New Open JWW Title & First Excellent Standard Q!!!

Event: Agility Trial — Washington State Obedience Training Club
Location: Argus Ranch Facility For Dogs — Auburn, WA
Dates: July 13-14, 2019
Judges: Lori Sage & Jack Cadalso

I took Sierra up to Argus this past weekend for the WSOTC agility trials in Auburn, WA. It was our first time time going there. It’s a really neat place, pretty setting. I wish it was a little closer. Saturday we Double QQed & got 1st place in both Open JWW & Excellent Standard!!! This was our first Excellent run & our final leg in Open JWW, completing our OAJ title!! Excellent Standard had an interesting challenging jump sequence through the middle.

Sunday was our second Excellent Standard run, we moved up for our first Excellent JWW run after finishing our OAJ title on Saturday, & a T2B run. T2B was our first run of the day & there were a couple off things, but some really good moments. The Excellent Standard run felt so good, so smooth, & so fun!! That’s not to say it was easy, it just worked so well!! I was dreading the Excellent JWW run all day & it was a challenge, but I’m happy to say it came together beautifully! No Qs, but oh so close & absolutely amazing!!

I am overwhelmingly excited & proud of my amazing girl, love her so much!!! 💓 I actually got a little choked up on the drive home just thinking about how awesome Sierra did & thinking about how far we

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Close, but no cigar

Event: Agility Trial — Willamette Valley English Springer Spaniel Club
Location: Lane Events Center — Eugene, OR
Dates: April 20-21, 2019
Judges: Dan Butcher & Marianne Diehl

This past weekend, we went down to Eugene, OR for the Willamette Valley English Springer Spaniel Club agility trials. Jon came with us & we got another Airbnb. I got to see some friends & hang with my husband & baby girl. We went to dinner at that Thai restaurant again with Holly on Saturday. Saturday was pretty chill, pretty quiet atmosphere at the trial. Sunday there was a little more barking for some reason. No Qs for us, but we were so close on 3 out of 4 runs, & the courses were really nice with great judges. Everyone was very supportive & it seems Sierra is getting to be known as fast! We also got interviewed by a couple students, I think the college was doing a project. I didn’t do any volunteering this time because I wanted to spend time with Jon, but I did video a couple people’s runs. Thanks to Jon for taking videos of all 4 of our runs! Read/watch on for the details…

SATURDAY – 4/20/19

Jumpers With Weaves – Novice B (Dan Butcher – OR)
This was a really nice course, with some tight turns at the end that allowed for some neat crosses. I wasn’t worried about the beginning, but thought there was potential for missing the weaves on the first try, due to coming out of the tunnel, but I thought the angle & distance might help that. Well, I had wanted to lead out past the first jump, so I sat her down & started to walk away, but Sierra was distracted looking at something outside the ring – I tried to get her attention before I passed the jump, but as soon as she turned back she took off. Hindsight being 20/20, I should’ve gone back & grabbed her collar to get her attention because I hadn’t passed the jump yet & she was so focused on whatever it was, but she never breaks the start, so I didn’t think she would. So anyway, I wasn’t where I needed to be & she was now already too far ahead of me looking ahead to notice that I was turning left, so she ended up heading straight forward over jumps 1, 2 & then took 9 off-course, which of course is an NQ since you can’t have a wrong-course in JWW. I called her back over jump 3, into the tunnel, then I rear-crossed & I think I got too far ahead because she missed the weaves entrance. I called her back & she took the opportunity to go back into the tunnel, another off-course, but then I got her into the weaves. Then on to jumps 6, 7, 8 with her on my left, then I rear-crossed jump 9, then 10, & I did a front-cross on the landing side of jump 11, & finished with her on my left through 12, 13, & 14. Too bad about the start, because otherwise I think we would’ve definitely gotten a Q on this one, but I’m happy she did come right back when she got off course & we got the tough part at the end, so very pleased. Nice, fun course!

Standard – Open (Marianne Diehl – ID)
This was another great course. I was happy to start with a tunnel (because that means I don’t have to worry about her staying at the start line & getting distracted), especially since it came back out to the same spot (basically) to a jump, it seemed really doable. I was a little worried that the turn from jump 8 to the dog-walk could be a problem with the tunnel right there calling her name. (And actually, in the Excellent/Masters course, they were supposed to take that tunnel in sequence between that jump & the dog walk.) I also thought that with the jump before the weaves heading in the opposite direction of the weaves, that the turn back would help with the deceleration needed to get her into the weaves. And I like that the A-frame (her favorite!) was on the way out.

So I got her into the tunnel & over the jump easily as planned, but then I didn’t push hard enough to jump 3 (as it was off-set) so she paralleled my line & headed past (refusal #1) the jump to the teeter (wrong-course #1). Then when I called her back, I was too close to the jump & wasn’t really clear on my signals (from the video it looks like I could even be queuing that jump), so she back-jumped that jump as she came back to me. I called her to me again & then we headed back over jump 3 correctly, teeter, jumps 5, 6, 7 & a nice rear-cross to 8, then to my excitement she bypassed the tunnel (yay!) & up the dog-walk. She didn’t stick the bottom of the dog-walk contact though, unfortunately, which didn’t let me lead out slightly to jump 10 like I wanted, so I came up short as I went with it & she passed the jump (refusal #2) – then when I called her back so we could get the jump, she touched the bottom of the dog walk again (wrong-course #2). I got her over jump 10, then to the table (& you can see her happily wagging her tail), then over jump 12, and she came around the jump with only a slight thought of getting distracted as she saw the outside of the ring, but unfortunately missed the weaves entrance, but she got them on the second try & did them fast all the way through! On to the tire, without going under it (I thought that was a possibility with the turn to the A-frame), up the A-frame & she stuck the contact! Then finished with the triple after I released her off the A-frame. Despite a few issues (one being my fault because I didn’t queue jump 3 correctly & the other two being she didn’t stick a contact or get her weaves entrance) I think she did great!! She stayed working with me, happy, & we got it all done!

