Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beckett's Nationals Adventure

Well, Beckett's been there and back again on his first AAC National Championship adventure. The drive down was an adventure in itself. I have a small utility trailer to use when I have lots of stuff to take on camping trips or other long trips.  The night before we left, I went to hitch up the trailer and one of the tires was flat. No big deal, I used my compressor and pumped it up, the next morning it was fine so off we went. It was a nice day for a drive, we stopped after about two hours on the road to see how things were doing and everything was alright. We stopped for supper in Edmunston NB and when we came out another driver told us that the trailer tire was flat. Luckily I had thrown the compressor in the car so we pumped it up again and hit the road. We stopped to check the tire often and it seemed fine. We made it to Fredericton where we would spend the night. It's only about an hour and a half from Sussex. The next morning the tire was flat again so again we pumped it up.

Other people had stopped at the Blue Canoe restaurant and posted pictures of their dogs so I decided we would do the same.  At the Blue Canoe, we used the air pump at the gas station, now we could hear hissing from the tire. We took our pictures quickly and hit the road again for Sussex hoping that the tire would hold out.

Beckett and Keltic at the Blue Canoe

We got to Sussex and made an appointment at Canadian Tire to get the tire repaired or replaced. They got us in after lunch and had the trailer repaired with two new tires in about 20 minutes.

We got to the trial site and registered. We also got the keys for our rooms at the local university. We set up our space near friends from the Ottawa area.

Our set up for Nationals
The next day was warm-ups and pre-events. Beckett only had one Steeplechase event to run, when I registered, I was sure both Steeplechase were scheduled on the same day. We were lucky though we ran before the rain started and we got a qualifying score. It was Beckett's 23rd Q so now we only need two more for his Bronze Expert title. Things were starting off great.

The next morning saw the start of the Nationals events. We had Gamblers and then Standard to run the first day. Beckett was spinning a lot in the Gambler so we didn't get through the opening I planned and we didn't get the main gamble either. That was fine it was just the first event. Our Standard went well except for taking down the double jump;  I was happy with how he ran, a 5 fault run is pretty good. We also had our second Steepechase run. It had been pouring rain and the ground was muddy. Beckett was nearly the 100th dog in the ring. Even though we ran a cautious but clean run both of us slipped a little. Beckett's time was just over 40 seconds and we only had a standard course time of 42 seconds. That was his 24th Q, now only one to go for his title.

The next day we would run Jumpers and Gamblers. We had a decent jumpers run but I ran to close to the jump he was supposed to serp and he pushed to the back of the jump for an off course. The rest of the run was nice but 20 faults put us way down in the standings for that event. The next event Gamblers was a tough one. I didn't even think Beckett would go out the distance obstacle in the main Gamble. Our opening was good, he almost did the first mini and did the second mini gamble twice. He surprised me and did get out to the jump of the main gamble but then took the jump on the line rather than getting out the dog walk.

On the last day of Nationals, we had a jumpers and a standard run. The jumpers was going nice until I found myself out of place after a front cross. I called Beckett off a jump thinking he was going off course, turned out he was right and I was wrong and I caused us 5 faults for the refusal. I decided to go for it in our last run the Standard, after all we had nothing to lose. We got a refusal on the broad jump right off the bat, then an off course when he took the tunnel instead of the A-frame and a refusal on the weave entry. On the good side, he did stay out to do the jump after the tunnel under the dog walk and got the broad jump which we don't see all that often. I think we have only seen it once before.

I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed in our Nationals performance, while I didn't really expect to place I had hoped to better our Regionals score where we had a score of 465 points; at Nationals we ended up with only 364 points.Trying to focus on the positive, most of the errors were mine and Beckett actually ran well. I am considering moving him to Specials though so he doesn't have to jump as high and will no longer see the double jump. There are indications he's slowing down some so maybe the lower jump height would help. Next year, Nationals will be out in Burnaby BC, too far for us to travel so by the time they are back out east Beckett could be nearly a veteran dog so another reason to think about letting him jump the lower height.

Looking forward already to the next time when both Beckett and Keltic will have a Nationals Adventure. More on our east coast holiday in another post.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

K9 Kup

Once again this year, Keltic and I are running in a house league called the K9 Kup. The team we were on last year, Snow Dogs Unharnessed divided in two and added some new members, so now we have Snow Dogs Unharnessed and Snowdogs Unharnessed Too. Some of my agility friends have joined me in having honorary snow dogs. Now in addition to the huskies and australian shepherds, there is a keeshund, a border collie, a sheltie (Keltic), a duck toller, a collie and a mini poodle.

Both teams together
Snow Dogs Unharnessed
We've had two K9 Kup events so far and two more to go, unfortunately Keltic and I will miss the next event as we'll just be coming back from New Brunswick. At each event, we run three courses, a Standard and two games courses. At the last K9 Kup we ran Snooker and Steeplechase as the games. Keltic ran rather well, he even got his weave entry in the Standard and stayed in the weaves.

The best four runs from each team are added up to determine the team's placment. We got a third place and a fourth place in the first two events, Standard and Snooker.  Keltic's runs counted toward both of those placements. The score from the last event hadn't yet been tabulated at the end of the match so it will be awarded at the next K9 Kup. Snow Dogs Unharnessed was sitting in second place in our Divsion after the first K9 Kup.

In the Standard, Keltic did very well even getting on the table that they had forgotten to lower without a problem. Too bad his Mum didn't tell him to target on the dog walk.

In Snooker, he did pretty good but he was just a little excited, perhaps because my course isn't as flowy as it should have been. At the first red (the first obstacle), I thought he was going right on by the backside so I turned too much to get him over. That meant I wasn't heading for the double jump on the correct line so, of course, Keltic knocked the bar.
Keltic got distracted by something on this course, not sure what, but once he came back he ran nicely. This might have been a Q in K9 Kup standards as they use Starter Jumpers times. It likely wouldn't be a Q in the AAC, since the event is considered a Masters event, the times are much tighter.
Looking forward to our next K9 Kup. Keltic will have been in  two AAC trials by then and if we are lucky he may have to carry a handicap in his next K9 Kup. Any dog with their starter agility title has a handicap since they have demonstrated some skill in agility and K9 Kup is trying to encourage newcomers to the sport.