Sunday, November 4, 2007

AgileDogs CPE Trial @ the Big E Fairgrounds

Ike and I had a GREAT day yesterday out in West Springfield. We Qualified and placed in 4 out of 5 runs and earned our Level One Handler Games Title (part of the Level One Title)! Ike and I have come a HUGE way since our first CPE trial in August where we had our first qualifying run.

Yesterday we were entered and competed in Snooker, Wildcard, Colors, and two Standard runs.

The trial was held at the Mallary Building in the Big E Fairgrounds (or, compound! Holy Cow!). The mats that were used on the cement are a brand new product called True Blue K9 Training Mats (bright blue in color), 20mm thick EVA foam, interlocking design. I liked the interlocking design as it makes the mats really easy to move, etc but did not find them to be any thicker or have any more bounce than the flooring at the Shelter or other indoor venues I have been to. My feet HURT at the end of the day. Poor Ike, I can only imagine how he feels. Paging Dr. Crawshaw....

This was Ike's FIRST indoor trial. Let's just say while an audio CD certainly helps it does NOTHING to compare to the real thing/atmosphere. And joy of joys, our first run was snooker.

I have created major snooker anxiety for myself after our first snooker-scapade. In August this was our last run at the end of our first trial on a brutally hot day. My brain was fried and I was super-stressed about what the heck snooker was all about. Ike took one jump, because I begged him to, saw my (ferret)friend Michele outside the fenced field, ran over to where she was and literally tried to dig UNDER the snow fencing. It was hysterically desperate. Poor Ikey.

Yesterday Snooker was our first run of the day and for the first time the game itself made sense to me (yes, doing does make it much easier than *thinking* about doing). Hooray!!

Unfortunately (or so I thought at the time) Ike was out in La-La Land. He was back to his slow-self as he took in the ambient noise, bleachers, etc. My thought....CRAP - oh well, first indoor trial, what's to be expected.

Brief review, in Snooker the handler and dog must complete a red jump in order to complete a colored obstacle. You do this three times before completing the closing which consists of obstacles numbered 2 thru 7. Each obstacle is worth the points it is numbered. In the opening sequence the handler can choose to do red jump (1point) + A-frame (7 points), different red jump + A-frame again, etc. in order to accumulate as many points as possible. In Level One the handler-dog team must accumulate 28 points.

Ike and I did red jump (1pt), tire (5pts), red jump (1pt), a-frame (7pts), red jump (1pt), wing jump (2pts). Then we had to do the wing jump again in order to start the closing sequence. The buzzer went off on the down contact of the A-Frame, the final obstacle, so we got those points as well. And ran for the table. Having never successfully completed a snooker course I assumed that we were disqualified. Oh well, I felt really good about what we accomplished - getting Ike to focus on me in this very exciting environment.

I worked as the timer for the level 3/S/4/5/C classes (this seriously lasted about 2 hrs! There were 750 runs yesterday) and a Schnauzer friend I made in Adams asked the scorerunner to let me know that Ike and I had Q'd and placed 2nd. Holy CoW!!!

I was happy with the way Ike had performed prior to finding out we had Qualified. The fact that we Qualified, well that was just too exciting.

After my two-plus hours of timing Snooker for the upper levels I took the boy out for a walk in the raw-raw world and got ready for Wildcard (the only class we Qualified in-in August). I like this class and can't wait to play it at the higher levels. Basically you have a course that requires you to take one "hard" obstacle and two "easy" obstacles (in Level One, the amount of obstacle, etc change as you move up). If your dog is not really tuned into you can really have to do some thinking on the fly. Fortunately, as Eliza pointed out, Ike is with me 90% of the time. That's why we got our Handler Title!

So this course started with two jumps that led to your first obstacle choice, broad jump (Hard) or straight jump (Easy), leading into a curved tunnel that had to be entered from the left (directly in front of the broad jump), coming out of the tunnel was your second obstacle choice tunnel (E) or A-Frame (H) onto a pinwheel that lead into either the tunnel (E) or series of jumps (H) ending with the tire.