SUNDAY – 4/21/19

Jumpers With Weaves – Novice B (Marianne Diehl – ID)
I was feeling really good about this one from first seeing the map & then when I walked it. I was contemplating a blind-cross between 4 & 5, but decided to stick with my original thought of a rear-cross. I liked that the weaves were at the beginning, where she could see them from the start & there was enough space to collect to get into them. When it was our turn, I made sure I had her attention as I walked away to lead out, like I usually do, but especially after the day before where she broke the start. I released her over jump 1 & she got into the weaves first try! Then on to jump 3, which she actually took out the wing – I’m not sure why, it was probably a combination of me pulling away too quickly & me saying “here” because I didn’t want her to get a wrong-course by going straight for jump 8 like I had seen a couple do. So of course we were already NQed with that, but also of course we continued on over jump 4 where I rear-crossed to jump 5, then went around the circle with her on my right to 6, 7, 8 which she knocked the bar – probably because I was turning a little too sharply, though I would like to get her to commit to obstacles with distance. Then on to 9, 10, then I rear-crossed to 11, then 12, tunnel & a front cross to pull her back over the finish jump 14. It’s too bad about those 2 knocked jumps, because I really thought this was going to be the one for our elusive first Jumpers Q & otherwise we did the whole course perfectly as planned. This was a really nice flowing course, with lots of thoughtful space & planning on the judge’s part – she made sure everything was setup really nicely when she checked it after the course builders. Oh well, very proud of my missy miss!!

Standard – Open (Dan Butcher – OR)
Ok, so this one looked neat, but complicated – so many chances to pull my baby girl off-course (both myself with my handling & the enticing other obstacles), so I was a little worried about it. I had a lot of trouble trying to decide how to do the 7-8-9-10 sequence – I was pretty sure I was going to need to rear-cross between 7 & 8, I didn’t figure there was any way I could get her to go out to 8 if I stayed on the other side of 7. Then it was a matter of – was I going to stay on the landing side of 7 as I brought her around 8 to 9 & the back side of 10 over it towards the side I was on – or would I get to the landing side of 9 & do some sort of cross? I also didn’t want to lead out too far past the tire, because I was afraid she might think about going under it, as the quickest route back to me. Jump 2 was offset to the right, so I considered leading out with her on my right, which would mean a rear-cross at the weaves, but I was afraid that might pull her out of the weaves. There was another possibility of her going to the teeter after jump 5 instead of pulling to 6, but I wasn’t too worried about that, I felt like she’d probably go with me. Then there’s the A-frame with the down-side pointing into a tunnel, which could cause her to blow the contact, then a threadle after the table to the right side of the tunnel, then I knew it was going to be tough with her racing out of the tunnel heading towards the A-frame but needing to get her to past it & go to jump 15. So whew, toughie!! I watched all of the 20″ & 24″ runs in the Excellent/Masters course before this one, the only difference was there was a jump after the tunnel, before the table, then back over that jump to the tunnel for theirs. I saw all kinds of amazing runs, with different ways of handling these sequences, as well as different ways things didn’t go as planned for those teams. Then it came time to walk it & choose my plan. I felt decent with it, but still worried about the aforementioned potential issues.

So I set her up at the tire, made sure the previous dog had cleared the ring before walking away (it was another Ridgeback), & made sure I had her attention as I walked away to lead out with her on my left. As someone pointed out, you can see that my lead out brought me almost to the middle of the jump, which means I had to move right to get around it, which ends up opening the table as a possibility to Sierra. It’s hard to say, I feel like I still ended up meeting her where I needed to be to get her into the weaves, but she had already set her sights on that table – maybe a more experienced dog wouldn’t have trouble with that – and I actually don’t remember seeing anyone in the previous class lead out with the dog on their right to avoid that, but I did notice several were able to get a bigger lead out past that jump. Oh well, I managed to call her off the table before she reached it & I got her into the weaves (though it was still a refusal from passing it the first time), which she did all the way through & fast! Up the dog-walk & she stuck the contact. I released her over jump 5, called her to keep her on track to 6, 7, “go-over, turn” rear-cross at 8 – then I turned too wide, traveled too far, & faced my shoulders towards the side of the ring instead of where I needed to go, which caused her to go wide around jump 9 (refusal #2) as I started my front-cross on the other side of the jump. I called her to me, got her over jump 9, then I didn’t step towards jump 10 enough & she had the A-frame in her sights, so off she went past me up to the top of the A-frame (refusal #3 & wrong-course #1). I hesitated momentarily deciding whether it was worth calling her back to do that jump, but I knew I already had too many faults to qualify & it wouldn’t help the flow to go back to that jump, so I went on (failure to correct). But, I released her too quickly off the A-frame, so I wasn’t where I needed to be to push her to the left side of the tunnel & she went into the right, but again I didn’t bother to fix it & took her to the table. Then I got the threadle to the right side of the tunnel, but as predicted she came blasting out of the tunnel & started up the A-frame (wrong course #2), but I called her off of it, then over 15, 16, teeter, & over the finish jump 18. Kinda messy, but it turned out alright. This is one of those runs that I really wish we had the opportunity to re-try not for scoring, just to get a do-over to learn from the mistakes & get to try them again. Maybe one-day AKC will allow “mulligans”, but in the meantime we might get to set this course up in class!

All-in-all it was a good weekend with some good runs. I have to admit, I was kinda bummed that it was another 0 for 4 weekend, but looking back at it now & watching the videos, I really see that they were good runs! Lots of good moments, there were no zoomies, she was focused on working with me, & really for this novice baby she did what my novice/low-intermediate handling asked her to do! And as others mentioned, we’ve come a long way in a short time & we’re still new! She’s very talented, very smart, & most importantly she’s very happy, having fun doing this, & fast! And as I am continually reminded of, that’s the important part & the rest will come!!

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First Open Standard Agility Q!!

