Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Taj MuttHall Year In Review: 2009

SUMMARY: Statistics and observations for the year.

Trials competed in: 16. My lowest number since 2000 (with a high of 23 in 2003). So made some progress on my vow to do less agility and more of The Rest of Life.
  • CPE: 4 trials, one of which was only 1 day. Tika didn't participate in 2 because she was sore. Boost didn't participate in one because she was sore.
  • USDAA: 12 trials, one of which was only 1 day.

Runs: 270
  • Tika: 139, 76 of them Qs
  • Boost: 131, 30 Qs
  • CPE: 42, 32 Qs
  • USDAA: 228, 74 Qs

Tika titles earned:
  • GCH-Silver (Gamblers Champion silver, 25 Qs in championship)
  • TM-Platinum (Tournament master platinum, 50 Qs with at least 10 in each tournament class)
  • SACH-Silver (Standard champion silver, 25 Qs)
  • PR3 - Performance3 Relay (equals RM in championship, 5 Qs)
  • ATD - Accomplished Tournament Dog (equals TM in championship, 10 Qs with at least 2 in each of the 3 tournament classes)
  • PK3 - Perf 3 Snooker (equals SM)
  • JCH-Silver (Jumpers Champion silver, 25 Qs)
  • ADCH-Silver (equals 5 ADChs -- 25 Qs in each of 5 regular classes plus tournaments)
  • PG3 -  Perf 3 Gamblers (equals GM)
Boost titles earned:
  • CPE CL4-S (strategy games, level 4)
  • RCH (relay champion--10 Qs)
  • GM (gamblers master--5 Qs)
  • SAM (standard agility master--5 Qs)
  • TM (Tournament master--10 Qs with at least 2 in each of the 3 tournament classes)

  • Tika earned all those P3 titles only between March and September, moving gradually into Perf as she completed silver in each Championship classs.
  • After only 6 months in Performance, Tika is just one Standard Q away from her PD3 (MAD equivalent) and actually needs only 3 standards and 4 Jumpers for her APD (ADCH equivalent).
  • Tika qualified for Nationals in all three tournaments (Steeplechase, Grand Prix, and Team)--in BOTH championship and Performance!
  • Of Tika's 6 performance Snooker Qs so far, 5 have been Super-Qs.
  • Boost qualified in Steeplechase 3 times this year--which is 3x more than she had qualified in her entire preceding agility career. ( I mean, before 2009, she had only ever qualified once.)
  • Boost might hold the record for the most consecutive Masters Jumpers runs with no Q (36). But we keep coming very close--might get some someday!

Buster Cubes cracked open: 1 (as of this morning. Congratulations, butthead Boost.)

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ex Pertinacia Victoria (We Can Only Hope)

SUMMARY: (Translation: From persistence comes success.) Well, can't say I'm not persistent.

  • Attempts at USDAA Masters Standard Qs: 41. Earned: 1 (we had been retraining contacts when he succumbed to cancer)
  • Attempts at NADAC Elite Gamblers with no Qs: 23. 
  • After that: Earned 10 of the next 25 to complete his NATCH.
  • Attempts at Gamblers Qs after moving up to Masters: 10 with no Qs.
  • Then earned 4 of the next 8.
  • Attempts for the 5th Q after those 4: 10 with no Qs.
  • After that: Earned the 5th Q to complete his ADCH. Earned another 7 in Performance.
  • Out of first 17 NADAC Elite gamblers attempts: one Q.
  • Eventually: Earned 29 Elite Gamblers Qs before retirement.
  • Attempts at a clean Jumpers run in USDAA Novice before her first Q: 12.
  • Attempts at a clean Masters Jumpers run before her first Q: 13.
  • Out of her first 42 Jumpers runs in NADAC, CPE, and USDAA combined: 3 Qs.
  • Eventually: Just earned her 25th Masters Jumpers Q to complete her ADCH-Silver.
  • Attempts at Masters Jumpers Qs: 34. Earned: 0. And counting.
  • Attempts at Masters Snooker Super-Qs: 32. Earned: 0 super-Qs, 4 plain Qs. And counting.
  • After that: Hope springs eternal--

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Saturday, June 20, 2009

CPE Trial Saturday Surprises

SUMMARY: Day 1 of Bay Team Palo Alto CPE trial.

