Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Can Sage get a Super-Q?

So this past weekend we were in Pueblo for two days of USDAA. This trial offered double-games. I have been doing USDAA with Sage now for about 1 1/2 years. We don't have much USDAA locally so we've only done about 6 trials per year. She has earned her Masters Standard, Masters Jumpers, Masters Relay, and now has her Tournament Masters Bronze. She is close to her Masters Standard, Jumpers, and Relay Championship titles with very limited showing.

She only recently earned her MAD because it took her over a year to get a single Masters Gamblers leg. It also took her a year to earn a Snooker leg. Before Summit was in Masters, I thought that Gamblers legs and Snooker super-Q's were practically unnatainable but to a handful of the experienced elite. Well in only his second USDAA trial at the Masters level, Summit has 3 Masters Gamblers legs and his very first Q in Snooker (on Sunday) was a Super Q!

When I looked at Saturday's Gamblers course, I knew Sage could never get it (it required either independent stopped contacts with a "stay" or a verbal "get out" command to push the dog away from the handler to the left after the a-frame a good 20 feet to a jump). Summit got the Gamble easily.

Saturday's Snooker was very technical if you wanted a chance to SQ in the 22" class. Many of the blazing fast dogs crashed and burned so the moderate speed dogs took the SQ's. Because of my not being able to use my motion effectively, Sage had a wrong course in the opening. Sunday's Snooker course was all about SPEED. You could easily get all three 7's with a nice flowing path. This is a course that Sage could have easily done (because she was not feeling well, I had scratched her from her runs on Sunday). However, looking at the dogs' times who SQ'd (there were 5 SQ's. Summit placed 3rd with a SQ), Sage would not have been fast enough to get a SQ.

I've spent a lot of time observing Snooker runs and it seems everyone is calling their dog's name or using other verbal cues to direct their dog on course. I mean, Snooker is known for being a very LOUD class. Even with Summit, I was using his name and other verbal cues for collection, turns, etc. which I normally do not do when handling him on a Standard course. How can I expect to run a dog in Snooker for a Super Q without verbal cues? She can hear them but cannot triangulate very well at all (sometimes she'll turn and look the opposite direction when I yell her name).

The weekend was fun with nice weather, great courses, and Jen and I discovered this little Italian restaurant with the BEST PIZZA EVER!

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