Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2010 AKC NATIONALS - Tulsa, OK

AKC Nationals were held last weekend in Tulsa, OK. Tulsa is a lovely site, with plenty of room for parking and crating! That’s always a HUGE PLUS! The only down side to the crating area is that it was COLD! Inside the trial area was a little better, but it was coated conditions for those that were not running a dog.

The set up was three large rings in one building and one large ring in an adjacent building. Shopping was also available in a separate area. The shopping wasn’t bad! I only purchased one item however, other than Zukes Dog Treats. Seeker got a new red squeaky ball! He LOVES IT! Bill and I are still undecided. At least when he’s outside I’ll now ALWAYS know where he’s at! It has a VERY loud squeaky! Guess what YOU’LL all be getting for Christmas!!!

The nice thing about Nationals is you get to see some of the fastest dogs in the country. Amazingly enough, many of those are from the Midwest! GO US!!! I spent the majority of my time watching and filming the 61 dogs in the 26” class. They were impressive, with Course Times right with the 20” jump height! Yes, I know, those darn Border Collies! There were a few other breeds competing as well; several Poodles, a couple of Goldens, a couple of Aussies, and singles of the Terv, Dobe, Mal and yes, even an Afghan Hound!

Bill and Kruz did very well over all. They didn’t have any ‘clean runs’, but a lot of very close ones! This was Kruz’s last weekend at the 20” jump height and Bill’s first National running a dog. I think they both had a good time. Kruz didn’t knock one bar all weekend! Bill however, took one off the jump with his index finger!! Nice job SAL!!!

The 20” class is known as the “Class that NEVER ends”! No matter where you go, it’s HUGE! Probably due to the fact that so many dogs fall into that height – 18-22”. The class had 270 dogs and Kruz ended up close to the middle at 156. Not bad!

Carrie and Addie also made a nice showing with 2 clean runs. They continue to battle that dog walk contact, but I’ll sure they’ll find a solution. Carrie got to walk a couple courses with Greg, so I’m sure she’ll share THAT with Rilda!

The 12” class had 168 participants and Addie ended up at a respectable 90th place. Nice job for their First National Event!

Seeker was pretty bored all weekend. He did get to play with the practice jumps early in the morning. The 30 Minute General Walk-through started at 6 AM on Saturday and Sunday! If you were there at 6:30, you were too late and had to accept your 8 minute Group Walk-through.

I debated on putting a video together, and then decided to show one agility run. It’s something we could ALL envision happening to us. Well, maybe not, as this dog really was following his handler well! Not only that, he’s the most interestingly marked Border Collie I think I’ve ever seen. He’s a Black Tri, with a split face and minimal white everywhere else. He has a close encounter of the “BUTT” kind. You’ll have to watch, you can’t miss it! I think it’s on the way to jump #3. ENJOY!
He really is a nice working dog, it's too bad this 'freak' thing had to happen.

The rumor for next year is Perry, GA. It would be nice of the ‘Preferred’ entry was larger next year. There were only 75 total entries in the First Time Offered – Preferred Nationals.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Entry Fees - Now we're talking MONEY!

I was talking with someone the other day about registering his Non-AKC purebred dog with the AKC. AKC is now allowing ‘Rare Breeds’ as well as ‘Mix Breed’ dogs to be registered, and thus eligible to be entered in performance events. He was voicing his concern over the high AKC entry fees. He couldn’t believe how much more the AKC Fees were, when compared to the Terrier Clubs or NADAC entry fees. I know blog material when I hear it, so I did a comparison.

I should mention here that I have shown in all these venues at one time or another. I’m not trying to point one out as better than any other. This is purely dollars and cents!

I decided that not only a comparison in entry fees would be in order, but also, what it takes to get into each Venue’s Nationals. It was rather interesting.

(At some point I’ll figure out the cost of your MACH/ADCH/NATCH Championships)

These figures are Entry Fees ONLY!! (Per Dog)
Based on 100% Qualifying Rate.
(Now that's realistic!)

It does not include travel time, missed work, gas, lodging or food.


Runs can cost $10 - $12 each. For simplicity sake, let’s say $10.