This past weekend I took Sierra down to Eugene, OR for the Pacific Northwest Shetland Sheepdog Club agility trials. Oh em gee, I am over the moon excited & an extremely proud puppy momma!!! 😁 While we only got 1 Q out of 4 entries, my baby girl was amazing!!! She was SO good – she stayed with me & did not do any zoomies, she was happy & fast!! The only reason we didn’t Q on 2 of the runs was because of a dropped bar. In the other there were a few other oopsies, but nothing to be upset about. She was a star!!! 💖 And it was a fantastic weekend as a whole! I got to hang out with some friends at the trial, I went to a Thai place for dinner with Holly, I stayed in a nice Airbnb with a really comfy bed, & it turned into a beautiful, sunny 50+ degree day on Sunday so Holly & I took our 3 Ridgies to a big field to run & play together after the trial to top it all off – Sierra so deserved it!! 💞

Also, one of the judges (Laura Gillice) was the judge at our Ridgeback National this past October in Colorado & I really liked her & her courses (she was so nice & helpful to me, as I was still brand-new to agility) & she’s the reason I decided to stay the night in Eugene to enter both days at this trial when I saw she was a judge – after our first run on Saturday with her as judge, while I was rewarding Sierra for an excellent Jumpers run, she called to someone to grab something & they got my attention, she wanted to give me a gift – one of the beautiful agility trophies (a metal Ridgeback with a heart around it) from the national, that she had been gifted as judge. Eee!! 😄 I had been bummed that we were so close to not only qualifying for our first trial at the national, but we would’ve been high-in-trial preferred if she hadn’t dropped one bar, so we didn’t get one of the trophies – so how incredibly awesome & nice of her, especially cool with how it worked out that she was the reason I had entered this trial! I of course thanked her & told her that after she finished judging the class. She was also great at this trial & she said we did so well! 🙃 We also got some wonderful photos by Nina Sage & Stephanie was so awesome & took videos of all 4 of our runs!! I also even won a gift certificate for a future trial in the workers raffle (I volunteered to be timer & bar setter for a couple classes).

Oh & also, the drive home was perfectly uneventful, with no traffic & everyone was respectfully using the left lane correctly! And, because it was such a beautiful clear day with the sun behind me, I could see 3 volcanoes at the same time between Salem & Woodburn – Mt Hood, Mt Adams, & Mt St Helens. 😍 Just an amazingly awesome weekend from start to finish, I couldn’t be happier!!! Love my amazing girl!!! 💓

SATURDAY 3/9/19

Jumpers With Weaves – Novice B (Laura Gillice – CO)
This one our second time back in a Jumpers course after our hiatus from this class. I was a little unsure of how I was going to get the crosses in the first half of it & it seemed pretty tight. But I walked it, formed a plan, & hoped for the best. I started with Sierra on my left & went just past the first jump, then released her around 1, 2, 3. I did a rear-cross at jump 4, sent her over 5, & went to the landing side of jump 6 & called her to me as I did a front-cross & on with her on my left to 7, 8, 9, & into the tunnel where I met her coming out of the tunnel on my right. She went past the weaves, but after the second? try she went into the weaves & then I sent her on to jump 12 where I did a rear-cross & finished with her on my left through 13 & 14. She was so beautiful as she stayed with me through the whole course perfectly & it would’ve been an awesome Q if she hadn’t dropped the bar on jump 2. But that was a win for me!! 🌟

Standard – Open (Susan Leitner – WA)
This was only our second ever Open Standard Run. My worries were the possibility of her going straight for the A-frame after jump 3 instead of turning away from it to jump 4, her not sticking the A-frame contact, not getting the weaves entrance on the first try, & possibly going under the tire instead of through – but I felt like we could still do it & went in with confidence. I started with her on my right & led out past the tire. As I released her & moved towards the dog walk, she went under the tire (ugh!) – I didn’t fix it, but I probably should have in order to show her that she needs to do it right, though I don’t know if it would’ve caused a disconnect or demotivated her if I had to correct her that early in the run. She’s done this a couple other times, but she’s usually fine when it’s the first obstacle & it’s straight on to the second or it’s in the middle of the course with a straight view to the next obstacle. I think the issue is that this tire was on an angle facing the wall, so she was looking under it to the side to see the dog walk, so she just took the quickest path there. The tire is one thing that seems to not be brought out in class much, so maybe we’ll have to work on proofing that some…

Anyway, on to the dog walk & she stuck the contact! I released her over jump 3 & ran to the landing side of 4 while calling her to me – but she shot straight up the A-frame & stopped at the top to look back at me. I didn’t want her to jump off from the top, so I went over to her & got her to come back down the ascending side & then we ran together to 4, 5, 6, 7 & teeter with her on my left. She stuck that contact & I did a front-cross, then released her to 9, 10, A-frame & she stuck the contact! I released her to the table & she came off the other side, I don’t know if it was the momentum or what she could see over there, as that was the fence/crating side of the ring. I got her to come back to the table & she went off the other side. Got her back on for the count & then sent her to the weaves. She missed it the first & second time, on the third try she went in at the second pole, but I went with it & she finished the rest of the poles. At the end of the weaves I pushed her to the left side of the tunnel & with a front-cross I sent her over 15 & 16 with her on my right. With a beautiful! tight wrap around the left wing of 16, I front-crossed to finish with her on my left over 17 & 18.

