Monday, May 12, 2008

Act-Up CPE Trial

This weekend was Act-Up’s first CPE trial. I entered Ike in both days. Saturday was …. Tough. Ike did NOT want to play, at all. The first two runs were Snooker, a game class, which I like. In these two runs I was at least able to get Ike off the line – although it was only with much cajoling. Next run was Wildcard. Ike ran, Q’d, and placed first. Again it required MUCH cajoling to get him off the line. Once he was moving he worked well with me. Wildcard and Colors are his two favorite CPE classes. We are in mostly levels 1 and 2 EXCEPT for Wildcard! We are in Level 3 in Wildcard. The final two runs were Fullhouse and Standard - Ike would not BUDGE from the line. During the Standard run he actually started to leave the ring. The judge asked if I wanted to run him For Exhibition Only (on leash - which CPE allows). I said “No, he’s just neurotic.” If I had put a leash on him and done that I would have been DRAGGING him, AND then he would REALLY hate trialing. He was telling me in NO uncertain terms that he did not want to play.

One of the Act-Up members is a chiropractor and an animal communicator. Another club member suggested I go and talk to her. We muscle tested Ike and he did not want to play on Sunday. I kind of figured that. All along I have known that Ike does agility with me because he wants to be with me – not because he inherently enjoys it. He likes to play with me. Lately, as I have become more focused he has become weirder. The month prior to his surgery he was off. I am going to talk to the vet about titering him to get an idea of where his Lyme count is. He tested Lyme positive years ago with my old vet (who I really didn’t like). I have never done titers on his Lyme count and now I wonder if this current moodiness is related to it. Even for Ike this is extreme. It could also be related to the fact that I am under a lot of stress at work, home, Bug just came home, and we are dog sitting (yes, I know I have a lot going on). My only question about whether it could be a Lyme flare-up is – considering he has been on a boatload of antibiotics for his foot, shouldn't those same antibiotics have taken care of a Lyme flare-up? So, it could be Lyme, it could be he is stressed because I am stressed, it could be he is just sick of playing since I don’t get the message that agility isn’t his first love.

Ike and Buggy are going to see Dr. Anne on Wednesday and Cheryl (chiropractor) suggested I have Anne test him for Lyme. She said Catsclaw is often very successful with Lyme.

I don’t know what I am going to do. I am definitely giving Ike some extended time off. I am taking my C-ATCH dreams for Ike completely off the table – and I plan on leaving them off the table irregardless of whether Ike and I are able to find a happy medium. There are many other possibilities – Rally and tracking to name just two. There are also still agility possibilities. CPE has something called a Point Level title – you have to accrue a ridiculous amount of points for the level and maybe if Ike decides he wants to play agility again I will do that and just keep him in Level 1. Who knows. LOTS to think on.

Sunday is a completely different story. Since Ike made it clear he didn’t want to play, I ran Carmen. Yes, you read correctly. I registered Carmen with CPE and NADAC a few weeks ago and luckily for me she was already in the database!

I was very nervous about it, but Carmen was AWESOME. In Level 1 CPE there are no weaves or teeter, which is really nice because you can get trial experience without reinforcing behaviors you don’t want to see later in your career (like incomplete weave performances or bailing off the teeter).

Carmen has not seen a lot of contacts and after her hesitation about doing the A-frame during my private with Erin – that was my biggest concern. Would she bail or be unwilling to commit to the contact obstacles? Would I create a contact monster? Ha! Carmen was STELLAR. The first run was Standard and she actually had an off-course to take the A-frame a second time. Yay!! First place and her first Qualifying score!

The next class was Jackpot – which is like Gamblers. It was a non-traditional Jackpot which meant the judge could change the rules. The judge created a gamble box with three different gambles worth different amounts of points. The only hitch was if you didn’t make the gamble you didn’t get any points for the obstacles in the failed gamble. So if you were wasting loads of time trying to get the gamble and you finally got it, but the whistle blew you would ONLY have the gamble points. The gambles were similar so my plan was to go for one version and if Carmen wasn’t willing to take the distance challenge (a jump between two tunnels), I would see if I could pattern train her by supporting the jump and then doing a different gamble that also included the same sequence. It didn’t work, but I do think it was a good idea! : D So, we had fun for the rest of the run.

Carmen also ran Colors and two Jumpers courses. Colors is two simple courses that overlap in one place to create a discrimination issue. The handler must tell the judge which course they will be running and if your dog chooses the course for you – NQ. Colors and Wildcard are part of the Handler title because the onus is on the handler to have a good connection with their dog.

Carmen qualified and placed first in all three classes! Like I said, she was phenomonal. Part of it is her foundation in Katrin’s ABC class, part of it is her work ethic and personality, and part of it is I am a better handler and our relationship isn’t gummed up by tons of history; for a Schnauzer Carmen is extremely biddable.

I brought Ike to cheerlead and hang out with, and he seemed MUCH happier with this arrangement. The three of us took a mini-hike in the woods nearby and I promised Ike he wouldn’t have to do any agility. He got a knuckle bone and a kong as well as loads of treats and walks. I don’t know if this is what he wants, but I think it is what he prefers at the moment. We will see if there is anything going on with his Lyme titer, or if it is an adjustment issue with Bug and having Nellie staying with us.

My intention was to maybe start running Carmen in the fall. I registered her now because CPE registration takes about six weeks and I didn’t want to be dealing with a last minute situation. I am glad I decided to run her Sunday. Her first weekend out and she ran in 5 classes and Q’d in 4. I would call that an auspicious start.


Katrin said...

Yeah Julie!!!! (for listening to your dog, and getting the judge to think you were 'under age' :-P)

And Yeah Carmen!!!!!!!

(sorry no cool word verification to celebrate :-(

ann & partner said...

You are an amazing woman, Julie!!

Jules and Ike said...

Thanks, ladies. It was certainly an interesting weekend!

manymuddypaws said...

good for you Julie! It is great that you care about what your dog thinks and wants to do (or not) Ike is a good boy, but as you mentioned does it purely for you and I think it is good that you take that into consideration.

And how awesome for Carmen!!! Woohoo!

Liz said...

Hi Julie-I am Shelby's owner-the little white terrier who ran after Ike on Sat. I was really impressed how you waited Ike out at the start line on the wildcard run. He really thought long and hard about it, but he did great once he got going. :-)
I have the opposite problem with Sheby. She loves being in the ring, but it can be hard to keep her focus when all she wants to do is run. That's why jumpers is her favorite-lots of running!

Jules and Ike said...

Thanks, MMP. I am getting better at hearing what Ike is telling me. It hurts both of us, I think. Him because I don't always get the message the first time and me cause I feel like a heel for being so dense sometimes!!

Liz, I remember Shelby; Ike wanted to sniff her desperately. Thank you for stopping by! Very exciting.

Blue said...

I'm a little behind, but yay for Carmen!!! That's so cool that she did so well at the trial! And also awesome that you knew when Ike needed a break. It sounds like you guys had a great weekend. :)

Jules and Ike said...

Yeah, it was interesting - both good and bad, but mostly good!