Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Syd's Agility Trials, Continued

Syd was entered in two days of trials after her fun time at Wentzville a few weeks ago. Friday, in a cold and windy Iowa, her jumpers run was going well, but when we got to the weaves, I lost her attention, and she had a Reactive Moment. This arena uses the open , tubular steel cattle fencing. There is no visual barrier between the ring and the very crowded crating area, and the fencing is large enough for dogs to crawl through. Someone was walking down the narrow aisle next to the Jumpers ring with a GSD, and when I lost Syd's attention, she went over to the fence, stood back about 3 feet, and barked 5 or 6 times at the GSD. The judge whistled, and I was on my dog with a very insistent DOWN. Thankfully, Syd dropped instantly and responded very well, and I escorted her out of the ring. She was not overdone or having a panic attack, but this was definitely a worthwhile experience that showed me that Syd still has a stress reaction and we have to keep working hard.

Next up was the Standard course. Syd was amazing, and SOOO fast. She did not seem to remember her stress on the Jumpers course, and she paid no attention to anything outside of the ring. It was a SIT on the table, and Syd did get a nice giggle from the judge when her sit began with a "sit pretty" but thankfully turned into a regular sit. :-) We had only the chute and tire to go, and Syd just blatantly ran behind me and over to the teeter. She's had some trouble getting up speed on the teeter, so it gets great reward at practice. Perhaps she thought she should try it again during the trial! It was just too late, she was on the teeter before I could really figure out where she was headed, so an NQ. But I have no complaints, she ran with me, and she had fun and tried her best.

Fast forward to Sunday, and a town south of Kansas City... Kane and Syd were entered in just Jumpers (we have to get better about early entries for agility!). Kane, well, you might have read on the HurrikaneChronicles that Kane was 20 seconds over course time. Syd was on fire on that jumpers course, but she got ahead of herself and popped out of the weaves at the end. We wasted a lot of time at the weave poles. But she was a speed demon and almost literally got "Wound up" on the 5 through 8 pinwheel combination! The dirt was flying for the rest of the course. The jump from 11 to 12 (course map below) was a tight turn, and it turns out that Syd just doesn't have the experience yet to correct herself. She came flying, but got a foot caught in the jump and took the jump and herself down. I hate seeing the dogs land on their chest and chin, but thankfully Syd was up in an instant and back on the course. She finished a full 8.5 seconds under course time, and that includes the seconds we burned at the weaves! Syd got lots of applause at the trial, and people came up to me to tell me how great she ran, and what a neat dog she is. That really made me feel good, like Syd is on the right track, and we've come a long way in the last 18 months. I really can't explain how proud I am of my girl, and how glad I am that she's found her love in agility.

Here's the course map from the Carthage, MO Jumpers run, where Syd took a spill between 11 and 12, but otherwise ran an amazing run.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Good and Normal

huh? I know, not two words I usually associate with my little angel, Sydney. But, today she got lots of mail. Her agility height card came today so she'll be spared all the measuring at trials from now on. But more importantly, her OFA results came back for her hips and elbows. I'm quite happy and relieved to have the results of OFA Hips: Good, and OFA Elbows: Normal. Yay Syd!