Then here’s the last oopsies of the course – I knew the way the gate was setup, it was hanging a little less than a foot open with the open side facing the last jump, so it was my plan to run past the gate (on the inside, of course) after the last jump to keep her moving with me instead of seeing the open gate – well I think I overdid the speed, because she kept going to the fence & it looked like she thought about jumping over it & then sort of went into it like a net. 😖 She probably thought it was another obstacle with the way I was running towards it, so it’s my fault. She got caught in it with her head & front legs through it past her elbows. I ran to grab her to keep her from continuing forward & I held her around her chest as some people on the outside untangled her. Oh boy, oh well. Oops!! So of course no Q, even without the fence issue there were too many faults – but we did the whole thing, there were some really good moments, & she stayed with me – I can’t even blame her for going for the A-frame, I mean it was right there!! 😉 — will post the video once I get it from Steph —

SUNDAY 3/10/19

Jumpers With Weaves – Novice B (Susan Leitner – WA)
I was having trouble figuring out where I was going to get my crosses in with this pinwheel entrance (potentially picking up speed) & the quick turn to the left after it, then a fast tunnel to a jump, that I would have to be able to get up to for the weaves. It was hard to look at on paper, but once I was walking it, it felt much better. I tried it with a rear-cross at 5 & a rear-cross after 5. I didn’t feel like I could get up there for a front-cross anywhere. The only other thing might be a blind-cross before 5, but I still didn’t think I could get up there for that. I decided to mostly see how the timing went for one of the rear-crosses when we were running, but aimed for between 5 & 6. I also knew that right now I have to push her to the jumps, because if I give too much distance, she’d likely pass the jumps. My other thoughts were to front-cross while she was in the second tunnel to take her to 11 & 12 with her on my left, then rear-cross at 13, but when I walked it I realized I didn’t think I’d have enough time to get to that side of the tunnel, so decided to keep her on my right.

I set her at jump 1 & led out just past it. I released her over 1, on to 2, 3, 4, 5 & it worked out very nicely to rear-cross as I sent her 6 & as I sent her to the tunnel & I saw her commit to it, I raced to the end of the tunnel & took her to 8 & then the weaves. She missed the weave entrance again, she missed it the second time, but she kept coming back & she got it on the 3rd try. I sent her to the tunnel & raced to the landing side of 11 & called her to me as she was coming through the tunnel. I pushed her to 12, then to 13 & she dropped the bar – boo, you could see it on my face as I heard it drop behind me. But I kept on running to 14 & 15, which she dropped too (I don’t know if I slowed down slightly or something to cause that), & finished over 16 & partied big! Darn those bars, but it was another awesome run & an almost-Q, I’ll take it!! 💕

Standard – Open (Laura Gillice – CO)
Some of us were watching as they setup this course & we were thinking, hmm, this table section could get interesting & the way the jumps 7 & 8 were setup led a straight path to the tunnel. We were hoping those would get tweaked, which they were as the judge walked the course, phew! The teeter was also facing right to the table, but not where we were going. I also hoped that the tire in the middle of the course, out of a tunnel wouldn’t cause her to go under it again. And I wondered if I could get her into the entrance the first time for the weaves. I walked the course & it felt pretty good.

I set her at the first jump & led out just past it. I released her over the jump & up the dog walk, which she stuck the contact, even facing into a tunnel! I released her quickly & ran to meet her coming out of the tunnel with enough distance to run towards the tire, making sure to keep an eye on her as I directed her through it – she did it! Then to the teeter, which she stuck the contact as I did a front-cross & released her to 6, rounded to 7, then 8 as I made sure to hang back enough to show her what direction we were going & call her to me as she was in the air & I was heading towards the table so she wouldn’t think about the tunnel. As she jumped on the table I was there with my hands out in front of her & telling her to stay so she’d slam on the brakes & stay on the table. During the count down I moved to the other side of the table so that she would be on my left as I released her off the table & made sure she rounded to the right over jump 10, then up the A-frame. She stuck the A-frame contact as I did a front-cross & released her to 12 & I sent her to 13 as I raced to the landing side to do a front-cross & tried to get her into the entrance of the weaves, but she missed it. I had a slight panicky thought, but kept it together as I collected her & made sure to give her the best chance at a second try & as I guided her there, she got it! We made our way through the weaves & I made sure to get her to jump 15, then the left side of the tunnel – and holy crap we did it!!!!! 😲 It was the most beautiful run & our first Open class Q (& it was only our 3rd time in Open)!!! I am over the moon excited & so incredibly proud of my outstanding baby girl. 💖 She makes me so happy!!!! Eeee!!! 😁 Man it was gorgeous!!! Almost hard to believe… and if there wasn’t an awesome video to re-watch over & over, I might not believe it. She even got 2nd place, just 3 seconds longer than 1st place!

What a weekend folks!!! I mean, it can’t get much better than this! 😍 🌟

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No Qs, but some good things

No Qs for us today at the McKenzie Cascade Dog Fanciers agility trial in Albany, but there were definitely some good moments! It’s been a little while since we’ve tried doing the Jumpers class, or since we’ve done two classes in the same day because being there all day has proved to be more than she could handle previously, but she handled it fairly well today, despite it being very exciting! 👍

I don’t have a video of Novice Jumpers, but it was the first one of the day for us & I could tell she was feeling silly, but it went fairly well. She knocked a bar on the 3rd jump because it was a sharp turn after it, so I may have turned too quickly (I probably shouldn’t have tried to get up there to do a FC between 4 & 5, but do a RC between 5 & 6 instead) & she never got the weaves entrance after 3 tries. 😕 She also completely missed a couple jumps, again because I think I didn’t push far enough to them because I rounded the turns too quickly, but it did surprise me that she went around them. I didn’t bother fixing em because it would’ve ruined the momentum & connection & I could tell she had thoughts of running around, but she didn’t, so I called that a win. 👍 😃

The video is of our Open Standard run, which this was our first time in Open! 😬 The A-frame was the second obstacle (ugh, I hate when it’s that early in the run!) & she didn’t stick the contact & took off running just about everywhere. 😫 I thought about pulling her, but decided to give her one shot to come back & work with me & pull her if she took off again – she did come back & we were able to do the course pretty nicely, except I’m still having trouble getting her in the weaves on the first try in a trial setting, but I’d say it was a pretty good outcome. ? I guess some zoomies can be expected since we’ve only trialed here once before, a while ago. And there were a lot of Ridgebacks & people we know, so that was exciting, for both of us. And actually, I should mention that the only thing they changed between this course & the Excellent/Masters course, was to take out the tunnel that was in the back-right corner for them, so that’s kinda neat! 🙃 I can be proud of my goofy one today. 💕

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New Novice Agility Title!

