Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DAM Team (Tournament Trial Pt. I)

My dogs are awesome. We attended a 1-day Tournament only trial put on by our club on the 28th. I was a bit worried about it because we knew it was going to be a very long day (our club needs to stop kidding itself—it draws a lot of entries!) And in USDAA, there are no limits.

We arrived at 6:30 am (had to get up at 4:30!), and were there until 11 pm, then had to drive home. There were around 700 runs that day, yikes! Jonathan and I acted as assistant trial secretaries for the show (only one other person in the club knows how to score). So when we weren’t running, we were working. All day!

But, it was all worth is because our dogs were stellar!

I should mention that this certainly puts things in perspective, because I think Lexi and I made at least 1 mistake on every run, but because you can make a mistake in Team and still Q, I feel really awesome about the whole day. Usually one mistake keeps you from Qing, and I feel crummy about the day. Stupid Qs. Ruins your perspective for sure!

Before I get to the videos, I have to thank Diana (and Java) who were kind enough to share their Julius K9 harness with us. Lexi didn’t seem to mind it, and I really prefer it to the slip leash we’ve been using (the dogs struggle when we try to pull it off since it gets caught in their fur). I’ve ordered personalized stickers for the side, but you will have to stay tuned for that!

Team Standard:

The beginning was lovely. I got a nice turn to the a-frame, but I will say that I thought her going behind me after the double was entirely her fault. My arm is up as soon as she exits the chute, I’m saying her name and looking at her. Naughty girl! Just something we need to work on. I didn’t want to decelerate as she went into the chute because I was afraid I wouldn’t beat her out to cue the double. Beautiful teeter on this run. I wish you could see the next part because it was really tough and Lexi was great. First, her (my?) nemesis, a send at 14, then she had to converge and push out to 16. No problem! She did break her dogwalk a touch early (you can hear me say “Ohhhh! You cheater!” but that’s okay.

I think I’ve said this before—my husband doesn’t read my blog so I can give him a really hard time He is not running! He is slowly jogging! Bentley actually beats him out of the weave poles. Jonathan needs to encourage and hustle, not jog indifferently! Also, he is doing the airplane arms here. We’ve been giving him a hard time about it. Notice that his arms are up and waving around almost the whole run. Bentley, on the other hand, did great! Definitely his best dogwalk contact in a long time. Good boy!

Team Snooker:
Snooker was next, and I was panicking. I’ve never run Masters Snooker, and I’ve never run Lexi in Snooker. The combination had me totally worried! Jonathan said he’d help me with a plan, but then he made me make my own. It worked out, but I was really worried about it.

This course ate up a lot of really experienced handlers, and I was really proud of how it went. Was it the smoothest? Nope! But it wasn’t half bad! I was one of the few people that started where I did, and my plan worked out really well. Lexi had one of the highest scores of all the dogs there. Specifically, I was particularly proud of her serpentine to the weaves and out (please, ignore my silly dancing “please don’t take this jump” antics on the way to the tunnel!) A little bummed that she popped the weaves (guess it was my rear cross?) but who cares, the rest was lovely!

Bentley, well, not much to say about Bentley’s run here. Oddly he popped the weaves (he only did it this once all day, so I think it was just a fluke) and Jonathan didn’t notice. He ended up with 1 point! I had to laugh because that’s pretty atypical for him!

Team Gamblers:

This was an interesting course. Team gambles are usually more time related than distance/send related, and this was no exception. If you can’t see on the course map, you could accumulate your points in the opening, but in the closing the two obstacles (couldn’t be another contact) taken after a contact were worth double the amoint of points. But, you could only use each contact once. And if you didn’t make it to the finish jump before the buzzer sounded, you lost the last two obstacles you correctly performed.

Let me just say, that is the first time that I have really pushed Lexi for speed. When that buzzer went off I knew I didn’t have much time so I had to do the whole outer perimeter as fast as possible. Unfortunately, we still didn’t make it (I should have gotten her to the teeter faster!), but I was so proud at how she did. Some wonderful things about this run:
1) I planned a great course for my dog. Not a ton of turning, so I was able to take advantage of her speed. We lost 7 points since we didn’t make it, and still had one of the top 3 scores. If I had gotten her to the teeter sooner, we would have beaten everyone by 5 points!
2) She broke her first dogwalk contact, and I marked it. The second time she held it like a champ!
3) No dropped bars even when she was running all-out.

Well, my husband had a similar plan, and managed to get Bentley on the teeter earlier than I did with Lexi, but still didn’t make it out. But, they did look really good and I could tell he got a little more speed out of him (though he jumps the dogwalk when Jonathan is cheering him on!)

Team Jumpers:

To me, this was a really hard course. Watching other championship dogs run it (especially the big dogs with big strides), I knew we would have trouble at the blue jump (13), and I also knew the end would be tough. I managed to keep us from being eliminated, but it wasn’t pretty! Getting to the blue tunnel she did really well checking in with me as a lot of dogs went off course there. I didn’t think she’d miss the jump coming out of the tunnel (10) since she tends to shoot out of tunnels, but she kept me honest and came in towards me out of the far tunnel (like a good girl) since I didn’t tell her otherwise. I hope you enjoy my lovely awkward semi-rear cross at the end!

Bentley did really well on this course, but this is definitely his type of course! He does just fine on the tighter turns (though he briefly considers back jumping at that hard to get to blue jump!) I really love the push/pull happening at the end. Very nice.

And last, and definitely least
Team Relay:
Each of us had one fault! Clever (our trainer runs her in USDAA) got a refusal, Bentley jumped his dogwalk (I assume a direct result of Jonathan allowing him to early release in the previous attempt during Gamblers), and Lexi dropped a bar. I felt like I showed her the right information using a backy uppy but I think maybe she couldn’t see because of how I was positioned.

Either way, we ended the day with a Q and FIRST PLACE out of all the teams there! I figure that’s pretty good considering there were a lot of great teams (and we were all small dogs!) Also, Lexi scored the most points in her height class, and the 4th most overall!

Jenn & Clever, Me & Lexi, Jonathan & Bentley 1st Place DAM Team "The 'A' Team"!


  1. Congratulations! All I can say is WOW! Love how Lexi is enthusiastic about every of her run. The Julius harness looks great on her! I started out with the Julius harness with my boys but later found it too heavy and too hot for them in the summer, so I now have a fleece harness, very similar to Julius and it's so lightweight as well, You can have them tailor made at:

  2. Awesome runs!! You guys are looking great. Wish we could see you at CPA next weekend. Come down to LCDA for a trial soon - we miss you!

  3. Well done!!! Congrats, that is just so fantastic (being the top 16inch dog). I cracked up at your arms at the end of your jumpers run.
    What an awesome weekend.
    Just FYI, I wont be at CPA. To much traveling for me.

    Im glad someone is using the harness. All Java did was try to burry the thing. LOL