The norm seems to be a possible 6 runs a day, if you do them all, thus $120 for a two day weekend.

Nationals – Out West in WY or UT

Points must be earned at the Open or Elite Levels.

You need 120 points from Standard and then 20 points from each of the 6 games.
You can earn 5 pt Q’s, but for simplicity sake, let’s say you do it with all clean runs at 10 points each.

Standard = $120
Games = $120
Total to get to Nationals = $240


Entry Fees -
Double Standards + Single Games (Jumpers/Snooker/Gamblers/Pairs) = $72 ($12 each)
Double Standards + Double Games (Jumpers/Snooker/Gamblers/Pairs) = $120 ($12 each)
Tournaments – (Team = $60 (5 runs)) Steeple Chase = $20, Grand Prix = $20

You do not need to be in a particular performance level (Starters/Advanced/Masters) in order to qualify for USDAA Nationals. Anyone can go if you get the Tournament Qualifiers. You are not required to Qualify for all 3.

Needed for Nationals (Each Event) –
Nationals had been in AZ for a number of years.
In 2010 it will be in KY.

2 – Q’s - Steeple Chase = $40
2 – Q’s – Grand Prix = $40
1 – Q – Team = $60

Total to get to Nationals (all classes) = $140


Standard + Jumpers W/ Weaves = $35 (2 runs)

AKC does offer a FAST game class, but not many people seem to do it much anymore. It’s not required for your MACH and it makes a long day even longer.

Nationals – 2010 in Tulsa, OK, numbers down significantly. Even with the addition of the Preferred dogs. Location rotates throughout the United States.

6 DQs + 400 MACH points – Q’s and Points must come from the Excellent B level Classes. Points are earned by being under the Standard Course Time (SCT). The faster you are, the more points you earn. FAST Q’s not required.

$210 for DQs
$577 for 400 points (based on 12 pts per run)
Total to get to Nationals = $787

So, what does this mean in the ‘grand scheme of things’?

Absolutely NOTHING!

It’s just an interesting comparison between the different venues,
costs and requirements.

In the grand scheme of things, there are a lot less ‘healthy’
ways in which to spend your money.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Fun Weekend in Des Moines!!

Thank You Meme for the VIDEO!!!

The DMOTC Agility trials are always an ORANGE TEAM FAVORITE!!

We even had birthdays to celebrate!!

That's another post!

Maybe tomorrow?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Congratulations Judy and Iggy TD!!!

Kalista's It's All About Me Iggy TD OA AXJ WWD


The drive down to Nashville Saturday was great, it took me about 5 hours. I decided to first visit the Hermitage, Home of Andrew Jackson where the test was to be given. I later learned they have 9000 acres of rolling fallow meadows and had ample room for the six tracks.
Of course the flags were already in the fields, so I quickly drove around and headed out before anyone thought I was cheating. Red Roof was several miles away on #40 so I checked in around 4:00, showered, walked Iggy and dressed for dinner.

Did I mention the Nashville club had invited all participants to share dinner with the club members involved and Judges. They sent me direction to Ellendale's Italian restaurant , it was only about a mile away, and the food was delicious!! It was really nice to relax, meet new friends, and share canine stories. If I had been at the motel I would have had more time to get nervous!
Upon leaving the restaurant they said " See you for breakfast at 7:30, track drawing is at 8:00!" What breakfast too! . . they said, of course, our members love to cook!

Well Iggy and I arrived at 7:30 ready for breakfast . . . . I never miss breakfast, even when trialing. It was truly delicious. I started out with cheese grits . . OH how I love grits, only the south knows how to fix grits! followed by an egg casserole, pigs in a blanket (wieners wrapped in dough), coffee and I skipped the array of sweet rolls. (Now you would think I would be to full to track) Next came the drawing and since I was #1 to get in, I got to put my hand in a basket full of green grass and pull a gold coin with the number #2 on the back. They then handed me a little green hat for Iggy to wear for St. Patrick's Day. cute, cute!

I would run track 2 and I had some more time to collect myself and potty before we ran. I hate to be at the end because my nerves get so much in a tangle I make mistakes.

