Well, our first NAC is in the books and I couldn’t be happier! I wanted to run well and qualify and instead Zhora qualified in all four runs (Premier Standard on Friday, and all three NAC rounds), and she finished in 21st place out of 135 dogs. She didn’t run her fastest (it was a very overwhelming environment), but she ran her heart out, I am so proud of her!
Zhora HATES having her picture taken!
Nina came along for moral support. Here we are outside ring 6.
Thank you so much Zhora for this awesome ride!
Rings 1 and 2
Rings 1 and 2
Our stall with Flat Sue (Sue couldn’t come because of injury, so we brought Flat Sue instead!)
Nina had her best weekend in I don’t know how long. One stupid handler error today kept her from a perfect weekend. She earned QQ # 17 (JUST THREE MORE TO GO!), and didn’t knock ONE bar all weekend! Zhora had a perfect weekend, earning QQ’s 46 & 47. Judge Lisa Rieves designed some fun RLH (that’s “run like hell) courses, which are our favorite kind. Quite technical, deceptively trappy, lots of fun. A double double Q weekend that was almost a double double double Q weekend!
Nina Saturday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ # 17, first place, 17 points):
Zhora Saturday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ # 46, second place, 15 points):
Nina Saturday Time 2 Beat (first place, 10 points):
Nina Saturday Standard (part 2 of QQ # 17, first place, 26 points):
Zhora Saturday Standard (part 2 of QQ # 46, third place, 25 points):
Very fun weekend with judge John Defilippi (who is one of the judges at this year’s National Agility Championship). Roger O’Sullivan and Keebler earned their MACH 13, so nice to be able to be there to cheer them on! Nina ran beautifully, just handler errors Saturday and Sunday kept us from qualifying. Zhora earned double q’s #44 and 45 (she is now 1/4 of the way to MACH 3 already!) Saturday and Sunday. Friday was not my best day with either dog.
Zhora Friday Standard (NQ, I accidentally sent her to the off course tunnel after the double because I didn’t rotate fast enough on my front cross):
Nina Friday Standard (NQ):
Zhora Friday Time 2 Beat (Q, first place, 10 points):
Zhora Friday Premier Jumpers (NQ because I overhandled the jump before the second white tunnel):
Zhora Friday Jumpers (Q, first place, 19 points):
Zhora Saturday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ # 44, third place, 18 points):
Nina Saturday Jumpers (NQ):
Nina Saturday Standard (NQ):
Zhora Saturday Standard (part 2 of QQ #44, second place, 26 points):
Nina Saturday Standard (NQ):
Nina Saturday Time 2 Beat (Q, 8 points):
Zhora Sunday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ #45, first place, 17 points):
Nina Sunday Jumpers (I said “tunnel” when she was looking at the wrong end of the white tunnel, then training mode):
Zhora Sunday Standard (part 2 of QQ #45, second place, 28 points):
Nina Sunday Standard:
Zhora Sunday Time 2 Beat (Q, first place, 10 points):
Super fun weekend under one of our favorite judges, Laura Kuterbach! Zhora had a perfect weekend, earning QQ’s # 41 and 42 towards MACH3, plus her Time 2 Beat 2 (T2B2) title. Nina continued to run really, really well, I cost us a double Q both days with handler errors, and she put up two beautiful Standard Q’s, including saving our butts by managing to get over a jump from a crazy bad angle, and a lovely Premier Jumpers Q.
Nina Saturday Jumpers (NQ, nice run, every time I walked it I told myself to go deeper past the weaves before I made my front cross, but did I? No, and it cost us a double Q):
Zhora Saturday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ # 41, first place, 15 points):
Nina Saturday Standard (Q, first place, 30 points):
Zhora Saturday Standard (part 2 of QQ #41, second place, 29 points):
Nina Saturday Time 2 Beat (NQ, nice run):
Zhora Saturday Time 2 Beat (Q, first place, 10 points, Time 2 Beat 2 title):
Nina Sunday Premier Jumpers (Q!):
Nina Sunday Jumpers (NQ, nice run):
Zhora Sunday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ #42, third place, 16 points):
Zhora Sunday Time 2 Beat (Q, first place, 10 points):
Nina Sunday Standard (Q, second place, 29 points, she saved the Q by somehow getting over that jump near the end from a TERRIBLE angle):
Zhora Sunday Standard (part 2 of QQ #42, third place, 26 points):
MACH2 Alkemi Blade Runner LS MXS MJS NF T2B (Zhora)
Me and MACH2 Zhora saying thanks judge Jeff Ipser!
What a weekend! Zhora earned her MACH 2 (Master Agility Champion 2 – that’s 40 double Q’s and 1500 speed points), Nina FINALLY earned another double Q (#15, first since last April), and had her best weekend overall in a very, very long time, the weather was terrible, the judge got sick and we had to get a replacement judge (just like when Zhora earned her MACH, actually!), the judge’s ring measurements were incorrect so we had to change the courses (an AKC rep came to the trial Saturday and Sunday)…excitement, adventure and really wild things.