Yay!!! Today Sierra & I qualified for our 3rd leg in Novice Standard Agility, winning 1st place in our class with a score of 100 out of 100 in Ridgefield, WA under judge Robin Kletke (subbing for Lori Sage) earning our FIRST agility title – NA!!! 🎉 I am beyond amazed & excited!!! 😁 I couldn’t be prouder of my silly baby girl, she’s come a long way!! I know we’ll still have challenges & we’ll see what the next level brings us… but she was awesome & I love my goofy sweetheart!!! 💓 We had so much fun!! She was enthusiastic, focused, playing the game with me, & she stuck all of her contacts!!! 🐾 Thanks to my teachers & all my supportive friends!! Sierra is now: ARR Sierra Mountain Dew, BN RI SC NA BCAT CGC TKA ET 💖

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Second Novice Standard Agility Q!

Sierra & I were entered in the Portland Agility Club agility trials in Ridgefield a couple weekends ago, both days Novice Standard only. I entered these trials at the same time I entered the trials for the weekend before, with the thought that not being there all day would help Sierra’s focus – and it seemed to do the trick! No zoomies either run & we got a Q on Sunday!!!! 😁 I think this is a very fitting photo – Sierra doing 2-on-2-off on the A-frame!! 💖

SATURDAY 1/5/19

Standard – Novice A (Tracy Mazur – UT)
I ran Sierra around the neighborhood again before going to the trial. I got there an hour before the scheduled course setup for our run & left her in the car while I went to go check in & get my map. I also took her to the practice jump, as well as the ramp to the bleachers on one side of the building to use it to work contacts like the A-frame. When it was our turn, I set her at the first jump which was a panel jump & led out past it, then I released her over the jump & up the dog walk. As I was beside her, she came off in the middle of it, which surprised me as she’s never done this, so I just took her towards the end of the dog walk & without me saying anything she hopped on & went to the end to do the 2-on-2-off contact as she knows that’s what she’s supposed to do with it. (In hindsight, I remembered that I actually could’ve taken her back to the beginning of the dog walk, since she hadn’t started down the down-side of it & just taken a refusal, but fixed the dog walk instead of NQ fault. Also, someone watching told me that she hit the panel jump a little, not sure if she knocked a bar off too, but they said that seemed to make her off balance as she loaded onto the dog walk & that’s why she came off of it.) I led out a little & released her off the dog walk to the tire, but for some reason she went under it. I didn’t see a reason to correct it, so I went on to the next jump & she headed to the A-frame & put her paw on it, but I called her back to me, had her sit & then went to jump 5, tunnel, 7, A-frame & she stuck the contact!!! 💓 I released her to the broad jump, teeter & she stuck it, then to the table. I led out during the table countdown, released her to 12, tunnel, & to the weaves. I tried to get her into the weaves 3 times, but she wouldn’t go in at the starting pole, so we went on to the finish jump.

That was a tough one to know how to handle. While there was an accidental exit off the dog walk, a ducked tire, & a wrong course touch of the A-frame, I was still able to call her back to me & she never ran around without me & she stuck the A-frame which has been her biggest problem. 👍 I would’ve been happy to end on that good note, but then she wouldn’t do the weaves on the way out. So I pondered it while I talked to my friend about how she came off the dog walk, then I went ahead & gave her treats for some good moments in the ring!

SUNDAY 1/6/19

Standard – Novice A (Dan Butcher – OR)
It was raining on Sunday, so I didn’t take her for a run before heading to the trial. And I actually only got there maybe 20-30 minutes before they started the course change for Novice Standard & they actually started that to the minute of the projected scheduled. I looked at the map when I got there, then took her to the practice jump while they built the course, put her away & grabbed her treat-filled fur tug toy pouch to put on the table, & then it was time to walk the course. (I put her treat toys on the table when I don’t have her with me, so she doesn’t see me put it there as we’re walking to the ring, so she’s not distracted thinking about it or tempted to run out to get it – that’s my thought anyway.) She had run under the tire the day before when it was in the middle of the course, so I was happy that it was at the start. I felt like it was a doable course & was only a little worried at the entry angle to the weaves from the table with the wide turn that starts headed towards the A-frame. And of course I wanted her to stick the A-frame contact when we got there.

Well, when it was our turn I led out past the tire, released her to the dog walk & she stuck the contact even though it was facing into a tunnel! I released her to the tunnel & moved to jump 4 & called her to it as she came out of the tunnel & said table as she was coming over it & said stay, know it was looking at the A-frame. She actually kind of fell off the table towards me as she came up onto it, I guess she had so much momentum & lost her balance, but she got back on & as the judge counted down I positioned myself between the table & A-frame pointing towards the weaves. I called her off the table to me & told her to weave weave weave & she passed the entrance & went through the middle. I had had to call her back 2 more times, but she got it on the 3rd try. Then to the broad jump, 8, A-frame & she stuck the contact!!! I front-crossed there, then released her to 10, 11 (making sure I didn’t pull her off of it), 12, teeter & again she stuck the contact, & then I released her to the last jump (making sure I called her to it instead of letting her go around it if she was thinking about the gate)! Heck yeah, we Qed!!!! 😁 Only one table fault because she lost her balance, she didn’t even attempt any zoomies, & she stuck all of her contacts!!!! 😍 So exciting, so proud of my amazing baby girl!!!! 💕

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Much Improvement!

