the sheltiechick blog

Agilty Trial #1, Day 2

Not as good of a day as yesterday!

But first, a lovely picture:

Left to right is Auggie’s uncle, Auggie’s gramma, Auggie’s aunt, Auggie’s full brother, Auggie’s dad, and then Auggie, looking teeny tiny next to his relatives!

I managed him on the teeter fine – because of his fly off yesterday, I was very concerned about that. He was doing great. He went through the weaves and it was lovely… but then something on the ground was suddenly very smelly. I yelled, I hollered, I cheered – he was sniffing away. You can’t touch your dog in agility so I went over to him, put my feet right next to him, and cheered, “AUGGIE let’s GOOOO!” and finally got his attention back. Everybody congratulated the heck out of me for my great handling after our run, but it was sort of bizarre! After that, I was a little thrown off so I missed getting him into the chute. Still no problems… except when he came out of the chute and through the tire, then up the a-frame, I was a little taken by surprise at his speed and total willingness to go up the a-frame. I didn’t catch up in time, and was desperately yelling “TOUCH TOUCH TOUCH” at him in an attempt to stop him from flying off.
No good. That lovely 2o2o video I posted the other day? Forget that! He leapt off the a-frame halfway down. UGH. I had to reel him back in to get him over the last two jumps because I was so frustrated about the a-frame, but hey, it was no big deal. An unfortunate automatic NQ, but it was still a pretty good run for Auggie. Most of it was handler error, and reportedly, a skunk was out on the course in the morning, and we were guessing that remnants of skunk is what smelled so interesting by those weave poles!

Then jumpers was awful. I don’t know if he was tired of jumping 16, (that’s REALLY hard for him) or if it was because a rainstorm was about ten seconds from hitting us, or if he was picking up on my confusion after the whole sniffing around the weaves/flying off the a-frame thing, or maybe a bit of each.
He again found something really smelly before the weave pole entrance and it took me FOREVER to get his attention and get him through the weaves. Then I thought, okay, it’s time for a bunch of jumps – he should really be into this now. He went over two, but then…
I saw it, and J saw it… he suddenly slowed down. His whole body and demeanor changed. He took the two jumps funny and then slipped away from me, and I had to holler to call him back.
At that point, it was official: I was totally thrown off. I almost sent him over the wrong jump, realized I was doing the wrong thing, and screamed to pull him off them at the last second. He came back to me and I went “Wait – I have no idea what I’m doing.” I looked at the judge, looked at Auggie, then looked at the tunnel… THE TUNNEL!!! That’s it!!! I looked back at Auggie, and before I could tell him to go into the tunnel…
I kid you not, he barked in my face – gave me the canine equivalent of “f(%# off!” – and started to run away from me. I was so terrified of him running out of the ring that I SCREAMED at him, pulled him back, and got him through the tunnel. I put him over a jump, then he… took a wrong jump, knocking a bar as he did. And then the buzzer sounded, and the judge called “That’s time, thank you.”
We got whistled off for going (way) over time. We didn’t even finish. Yikes!

I’m not upset about the lack of a Q. I was very upset at losing control of Auggie – again.
It was like I was back at our first fun run months ago, standing in the ring while my dog completely ignored me and I desperately tried to regain control. It was a really, really awful feeling – probably the worst feeling in the world. J tried to calm me down, and I still had several people coming up to tell me I handled REALLY well in standard… but I was too icky feeling at the moment to be able to come out of my funk. I wanted to say a lot to J about how I was feeling, but all I could manage was, “I just hate losing control of him.”
“I know,” she said, paused, and then said “I mean – I really… know.”
She told me it was a long time before she ever even got her first Q, and I got one yesterday in my FIRST TRIAL, so I really did do a good job in her opinion…
but it was pretty hard to go from a great experience to losing control like that.

In hindsight, it is somewhat funny that my dog literally barked in my face and told me “Hey, Mom, screw you!!”
There are a number of factors to consider, but ultimately, the biggest thing to take away from this trial is… that my dog is a novice, and I am a novice handler. He is two and a half years old, and he is my little baby dog, but we are still learning a lot about each other and working on our relationship together. There is nothing to replace experience, especially on my behalf. I make so many mistakes and do so many silly things that, actually, Auggie does WONDERFULLY, to his credit!

Agility Trial #1, Day 1

When I left the standard ring, the first thing I heard was “That dog is going to be AWESOME.”
Everything was going dandy. I gave Auggie to my mom to have him measured by the judge while I walked the standard course. Then I walked JWW. After that, Mom came out looking kind of sour. “I guess I don’t know the ‘trick’ to make him shorter,” she says. “He’s 15.”
Auggie’s breeder, J, and I stare at each other blankly for a minute. My dog is not fifteen inches at the withers.  He is 13 and a half!  “Wait… what?” I said.
There was much flabbergasting back and forth, and finally the judge appears and confirms that yes, my dog has to run at the 16 inch jump height. Again, J and I stare at each other. I go to the practice jump to make sure he can handle it, and he does okay.  J helps me out and tells me what to change up now that he’s running at a much higher jump height than we’ve EVER done before.

Okay.  No big deal.  It’s fine.  It’s fine.  I’m not freaking out.
I just think I’m going to puke.

So we run standard. It’s going REALLY really well. He gets on the table, I put him in a down, and he holds there. Then I call him off and to the teeter – and suddenly I’m still standing by the table and he’s already on the teeter!  I remember thinking I was going to throw up all over that teeter, panicking, thinking he was going to take off that teeter and start creating his own course.  I caught up with him, but not in time – he hopped off the end of the teeter before it even hit the ground. Automatically eliminated from qualifying at that point. I fumbled a bit after that and missed getting him into the tunnel, which would have been -5 points but would still have had us qualify.
It was just my bad, letting him get away from me on that teeter, that screwed us out of a Q.

REGARDLESS… it was beautiful. It was awesome. It was wonderful. I came out of the ring and wanted to cry, I was so proud and so happy.
My Auggie did it.  I couldn’t stop telling him what a good boy he was, I was just SO DAMN PROUD.

For Jumpers with Weaves… it was great for a first run!  It was a clean run, no off courses, no touched bars, he did the weaves wonderfully!

I don’t have video for my standard run, but I do have it for JWW. (No sound because the wind was awful!)

Our JWW time was 37.79 seconds, and… FIRST place, and a Q.

It was amazing. Afterwards, everybody kept congratulating me and going “Did I hear right that this is your first run?? You did SO WELL!!”
I didn’t do anything.  Auggie did it all.
That’s my Awesome Auggie.

….and now we have to do it all over again tomorrow!

A few agility videos

Took these videos for a friend of mine to show her some things.  So now, I share them with the rest of the internets!

Auggie on the weave poles!

And, the far more amazing (trust me, it really is) 2o2o contact on the mini a-frame! This is not at the full incline and, being “mini,” it is not full height, but this is HUGE HUGE HUGE for us.