Sunday, October 7, 2012

Grace Earns her PD Title in Gulfport, MS

Grace Earns her PD
(USDAA Performance Dog)
This weekend was USDAA in Gulfport, MS.  This is a reformed USDAA group so we were happy to support their first trial as the Panhandle Agility League.  We love the Gulfport setup for RV camping as the RV sites are close to the arena and there is lots of space to walk dogs and/or practice tracking.

Tracey was terrific and waited for me to leave the office on Thursday.  I then had to fight rush hour traffic to flee Baton Rouge in the direction of her house.  We loaded up quickly and hit the road knowing it was going to be dark while we were unhitching and leveling the camper.  Her Expedition's engine light flickered a few times after we hit the interstate- something new.  Luckily the issue resolved itself quickly.  We were getting settled into the camper including filling the camper dog water bucket when running the water set off the propane alarm - using the outside faucet solved that problem.  Not the best start to our weekend but the weekend did improve.

We arrived Thursday evening in time to participate in a match in the arena.  Our timing was great as both the too-young-to-play-USDAA dogs (Kayak and Spice) got a turn on agility equipment in a real arena.  Both of them did great.  Spice, after refusing to try our club's local contact equipment at an arena during a trial, was quick to attempt all these new pieces of contact equipment.  She also jumped a viaduct jump without a second thought - she had never seen one before.  I'm hoping her confidence is now better on contact equipment at a new place.

Friday Grace earned her 3rd PI standard leg to earn her USDAA Performance Dog (PD) title.  We moved her up to PII standard for Sat and Sun.  Along with standard, Grace ran PII gamblers each day.  No additional Qs in those classes.  She tried hard in PII standard but was a few seconds over time each run.  Gamblers runs were close each day but not quite.  Only one PII dog entered pairs on Sat so instead of refunding money to the competitor it was arranged to have Grace (a legitimate PII pairs dog) pair with Rip.  Grace had been resting in the AC for a few hours so we figured she could run 9 more obstacles with no weaves on her half of the course and she did.  We earned a 1st place (this seems to happen frequently when you are the only PII pairs team running) and our 2nd PII pairs leg.

On Saturday morning we tumbled out of our bunks ready to go lay track.  We put in short tracks for Spice and Kayak.  Tracey pushed Spice beyond her concentration limit by laying a bit longer track than she was ready to track so we had to help her finish with Tracey walking a long circle to the glove and encouraging Spice to track forward toward her.  Spice tried really hard and was happy tracking someone besides "Mom".  Kayak looked really good too on his Z-shaped track with great pull into the harness when is knows he is on the track.  Looks like two more TD titles in the making!

Between agility runs we let the puppies get some exercise.  Tracey and I grabbed both of them and handfuls of cookies.  We let them run off lead together which gives them each a buddy to bound and chase - they both seem to enjoy sharing their freedom together.  Spice is very fast and she can turn sharper than Kayak so bounding together works well for them.  Checking in to either Mom gets a cookie so this happens dozens of time on each outing.  As a result of the frequent cookies, both dogs have developed dependable recalls as long as there is nothing but a grassy field catching their attention..  This walking style requires watchful parent eyes so we can gather them up before (1) we get near the horses and riders coming around a corner or (2) the pups spy the bunny that hopped out of the woods and into the grassy field we were traversing (both of which happened this weekend).  We intend to get video next time the dogs are out bounding.  This weekend I wish we had video of Tracey recalling the dogs and then saying in her happy recall voice "Get your dog before she sees the bunny".  Yeah to Tracey's 30-something sharp eyes and very cool dog parenting skills!

After this weekend I'll be looking into getting a medium Nylabone crate off eBay for Spice Girl.  The Jumping Bean is a bit hard on soft crates now that she thinks she should participate and get several turns each day.  I came home with nice crate in need of a zipper work-around as about 3/4 of the zipper is now functional but needs zipper reinforcement to remain that way.

It was a terrifically fun weekend.  Grace and I enjoy playing USDAA.  Looking forward to February for Spice's first USDAA show.