Sierra & I had another agility trial yesterday in Ridgefield with the Boston Terrier club. After the disaster of how the trial went for us at the beginning of the month (where she ran around without me in 5 of 6 entries 😣) I decided to enter Novice Standard only, on one day only, to see if that would help. To be fair, there was a lot going on at that Performance Weekend trial, so I was hoping that with us not being there from 8am-6pm, in a high intensity environment all day with dogs barking & lots going on, it would help her to not sit there getting amped up or bored. My plan was to work on some issues in class in the weeks up to this trial, take her for a run before heading to the trail, get there only an hour before our one run, & keep her crated in the car instead of the arena building. She has been pretty good with not doing zoomies in class for a while now, but after the experience at the last trial, she ended up doing some zoomies in a couple of our classes over the past couple weeks – which was great, because I had a few opportunities to correct her in class when she got the zoomies. (Whereas in a trial, you can

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Struggles with Zoomies

This past weekend was an agility trial weekend for us at the Eukanuba Performance Games weekend in Ridgefield, WA. There was a lot going on – agility, obedience, rally, conformation fun matches, tricks, CGC, Barn Hunt, Farm Dog, & Dock Dive. In the agility building was the agility rings in the horse arena & the Barn Hunt/Farm Dog on one end of the building with the Dock Diving right outside the building. The rest of the stuff was in another indoor building. This trial ended up being a really tough one for us…

FRIDAY 11/30/18

Fast – Novice A (Kenneth Boyd – CA)
I had a plan that seemed fairly doable, though I was worried about the distance from the first two jumps to the first jump in the Send. And the angle to the second jump in the send looked difficult. I didn’t see a problem getting her into the tunnel after that jump though. But with the finish jump where it was & the start line where it was, there really wasn’t any better options for starting locations. I wasn’t sure about running out of a tunnel & getting 12 weave poles either, but knew I could either retry or send her on to the tunnel. But, my plan really didn’t end up mattering because she took the first two jumps & took off running around. I couldn’t get her back to work with me, so when I finally got her, I took her out of the ring.

Jumpers With Weaves – Novice A (Jack Cadalso – FL)
I was debating whether to lead out passed jump 2 & face her with my right arm out towards her & then just pulling to 3, or if I should still lead out to or slightly passed 2 & do a front cross. Then it should be a fairly easy loop around 3-4-5-6-7-8, & then I planned to to cross between 8 & 9 – which depending on how fast she was going, I would either front cross or rear cross. Then a fairly easy 9-10-11-weaves (as long as she didn’t get too ahead of me) & then probably a front cross or maybe rear cross from the weaves to 13, then 14. Well I can’t remember exactly what happened when she ran off, but I think I got jumps 1, 2 & the front cross, but I can’t remember if I got her over 3 – but she took off running to the back side of the ring, to the corner, & then saw a bar-setter sitting in a chair. I was calling her back to me & she came running & I made a quick decision to send her over the jumps & she took 3-4-5-6-7-8, I’m pretty sure I got the rear cross as she went to 9-10-11, she missed the weaves entrance, I got her to come back & redo them, then an awkward front cross to 13-14. So she had started running around & I know I got some refusals & off-courses in there somewhere, but I got her back enough to complete the rest of it & I felt alright with that.

Standard – Novice A (Kenneth Boyd – CA)
I was really looking forward to this one, I thought it was a nice course. I like that it started with a jump to the dog, which usually slows her down & she gets the contact. Then I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to get her out of the tunnel straight for the tire & teeter, which I would either rear cross before it or front cross after it. I was a little worried if I was on the inside of the tire that she might not see me coming out of the tunnel, but I thought it would be better than me trying to cross in front of it & not make it in time. I thought getting her to stick the A-Frame contact shouldn’t be too hard & there was a table to stop her right after. I liked that the weaves would be coming off calm pause table & an easy send to the tunnel, broad jump, jump, probably rear cross to 14, then out. When we were headed into the right, the gate person said “Saved the best for last.” & I smiled, probably worriedly. Well, she missed the contact on the dog walk, shot straight into the tunnel, didn’t see me coming out & went for the A-Frame & started running. I called her back to me & I got her to lay down, then I got her to walk with me back around the tire & I tried to get her to jump through it, which she went under the side of it & took off running again. When I got her back I took her out of the ring. When walking her past the other gate as the judge & gate person were walking away, the gate person said “She was having a lot of fun!” & I said “Yeah, a little too muhc!” & the judge smiled & said “Hang in there, she’ll come around” or something like that. Ugh… We had been there all day – from 9am to 5pm, with really nothing to be proud of & it was disappointing. :'(

SUNDAY 12/2/18

Fast – Novice A (Kenneth Boyd – CA)
With this one I was hoping that I could work on the A-Frame contact – hoping to really get her to stick it the first try, but if she didn’t take her back around to do it again. If she did, I’d go on to the jump in the send, to either end of the tunnel, back over the jump, to the tunnel, teeter, & over the finish jump. I didn’t put my lead out on the map, but I led out between the first two jumps. Well, then entry went like I wanted – over the first two jumps & the A-Frame, but she didn’t stick the contact & if I remember correctly she ran right for the tunnel in the send & back out to me & I heard the judge call “fault”. So I got her back & got her over the A-Frame in the other directly & she stuck the contact, so I just with with the jump to her left & over the finish jump. I felt like that was the best way to end it, with her sticking the contact & doing 2 more things with me. I thought well, that wasn’t the plan, but it ended ok.

Jumpers With Weaves – Novice A (Jack Cadalso – FL)
I walked this one over & over, trying to figure out if I was going to be able to front cross between 3 & 4 or if I needed to do a rear cross. I was also worried about her getting fast around 4-5-6-7 & me not being able to keep up with her & ending up with 13 in my path. I figured the best way to handle the turn after the weaves would be to do a rear cross before them because she’s probably be fast getting up to it anyway. Then I was worried about her being fast through 9-10-11-13 & getting ahead of me, making 7 in my bath to keep up with her. But I thought it was fairly easy with not really any hard crosses & a lot of it in a row on one side or the other. Well, all that planning for nothing – she stayed while I led out to the second jump, but as soon as I released her she took off over the first jump & kept heading straight & started running around. She wouldn’t come back to me & was dodging me as she ran passed. When I finally got her, I took her straight out of the ring to her crate. This was the worst one yet. It upset me pretty badly. Ended up sitting in the bleachers with Holly for a while & Stephanie came over too. Just really disappointing. I know she can do this. I spend so much time practicing with her, working on the walk throughs, working with her outside of the ring. She’s my girl, she’s always by my side – but we get in there & she blows me off. Just really tough. I know there’s a lot going on (especially during this Performance weekend) at trials & it’s tough for a dog (let along a young one) to not get distracted or excited by it. I know I’m nervous & she knows that & that doesn’t help. But still – she can do this! Just tough, I wasn’t happy with this. :'(

After I was over the initial just upset feeling, Stephanie helped me make a plan for the final run of the day. If this was all too much for her – I needed to step it back & keep it simple. We looked at the map & figured out a way to do a few things that we could be successful at staying together on & just not worry about the actual course. The A-Frame was not a good idea, especially with it staring the tunnel right in the face. The dog walk (which often slows her down) was setup at the end, so I couldn’t use that. The weaves being the second obstacle could either be really great & slow her down, or she could blow right passed them to the tunnel. But, I thought that was my best shot – so I decided to do the start jump, weaves, tunnel, jump 4, then right to the 11 tunnel, then jump 12, dog walk, finish jump. Just an easy perimeter run, no crosses.

Then I decided to take a break from the trial scene & I went over with Annette to the other building where they were doing obedience, a conformation fun match, & tricks. We saw Barth, Debbie, & Mary. While we were talking to them, Jennifer came in with her two dogs. We helped Jennifer get her crates setup & dogs settled. We grabbed soft pretzels & then headed back to the agility arena. I watched Christi & Holly for their Standard & Jumpers runs. Then all the way at the end of the day, it was final the Novice Standard ring time.

Standard – Novice A (Kenneth Boyd – CA)
Mary was in in this class with Finn, back for the first time in a while. We knew it’d be best to not let them see each other, because they’d want to play, so since she was before me, she’d be in the area in front of the ring & I was going to be on the other side of the wall until my turn came. I took her to the back where there was a ramp to one of the stands & used it to practice her contacts – she was doing great with it. I also used the practice jump. When it was almost our turn I came closer, still on the other side of the wall. When Mary went in the ring, I went to the gate, but kept Sierra facing me, working on sits/downs/stands. Mary & Finn had a perfect run!! Then it was our turn – last team of the day. I went in & put her on a stay in front of the first jump & I led out just passed it. I released her & said “go weave!” & she passed it – but she didn’t run to the tunnel, she turned back to me when I called her to me, I got her back to the weaves & she did it! On to the tunnel, jump tunnel, then she missed the jump, so I just sent her to the dog walk. She didn’t stick the contact, but she didn’t run – I “hey” or something & hesitated on what to do with it, so she ended up putting herself back on it going the other way, so I guess I had to go with her & she stuck the contact on the other side. I didn’t know what to do at that point facing that way, so I released her & put her back on it going the right way & she stuck the contact. (Technically this was “training in the ring” which is not allowed, but I was kinda stuck on what to do, the judge did blow his whistle a couple times, as he should – but he had seen her run around several times this weekend & he knew the struggles we were having, so he was patient & nicely allowed us to complete it the way we did. And it’s Novice, the last dog of the weekend, & he knew we knowingly forfeited the Q when we didn’t do the actual course.) I released her off the dog walk to the jump, but she went passed it to the left, because that’s where the end/gate is & she was looking to go there, but I called her back over it in the other direction & celebrated with her – took her out of the ring, played tug with the toy on the treat table & gave her tons of treats. I called that a fair success. I felt good about it – it wasn’t perfectly the plan, but she didn’t run around, she stayed with me & we did it together. And it was at least a positive way to end the weekend where 5 of our 6 entries were just so disappointing.

Again it was nice to have the support of my friends – I really appreciate you guys! Now I just need to figure out what to do next. Do I take a break from trials? Do I only do fun matches? Do I only do trials at quieter venues for now? Do I only do one entry a day? Do I try what I did in that last run – not do the course, but pick a few obstacles to be successful with? I asked the people who are the trial secretaries for most of the trials in the Pacific Northwest & they don’t know of any fun matches coming up. I may decide to do the one entry at the next Ridgefield trial in a couple weekends from now & just pick a few obstacles to be successful with. On a good note – she was amazing in class on Tuesday. We did a figure-8 of jumps using blind crosses & then with rear crosses. Then we did a course that extended passed those to some tunnels. She ended up running to an A-Frame that was not part of the course, so I took her to her crate, then Debbie had me take her dog out to do a few jumps & give him lots of praise & treats while Sierra watched. Then someone else took their turn. Then I took Sierra out again & she did the course perfectly with me!

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First regular agility class Q!

We had another agility trial this past weekend (I entered Friday only though) in Eugene with the Sheltie club & I was hoping to continue with the progress after the good things from last weekend. However Sierra being Sierra, was her goofy happy self with our first entry of the day in Fast. She took off running around again, so I ended up pulling her from the course as she wasn’t willing to work with me. (The judge mentioned that other Ridgeback people would be happy to have that way of their dogs handling stress, as they will often shut down instead. That’s what I keep hearing – that I’m lucky to have this. And I see it, I see how other Ridgies can be slower & disengaged in other ways – but it can still be a little disheartening to have her completely disconnected from me. But, they also say eventually she’ll get more comfortable in the trial setting & more mature, & she will be awesome!) I did some volunteering as Timer again, while waiting for our next runs. I’m happy to say that we had a better run in Jumpers & a very nice run in Standard, in which we actually Qed!! Our first regular (not Preferred) class Q in agility – yay!!! 😀 And I’m very proud of this baby girl! 💕 Please read on about the details…