  • Boost earned more Qs than Tika! (Admittedly she's in a lower level where you can Q with minor faults--but still--that's never happened before.) (Tika Qed 3 of 4--there goes our Perfect Weekend award; Boost Qed 4 of 4.)
  • I do CPE in part because I love getting lots and lots of blue ribbons because I almost never get them in USDAA. But we had some--er--Issues--and our crates were collecting a lot of these today:
  • It was 90F on Thursday. Today we huddled in our coats and blankets at the score table and for the Bay Team meeting at the end of the day.
  • The wind off the Bay was biting and surprisingly intense.
  • This was apparently the Day of the Tunnels Under the Aframes: In Snooker the #7 combo, in Jackpot (Gamblers) in the opening (I love doing these! A quick 16 points A-tunnel-A-tunnel):
    and DOUBLES in Standard!
  • The park in which the trial is taking place has a variety of intriguing sculptural thingies.
  • Pink! (This is Terry.)
    Compare to Green! with Vicke at our March trial---oh, wow, I was going to link bakc to that photo, but I see that I have a whole directory of photos on my computer from that trial labeled "USE IN BLOG" but I never posted them! Doh! Another surprise! So here's the photo:)
  • Both dogs got this gamble (coming towards us: Jump-jump-jump-right side of tunnel; the gamble line is out where the person is walking).
  • Jersey got very excited every time I put the camera to my face. No idea why.
  • Wonderful rich colors and textures. I love looking at these leashes.
OK. Am wiped. Out. Off to bed and do it all again tomorrow.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Boost Claims To Be A Master-Level Dog

SUMMARY: In which Ellen is surprised by where we are.

I moan often about the fact that I can't get around a course decently with Boost, that we have all kinds of refusal and runout issues, that bar knocking is a big problem, that our weaves are off-again on-again, and that she's starting to lose her perfect contacts.

It came as a surprise to me when I pulled my head up out of the part of the database that summarizes issues we need to work on and looked at how many Masters-level Qs she actually has, to discover that she has 16 Masters and 5 Tournament legs. It's not a lot for an almost-4-year-old dog by some measures, but it's sure a lot more than I THINK of us as having! I feel better now--

4 Standard
6 Relay
3 Gamblers
3 Snooker
3 Grand Prix
1 Steeplechase
1 DAM Team

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, August 25, 2008

Shouldn't Complain Too Much

SUMMARY: Tika vs Boost as younger dogs.

It's two years after Boost's first trial; she's competed in 33 trials (24 of them USDAA) and has 9 masters legs, 3 Grand Prix Qs, and 1 Steeplechase Q.

Two years after Tika's first trial, she had competed in 44 trials (20 of them USDAA) and had only just completed her AAD, so was in Masters only in Standard, with zero Qs out of 5 attempts, 4 Grand Prix Qs, and 1 Steeplechase Q.

(After Tika's 24th USDAA trial, she had 4 Masters Qs including one Super-Q, 6 GP Qs, and still only 1 Steeplechase.)

Sooooo it'll come eventually. I hope.

Labels: , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Things Is Looking Pretty Good Here

SUMMARY: Tika has a good weekend and Boost improves.

The weekend was mostly sunny, with a chill breeze, rising to a frigid wind in the afternoon. The shade fabric bellied out like the canopy was making way for Tortuga. This is a site where you have to stake your canopy very well. I know of only one that took flight on this weekend, but there may have been others. Cold fingers, working the score table! But good for running dogs.

