Cream City USDAA Trial - 15 & 16 Jun 2008

18 Jun 2008Steve Schwarz

This past weekend Meeker and I trialed in Wilmot WI at the Cream City USDAA trial. It was an outdoor trial with two rings. Our judge for both days was Eric Quirouet. It was Meeker’s first outdoor trial and we did pretty well: we had 4 Qs out of 7 attempts.

Here’s the summaries of each days runs:

Cream City Canines - 2008-6-14 Judge: Eric Quirouet

StartersStandard35.32640NQCame up from down at start (early release) and dropped first bar. Slow Dog Walk. Missed A Frame down contact.
StartersPairs42.61601QRunning A Frame contact was barely in. Paired dog was Sweeper.
StartersSnooker0520NQDropped color bar jump on reverse angle approach attempting a Backey-Uppey. Then I directed him to another color instead of to the next red, which is an elimination.
StartersJumpers0330EStorm was coming he was nervous. Fouled ring at obstacle 10 on a clean run - bad handler!

Cream City Canines - 2008-6-15 Judge: Eric Quirouet

StartersStandard32.70612QFront cross on landing side of A Frame may have caused him to get into his A Frame contact.
StartersGamblers31.04253QMissed A Frame downside contact during points accumulation. Gamble was easy.
StartersJumpers15.35281QSmooth course.

I’ve started using Dave Connet’s very nice Agility Record Book software for keeping track of Meeker’s scores. I generated the tables above by post processing the export of his software. If you are thinking about record keeping software I’d recommend giving ARB a try.

I’d like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to the raffle to assist Dana Pike whose building and home were damaged by a tornado. If you don’t already know I’m helping out by collecting money in a fund to assist Dana, so far there are contributors from all across the country. On a related note, volunteers went to Dana’s house on Saturday and helped clean up debris from her yard and start the restoration process (I was going on Friday but got rained out). It is wonderful that there are so many thoughtful and helpful agility people out there.

I won’t bore you with the play by play for every run… Some highlights: Meeker was pretty excited when dogs are running around and tugging as we wait to start, but as he gets older he can hold it together with some help from me. Apart from his start line break on the first run he held his stays and let me lead out. He was jumping nicely all weekend. We ran our first pairs run with Laurie and Sweeper and both got our Q, I might have “sold” Meeker’s A Frame contact to the judge by my “Good Dog”, it was certainly a close call. I was able to send Meeker over a jump preceding the A Frame, get into position to Front Cross Learning the Front Cross - VideoFront Cross on the landing side of the A Frame

and Meeker made the contact - that was the first time I tried that in a trial.

The lowlights are all my fault. We had a couple misses of his A Frame down contact. Since I’ve retrained him with a running A Frame he is about 75% accurate away from home at classes and it appears about 50% accurate at trials - so obviously more to work on. That is the most frustrating thing for me. I really liked being able to go to the line with Meeker and know that there wasn’t anything we’d run into on a course that we couldn’t handle (that’s not to say we’d Q every course!). But now I have that lingering doubt on whether or not he’ll get his contact. Well it will improve with time.

I relearned a Snooker rule that I had forgotten. I had a good plan, I think it was a 16 point opening, with the only difficulty going from the first red to the first color which was a jump at an awkward angle to the first red jump. I misexecuted and Meeker dropped the bar on the colored jump (his only dropped bar all weekend). I thought: “I have to

successfully complete a color before taking a red". So I took another color and the judge whistled me off the course. As we walked off he was kind enough to explain that I only had to attempt the color, if I faulted it I just wouldn't get the points for the color, but I had to move on to another red. I appreciate him taking the time to explain it to me. Live and learn, I won't forget that for a while.

My worst failing occurred at the end of Saturday. I was building courses all day and we waited three hours for our final Jumpers run. There thunder storms coming and I could tell Meeker was a little unsettled. What I didn’t do was take him to potty… So we were at the 10th obstacle and he stopped and pooped on course. So his elimination caused our elimination. I felt really bad that I didn’t get him to potty earlier. In the nearly 10 years I’ve been trialing I think that was the first time that has happened. Bad, bad handler for not better minding my dog. Needless to say on Sunday I took him for a long walk during the wait for our final Jumpers run until he finally pooped.

So for his first outdoor and his second USDAA trial Meeker did very well. I think he has some titles now. I had a bunch of questions on the USDAA email list about when to move him up. Here’s what he has:

Championship Novice Standard 4 runs, 2 judges 3 Qs (75%), (3 clean), 2 judges Championship Novice Jumpers 4 runs, 2 judges 3 Qs (75%), (3 clean), 2 judges Championship Novice Gamblers 3 runs, 2 judges 3 Qs (100%), (3 clean), 2 judges Championship Novice Snooker 2 runs, 2 judges 0 Qs (0%) Championship Novice Pairs 1 runs, 1 judges 1 Qs (100%), (1 clean), 1 judges

So I think he as earned his Starters Standard Agility, Starters Jumpers, and Starters Gamblers titles. I guess that means at our next trial I can move him up to Advanced in Standard, Jumpers, and Gamblers. I also think that if we can earn one Starters Snooker Q under a third judge he’ll have earned his Agility Dog title and we can move into Advanced for Pairs and Snooker too. I hope I’m understanding the USDAA class progression.

In any event titles aren’t that important. We had a good time and it was a nice weekend for an outdoor trial!

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