The lake hasn’t frozen yet, so we are still getting lake effect snow. With lots of warnings in the forecast for this weekend, Sue and I decided to caravan and drive up Thursday afternoon in the hopes of having to drive through a north-moving lake effect snow band as it passed over us, thus minimizing our exposure to it. Well…the band didn’t move as expected, which meant we, and a ton of other people, were trapped in our cars at the Lackawanna toll booths for nearly two hours after a truck jack knifed at the Blasdell exit on I-90. It was frightening, the snow was coming down very heavily (almost 5″ per hour at some points), building up around the car tires, and it was so cold that the wipers kept icing up, so we had to keep getting out to clear snow off our cars and deice our wipers. We eventually got moving and got off the Thruway, had dinner, and then Jim navigated from home to help us find a way out of Hamburg. There were driving bans all over the place, accidents everywhere, you couldn’t tell where the road was, it was very, very scary. We left my house at 3 PM and I eventually made it back home just before 10 PM. Friday morning we decided to try again once the plows had been out, and other than a very nasty few miles with whiteout conditions, the drive was uneventful.
We arrived at Countryside just as the last few dogs were running Standard. The judge (Kelli Verrelli) kindly agreed to let Sue and I run, and we walked the course a few times still wearing our winter boots. Well, lo and behold, BOTH my girls qualified on a very tricky standard course with a very low Q rate. And then they went on to BOTH qualify in Jumpers – a double double Q Friday, WELL worth the drive!
Nina ran just beautifully all weekend, really paying attention to her jumping and knocking very few bars, and qualifying in all three Jumpers runs plus standard on Friday for QQ # 15.
Not only did Zhora earn her MACH 2 just 8 months after her MACH, she ran fast and happy and very attentively. In our standard run today (for her MACH2), we were on the startline when they noticed a timer problem, so we left the ring while they fixed it. Zhora has shown herself to be very level-headed about things like that, I just knelt down on the ground with her and played with her and she was unflappable. She came out just as ready to run as she’d been the first time. And she was the ONLY 8″ dog to qualify on that course. The Q rates were quite low overall, especially for the big dogs.
So thankful to judge Jeff Ipser for making the drive to come and fill in Saturday and Sunday for Kelli after she got sick! We trial with Jeff all the time and it was very nice to earn a MACH under him!
Zhora Friday Jumpers (part 2 of QQ #39, second place, 14 points):
Nina Friday Jumpers (part 2 of QQ # 15, first place, 17 points):
Zhora Saturday Jumpers (Q, second place, 12 points):
Nina Saturday Jumpers (Q, first place, 15 points):
Zhora Saturday Standard (NQ but nice run):
Nina Saturday Standard (NQ but nice run, naughty table!):
Zhora Sunday Jumpers (part 1 of MACH2, second place, 12 points, just ONE SECOND behind Nina!):
Nina Sunday Jumpers (Q, first place, 13 points):
Zhora Sunday Standard (MACH2!!! First place, 27 points, the ONLY 8″ dog to qualify):
Nina Sunday Standard (NQ but really, really nice run, I needed to show more movement towards the table, I asked her to lie down at the start, she said “I don’t think I will”):
Here’s an awesome video of Lobo (Alkemi Beowulf del Roble LS CDX PT RATM CGC) and his mom Jan trying for his second UD (Utility Dog) obedience leg. He didn’t pass this time (he has one UD leg already, he needs three for his UD title) but I have no doubt he will get it soon. This is a very tough title, the runs are long and involve a lot of different skills (he has to heel, perform skills at a distance, discriminate an article Jan has handled from a bunch of articles, and he has to do this with different materials). Jan is a wonderful (and very experienced!) trainer and she clearly has such an amazing bond with her Lobo, the bit where they look at each other while they wait for the judge to place the discrimination article, and there is so much love and trust obvious between them…that does my heart good both as a breeder and as a dog person, we should all have that kind of bond with our dogs!
This was our third time showing under judge Alex Davis. She is a lovely person, always wants people to do well. Her courses were tough! Zhora picked up QQ’s # 37 and 38, just two more to go to MACH 2! Nina had some lovely runs, picking up an awesome JWW Q and a Premier JWW Q. This was her last weekend to qualify for nationals, she just needed two QQ’s to go, but sadly it was not to be. I am adopting a new strategy to try and fix the bar knocking – after pretty thorough video review and discussion with friends who have watched her run for years, the problem seems to be that she sometimes just doesn’t bother to add a stride when she should (it’s faster to just take the long spot and knock the bar – this is NOT Early Takeoff Syndrome), and instead opts to just plow through. So I am taking a two-pronged approach, a Vallhund owning friend (Hattie, who owned the late and sadly-missed Vaasa, who was so much like Nina) said she started just pulling her dog with the same problem when she knocked bars, and it solved the problem. So I am doing this (unless, of course, I think the bar was my fault). I am also SAYING “jump” before every jump to remind her to jump – I have always been someone who prefers to run with as few verbal cues as possible, and I do generally believe that showing the dog which jump is next is my job, but actually JUMPING the jump is the dog’s. But at this point….after so many NQ’s for bars throughout her career, I am willing to try almost anything. It did seem to be helping, I did pull her several times this weekend, and she did seem to leave bars up when I told her to jump (it’s an adjustment for me and I do forget to actually say jump sometimes).