Because Tika had been so sore earlier in the week, I scratched her from all but three runs a day. She seemed to thrive, either because she was jealous of Boost getting so many runs, or because of the wind, or because she was just feeling good. On Saturday, She qualified in Jumpers (that's four in a row! Amazing!) without placing. She got very excited for her Gamblers run and I decided to even put her over two dogwalks (something I usually avoid for her in Gamblers) plus two A-frames, and she got all four (barely), and fast, too, not slowing to a cautious pace. Didn't get the gamble, though--I didn't handle it well.

AND Tika qualified in Steeplechase! Two weekends in a row! Now *that's* astonishing. We were 6th of 7 Qing dogs, so again just a little over a second under qualifying time, but I'll take it!

On Sunday, she and her pairs partner ran clean and placed third of 32 teams, woo! She did Snooker, and earned a Qualifying score and again seemed happy and driven, but a little matter of an Aframe flyoff kept her out of the placements. At the very end of the day, we were last in the scheduled runs for Jumpers, with Steeplechase to follow quickly thereafter. I almost pulled her from Jumpers because I wanted her full effort for Steeplechase, but when she came out of her crate and started playing like a lunatic with her frisbee, I decided to leave her in. Glad I did--she won! One of our very few 1st places in Masters--our fifth. Not a huge class, only 17 dogs, but--OK, I'll take that, too! So that's FIVE Jumpers in a row.

And then, for Steeplechase Round 2, she again went for the frisbee with gusto instead of wanting to sniff at the ground. She had a lovely run, although I didn't give enough notice on one turn and she went VERY wide. That probably made a difference in our placement, because she took 3rd and the difference in time between 1st and 4th was only about a second. (Of the fastest two dogs from round 1, one scratched and one had a 5-point fault, knocking them out of the running.) So we got another lovely placement ribbon and another small handful of money to take home.

So she Qed 5 of 6 and placed in 3 of 4 runs today. A very good USDAA weekend for Tika.

Boost had a few stretches or full runs that looked very smooth. Still bobbles with some hesitation or turning the wrong way afterwards, still bars coming down, but not so haphazard and confused-looking as it was even just 3 weeks ago. She had I think the second highest opening points in Gamblers, but the gamble was beyond me and Tika, so I really bungled it with Boost.

Her weaves were spotty--did two sets of 6 in Saturday's snooker, made her entry in Saturday Standard but popped out early, did them beautifully in Steeplechase Round 1 after first turning back to me because she was so far ahead. In fact, other than that and running past the last jump before I caught her and brought her back, her Steeplechase run was lovely--and, despite the two bobbles, Qualified!

That's The Booster's first Steeplechase Q. Her sister, Bette, also qualified with a similar time--we were 13th and 14th out of 15 Qs.

On Sunday, she had a very nice Relay run, with only one runout, but her partner was off-course, so no Q. Her weaves were nice in the relay (6 poles); in Standard, she made the first pole and then turned back to me, then after entering correctly, popped out at the end (our only fault in that class! Dang!). But in Steeplechase Round 2, she did two full sets of weaves perfectly without a blink, with no babysitting.

Furthermore--her Steeplechase run was a thing of beauty! Fast, focused, only one brief hesitation before a jump where I didn't get my front cross in, probably added a second or so to our time--but her time at 29.60 was faster than the winning dog at 29.72. (Compare to the fastest dog--who had faults--at 27.81, and Tika's time of 33.09.) A beautiful, beautiful run with only one, er, well, tiny fault--she cut the corner on the broad jump for an off-course. (I wouldn't have bothered to try bringing her back to correct it even if I could have possibly pulled her away from doing the following tunnel.) The run felt good! She looked good! And she proved that she really does have that speed, even with a 2-on/2-off Aframe. It was a truly lovely way to end the weekend.

So--only the one Steeplchase Q for her, but lots of promising things.

A fun side note is that, of the 7 26" dogs in Round 2, four were from our Thursday night class; one scratched and the rest of us placed 2nd/3rd/4th.

