Monday, March 26, 2012

The Weekend Report - From Rags to Riches

 In our last episode of The Weekend Report, we came away disappointed and frustrated by the return of table troubles. This weekend was a trial held by the English Setter Association of America. It was their first ever agility trial and they did a very nice job. It was held in the same indoor soccer arena as the last trial.

On Saturday, we started with the Jumpers course. It was a bit tricky, but not too bad. We breezed through with a speedy run. Woohoo! It wasn't until I looked at the posted scores that I had my bubble burst! What I thought was a clean run turned out to have a weave pole fault! I had turned my head/body toward the obstacle after the poles just a bit too soon and pulled Jimmy out of the weaves. With my head already turned and the judge behind me, I never saw it happen or her hands go up to indicate the fault. So, bummer, the tiny chance of a double-Q was already gone. On a positive note though, coming out of the ring thinking I Q'ed, my voice did not contain the poorly disquised sound of disappointment it might have had, had I known. All Jimmy heard was my sing-songy happy voice of a Q.

A couple hours later came our Standard run. Of course, I was already nervous about the table. It was Aframe, to a jump, to the table. Jimmy should have had good momentum to carry him onto the table, but instead he slammed on the brakes just in front of it. My instructor was at this trial and told me to keep trying, keep trying to get him on the table so he would understand he had to do it in order to move on, doing it until I ran out of time or the judge whistled me off the field. Fortunately I had a wonderfully patient judge who let me keep arguing with Jimmy until he finally relented and got on the table. It probably took 10 or more tries and when he finally gave in the crowd cheered for us. I clapped and cheered, telling him what a good boy he was. I could tell by his facial expression he was really stressed out! We went on and finished the course. Of course, I was crushed by yet another trial where the table was such a miserable thing.

I considered not bothering to drive back for Sunday....

This time the day started with Standard. Again, nothing too tricky. It was teeter to table, then a left turn to the weaves. Looming behind the table was a tempting tunnel entrance. Analyzing videos and watching my runs, my instuctor thinks Jimmy doesn't like me getting to the table before him, he needs to drive ahead and have me catch up. This is sometimes hard to time correctly. Despite being very fast, Jimmy is not a dog that wants to get too far from me, so if I am not careful I get to the table too soon. For this run, with a teeter before the table, I needed to be extra careful as Jimmy is a bit cautious (read as slow) on the teeter. So I decided to front-cross at the end of the teeter and sort of fling Jimmy to the table off of my right hip. It would also help to keep him away from the tunnel in the background. Much to my surprise and delight, he popped right onto the table! He stayed for the count and off we went. I was so caught off guard by this stroke of luck that I could barely remember how the rest of the course went. Fortunately, I think muscle-memory took over, and we finished correctly! And to add icing to the cake, once the scores were posted, I was pleased to see our run was speedy and netted us a 2nd place ribbon!

Of course, this put pressure on me for our JWW run since we now had a double-Q on the line. It was a fairly easy course with just one spot where Jimmy might choose an off-course tunnel instead of staying with me. He stayed with me and we finished it cleanly! OMG!  We had our 2nd Q for the day! So this was double-Q #4 out of the 20 we need. Now, it gets interesting here, because we ended in 4th place. And so did a little Jack Russell who had the exact same time as ours, 32.24 seconds. This meant we had to have a run-off to see who got the ribbon. We each got to run the same course again, and who ever had the cleanest, fastest run, got the 4th place ribbon. It doesn't jeopardize your original Q, it just determines who gets the ribbon. Run-offs are exceedingly rare, so everyone was watching and cheering loudly! I went first and cheered Jimmy on the whole way, taking risks I would never take with a Q on the line. He ran it beautifully, cleanly, and a full 2.25 seconds faster than his original run! 29.99 seconds! The JRT went next but they made a mistake so Jimmy and I won the ribbon! It was SO exciting and fun! We added another 31 MACH points between the 2 runs as well, bringing our total to 323 out of 750 we need.

I video'ed Saturday's disappointing runs and then didn't think to video Sunday's at all. Duh! I haven't unloaded the camera yet, so nothing to share visually I'm afraid.

So I went from very disappointed on Saturday to downright giddy on Sunday! Agility, at least for me, is such a manic sport!

Tracking Jimmy's MACH progress:
Excellent B JWW legs: 17 (out of 10 needed for his MXJ) Now he's working on his MXJ2!
Excellent B STD legs: 6 (out of 10 needed for his MX) Better than halfway to our MX!
Double Q's: 4 (out of 20 double-Q's needed for a MACH.... 20 Percent!)
MACH Points: 323 (out of 750 speed points needed for a MACH...... 43 Percent!)

Time 2 Beat legs: 3 (out of 15 needed for his T2B) 24 points (out of 100 needed) 


  1. I didn't understand everything you talked about in this post, but still found it so exciting. I love reading about the details/nuances of agility work. My current pug, Rupert, is very athletic (well, for a pug) and responsive, so I've entertained thoughts of learning to do agility work with him. Reading this post got me much more interested in doing so.

    1. Hi Tamara! Pugs can definitely do agility! There were some at the trial this past weekend. You just want to be sure your pug is fit and slim. Due to their cute smooshed little puggy faces, breathing isn't as easy for them, and carrying any extra weight just increases that. If you live in a fairly well developed area, you should be able to find someone offering agility classes. Or possibly, look for a dog training club you can join. Take a foundation class that offers an intro to the equipment and see if it's for you. Pugs are definitely food motivated so it shouldn't be too hard to build interest in the game.

      My in-laws have a high energy pug who is quite agile. I know he would be great at it!

    2. Thanks for the suggestions, Taryn. Rupert is definitely slim...and leggy. He runs a mile with me most days and doesn't even pant. Now, I'm so motivated to explore agility with Rupert!

    3. Hi again! I just checked your current blog post, and if Rupert is the other pug (not Puglet, but under the word Record), he looks absolutely PERFECT for agility! That is one fit little bugger! He's adorable!

    4. Ha ha, yep, that's Rupert! He gets many "What a skinny pug!" and "Wow, what a fit pug!" comments. Ha ha ha!

  2. Bobby and I send our congrats on the double Q! Yay!


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