Nina Friday Standard (NQ but SUCH a nice run, and I love the “AWWWWW” from the crowd when we NQ):
Zhora Friday Standard (Part 1 of QQ # 37, third place, 28 points):
Nina Friday Premier Standard (egregious teeter NQ but gorgeous run):
Zhora Friday Jumpers (Part 2 of QQ # 37, third place, 16 points):
Some really challenging courses from judge Alexandra Davis. Zhora had a perfect weekend in the classes that count, picking up QQ’s #31, 32 and 33 towards MACH 2! Nina had a perfect NQ weekend but wow is she running well. At one point I was chatting with Alex about Nina taking the wrong end of the tunnel in Jumpers today, and she asked how old Nina was, I told her she was 9, she said “OH! I thought that was your puppy….” LOL. I love every run with her regardless. And I am trying hard not to be spoiled by Zhora, but I will tell you that it’s sure a nice change to run a consistent dog, because there were MANY weekends I’d come home with one Q or even no Q’s before Z Dog came along!
Nina Friday Standard (NQ but so close and such a nice run! Layering!):
Zhora Friday Standard (part 1 of QQ # 31, second place, 30 points):
Zhora Friday Jumpers (part 2 of QQ # 31, fourth place (the top 4 dogs were within 8 100ths of a second of each other!), 15 points):
Nina Friday Premier Jumpers (NQ):
Zhora Friday Premier Jumpers (NQ):
Nina Saturday Jumpers (NQ):
Zhora Saturday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ # 32, second place, 18 points):
Zhora Saturday Premier (NQ, nice run):
Zhora Saturday Standard (part 2 of QQ # 32, third place, 29 points):
Nina Sunday Jumpers (I SO thought we had it….but no…and someone asked me during the walkthrough if many of the big dogs had taken the wrong end of the tunnel after the weaves and I said no…so Nina decided to show me what that looked like, training mode after that):
Zhora Sunday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ #33, second place, 17 points):
Nina Sunday Standard (ANOTHER soooo close, really loved this run though):
Zhora Sunday Standard (part 2 of QQ # 33, third place, 26 points):
Judge Windle Ewing (who it turns out knows Debbie Spence, my first agility teacher from back in Texas) designed some seriously tricky courses for us this weekend. He was the judge under whom we earned our first double double Q last year. It was ALMOST a repeat this year, but then an absolute heartbreaker of a standard NQ today happened. I reminded myself right after that this is just agility, we aren’t curing cancer and world peace does not depend on it.
Zhora earned QQ’s # 29 and 30, halfway to MACH2 already! Nina ran beautifully. It was fun. We are off for two weekends now and we need it.
Nina Friday Time 2 Beat (Q, first place, 10 points):
Zhora Friday Standard (part 1 of QQ #29, second place, 28 points):
Zhora Friday Jumpers (part 2 of QQ # 29, third place, 12 points):
Zhora Saturday Time 2 Beat (Q, second place, 8 points):
Nina Saturday Time 2 Beat (Q, first place, 10 points):
Zhora Sunday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ #30, third place, 15 points):
Nina Sunday Jumpers (Q, second place, 17 points):
Zhora Sunday Standard (part 2 of QQ #30, second place, 20 points, holy moly this course….only 2 8″ dogs qualified):
Nina Sunday Standard (HEARTBREAKER, on a double Q no less, the LAST BAR of the LAST JUMP….OMG…):
Getting back into the swing of things. New judge to us, John Defilippi, loved his courses, fast and challenging, and he is very nice, has a generous wheel, and is very generous with his calls (the agility gods truly do giveth and taketh away, since the judge gave Nina and I a gift on her dogwalk contact yesterday, but then she took a wrong course…). Zhora picked up double Q’s #26 and 27, plus two Time 2 Beat legs. She also had a wonderful Premier Jumpers run today but stepped on the metal weave pole base and slipped so she popped and earned an R for the NQ. I am seeing that when I am very clear about where she is going so she can see her lines well, she is running faster and faster, but when I am unclear or when a course is really twisty turny, she slows down. Both Zhora and Nina earned personal best points totals and YPS in Friday’s standard course, and in today’s standard run Nina had the fastest time of all the 8″ and 12″ dogs, and was within a couple of seconds of the really fast 20 and 24″ dogs! When it works, it really works.
Nina Friday Standard (first place, personal best 34 points, 4.241 YPS…IN STANDARD!):
Zhora Friday Standard (part 2 of QQ #26, third place, personal best 31 points, 4.028 YPS!):
Zhora Friday Time 2 Beat (first place, 10 points):
Zhora Friday Jumpers (part 2 of QQ #26, third place, 17 points):
Zhora Saturday Time 2 Beat (8 points and our only Q on Saturday):
Zhora Sunday Premier (NQ but nice run):
Zhora Sunday Jumpers (part 1 of QQ #27, third place, 15 points):
Nina Sunday Standard (first place, 32 points, 4.11 YPS):
Zhora Sunday Standard (part 2 of QQ #27, 26 points):