Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Last Trial

We went to our last trial for 2012 this past weekend.  I only went on Sunday as the trial location is about an hour away and I didn't want to have two drives home in the dark and because there was no Snooker event on Saturday. Beckett only needs (still) two Snooker and three Gamblers for his title of Agility Trial Champion.

We did six events on Sunday, two Standards, two Gamblers, one Snooker and one Jumpers. The only Q we got was in the last event the Jumpers. This course ran really nice, even the parts I thought would be tough. We very nearly had an off course when Beckett almost took the wrong entrance to obstacle 9. I hadn't even seen that as a trap as I was so far away from that tunnel mouth as I had gone up the left side of jump 8.  The allowable course time was 48 seconds and Beckett did the course in 39.81.  It wasn't extremely fast for him and so we finished in third place.

The first run of the day was a five-fault Masters Standard. I can't say it's Beckett's fault as I felt like I was behind him for most of the course, well at least from after the tunnel under the frame.  When I say I was behind, I mean my commands and body cues were late. I could tell as he was barking at me. What is nice to see is how far down the frame and dog walk he is coming with the running contact now.

The other Standard run was a train wreck and we got eliminated for an off-course.  Beckett did have two nice openings in his Gamblers but again wouldn't do the main Gambles. In Snooker, we had a very nice opening. Then as we started the close, Beckett missed his weave entry, since it was only obstacle 3 we didn't have enough points to Q.

It was a nice day overall. Keltic got to play with a Sheltie buddy from this summer. Beckett got to play Frisbee between events. And we won a volunteer prize, a rawhide star filled with rawhide treats that Beckett and Keltic will get as part of their Christmas gifts.

So Beckett still needs 5 Q's for his ATChC but now he only needs four more Jumpers Q's for his Expert Jumpers Bronze. So all in all 2012 was quite a good year, he added Master Jumpers, Steeplechase and Master Standard titles to his list of accomplishments.

Go Beckett Go!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Weekend Trial Results

We had our last trial at Dream Fields for 2012 this past weekend. The morning started out cold and very wet but the rain stopped quite early and it actually warmed up nicely. Good thing, as it was Remembrance Day and I feel bad for the veterans, the men and women on parade and standing vigil on the Cenotaph if the weather is nasty.

We ran 6 events on Sunday, two Standards, two Gamblers, a Jumpers and a Snooker. Although we started off with a great run in the first Standard, it was to be our only Q of the day.

The first Masters Standard had a Standard Course Time (SCT) of 66 seconds. Beckett ran the course in 44.32 seconds, doing 4.15 yards per second. He was not only the fastest 16" Regular dog but the second fastest of all the Regular dogs. Some of the other Regular dogs had the zoomies and some did training in the ring, so not all the times are indicative of what the dog really could do, but I was very happy with Beckett's time just the same. Beckett also got Best Run for the mini Regular dogs (10" and 16").

In the next Standard, Beckett incurred a refusal on obstacle 4; I think either because I really wasn't committed to it or that I had started to turn my shoulders to the teeter. In any case, he came off his line and turned in front of me and I had to send him back to complete the obstacle.  The SCT for this course was 66 seconds and Beckett did it in 48.23 seconds, going 3.98 yards per second. Even with the five faults, it was still the best run as no mini Regular dog actually Q'd this course.

Next up was the two Gambles, when I saw them I didn't think we had a chance but Beckett actually did all right.  There was no barking or spinning at me (well very little) when I sent him out from the line to the first obstacles and he had no problem at all with the mini which you can see is very nearly the same in both Gamblers.

 In the first Gamble, we got 46 opening points, again I think the scribe missed out some of our points being called but since we didn't Q, it wasn't worth any discussion and even if we had done the main Gamble we would have had enough points to Q.  For the opening, we did the single jump that ended the main Gamble, the four point obstacle twice, the A-frame, the single after the A-frame, the mini, followed by the weaves, then the mini again ending up with the weaves. We had just finished the weaves and were heading for the teeter when the buzzer went. My count has the point total as 51 but maybe my math is off. I sent Beckett out to jump 1 of the Main Gamble and he did the first four obstacles beautifully but then blind crossed me and took the 4 point obstacle. I had tried just moving along the line was going to try a "get out" to send him over obstacle 5, but we didn't get to see how that would work. The best technique I saw to get obstacle 5 was to turn your back to the 4 point obstacle as you called your dog over obstacle 4, then as you backed up, turn towards obstacle 5 and send.

In the second Gamble, I had intended to do tire, the A-frame, then obstacle 2 of the Main Gamble to get to the mini. Beckett decided to do tire, tunnel and I continued on with my plan from there. Neither the judge nor I realized that we had done two obstacles in sequence of the main Gamble, but since we didn't get this Gamble either, no harm, no foul; we just got to play a little longer.  In this Gamblers, I did the mini, followed by the weaves, then the mini again, then we did the single and the four point jump twice and then the single near the teeter. We were just heading to the teeter as the buzzer sounded. I didn't think Beckett would get out to the tunnel. I tried to send him out but he took obstacle 4 instead, that worked out all right as I turned him away from me and he did the tunnel and the second jump and was on the teeter when he bailed from the teeter. I have no idea why he did that at all. Had he stayed on the teeter, I'm sure he would have gotten the Gamble as the other two obstacles were closer to the line than shown on the course map.

Hard to say it wasn't a good trial even though again the Q rate doesn't show it. We got a Q, had two best runs (more toys for the toy box), had the two best Gamblers openings we've ever had and didn't get too much barking and spinning at all. Our distance work is paying off so hopefully it will all come together.

We have an all-day seminar on 30 Dec and I have a working spot with Beckett, maybe there'll be some new skills we can take advantage off.  Keltic starts agility classes next weekend and by next summer I hope to be doing fun matches with him; his buddy Sam is already in the conformation ring. Beckett and I have one more trial in 2012 and then we will all have 2013 to look forward too.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Animals in War

November is a time of remembrance for so many who have lost their lives in war and other conflicts. Today I took Beckett and Keltic to downtown Ottawa to Confederation Park for the dedication of the memorial to Animals of War. It commemorates all those animals who gave their lives in the service of men.

The memorial consists of three plaques and a bronze statue of a war dog. The concrete around the memorial is stamped with the tracks of animals (paw prints and horse shoes). In attendance at the ceremony were Laureen Harper, the wife of the Prime Minister,  Mayor Jim Watson, Royal Gallipeau, Member of Parliament, along with RCMP horses and service dogs.  There were very few spectators with their dogs; in fact, one organizer said to me that they didn't expect people to bring their dogs. I actually found that kind of strange, that you would have a dedication to animals and not expect people to bring animals.

The music I chose for the video was the piece the band played as the memorial was unveiled. Beckett didn't care much for the drums and Keltic really didn't like the horses sneaking up behind him as they walked back to their trailer after the ceremony but it was a good socialization experience for both of them.

Keltic says "Thanks Buddy"!

We might make the news tonight as there were so few spectators with their pets there that we were filmed and photographed by at least two reporters.  And after the ceremony the organizers of a Pet Expo here in Ottawa next week asked all the people who had their pets with them to have our picture taken with the War Dog statue. I'm glad we were able to go to this ceremony since we will miss the Remembrance Day services as we are at an agility trial.

And with the going down of the sun, we will remember them.
Sgt Craig Gilliam
Maj Ray Ruckpaul