First USDAA Trial

This weekend I entered the land of border collies and running skirts, otherwise known as USDAA.  Well the skirts were only seen on Saturday, today was long pants and jackets.  It certainly was a different crowd than the NADAC and CPE trials we've been to but since agility people are amazing we had no problem finding nice people to video tape us and letting us move into their tents.  Vito ran 4 events yesterday and today.

Saturday did not go so well.  Vito would rather eat grass than play his ball during warm ups and was extremely distracted and unresponsive to attempts to play.  At one point during a run he actually stopped to sniff the grass and avoided a jump.  He knocked a ton of bars and had very slow weaves and popped out.  On the postive side his running dogwalks and aframes were all fabulous.  I almost pulled him the last run but decided I would use his willingness to play with a ball as the deciding factor.  And Vito was starting to wake up a bit and really wanted his ball!  During the run he actually broke his startline and I couldn't have been more pleased with that!  He started out really well although he started to slow down by the mid point.

Today I decided not to give Vito his Alprazolam in the morning to see if that would make a difference.  I didn't think anything was physically wrong with him and he had just seen a chiropractor a week ago.  If things started the same as Saturday I had decided to scratch runs as needed or leave mid run.

The good news is that I seemed to have my dog back!  Vito was very excited to be at the trial and very much wanted his toy during warm ups.  I can't say that our runs were all that brilliant but he was happy to be there and was even running full speed at certain points.  His one dogwalk and most jumps stayed up today as well.

Quick clip of running contacts and his first 2 runs on Sunday:

A few of the things I need to work on:
- Vito needs to see more doubles and tripples in practice.  And in general needs more practice jumping 22 if I'm going to keep doing USDAA.
- More work with a full height table.  The table is rarely out in practice and almost never raised.

Things that are hopefully a confidence issue and will go away as he gets in more trials:
- Speed in weave poles during trials
- Attention at startline.  Not getting distracted by the judge walking over to us and then back out, and the need for Vito to say hello when the course leads close to him.  Not searching for Daddy or Grandma when he knows they're watching.
- Speed in general at trials.

Run by run breakdown of the weekend


Gamblers, Q- The run itself wasn't horrible.  He biffed it on the first jump and actually land on his head but then recovered.  He knocked a lot of bars, missed and popped out of the weaves, but had lovely aframes, a gorgeous dogwalk even if it wasn't the fastest, and we got the easy gamble.  Somehow we even got just enough points to qualify.  I wanted to chalk up the substandard run to the fall.

Standard, E-  I thought I had him at the start line since there was a delay and Vito started a tiny bit of excited screaming.  But the weaves were second and Vito first missed the entry, then really slowed down and popped out, and then finally completed them on the 3rd try but again slowed down.  Knocked the triple on a rear cross.  He avoided the table to go sniff the number and didn't do his auto down.  But another really nice dogwalk and turned when I called him on the flat.  I was over too far after the tunnel and had to move out of his way and we just ran by two obstacles.

Snooker, NQ- disaster.  During the run he seemed to do ok for the first few obstacles but then started major sniffing and avoiding a jump.  I got him over it and we finished our opening ok although not pretty since he couldn't do any rear crosses.  Knocked #4 in the closing.

Jumpers, NQ-  Broke his startline!  He started out really well although he started to slow down by the mid point.  I set him in the wrong end of the tunnel and he knocked a bar.  But at least we ended with a happy Vito!


Gamblers, NQ- Happy dog, and really running!  He seemed to trip over his feet while getting on the teeter but when I asked him if he was ok he stepped into his 2o2o.  I was then really late in cuing a wrap and tried to plot where to go next instead of looking at my dog so he went around behind me as the buzzer went off.  We fix things, start the gamble and I don't even know what possessed me to handle it so stupidly, and we blow an easy gamble.

Standard, Q- Just as we were getting ready to start the judge walked over and moved the ring post back a bit to give us more room at the startline.  Vito watched him walk all the way up and then all the way back out.  I could tell that he was going to head off for him as soon as we started.  At least Vito was nice enough to run fast through the first 3 obstacles until we got to where the judge was standing and he could go say hi. He came back to me before making any contact at least.  I think he then stumbled or did something in the chute as he came out with zero speed and thus kinda ruined my rear cross.  Weaves were faster than yesterday although still kinda slow and he at least got onto the table right away.  DW was great!! 

Snooker, Q- Grandma was here to visit and Vito decided to fixate on her presence.  It was harder getting him to focus on me instead of sniffing the air for her or looking around on the startline.  At least he ran with me and didn't run off to look!  While my course wasn't very technical it had a few wraps that Vito slowed down on a bit and at one point in the beginning he decided to yell at me instead of jumping.  He also didn't read one of my last front crosses and crossed behind me and thus made me rear cross the #7 tunnel that he decided to turn around it.  It didn't get a whistle so I put him back in and finished.

Jumpers, NQ- More fixation on Grandma at the start.  But he ran fast until the first turn.  He ran by one of the jumps and knocked the double.

andrea  – ( September 4, 2011 at 9:59 PM )  

great learning :)

those skorts crack me up - a bunch of dudes wore them in the steeplechase finals of our AAC Nationals to raise money for the fight against canine cancer ..

Dawn  – ( September 5, 2011 at 12:46 AM )  

I admit to wearing a skort for agility at Premier, I was running between rings and figured a skort was at least acceptable for the conformation part. Glad to hear that Vito was better today. are you going to do more? I was thinking once i get weaves on Grace, we might try it.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( September 5, 2011 at 7:07 PM )  

I think I will do some more USDAA. I really liked some of the master courses. I just don't know yet if Vito will like all the collection.

Lynnda L  –   – ( September 6, 2011 at 12:15 PM )  

Some of the USDAA equipment is a bit different. In addition to 22" jumps & a smaller tire opening, the spreads are a bit wider than AKC/CPE [NADAC has none]and the taller table, the chute "sleeve" is a couple of feet longer. The higher jumps outside can also make a difference. [It appeared he got slower during both his jumpers runs, possible due to the higher jumps & spreads. It is much more typical for dogs to speed up as the run progresses = going towards reinforcement [at end of run, outside ring].
I believe in addition to MAC's February USDAA show, On The Run is doing one or two winter USDAA shows coming up.

Lynnda L  –   – ( September 6, 2011 at 12:36 PM )  

I forgot to mention that when the dog is stressed at trials, the first thing that goes is the weaves! [Just ask Darcy Roessler with Rousier! Or me & Java/Sam. Ringo just barks at me....]
I now have watched the video -- on the Gamblers run "missed front cross" [after the teeter], *you* took your eyes off your dog & missed his momentary lack of focus.
Glad you had your dog back. And nice running dogwalk & most of the A-frames [at least two were barely in the yellow].
Have you tried a Thundershirt yet? And how are the car rides? [Sorry if I have missed an update on car riding...]
Thanks for posting.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( September 6, 2011 at 6:04 PM )  

I hadn't thought about all the little differences. I guess I only knew about the taller jumps and the higher aframe!

I've borrowed a thundershirt and have been trying it for a week. So far it hasn't made any difference. Most days he is OK in the car (mild panting) if I give him his Xanax at least 90min prior to leaving. But on mornings where that is not possible and sometimes in the evenings, he still has huge panic attacks with major panting and trembling.

Loretta Mueller  – ( September 8, 2011 at 10:52 AM )  

NO idea where the massive influx of skorts came from...honestly. Just weird :)

I'm glad Vito was better on Sunday!! Poor dude!!

Hope you had fun tenting with us...or didn't at least get grossed out by our conversations, which tend to go downhill QUICK! :)

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