Off we drove to track #1 to watch a Westie from a distance. He was very, very, cute but slow as molasses. He would walk a few steps, stop, look around before going further. IT TOOK AROUND 20 MINUTES BEFORE HE FOUND HIS GLOVE. We all felt we earned it with him! I told those watching that they wouldn't have long to wait for Iggy as he usually ran fast!

Track #2, we line up around 10 feet behind the first flag to help him further acquire the scent before picking up the cute St. Patrick's Day bandanna. He's off !!! (did I mention he has the bad habit of eating the orange flags, or at least bit ting a piece before taking off again) Now the club flags were the taller poles with a nice bigger flag and yes he did leap up to grab the flag before running ahead to the next at 30 yards. After his usual beginning he towed me straight ahead at a fast clip. We had two turns running a little up hill before we turned again around some giant tree, I thought we were to close to the tree but I kept saying "Trust your dog!" and he continued on for one more turn to find the GLOVE!! Of course I leaped in the air, ran to him, through the glove several time in the air for him to catch before hugging our Judge who by the way said "The spectators didn't need to follow their map, Iggy ran so deliberately they didn't
need one". He also said "Nice handling" That one meant the most but I felt I was only along for the ride . .so to speak. I think the biggest part is I trusted Iggy!

Now, I forgot to mention something sort of important, I guess I should have told this sooner. I have found that Iggy loves great rewards, especially when he runs a great track. So, I have found that buying a small can of liver or lamb cat food and opening it in the car, right before we run, gives him great motivation and thus we run back after completion of a nice run to JACKPOT !! He enjoyed every morsel!

Track #3 - Irish Water Spaniel - failed, Track #4 A Rhodesian Ridgeback who ran almost as fast as Iggy - passed, Track #5 a Beagle, very cute but caught the sent of something and wouldn't make a turn, Track #6 a Shetland Sheepdog (tracking Judge owner) also failed.

Next followed a wonderful pitch-in lunch and pictures. Again the food was delicious and although I thought I would be really sleeping driving home at 1:30, I was still on an exhilarated high!

p.s. As you know this has taken me a least 3 years to reach this goal. Iggy always could track, I could not alway read what he had to say. Running as fast as he does, being sort of old, I found it difficult to look at him, watch my step and trust him. He also has matured and has become more confident in tracking and agility for that matter.

We will continue to train for a TDX but I think I'm in for a journey, especially when running through the woods and thickets.

Love you all,

Judy,Iggy TD,, OA, AXJ, WWD and Ziva

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Agility Trial Surfaces – What’s your favorite?

Do you like to run on dirt, grass, soccer turf, carpet, or mats?

There are so many agility trials anymore that you can, not only show to the judges you like, you can also choose your surface preference. Isn’t that GREAT!!!

There was a time, not too long ago, when you went to a trial because there ‘was one’. These were held almost exclusively on grass, which limited our trialing season to about 6 months of the year. At times, even that was pushing it. After a few cold and rainy days, you learned what you needed to pack in order to survive. Almost everyone owned some kind of a shade/water shelter, rain coats and a variety of Gore-Tex or rubber footwear.

Then some wise person discovered DIRT! Yes, you horse people move over! Someone let the DOGS OUT! Running on dirt! Wow would have thunk it! We were in HEAVEN!! We were dry, somewhat warm, and okay, a bit dusty. This opened up 6 more months of trialing! If you were willing to take drive in the ice and snow!

Finally, turf was discovered. Probably by some agility enthusiast that realized hauling their kids to soccer tournaments was a total waste of time, when instead they could be using the same surface to run their dogs on! MOVE OVER KIDS! This not only allowed us exhibitors to show 12 months of the year, it was in a heated or cooled environment! It’s kind of hard to beat that! To top it off, many of these sold ALCOHOL! LOL

Back to the original question; which surface is your favorite?

For myself, my favorite surface would have to be dirt. The only down side is…it’s so DUSTY! Clubs seem to really struggle with finding the right balance between too dry and too wet. Thus, often times the crating areas become unbearably dusty. I like the overall traction that dirt provides, along with the cushion, if it’s properly maintained. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s my personal favorite.