Ike and I did jump (E), A-frame (H), tunnel (E). Originally I intended to do the broad jump, tunnel, tunnel. However, sometimes Ike and I miscommunicate and the way the course was set up I had a feeling if I chose the broad jump, coming out of the tunnel Ike was going to be inclined to take the A-frame when I wanted him to take the tunnel. Weird, I don't know why I felt this, just the layout. So I went with my second choice which I thought was a little bit harder but worked out perfect! Q and 2nd place. Yay, Ike.

Next was Colors, which at Level One is too easy for words. I say that because my dog does what I want the majority of the time. If he didn't I can see how all of these game classes can be a complete nightmare. Colors is essentially two different courses that share some commonalities. At the start line you have to tell the judge whether you are running white or red. If you go off course during your run you are whistled off. Very easy, sweet run. Can't wait to do this at a higher level. Q and 2nd place.

About two hours later we ended the day with our two Standard runs. The first Standard run Ike made a very odd decision. During the first third of the course your dog takes the dogwalk - there is a tunnel beneath/beside it, but it was absolutely NOT a discrimination issue because of the way the tunnel was angled. Ike had two paws on the contact and suddenly decided to do the tunnel! It was hysterical. He also blew by one jump. I could tell by his pace and the way he was running that he was EXHAUSTED. The fact that he saw the tunnel and thought, "Well, that's WAY easier than the dogwalk" says it all. No Q but a good run for belly laughs.

I put Ike in his crate and let him snooze for about 20 minutes and then we had our final Standard run which was great. Ike was still moving a bit slower as he was EXHAUSTED, but we ran really well together and ran clean. Hooray for Ike!! We got our first CPE Standard Q!!

We were chasing our Schnauzer friend Jane and her dog Daisy's heels all day. She is a lucky Schnauzer owner - her dog LOVES to run.

A brief run down on what a Level One Title consists of:

  • The Standard Level One Title (Two Legs in Standard)
  • Handler Games Title (Two legs, One Colors + One Wildcard)
  • Strategy Games Title (Two Legs, One Snooker + One Jackpot)
  • Fun Games Title (Two Legs, One Fullhouse + One Jumpers)

Ike and I have completed no classes toward our Fun Games Title and need another Standard Q and a Jackpot Q for our Standard Level 1 Title and Strategy Games Title, respectively. We are competing next weekend in the All Dogs Gym CPE Trial in Manchester, so we'll see what we can do!

We had a blast this weekend. CPE people are awesome; So, so friendly. We made some nice friends that I am really looking forward to seeing at future CPE Trials. And we got to meet Deco, a Cardigan Corgi, who's son might be bred to Destiny the bitch that stayed with Katrin earlier this summer. He was gorgeous. Unfortunately he did not sell John on Cardigans. He is thinking about Aussies. Katrin, I think we have to pull out the big guns and introduce him to Monty.

Ike thought the best part of the weekend was staying at the Red Roof Inn. He found the comforter delightful!! Oh, and trialing sick is not like working sick (granted I did take a Claritan and was drinking Vitamin Water all day). Although, hmmmm, I did end up sleeping until 11am this morning which is UNHEARD of for me.


Katrin said...

Ok, ok, what are we having for dinner? And when? Mont & I will be there! :-)

CONGRATS on the great day!!!! Whoo-Hoo!!!

Katrin said...

And I will inform Monty that he MUST be on his best behavior and NOT torment the birds or the g-pigs! hehe.

JULES & IKE said...

If you can eat Chinese, there is a place near hear that John claims is better than any other. Also a good Thai place somewhat nearby. Let's figure out hwat doesn't have gluten and then ambush John!!

Thank you - we had an awesome time.

Katrin said...

I love Thai! And can usually eat that. OR most chinese is ok too. Either works for me.

ann & partner said...

Congratulations Julie. Where did you get the energy? It sounds exhausting!

Shelly said...


Cat and Tessie said...

"snooker-scapade" -- another great 'Julie-ism'! ;)

Gooo Ike!

Gah, I wish I could take the puppy to the All Dogs trial this weekend for socialization. I love that place, even if it is FREEZING ALL THE TIME WHAT THE HELL. Dan and I pack blankets. Anyway, I may make it Sunday depending on my work schedule and Dan's. :) So you might have a little Sheltie supporter.

And how did you not know Shelties come in blue merle? ;) Strata will stay as dark as he is.

JULES & IKE said...

I'm a goober!! That's how!

Alas, we will only be there on Saturday. I am looking forward to it!!