the sheltiechick blog

September 19th & 20th Trial

Somebody needs to tell Auggie he’s doing it wrong.

This past weekend, I was glad to be back at our local club for the trial. It’s a site we’ve been to many many times, a place I’m comfortable at, and a place I feel like Auggie is comfortable at. I was hoping he would be more relaxed as far as some of his recent issues with the a-frame were concerned, hoping he would have fun, and hoping we might go home with a couple ribbons.

Saturday was a bit of a hairy mess. We didn’t even get started running Novice until after 4PM in the afternoon… and Auggie and I had rolled in around 10AM to set up and hang out with everybody. It was also a sunny day and a bit warm due to the sun; more than once I found Auggie huddled up in the back of his crate trying to catch air from his crate fan.
So when we got out there for our JWW run, he wasn’t totally feeling it. He slowed to a walk through the tunnel about halfway through, and as we entered the weave poles, he stopped entirely and stuck his nose to the ground. Augh! Something smelled quite good and he was no longer interested in me. Attention Auggie: this is not earthdog. This is agility. After several attempts and trying to get his attention back, I waved at the judge and carried my bad little puppy off the course. Snotbucket!

I sat outside the ring and mulled things over in my head. He was still so pokey. What’s his deal? His breeder offered that his confidence might still be shaken from everything he’s had to deal with as far as his jump height going up and down all over the place. Would I ever be able to restore his confidence? I wasn’t sure. And if I can’t restore that confidence, I might just resign to playing with Auggie in the backyard instead of competing.

And then we had to run Standard.
The course was set up in a pretty straight line. Jump, jump, a-frame, jump, tunnel.
Auggie would see that a-frame, and, God willing, that would be the end of the story. If I could just get him to run straight up the a-frame, everything else after that was secondary.
I decided not to even bother putting him in a sit. I was just going to drop him and take off running. I’ve seen people do that before, so why not? Maybe having him in a sit was screwing with his momentum.
So I put him down. And I took off and he came with me. And I yelled and screamed and drove that dog like crazy.
And he went up the a-frame.
I was roaring and screaming and yelling the whole time. Angels sang a chorus of Hallelujah.
And then I pushed him off the entrance to the tunnel.

Hahahahaha! Oh well. Other than that, he ran great, even did his weaves flawlessly (presumably to make up for his total disaster over on JWW.) Even with the one refusal, we got a Q! Awesome!

Sunday was not a very good day as far as the weather went. I decided I would go out early on and watch the excellent runs, and then leave during Open, pick up Auggie, and bring him back with me so he wouldn’t be out there for so long during the day. Shortly after I arrived, we got caught in a good downpour of rain. Lovely. The ground got nice and wet, then the sun came out and looked like it might at least dry up the obstacles.
Then I left to get Auggie and it rained some more. And then I sat there and it rained and rained and rained. Eventually, the rain was just there to stay. I was glad that I invested in my ASICS for the sole purpose (haha, get it?) of running in wet, muddy conditions. Auggie, however, does not have shoes that are specially made for running in wet, muddy conditions. He just has little feetsies that sometimes slip.
Oh well. If he knocked bars or anything, I wouldn’t blame him. I figured we would just go out and see what happened, and if it looked bad, I would pull him.
Well, he didn’t slip and he didn’t knock any bars, but he off-coursed twice. Once was my fault, the second time, he was too busy going “LALALALA THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER LALALALALA!” At least I can’t say he wasn’t enjoying the game anymore at that point, because the look of joy had obviously returned to his face, and surprisingly, despite the weather, his speed was back as well.

So on we went to standard. He went straight up the a-frame again – bliss! He came out of the tunnel and I pushed him off the broad jump… then oops, I let him back jump it, getting us a wrong course as well as a refusal. Then we came to the weave poles and… Auggie disappeared on me at pole four. Doot doot de doo, he went to go check out the sandbags they had holding the dog walk down. I stood there calling him back… he started to come back, and then went “Oh hey, a-frame!” I distinctly remember going “AUGGIE DON’T YOU DARE.” LOL. He came back to me again.
I was THIS CLOSE to blowing off the run. I thought we’d had too many refusals, wrong courses, and now we were way over time. There was no way it would be a Q.
But in my head I heard his breeder’s voice, and what she always tells me. “Fix it. Whatever happens, just fix it.”
So I fixed it. It took me a while because I had to back him up a few times to help him get the entry correct, but we fixed it. And then on we went, up the teeter, through the tunnel, over the dog walk (where I practically had a heart attack because he looked for a moment like he was going to slip off it), and then through the last tire jump.