My second favorite would be outside on grass. This is probably the result of actually being OUTSIDE, rather than the grass surface itself. On a perfect day, with sunny skies and mild temperatures, nothing can touch it! Not to mention your best agility pictures are taken outside!

When running on grass it’s important to have the grass cut to the correct length or it can become slick. After too many runs, it also has the tendency to get matted down and slippery. Add rain and there’s a new obstacle to overcome. I must admit, some of my greatest runs with our dogs have been during the rain! Crazy, but true. I’m probably one of the few people that don’t mind running in the rain.

Turf would have to be 3rd. I like running on turf, but find it more slippery than the top two choices. Surprisingly, it’s our Portuguese Water Dogs that tend to slip on it the most. I’m not saying that the Border Collies never do, but more often I’ve noticed it in the PWDs. Maybe it’s their more upright running style. The only trial injury we’ve had on one of our dogs was from slipping on soccer turf.

Turf also seems to directional, meaning it has a tendency to favor one direction over the other. This may be why some dogs seem to slip more when turning on turf. I do like the overall consistency of cushion when running. This cushion can sometimes cause dropped bars, in my opinion, as the dog pushes off and actually sinks as it’s taking off. Others might counter that this cushion actually springs them upward and over. I can see both sides of this argument.

I haven’t had enough experience with carpet to have a strong feeling on it either way. Seeker has worked on it a bit and it seems totally fine. I’ve never trialed on it, nor do I know any facilities that have offered this as a surface.

As for mats, well, I’ll just come out and say it, “I don’t care for mats”. Personal choice, and I do not have any bad experiences from running on mats. We use to run on mats a lot in Flyball. Our dogs needed to have their feet taped to avoid burning their pads. I have heard of this occurring in agility as well. Those complaining of burnt pads are generally dogs that have wet feet, either from a recent visit to the pool or from sweaty pads.

We are so lucky to have so many choices when it comes to running our dogs in agility. It seems that the majority of the places we’ve shown have been very open to having the dogs and welcome us back. Okay, there was one incident involving unfortunate warm February weather, mud, and a new soccer complex that didn’t turn out so well. But it wasn’t the dogs! IT WAS THE MUD!! Let’s be sure to look after all these sites so we can continue to participate in a sport we love.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Good Ole' Pop and Jerk!


Yep, that's FLYBALL BOX WORK!!

I'd say 'at it's finest', but YIKES!
We won't even go into the dog's 'form'
on the box, which is rather poor in my opinion.
No swimmer's turn there!

This is from a Flyball Training Book that was
published in 1995 or so. NOT THAT LONG AGO!

I can tell you that none of our dogs (nope, not even the BC)
would have charged to the box after a couple of corrections for it.

The theory was/(is) that the dog will try to 'avoid'
the 'pop and jerk', thus coming off the box faster.
The 'Smart Dogs' were the ones that just said "HAIL NO"
and didn't approach the box again!

Unfortunately, some dogs did want the ball so badly
that they would continue to charge the box.

We've been out of flyball for a number of years now.
I do believe that more and more Flyball Teams
have found that a great game of chase will
get a dog off the box MUCH faster than a
nice pop and jerk on the leash.

I've been sorting through boxes and totes of ribbons
and have been finding some really FUN treasures!
Old "Team Obedience" Pictures, and such.
It makes the sorting move rather slow,
when you get distracted by these things,
but it is rather entertaining!

More "Treasures" will be shared soon!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's all about the DQ!!!



(One of Seeker's first cones)

No silly....not as in AGILITY!!


It's a MUST stop on the way home
from any agility weekend.

We use to make the dogs share a cone,
but then we decided 'life is too short'.
So, everyone gets their own cone.

Seeker's cone is now put into
his empty water bucket
up side down and smashed in.
(Thanks Barbara for the idea!!)
Otherwise he eats it in one bite!

Here's a video of little Marti eating
her first Dairy Queen Cone.
Well, part of one.
I suppose she is too little yet
to have her own.

Is she cute or what!!!