT? I held my breath as she approached-I was pretty far behind yelling WEAVES!!!
My dog still has a brain, how cool is that???
right after that little area we had the aframe, the judge, observers all held their breath---GORGEOUS AFRAME!!!!!!! TOTAL VICTORY!!!! SHE DID IT.

I was so excited I sort of forgot there was more course. LOL. it was aframe table, and Cricket loves her some table, but for the first time she argued with me about staying on the table. She did stay, and I made sure to stay pretty far away so she would stay but would not get upset on the table.

Next was a little circle of jumps then a broad jump to the teeter to another tunnel opening. Cricket ran across the broad jump and I could not figure out why until I tried the course the next day-she ran across the broad jump and my feet to get back to the table.

She went to the table say about 12 times, and I know I was not cuing that, and small fact THERE WERE NOT 12 TABLES in the course-- she just had held it together as long as she could but her fried brain was back. LOL.

GORGEOUS DOG WALK but she sort of fell through the contact, I sort of debated she had tried to stop but in view of the weekend I stopped and took her out of the ring. Cool I was already eliminated and it was second to last obstacle so easy to take the hard line and leave the course, LOL. No bars though, still a great stay at the start and great weaves.

LAST RUN JWW, really nice but a couple of dropped bars, not sure why, but it made for a consistent weekend.

Next day we went back and ran the standard course again and of course it was quiet and no other dogs running.....we aced it, no big suprise. Those doggies really get my doggie excited, LOL, I think our pretrial routinue is going to be pretty key in the future and I think I need to get Cricket more amped in the future during training so she learns to think through all that excitement.


Steffi said...

Sounds like you and Cricket had a great trial!! I love reading your trial recaps and about your agility journey with Cricket. I can really tell from your blog entries how much you love your dogs and how much you enjoy agility with them :)

- Steffi

Sara said...

Boy, you got a lot out of three days.

You are so positive about everything. It is no wonder why your dogs love working with you.

Diana said...

Sounds like you did a great job with your dog. Im sure she will settle more as she learns the game. Every time I drive to a trial, I think, "we're going to do it this time. I just know it. I can feel it". It never happens LOL. Life is funny.

Chris and Ricky said...

What a great trial recap - I feel like I was right there experiencing all the excitement with you guys! Congrats on such a great, great weekend! Way to go weave challenge! Cricket certainly benefited from that! And how awesome that she was able to control herself and get that last aframe! I can't imagine what a blast it must be to run a fast fast dog like her! The sky is the limit for the two of you!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

That is so great!!!! It sounds like she is loving the trial environment and is starting to learn to think in it too, even if it's slowly :)

Nicki said...

Sounds like you are having tons of fun and that she has tons of potential for the future!

Anonymous said...

Loved the play by play commentary of the trial!

You and Cricket are going to have such a fun future in agility together. It's really nice to be able to take the information she gave you this trial and work with it for next time. I know you two are just going to keep improving.

Cynthia said...

Sounds like a very fun wild ride in agility! Baby dog stuff is always a challenge. And the excitement of a real trial is impossible to duplicate in training. I'm sure she'll get it all soon!

Sagira said...

It takes time to figure out things like crating, when to let them out, when to let them rest, etc. Our very first trial I was scared to leave Sagira so I took her everywhere I went and by day 3 oh my...she was GRUMPY! Learned a lesson there real fast.