“That should be a Q,” his breeder told me after the run.
“Oh, there’s no way. That took forever. We had to be way over time.”
“No,” she says, “I think that’s a Q.”
So I packed up the car, then waited around some more… and what do you know.
That was a Q.
In fact, we were really good as far as time went. We would have Q’d even if we were playing regular agility!

And that means that in four days of trialing Auggie got his NAP.
The same dog that took me TEN TRIES to get a single Q towards his NA.
You have to be kidding me.

So there you have it. We’ve gotten a jumpers title now, and a standard title. Just, sadly, not all at the same time, LOL. We’re still in Novice Jumpers until we get those 2 more Qs towards his NJP. I have to decide if I want to move him up into Open Standard or not.

Just some photographs

I was thinking I wanted to take some photos of Auggie.
The problem is that I’ve had this dog for nearly four years now, and that’s four years worth of photos I’ve taken. And photos of Auggie playing in the backyard start to look the same after four years…

But nevertheless, here’s a few I took that were a bit different.

Thinking carefully about the sausages my mom is pulling off the grill in the background…

Another attempt at replicating a photo I took of Kota years and years ago. I decided after taking this one that I should quit trying to replicate the photo. It’s not going to happen. Auggie’s not Kota and he never will be. This photo is pretty cute, but it doesn’t really touch me the way Kota’s photograph does.

Look! My dog DOES actually have whites to his eyes! Amazing!!

Auggie’s Return to Agility

I make it sound so overly dramatic… we really only took about a month and a half off, LOL.

First, I packed up my bag and an overnight bag for Auggie…

…and off we went. A little late, actually, which resulted in a frantic call from his breeder going “hey are you here because… you need to be here!!” I pulled in, loaded out Auggie’s crate, ran off to walk the course and listen to the briefing, ran off again to get my armband, ran Auggie to the warm-up jump and got him limbered up, then in to run JWW.

I was panicking. I felt awful. I had it in my head that we would get out there and he would go “Mmmmmeh… I don’t really want to do this.” I was all prepared to burst into tears on the course that my dog didn’t want to do agility anymore and I had to retire him and and and
I honestly thought I might pass out. I was trying to do some deep breathing to relax (and to stop the OH GOD GONNA PASS OUT feeling) but nothing was helping.
I put Auggie at the start line and decided against a lead out – while thinking I would black out at any moment and konk my head on the standard and I would get a concussion and it would be horrible – so I just ran with him. He came with me and sailed over the first jump.
Whew. Suddenly I can breathe again.
Then the next jump, and then the next. Another jump and another and another – front cross, jump jump jump… into the tunnel, over some jumps, and smoothly into the weaves, smoothly THROUGH the weaves, jump, jump, jump… oh my God, it’s honestly been so long since we’ve had a clean run.

We had a clean run. And… oh my God. We just Q’d. Oh my God.

There was a pretty long gap between our JWW and standard run so we just hung out and relaxed for a while. Standard has been our enemy from the first time we started trialing. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Resolve the issue of missing contacts, then it’s the fact that he doesn’t want to hit the brakes to get up on the table WITHOUT flying off, THEN try to resolve the off-coursing to a contact (*headdesk repeatedly*)
Now the issue is that he has developed a judge issue with the a-frame. And the name of the judge who caused this issue is a name firmly on my List (and the List of several other competitors from this and the other trial, might I add, but I digress.) So he gave me a refusal there. But PRAISE GOD, I backed him up and he took it the second time. Hurray!! So that’s an improvement.
Some darn weave buggies that are largely my fault (the weaves were after a jump, but on either side before the weave entry was a tunnel off-course and the a-frame, Auggie’s favourite off-course, and even though he refused it before it would be just my luck that he’d off-course onto it. =P so I was SO GLAD he got past the off-courses I don’t think I was handling him right through the weaves, LOL. I’m a dork.)
The hilarity of the day: Auggie came over the double jump and went wide. Very wide. So wide he decided to slid under the folding chair that the bar setter was seated in. Then he came scooting back to me and jumped over the last jump. Everybody outside the ring was dying with laughter, going “He wanted extra points! Extra points for the chair obstacle!” He just saw that chair there and thought it was part of the course I guess, LOL. No real “visiting” because he didn’t actually care about the spotter. I have no idea. My dog is hilarious.
I had no idea what our time was. Did we make it? I just didn’t know. I kept telling everybody, “I don’t know if we Q’d. I have no idea. The time might have been too much.” The full-stop before the a-frame and all the time I wasted fixing the weaves might have put us too far over.

