Monday, September 10, 2012

TDAA Champ! (In my eyes at least...)

{Proud Pico!}

Pico had his first Teacup Dogs Agility Association (TDAA) trial at Four Seasons K9 Athlete Center yesterday!

I was somewhat leery about entering in a completely new venue (having just started in CPE) and I talked to many dog friends to get their opinions. My goal at this point is to enjoy Agility while I can and with that in mind, I entered... I'm so glad I did! Teacup, it turns out, is as relaxed and fun as CPE.

It was also good to get Pico into an Agility Center that was completely new to him. Four Seasons is a beautiful (hard to find!) 14,000 sq foot building which is much more open than he's used to. Apparently, if I'm with him and there's Agility to be done, he can pretty much ignore most distractions!

It's hard to tell from this blurry video still, but even the equipment is scaled to small dogs! Teacup trials offer a brief 'equipment familiarization' period before the trial starts. I was able to get Pico out and onto the equipment prior to his runs. He even did well with the Teeter which is much lower and shorter than a regulation Teeter. Brave boy!

Our first run was in Beginner Standard 1:

This was a nice, flowing S-shaped course. As judge Margaret Hendershot explained: "Beginner courses should be very easy and fun because they are designed to get you out there working with your dog". I couldn't agree more and really appreciated her thoughtfulness.

During the briefing, the judge said that the table behavior would be a 5-second stand. Pico does not have a cued stand behavior so I knew right away that we would get a fault. Many people offered solutions ("if I run in place, my dog stays standing", "don't cue him and maybe he'll stand"). My opinion though is that he has been taught to hit the table and lay down and he does it very well. I sure didn't want to stress him by saying, "No buddy.  In this one instance, I want something different". I'm not going for Qs at this point, I'm looking for experience. He did a beautiful table down and he held it for 5 whole seconds. It was great!!

Pico, as in his first trial seemed initially wild and unfocused but quickly seemed to realize what we were doing out there. We had many faults and received an 'E' because Pico jumped off the teeter at the pivot point. I made a mental note that I'd need to stay right by him if another teeter popped up.

Our second run was a game, Heinz 57:

'Heinz 57 is a point accumulation game that goal of which is to earn exactly 57 points. Points will be awarded as follows:
Jumps: 1
Tunnels and Tire: 2
Contacts and Weaves: 3
The chute is a special obstacle. It will double all of the points earned up to that point. The chute may be taken twice, but may not be taken back-to-back.

Time stops on the table which is live at all times. If the team scores more than 57 points, the excess points will be subtracted from 57 to arrive at the team's final score. Placements will be by points. Time is a tie-breaker.' 

[Qualifying times are based on level and jump height. Pico, a beginner 8" jumper,  needed to get 57 points in 53 seconds to qualify]

Lucky for us, we have good friends who are also accomplished Agility performers (Thanks Marilyn and Melinda!) They helped me to map out a course which, if followed, would give us 57 points.

We chose: Jump (1), A-Frame (3), Tunnel (2), Tunnel (2), Dogwalk (3), Tunnel (2) for a total of 13 points. Next, we would go through the chute to double to 26 points, Take a tunnel (2) to make 28 points, take the chute to double that to 56 points, take a Jump (1) to get to 57 points and hit the table to stop the clock!

Pico, not in on the plan from the beginning, sat at the start line and when I cued him to jump, he turned around and jumped on the table! I thought that he had just ended the game before we even began but the judge said it was fine since he hadn't crossed the start line! Phew! We quickly restarted with the first jump and then Pico  skipped right on past the A-Frame! I had to double him back over the A-Frame  because I couldn't do math while I was out there running around like a madwoman! Luckily, he followed right along after that. Unfortunately, he slipped on the entrance to the dog walk and it ate up time getting him back on. We were over time by 12 seconds so we did not qualify but we still got 1st place for our division! Woohoo! As Mike said, "And so the dynasty begins!"

It was here that I discovered that you can get place ribbons even if you don't qualify! Who knew?! Turns out we could have received a ribbon at our first trial too. Live and learn...

Our final run of the day was another Beginner Standard:

[I love how the judge includes happy cartoons!]
Another nice, flowy course with an interesting 5-6-7-8 combo. Pico had a great start line stay (yay Pico!) and walked the entire length of the teeter since I stayed right near him (yay Pico!) He then perfomed the tire and sent to the tunnel beautifully (yay and yay!). He took the jump and then entered the left side of the tunnel. I, for some reason, thought that he was to enter the right side of the tunnel so I proceeded to send him back through the right side. I learned later that in TDAA, if the numbered cone is at the center of the tunnel, then entrance is optional! Again, live and learn. We had some additional stumbles but he stayed right there with me watching for cues all the time and coming right back after off-courses! In the video (which isn't good enough to post), he hits the table, drops right to a down, and his tail wags furiously for the entire count of 5. So stinking cute!

In TDAA, no faults are allowed for a qualifying score even at the beginner level so once again, we did not Q but we did place 2nd (out of 2 dogs!)

It was a really fun day and I got to meet so many new dog friends! I am looking forward to entering into more trials with my tiny teammate!


Catalina said...

Congratulations!!! Wonderful! I love hearing about his little tail wagging LOL! He is so cute!

Xi Sander said...

Congratulations! Your dog is just so cute. I can't wait to hear more of his coming tails of adventure.