And I had lots more I was going to talk about--what a great group of people to work with at the trials and how they make me laugh; other friends' successes; bittersweet visiting with an agility friend who's back in town because her husband (also agility) recently passed away. Hearing all weekend at the trial how well Ashley and Luka were doing at the AKC tryouts for this year's World Team, and how they won today, thank goodness; as someone else commented, they're the right team for the job, they do so well so consistently and he seems unflappable. The dogs chasing Ken The Gadget Man's (owner of the Segway I rode the other week) kite. Miscellany like that. But I'm exhausted. To bed.

Labels: , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fun With Databases

SUMMARY: Tika and I are improving; the data proves it.

At each of the last five trials, Tika has come home with at least one new USDAA title. That reflects two things: one, we're right in the numbers where we just need a couple of legs here and there to fill in some of those titles; two, we're actually getting Qs more consistently. In fact, we're approaching a 50% Q rate over the last year.

Got me a-wonderin': It seemed like ages and ages between legs for Tika for the longest time. How long WAS it? So I turned to my handy-dandy database of all of my runs, ever, in agility, and figured the following about Tika's Masters level runs:
  • The first ten Qs took 62 tries over 12 months. (The length of time, of course, is somewhat reflective of how many trials are available and that we attend.)
  • The second ten Qs took 50 tries over 8 months.
  • The next ten took 31 tries over 4 months.
  • The next 10 took 21 tries over 4months.
  • The next 10 took 25 tries over 6 months. (oh--that included several runs where I couldn't run worth beans because of my knee and several more where we tried having Ashley run her and she'd have none of it. So these numbers are a little skewed.)
  • The next ten took 22 tries over 2 months.
  • This last weekend, we got another 5 out of 9 tries.

I like the way the numbers are going.

But it's going to be a while for more titles, most likely, because we're now entering the gap between 15 Masters legs per class (Bronze title in each class) and 25 Masters legs (Silver titles) per class. That's a lot of Qing for us. Although we could finish our Tournament Silver the first weekend in June if our re-reformulated team manages a DAM Team Q.

But here's what really intrigues me: My impression was that, of all those missed Qs, we've missed a million legs by single knocked bars or missing the dogwalk up contact--but no! Only 17 were single knocked bars, and 4 missed dogwalk ups! We've had combinations of those, and those with other faults, but our single-fault non-Qs aren't as many as I had thought.

However, if you toss in Grand Prixs... another 4 one-bar runs, another seven dogwalk-up-onlys. Huh--wonder what it is about the GPs and our dogwalks? Go figure.

Meanwhile, I'd love to have the consistency of Luka and Ashley, who have now won every major AKC event this year. Sucks that Norway won't let them in to be on the US World Cup Team because of her docked tail. We'll have a big celebration in class Wednesday night, though, I'm sure, for this latest win at the Tryouts. And I'll just have to keep remembering that I'm not Ashley, I'm me.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tika's Masters Qualification Record

SUMMARY: Some statistics on Tika's qualifying and nonqualifying masters runs.

I keep all of my competition info in a database, and I can pull it out in various ways if I think it'll help me to understand where we need work. Here's a very simple list of nonqualifying (N), qualifying (Q), and Super-Q (S) runs in the various events. To read it, start at the top and go left to right.

For example, in Masters Relay (below right), our first run was a Q, followed by 4 nonqualifying runs, two qualifying runs, 5 nonqualifying runs, and so on.

This shows me that we've improved tremendously in Gamblers, have a real problem in Standard (and Snooker Super-Qs), and have made inroads into Jumpers. Then I could look at the detailed records to see what has been causing our NQs (which I've already done, over and over :-) ); might be interesting on this chart to also list "E" (elimination usually for off-course) NQs separately from mere fault NQs (e.g., knocking a bar or a refusal at an obstacle).

Gamblers Jumpers
12NQ 12NQ
9NQ 6N2Q
N3Q 4N2Q
10NQ 4N2Q
2NQ 2N3Q
Grand PrixSteeplechase
2Q 4NQ
2NQ 2N2Q
2N2Q 2N

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels