Agility update: Part 1
It's been a while since my last agility post. This is only partly due to the August hiatus in the competition season, when it's (usually, though not this year) too hot to compete comfortably and safely, and people go away on vacation. More because I found it too difficult to go from photos and reports like these to these in the same blog. I've actually thought about taking the politics blogging elsewhere, and reserving this site for more personal blogging about my life and dogs. I think some readers come here for the former, and others for the latter, and I don't know how much the constituencies overlap. But for now I guess I'll keep it all under one roof.
We've been to two competitions since the last update. The first was in the Slovene coastal town of Portorož, about an hour from here. The competition, the fourth of six counting towards the Eukanuba Cup, started in the afternoon and went into the night, under lights. It was hot driving down there in my old non-air-conditioned beater, and hot, too, for the first run. However, the nearby Adriatic Sea offered some relief (well, until a lifeguard let us know that dogs weren't welcome, even though we stayed way way off to the side where there weren't any people). There was also a spray hose with fresh water provided on the grounds that we made frequent and liberal use of, but Lyra greatly prefers swimming to being hosed.
On the first run (agility) we encountered trouble early on--the second obstacle was the accursed teeter-totter. We've been training on that, especially after getting some very helpful, individualized instruction from Finnish agility expert Mia Laamanen at the recent seminar in Domžale. Lyra started up very confidently, then surprised me by jumping off to the side at the midpoint, just as it started to move. We both recovered fairly quickly, but got five faults for missing the contact zone on the down side. She was good on most of the rest of the course but I got a little disoriented on a crossover turn after the slalom and she left me behind as she sailed over the next three jumps. I made the mistake of calling her so I could catch up and this caused her to run by the next obstacle, a tunnel, instead of entering it, which resulted in another five faults. Our standing after the first run was 9th of fifteen.
The second run (jumping) was clean, but slow. We came fourth in the second run, and sixth overall. Quite respectable, and enough to gain 10 points towards the 2006 Cup (we're currently tied for seventh place, having moved up in the standings from tenth place after this competition).
Part of the reason she was slow was because she was worn out from playing a little too much frisbee during "halftime". You can access a video here; go to "arhiv oddaj" and click on the video icon next to 29.07.2006. The first segment--about 15-20 minutes--is on the Pororož competition, and Lyra makes several appearances, usually airborne as she snags a frisbee. If you don't understand Slovene, you won't get much out of the interviews, but a lot of the filming is of dogs in action, on the course and off.