Monday, June 16, 2014

Beckett's Birthday

Today is Beckett's 5th birthday, what a milestone. It seems like yesterday that I brought him home and now he's already FIVE!

We celebrated yesterday but today after agility class I'll take him to the pet store to pick up some extra special cookies.

Beckett got what else, flying discs and some yummy treats.  He also got to share some of my mild Italian sausage for supper.

Beckett with his presents

Beckett, I'm so polite!

Keltic, Oh just take it already!

The presents

I think they like them!

Beckett loves the new discs

Keltic, that's not what you do with those, but it does suit you.
Hope there are many more birthdays ahead, Beckett boy! You are the best!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday

My Dad and his great grandson, maybe the apple didn't fall far from the tree. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Eastern Ontario Regional Agility Championship

Wow, what a weekend we had! We went to the Eastern Ontario AAC Regional Agility Championship; this event is also the qualifier for the AAC National Championships. I went just hoping to be able to run and to qualify for Nationals but Beckett showed me we could do more.

The first day, Friday was a sanctioned AAC trial. I had entered Beckett in a Steeplechase, a Gamblers and a Standard and I had put Keltic in two Steeplechase.  Things didn't go so well, in Steeplechase Beckett took an off-course tunnel for 20 faults and we are never fast enough to make up 20 faults. In the Gamblers, which wasn't really that hard, I could not get him to send away to a tunnel.  I pulled Beckett from Standard as it had been a long day and the weather was hotter than expected.  I was a bit discouraged and a little worried about whether my leg would survive running full out without some other injury. Keltic did fairly well in his two Steeplechase runs. In the first one, he had to do two sets of weaves. I tried to get him to do the first set but he wasn't having it so we went on by but he did do the second set. In his second Steeplechase, there was only one set of weaves and, after a bit of encouraging, he did do the complete set of 12. This run was good enough for third place even though it was well over time.

Saturday came bright and early but since they've split the province into two groups not as early as they used to be, so that's a good thing. My friends from Ottawa were in the same rotation as Beckett and me so we kept each other company over the weekend.

Our weekend home
Our first event was Jumpers.  Nice not to have Standard as the first event as the dogs can blow of some energy in an event where you don't have to worry about contacts or weave entries.

Jumpers 1
I wanted to lead out to the right wing of jump 3 near the tunnel but Beckett had other ideas and took off when I was just past jump 2. We didn't have a good line for jump 4 after doing jump 3 so I post turned him around me in the direction of the tunnel to get into better position and then off we went. The rest of the run ran smoothly. I thought we would have incurred a refusal for jump 4 but the rules are that if you haven't actually approached the obstacle yet it's not a refusal. So we had our first event done with a clean run and nearly 12 seconds under time.

Next up was our Gamblers event, as you know we've worked hard trying to improve our gamble skills after the Gamblers on Friday I was not sure how things would go especially with this gamble where I had to send him out not just once but twice.

We didn't try the jump teeter (marked A and B) as a mini gamble but rather just used them and the weaves to do a big loop to try and get him out the other mini labelled C, D, and E. The first time round we went up the weaves and Beckett wouldn't go out to C so I just ran with him. The next time round we used the teeter and the jump afterwards to get him some speed. He did do the mini this time but knocked the bar on C so only got the points for doing D and E rather than double points for the mini. When the buzzer went, I got in the box and sent Beckett up the frame. I really didn't think he would go to the jump (marked with a 2) but he was off like a flash, I called him back and into tunnel 3. After the tunnel, he curled back into me and started spinning and I thought that was that, but I told him to "get out, over" and off he went and did the double jump (number 4).  I was thrilled, while getting a clear round in Jumpers is good, there are often a lot of dogs that go clear but there are fewer dogs that gamble well so getting the main gamble usually means getting a placement ribbon.

Our last event of the day was the Standard.  It walked pretty well but watching others ahead of us showed that the weaves entry was getting a lot of dogs and it was no different for Beckett. He missed the weave entry for five faults and also got five faults for a refusal on a tunnel (obstacle 9).

