Cream City USDAA Trial - Jun 19, 2005

21 Jun 2005Steve Schwarz

Our second trial of the weekend was run by Cream City Canines at yet another fairground; this time in Wilmot, WI. It was my first USDAA trial. This year I’m trying out venues other than AKC. Two years ago I stopped running UKC where Mr. Peabody and I spent many a weekend when he was still trialing. We had sunny weather and it was a littler hotter than yesterday’s Car-Dun-Al AKC trial and only a slight breeze. The folks at the trial made it a nice relaxed atmosphere and I want to thank Robin and Sue for making me feel right at home and sharing their tent with Milo and me.

I guess I’d put the USDAA course style somewhere between AKC and NADAC. The jump spacing was larger than AKC and not as wide open as NADAC. I entered Milo in the Performance category so he could jump 22” instead of 26”; with his history of biceps tendonitis I didn’t want to risk aggravating it.

All our runs were in the ring judged by Carol Smorch. I was a little nervous about running a traditional Gamblers course (unlike the gamble now optionally included in NADAC Regular courses). I really like the added challenges of designing the opening sequence and working some distance. I missed the Snooker run as it was held on Saturday; but that should be fun too.

P1 Gamblers

I have to admit I had no clue how many obstacles I’d be able to tackle before the Gamble time started. I made a guess of about 10 seconds for jump, weave, dog walk, chute and then planned on running back over the same obstacles. That would put us near the Gamble start and it left two jumps and the tire free for use in case I was under time.

Milo blew by the offside weave entry - it was a wrap around the first pole and he usually nails those. So I chose to restart the weaves. It turns out that was just the additional time I needed to be right near the start of the gamble when the buzzer sounded. Milo dropped the last jump because I severely short strided the jump when the buzzer sounded. Then I sent him into the jump, tunnel, push to jump, and come to jump Gamble. The Gamble was straight forward - Milo did it with very little assistance from me. I just held back from the Gamble line enough so that when he came out of the tunnel he could see me take a couple steps forward to push him out to the jump.

I guess it is nice to start out with Gamblers (at least at the entry levels) since it gives you a chance to practice obstacle performance before their performance is required by the Standard course. I really liked the strategy aspect of creating your own sequence for Gamblers. I can see why handlers get hooked on it.

We ended up with the only 22 inch P1 qualifying score so Milo took 1st place with 39 pts (seems like too many by my calculations) in 36 seconds.

P1 Standard

I was surprised that the P1 Standard course was like “a real course”; unlike most AKC Novice courses that can often be run with as few as two lead changes. Just like yesterday I ended up flat footed on the starting sequence. I was slow to turn Milo through the first two jumps and while Milo kept his bars up I let him run by the tire. I finally got him into the tire on a horrible angle and with the smaller tire diameter he almost climbed his way through - no one will ever say Milo doesn’t have drive. Alissa got a picture of him muscling through the tire here, it looks like he is actually reaching forward with his hind legs to try to get through on the horrible angle I sent him on.

Otherwise it was a pretty good run for both Milo and me. Only some nit picks: he was slow on his table down, reasonable contacts but still not perfect and a good weave entry. We ended up as one of the two Qs and took 1st place.

P1 Jumpers

There was about a three hour break until our Jumpers run. So we got to relax (did some typing on yesterday and today’s blog entries) and visited a little. Milo and I were actually kind of too relaxed. The course was a nice flowing figure eight type of course with four major crossing locations. Handlers could have been successful handling in front and behind of their dogs in several places.

Milo and I ran the opening very nicely. I waited for my Rear Cross Rear CrossLearning the Rear Cross and sent him a head three jumps into the tunnel. I picked him up coming out of the tunnel, pulled him around a jump and Rear Crossed again. I was so happy with how the course was running that, as I layered the triple jump getting in position for the final Front Cross, I didn’t watch him or give him any kind of direction; so he was a very good dog and continued off course. With Milo rocketing at full speed it only takes a split second of inattention for a run to go wrong. I gave him a nice happy “Good Dog!” for his efforts, we regrouped and sort of finished the course.

The classic agility story, good dog/bad handler. In reviewing the USDAA rules it looks like I could have saved the Q but it was over in my mind when I let him go off course.

Practice Tasks

  • Still more high speed weave entries
  • Work contacts
  • Fast table downs

I think I’m hooked on USDAA now. I only wish there were more dogs in the Performance program. I think there were less than six dogs in P1 22 inch at this trial. I’m most interested in running our best on the course, followed by running clean, followed by qualifying, and lastly by earning a placement. But to earn a placement ribbon when you are the only Q in a tiny division doesn’t provide much bragging rights :^)

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