The placements/ribbons weren’t out yet but this club was giving people a copy of their scribe sheet, so I went to go peek at the scribe sheet. And then I walked back to our little tent and acted all casual about it.
“Well?? Well??”
“Ask Auggie what a Double Q feels like,” I said.
High fives all around, lots of celebrating, and Auggie got some more cookies for no good reason, LOL. This is our first ever Double Q, and even though it counts for absolutely nothing, it’s a big deal for me. Way to make your return to agility, Auggie.

Off we went to the hotel after that where we ordered some Chinese and crashed out on the bed and just hung out all night.

Couldn’t figure out for sure where to put his crate. I settled on the little corner AWAY from the door, but not totally crammed into the corner under the sink. This is before I brought in his pillow from the car (I had to make a few trips.)

Auggie in his crate.

Snuffling and pouting in his crate. It stormed so I put him in the crate to mellow out while it thundered. He was Not Happy.

Snoozing out on the floor later; after it quit storming I let him back out.

And hanging out on the bed with me. Yes, he did use that pillow. This is why you should always bring your own pillowcases to hotels, people… LOL.

Later, he thought that the spot underneath the bedside table would make an awesome place to crash.

He was unhappy when I told him he couldn’t sleep there all night. Sniffle sniffle.

On the second day, I blew our JWW run with us. He hadn’t even taken off for the triple jump yet, but I already knew he wasn’t going to make it. He’ll try to beat me over jumps and 99% of the time, that means he isn’t going to clear the bar. Well, I pushed it and he tried to beat me over the jump, so he crashed the last bar. The crowd all went “OHHH” because, well, of course they didn’t have my foresight so they hadn’t known before he even took off that he wasn’t going to clear the jump. =P I walked out of the ring and somebody said to me, “He still ran beautifully, though!” and I was like “Yeah, that was ALLLL my fault!” Bad mommy. Bad handler. Bad.
Standard we encountered the a-frame issue again, but this time when I backed him up he really TORE over the a-frame like he was back in his element, loving his favourite obstacle again. I screwed up again and he didn’t clear the broad jump, so when we had issues at the weave poles (which I anticipated in my walkthrough and figured I’d just have to try our best to make it through), I tried to fix it a few times and then decided, eh, who cares, we already NQd. Forget it, just let him sail over the last jump and end it on a good note.

So no Qs on Monday, but overall, an awesome weekend.
My job always seems so very mundane after a weekend at an agility trial.

I wanted to take some pics of Auggie with his ribbons and decided I was for sure taking them by…

Giant Lincoln. Anybody who’s ever been to the Illinois State Fairgrounds has probably seen this in person and they know I’m not kidding when I say it’s a GIANT Lincoln.

SERIOUSLY giant. LOL teeny tiny Auggie.

I wanted to get Auggie in the foreground, then tilt the camera and get Giant Lincoln in the background… I couldn’t get the shot. Giant Lincoln was too darn giant.

My pretty boy. =>

And yes, the ribbons are red, that means they are 2nd place ribbon. Wanna know who took first?
As expected, MACH4 Granny smoked us. ;> REALLY smoked us. She doesn’t want to slow down, apparently, LOL. It’s all a-okay though, red is Auggie’s colour so I’m fine with that! Looks like we’re both gonna be chasing the PAX together. I’m looking forward to it.

So there you have it. On the 19th & 20th we’re back at it in our local club, which I think will be a really good weekend… but we’ll see. The moral of this story is that Auggie kicked butt and he CLEARLY is digging agility again, even in a trial environment. And that he’s a big rock star. That is all.