Standard 1

I was surprised to find that our 10 fault run was still good enough for 6th place. It turned out that many dogs had off-course faults and an off-course costs you 20 faults so you really want to avoid those. Beckett finished the day in 5th place overall in his height class with 247 points. You only need 350 points to qualify so we were in good position to qualify.

Sunday was another beautiful day, the courses seemed harder but it's just the luck of the draw as they are chosen randomly from a bank of Regional courses. First up for our group was Gamblers, again another nice way for the dogs to blow off a bit of energy as every obstacle they successfully take in the opening counts for points.

In our opening, I just did a loop with the jumps and the teeter and then headed to the four point jump (marked with a b). We did that jump twice and then headed over jump a, I then tried to send Beckett out to the tunnel. I figured if he took the A-frame instead I could try flipping him out to the tunnel to get that mini. He went out to the tunnel beautifully and went up and over the frame so we had the mini once, I tried to flip him out to the tunnel but he wouldn't go so I went in with him and sent him into the tunnel. When he came out we went over the jump (near the 70 line) and started the weaves.  We didn't get the weaves done before the buzzer went though. In the main Gamble, I tried to set him up on a straight line to the tunnel but after taking the jump he came back to me. I sent him again to the tunnel and away he went. We've worked on finding a blind tunnel mouth so that paid off. I never even saw him come out of tunnel 2 but I just started running and calling "get out, tunnel". Next thing I knew he was coming out of tunnel 3, but it wasn't over yet as there was still jump 4, some dogs had come by it and one handler celebrated a second too soon and her dog knocked the bar. We were in sync and Beckett took the last jump without a problem. Two main Gambles, I was just ecstatic; the hard work on gamble skills is starting to pay off. We now had just over 310 points so only needed 40 more points to qualify for Nationals

Next up was out Standard, this course was killing the best of dogs with off-courses especially the dog walk  - tunnel discrimination after jump 8. I decided that I would call Beckett into me hard and then send to the dog walk even if he started to spin a refusal was far less costly than an off-course.

Standard 2
And that is exactly what we did and incurred five faults, Beckett also got five faults for refusing the tunnel after the dog walk too. The course went well up until after 17 where I wasn't in the position I wanted to be in,  Beckett took 18 correctly but I got lost. I stood for a few seconds trying to figure out if we had missed an obstacle and trying to figure out where 19 was, then it came to me. I got Beckett into the tunnel and finished just under time so didn't get any more course or time faults. Whew, that was close. I haven't forgotten a course like that in ages. With the 90 points from this Standard run, we now had 400 points going into Jumpers.

The Jumpers course seemed difficult on the map but hadn't walked too bad. After seeing some other people run though I changed my plan from what I had walked during the general walk through and walked the course differently during our event walk through. Everything worked well except...

Jumpers 2

...Beckett came over jump 11 correctly and then since I was just finishing a front cross, for some reason he turned away from me. I didn't see him but someone told me afterwards, he turned away and he then took the jump again, 20 faults for the off-course.  I'll bet I could do that part of the course over and over again and he would never repeat that again.  But anyway, we got back together and the rest of the run was nice but the 20 faults kept us out of the placements for that event.

We finished with a score of 465, the highest Beckett has ever had. The highest aggregate score for any of my three that have gone to Regionals, I'm sure.

Aggregate score

Beckett placed in five of his six events, one fourth and four 6th place finishes and finished fifth overall in his height class.

Nationals Qualifiers

Beckett, Indie and Coco

Beckett and his ribbons
Keltic was a good spectator and cheerleader for his brother, too enthusiastic at times barking at anyone and everyone who walked by.

Maybe next year Keltic

Watching dogs playing the fields.
To say that we enjoyed the weekend would be a serious understatement to say the least. Last year we barely qualified after having just been out of the placements the year before, and with the injuries I've had I had no real expectations for this year. I just wanted to qualify but Beckett and I came together as a team and certainly had for us a GREAT event. So now we have to do our entry for Nationals and gear up for the trip to Sussex, NB in August.