Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mission Impossible

Just when I think something is a sure thing... its not! Riley and I competed at a 3 day agility trial in Murfreesboro, Tennessee last weekend. Riley needs one qualifying run in Open Standard and one qualifying run in Open Jumpers to earn both titles. Surely, we can achieve both with 3 attempts at each. Nope, nada, nothing! Mission aborted!Our runs were messy and some mistakes were simply unexplainable. Many agility dogs are "tunnel suckers" and tend to be drawn inside of them from great distances. It can be a big problem for handlers. Riley has the opposite problem. She does not appear to be drawn to them at all. In fact, there was one instance where she turned around in the tunnel three times and simply would not go through it.

Weave poles were another big problem. She did not nail a single set of weaves. Riley would either blow past them or pop out early. We had to redo them once or twice in every run. She also surprised herself on one teeter (see below) the first day. It probably didn't help that it was extremely hot outside, but freezing cold inside. The air conditioner had to be running nonstop. I wore pants and a long sleeve fleece everyday. Riley was wild! I have never had a greyhound with so much energy and be so deceptive about it. Number one, she rests really well. It is an excellent quality to have. She normally sleeps all day while I am at work, but I don't think she misses a wink at noisy agility trials. She is a hard sleeper and undisturbed by barking dogs and constant commotion. Number two, at the start of each day, I would play fetch with Riley and take her for a long walk around the venue. Sometime during the middle of the day, I would take her for another long walk in the sun. We also walked in the evenings at a local park. All of this exercise didn't tone her down a bit. So here are the runs. There were some really nice moments here and there. I am learning that she works very far away from me at times.... like 30 or 40 feet away. Generally, you teach the dog to do the obstacle closest to the handler. It helps to remove the confusion of having other obstacles to choose from. But if your dog works 30 feet away, you will eventually have to layer. I recall layering a jump with Travis many years ago. This weekend I layered a tunnel (end of 2nd run) and a jump (end of 5th run). I tried to point it out on the video, but it just happens too fast and I'm usually not in view anyway. If you get bored, skip to the last two runs as those are the best ones.


18 comments:

Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

Holly crap that's a scary teeter pic, didn't look as bad in the video- scary wise. Wow she does have some energy!

jcp said...

She is fast! Loved watching her. When you get that energy harnesed she will be a force to be reconded with.

BrittBeah said...

Look at your little wound up energizer bunny!
I think she created a new obstacle, the teeter- jump. I must say if it had to happen I'm so very glad it was cought by the photographer what a fun shot.
Thanks for the entertaining runs! She is always a joy to watch, even if she is running around like a mad woman. Lol

Sue said...

Never seen a Greyhound do agility. I love it. Now I just have to get mine to watch and learn:)

Hiking Hounds said...

She looks great, she reminds me of a kangaroo with all those bouncy jumps. If you want you could send some of her energy to Zephyr, he's been a little slow and pokey lately. I'm hoping it's just from having upset stomach and having to do around of antibiotics.

Sandy ~~~ said...

Can't say she doesn't love what she does! I would rather have to tune down that than light a fire under them. Thanks for sharing!

whygreyhounds said...

She is certainly a wild child!! She looks like she is having a ball, and her exuberance shows through. Riley is one energized Greyhound :-)

houndstooth said...

Oh, the expression on your face as she leaped off the teeter says it all! I still love watching her run her paces. Seeing her go over those jumps is something else! I am sorry she was such a stinker for you, though. I guess we have to have a few bad days to appreciate the good ones!

KF-in-Georgia said...

I'm glad she didn't scare herself with the teeter mishap. She looked as if she wasn't worried by any of the other encounters with the teeter.

But I'm sorry. I laughed at the tunnel. It's as if I could hear her thinking, "Wait till Mom's back is turned, and I can sneak out the way I came in."

Sientay L said...

Riley is such a hoot!
It looked like she was wired on some mean shots of double espresso.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Oh man, it can't be easy getting such a big, fast, long-striding dog as her through courses like that. Her humongous stride particularly jumped out at me at 5:36 - wowzers!

Funny, I would LOVE to have a freezing cold venue to run Walter in -- would really help energize him. Clearly Riley is not in need of such assistance!

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Oh what a frustrating little madam Riley is! She was having so much fun, but why couldn't she be accurate as well?? I laughed nearly all the way through the video at her antics, especially with the tunnel. Here's hoping she will take things a bit seriously at the next comps ... but still have fun:-)

jet said...

She is so cute. She thinks she knows which way she should go - makin up her own course!! :)

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I'm glad all of you enjoyed her courses more than I did.... LOL just kidding! She'll get there and she really is a lot of fun.

I'm really glad that the teeter mistakes don't have a lasting effect. She is tougher than Reagan.

And so right about toning her down rather than trying to energize her. She's excited because she is having fun. No complaints about that.

Yeah, 5:36 was a big jump!!! Just about jumped past the turn and barely made the next jump... that is one of the times I had to layer and was literally 35 - 40 feet away from her indicating the turn. But at 6:03 she did a really nice collection off the triple and on to the table. The table was ridulously close to the triple.... not an inch over the minimum requirement. She could have gotten hurt if she did a huge jump, but she adjusted perfectly.

Thanks all. Jen

Sam said...

Thanks for posting the video. I got a much needed chuckle.

grey_dreams said...

She sure is charged up! And having a lot of fun too! She'll get there. You've done an awesome job with her already :)

I don't know a lot about agility, but an idea struck me while watching the video - maybe she needs your cues to be really big and exaggerated. Often, it seems that you hold your arm close to your side, and your finger pointing is a bit subtle. I don't know if it's allowed when competing, but maybe you could make the cues more exaggerated? Just a thought.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Hi Grey Dreams,

You have a good eye. :-) Yes, its important to give good cues and I am definitely not perfect out there. With Riley, you actually have to be careful not to exaggerate too much or she swings even wider. If she were running too close to me then using larger arm signals, but at this trial she was sometimes 40 feet away (and that was some of our great moments). Stuff like weave pole errors is just baby dog stuff. She just needs practice. I also think that running in the heat all summer and then showing up at this frosty, freezing cold trial really jacked her up as well.

Jen

grey_dreams said...

Hi Jen,

Thanks for the reply and info. I am completely fascinated by the work you do with your greyhounds :) Riley sure is a bundle of energy, and she looks like she really wants to perform well, but she is so eager it gets in her way :) Good luck and best success to you both!