World Team Tryouts 2017


World Team Tryouts.  My favorite event of the year.  I LOVE running these courses.  And Trek was simply amazing.  She has come so far, and I’m SO proud of her.  We were so close to pulling off the unbelievable.  The closest we’ve ever been.  I think I now may be a true believer–she could really do it.

I realize everyone comes out of an event like this thinking ‘if only.”  If only this had gone right, or this had happened, the results would be different.  Afterwards, I realized we had 3 different moments that, if one small thing had changed in ANY of those runs, Trek wins a spot on the world team.  It’s both heartening, and heartbreaking to realize how close you really were.  Round 2 JWW she handled great, but I failed to recognize a spot where she could go straight/long out of a tunnel, and didn’t cue the 90 degree turn until it was too late.  Round 3 she missed her dogwalk contact.  And Round 5, she missed her aframe, and I saw it and was late with a threadle cue,  causing an E.


One year ago after world team tryouts, I started down the road to running contacts.  I knew Trek needed every advantage I could give her, and she’s done very well.  Unfortunately, they fell apart about 4-6 weeks ago, and they’ve been hit or miss (haha) since then.  Obviously getting them where I want is my #1 priority heading into December EO Tryouts.  But I’m actually MOST disappointed about that Round 2 JWW, because *I* failed to SEE that there would be an issue coming out of a straight tunnel.  I saw it (and even made a comment out loud) for the large dogs, who had a similar sequence.  But for Trek, I thought she would be reading a turn.  Instead she carried straight, looking at an off course tunnel over 20′ away.  One simple call, and a rotation of my shoulders, and she is on course.  I hate that I didn’t recognize that spot, but I will continue to try to get better.

Overall, I’m ecstatic about the handling, which is why that one mistake is so frustrating.  Her wraps, backsides, and threadles were phenomenal.  Her speed was excellent.  She is really growing up — she handled a flight, new environment, etc, like an old pro.  So, I choose to be optimistic about where we are, and where we are going.  And I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Here are all 5 runs from this weekend, in order…


Posted in Agility Trek by agilityvet. 1 Comment

No rest for the weary


My favorite event of the year, AKC World Team Tryouts, is in just 27 days!  After getting ready for Nationals, there’s no downtime, just time to start prepping for something completely different.  Of course, we think about this event all year, but there’s definitely extra focus in the next month.  Lots of work, and still need to allow time for rest days.

It’s been 1 week since coming home for Perry, and we’ve built and run two courses from AWC Judge Mirja Lapanja.  Her courses require the ability to commit your dog to an obstacle and leave, trusting in that performance.  There are technical portions, followed by a speed section, and then another technical section.  I’m really enjoying running them, but they are definitely outside the norm for us. I feel like we have the skills for each section, but the real trick is keeping it together the whole course, and being able to get to your next spot. 🙂

Skill-wise, I’m trying to beef up a couple of things.  I’ve been very happy with our running dogwalk, but I’d like better hits on the aframe, so I’m getting more aframe reps in for the next month, and playing with a couple of things to help her drive downwards better.  I’m also proofing the weave poles.  I especially would like for her to drive ahead of me independently better, so I’ve pulled out the channels and we’re working on that.

On the Lapanja courses, I’m focusing on getting my verbal cues out faster.  I’m trying to trust Trek and leave, moving onto the next thing.  Because I end up further ahead, I’ve been able to do more blind crosses.  And she is running fantastic–I really feel like she’s peaking at the right time.  I also know it’s impossible to run every course and every variation.  So I’m making a point of pulling up her courses and thinking about how I would choose to handle them, and visualizing it.  Before running a few, it was tough, but now I’m a lot more comfortable making decisions about what I would want to do, and feeling like I can get there to do it.  I trust Trek’s skills, now we just need to get out there and execute.

Are you going to World Team Tryouts?  What are you doing to get ready?


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NAC Wrap Up


Home and finally able to reflect on this year’s AKC Nationals in Perry, GA.  This was my first time to the Perry site, and I really enjoyed it.  The dirt was phenomenal, but I’ve been told that’s due to the incredible diligence and hard work of dirt guy extraordinaire, Mike Padgett.  The layout was good, though naturally there was a LOT of walking with 6 rings.  It was a very well run and enjoyable event, which is what I expect from AKC.

This was Trip’s last Nationals, and it was tough.  She was very much “not right” the entire time.  To people who hadn’t seen her since last year, she looked like an almost 12 year old dog.  But I know how she was running a month ago, and it was nothing like this.  I’m not sure if it was running on dirt, the stress of the event, or something else going on with her health-wise.  There were some GI issues for sure that could have affected her, but I don’t feel like they should have continued to be a problem the entire weekend.  Musculoskeletally, she was perfect.  So, I will be investigating that further now that we’re home.  Despite all of that, Trip was her normal perfect self.  She ran Premier and all 3 Rounds clean, ending up I think 7th place.  I would expect nothing else from the perfect princess.

Trek ran fantastic, and I’m so proud of her.  She finished 8th place in ISC, and ran Rounds 1-3 all clean.  Unfortunately, we have the problem of being in the 12″ class.  104/204 teams were double clean after Day 1 — 51%!  She ended up 28th place overall after Round 3.  For us, the courses were just too simple, and I would argue that was the case for the 12″ class in general.  This same Q rate wasn’t seen in other heights, so I’m not sure what to do about that disconnect.  So while we didn’t make Finals, I did everything I could do to make that happen, and I can only be happy with that.

Mentally, Saturday was the most difficult time I think I may have ever had at an event.  Trek ran #260 out of 270 dogs in both Round 1 and 2.  That meant I would walk the course, and then 3-4 hours later, would run the course.  In the meantime, I ran Trip on the opposite course (if Trek was running JWW, Trip was running Standard, and vice versa).  It gave me lots of time to second guess my handling choices.  I actually ended up running a handling plan that I hadn’t even walked in JWW, which is not ordinarily something I would do at a National event.  On the plus side, after watching other teams, I felt more confident in handling a particular line in Standard with a serpentine that I wasn’t sure I could make in the walkthru.

I had learned at previous events that sitting and watching hundreds of dogs on my course is NOT conducive to a good performance for me.  Instead, I watched friends, shopped, and every hour or so would go back to the ring and check on where they were at.  Each time I did that, I would think about the course again, and visualize running it 3-5 times to help keep the course and my handling plan fresh in my mind.  Even doing that, I had a minor mental freakout when I decided to change my handling plan.  It’s never a good sign when you can’t even run the course correctly in your head.  But, I got refocused, and was able to get it done.  AKC’s real time running order online also helped a ton, so I could keep an eye on how fast the ring was running without having to physically be there.

So, all in all, another great Nationals in the books.  Now it’s time to prep for my absolute favorite event–AKC World Team Tryouts are in 30 days!  The day after arriving home from Perry, we built and ran a Mirja Lapanja course.  Time to get after it!

Here are Trek’s runs.


Posted in Agility Mental Management by agilityvet. No Comments