Oh, I forgot to mention: This was the first time that we have ever been at a trial where they had two rings going at the same time. Auggie really doesn’t give a crap about what’s going on outside the ring, but he’s never competed in a place where there are people issuing commands in the other ring. It didn’t throw him off at all, though. Good boy Auggie!

Agility Trial Packing List

I know you can find a BUNCH of these online, but I thought this might be fun. In anticipation of our agility trial this weekend – one where I will actually be staying overnight in a hotel with Auggie, for the first time EVER (so excited!!) – I have been thinking a lot about what I need to remember. Local trials are no big deal, because a) nothing I have forgotten could be that big of a deal Or b) I live about ten minutes from the trial site so I could just run home to grab something. But when I’m driving an hour or more away, it feels a little more tense and I have to try and remember everything.

First, we’ll start with the goodies that are always in my car! I have an organizer in my trunk that holds:
– two beach towels
– a small container of clamp-style clothespins to pin the towels to the crate in case of a windy day
– a spill-proof water dish… this dish actually foiled my mom once, who couldn’t figure out how to take the lid off and so was going “HOW DO YOU DUMP THE WATER OUT OF THIS THING???” It really is pretty darn spill-proof.
– a crate fan
– two collapsible beach chairs
– soft-sided travel crate; Auggie rides in this whenever I drive around
– my extra PetEdge brush
– a ropey-bone and a tennis ball
– a stadium blanket

Easy enough. I always have to double-check to make sure the water dish and towels are in the car before I go, because on occasion I pull them out to wash, but they are generally already packed into the car.

Then, the far longer list of Dog Things I have to load into the car:
– wire crate
– crate pillow
– cookie treats
– First Aid kit; has in it Benadryl (already cut into halves, per the dosage Auggie would need to take), Traumeel (anti-inflammatory), styptic pads, a thermometer, petroleum jelly, and gauze wrap
– poop bags
– my Clean Run Humane Slip Lead – this is the only thing I use at trials now since the recent AKC rule that a dog must be on lead when they come into the ring and on lead before you leave the ring. I take Auggie’s collar (which has his tags attached) off when we get to the trial now and just use the slip lead at the trial. (Yes, this means my dog runs naked.)
– a bottle of water

For this trial I will also be bringing along some collapsible bowls and dog food, since we’ll be overnighting… as well as a cuddly or two to put in his crate in the hotel.

For humans, I bring:
– cooler with drinks… I typically drink soda but I always make sure to bring plenty of water for myself as well as Auggie, because if you need to rehydrate quickly, water will do it whereas soda won’t. But I also like my Mt. Dew and cannot beat my caffeine addiction, so, there you go.
– snacks
– my own first aid kid. For me this includes a contact lense case with solution already in it, a pill case packed with Aleve, Ibuprofen, and Immodium, a couple of my prescription migraine meds, foot cramp meds, some bandaids, and sunscreen
– a change of clothes should weather turn on you… for me this usually means I dress in layers AND bring along a coat, jacket, sweatshirt, whatever
– camera if you like to videotape your runs… MAKE SURE YOUR MEMORY STICK IS IN IT and has room to capture your runs.
– extra batteries for the camera, just in case

There you go… that’s what I lug with me. I usually throw a lot of things into a tote bag or two, so it takes two trips to get everything to my trial spot. Crate and the dog comes first, then I go back to the car and snag everything else!

Return to Natural Jumping

Well, I’m cheating it. I know, I know – I have the book, I have read it, I KNOW it says not to cheat and move any faster than she recommends. And I’m cheating it anyway.

As part of our effort to start over in Preferred, I have made a return to the Clothier Natural Jumping Method. Now that I know Auggie’s height (in preferred, for now, anyway) is 12, and I know that we really need to stick with that, I made a plan of how to continue.
And that is to just move the bars up to 12 for the rest of the method.

I DID back up some. I went to the final week of the rhythm lessons, where you have five regular jumps, evenly spaced, and did that for two days.

So here are your videos!

Jumps 4 and 5 are call throughs rather than run bys. On Jump 6, I cut out the less than spectacular shot of my butt running away from the camera, but I ran him through the chute going away from the camera, then turned him around at the end and ran him back up. He was nice and smooth, both ways!

So far, so good!