Wednesday, November 11, 2009

USDAA Nationals

Here I am at USDAA Nationals in Scottsdale, AZ.

Day One

Tip & I have been running well, she seems to have left the crazies behind most of the time. The only thing that I thought I really needed to train was threadles, pull thoughs and we were doing really well on those. I came down here ready!

I guess the practical items first. So far, I remembered everything that I needed, BUT...a rolling cart. Didn't think I would need it, couldn't have been more wrong. Note to self...bring one next time. The amount of walking is AMAZING.

When I set Nationals as my goal, it really was just to qualify. I didn't put a whole lot of thought into what I wanted to get out of Nationals. As the date grew near I began to think about that. My lack of creativity lead me to things like I want to Q, I want to place, etc...

I had my first run today and after the run it became clear what my goal for this Nationals was. I wanted to add more items to the list of what Tip & I need to work on. Having that list motivates me and really is why I am in agility. I love training the dogs.

Day two - end

I had the best of intensions on writing about each day, but to be honest I was exhausted and I could make myself sit at the computer or even focus on the past day.

So, I am back home, exhausted and Iwill make myself write.

Tip was amazingly consistent through all the days in her runs. She ran beautifully, but not as fast as she normally does. Both her and Split were not feeling well. Stomach stuff. Also, now that I see them back at home, neither dog was really happy down there. The environment didn't seem as stressful as it apparently was.

Tip kept all but one start line, I was so proud of her. Thankfully, the start lines weren't crowded. She listened really well, had beautiful running contacts (ops, the dog walk IS a 2o2o). Nice lines. Couldn't have asked for more really.

Looking at her results in Team jumpers and PSJ she placed 29th out of about 200 dogs. Not shaby results at all.

She was robbed in Team Standard however. We ran clean and fast. It was one of those runs were you knew you did your best. Everyone who watched said she ran clean. I was thinking, we placed in this I just know it! The official results said that she had a fault. Don't think so! She would have placed 2nd overall (out of 200 dogs). Instead, even with her fault she was 30th! Would have been nice to come home with a ribbon.

In the end, looking back, for the dogs it was a stressful week and probably not as much fun as just staying home and playing here. For me, great to see the rich and famous run their dogs, great to see just great handling by many unknowns, a lot of sitting around and waiting, proud of my dog and her consistent performance. I was proud of myself that I handles the stress well, I didn't fall apart. Proud of myself that we have come a looooonnnnnnnggggg way in short period of time.

So, here it is, my list of things to work on:

  • Better proof contacts with front crosses at the end. Could have used that at both the teeter and dog walk.
  • Turns off of teeters (we did OK, but I was worried)

Essential skills at Nationals (other than a good foundation)

  • Start line stay
  • proofed contacts
  • 270 tight lines
  • Turns off teeters

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