FRIDAY 11/23/18

Fast – Novice A (Paula Ratoza – OR)
This was the first class of the day, & it’s always iffy if Sierra will be too wound up to stay with me. I thought I picked out a fairly straight forward & easy route to take in this Fast course. I wasn’t sure if she’d stay for the lead out to the 2nd jump because it was kind of far & I knew I’d need to push to the 1st jump in the send, while staying on the other side of the line, but thought it would work well enough & get her to the left side of the tunnel. I also wasn’t sure if I could get her into 12 weaves, but I couldn’t really find any better options, as the jump beside it was spaced so far from the tunnel & other jump, & the way everything else was setup & the A-Frame being at the finish jump, there wasn’t much else I could do. So if I didn’t get her into the weaves I would either try again or go on to the next jump, with an easy tunnel (would take either side), over the jump, A-Frame, & out over the finish. I was happy to have the A-Frame at the end. (I was also a little worried about her running out of the gate at the end, after doing it on the last run of our last trial.) But, best laid plans… She did stay for the lead out & got over both jumps, but I don’t think I pushed her to the send jump well enough because she missed it. When I tried to get her back to it she took off running around

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You can have Wins without Qs

This past weekend was a big agility trial weekend for us in Ridgefield with the Dobie club. This was our first time in regular Novice A instead of Novice Preferred. We were entered Saturday & Sunday in Fast, Jumpers, & Standard. I was very excited for it! But oh man, Saturday started off with complete mayhem in Fast – she flew over the A-Frame, the first obstacle I took her to, & ran around the ring over obstacles & couldn’t be caught, it was a game of catch me if you can – what a disaster. She knows how to embarrass me, that’s for sure! 😫 After that, new game plan on prepping before entering the ring, calm obedience & focus exercises. It seemed to work when we did our Jumpers course! But then Standard had an A-Frame as the 2nd obstacle & she took off running again. I caught her & took her out off the ring. Needless to say, not a great first day. 😣 My friends were all supportive though & that was great! I did some volunteering as a Timer at Stephanie’s request. Sunday I was hoping for some better teamwork. I really worked on keeping her calm & working with me outside of the ring. This girl doesn’t need amp-ing up, she loves it – we just have to work on her staying with me for the fun, even in an extremely exciting environment! It went SO much better. There were a couple small things that disqualified us in all 3 classes we did, but there was really really good stuff – she worked with me & there were some BIG wins, like sticking the contact on the A-Frame & completing all of the courses (well aside from a missed jump or weaves that I decided not to fix) together!!! 😁 3 almost-Qs!!! Thanks SO much to all of my friends – you were so supportive & it means a lot!!! 💕 And the judges were really great guys! I also signed myself up as Timer for T2B on Sunday, knowing Steph would probably need help again. She also asked me to do 2 others, which I did happily. It is neat to be able to watch the runs while helping out. Looking forward to our next trials – we have Friday next weekend & Sat/Sun the following! 😀

SATURDAY 11/18/18

Fast – Novice A (Dan Faulkner – TN)
Now that I’m looking at the map again, I really don’t know what I was thinking when I decided my plan of what obstacles to do for this Fast course… I really kind of set myself up for a unnecessarily tough run. I should’ve just started with a straight line from the start to the Send (led out past the 1st or 2nd jump) & instead of going for the 12 weaves after the 4th jump, I should’ve turned back to the 8-pointer, 2-pointer, A-Frame, finish jump. But instead, I started with the A-Frame, which she flew over it & took off running all over the place & over obstacles, I couldn’t get her to stop, or come back – I finally got her to lay down & I took her out of the ring – what a disaster. This was also the first run of the day & even though I had been there since 1.5 hrs before the walk-through, I somehow misjudged when I needed to be there – I left when there were 10 dogs ahead of me to go get her & walk her around, but ended up running back & barely making it for my turn. So that really didn’t help us get in the ring in the right frame of mind. Oh well, lessons learned.

Jumpers With Weaves – Novice A (Dan Faulkner – TN)
I worked on some obedience & focus exercises with Sierra while waiting to head in the ring this time. I lead out past jump 2 & she stayed. We rounded 3, then 4, & then I think I wasn’t quite where I needed to be or facing her the way I should have at 5 because she came to me & when I tried to get her back around the jump she back-jumped 5, but I went with it & on to 6, 7, & weaves (which we had to start twice), then she got ahead of me as she went to 9 & 10, so she missed 11, but I just got her to 12, 13, & 14. Much better run, I was happy with that – big party!

Standard – Novice A (Ben Gibbs – TN)
I did the same thing, worked on obedience with her as we waited outside the gate for our turn, 3 dogs away. This time she seemed distracted, or too tired, either way not working with me as much. I went in, had her stay as I led out past the 1st jump, which she did, but as soon as she ran up the A-Frame she took off down it & ran straight for the back wall & put her paws up on it to look over it. I called her back & she ran up the other side of the A-Frame & back down that same side & took off running across the ring. I called her back, she actually came, & I got her to lay down & as I was reaching to grab her collar the judge was saying “you still have time… you can keep going” & he came over as a took hold of her collar & I said “not if she’s going to act like this”. He said he commended me for doing that, that he doesn’t know if he could’ve because that’s tough, but he understands why. Oh well, I think it was better to show her that if she’s not going to play with me, the play stops. I decided that A-Frames really get her going & even though she sticks the contacts in class (well, most of the time) we were really going to have to proof that. And anytime she flies off the A-Frame in class, the play stops for a time out & anytime she runs around the ring in class, the play stops for a time out. She usually ::knocks on wood:: is good about her contacts in trials for the dog walk & teeter. I’ve had better luck with the A-Frame in trials when it’s on the way out, like the second to last obstacle & straight shot out – but when it’s first, it’s just too dang fun to fly up to that top of that thing, feel like you’re on top of the world & you can do anything – like run like crazy! So yeah, another lesson.

SUNDAY 11/19/18

Fast – Novice A (Ben Gibbs – TN)
This time I think I picked a pretty good route – & it worked out pretty well for the most part! I took her to the practice jump for a warm-up & then worked with a little obedience & focus exercises. I put her on a stay & led out past the 2nd jump after the start jump. She stuck the contact on the teeter & I front crossed, she stayed until I released her over the 10-pointer jump, then we got to the Send (as I was running there I looked down & thought I might be over the line & jumped to the side, but wasn’t sure if I made it, couldn’t hear what the judge was announcing) & got her through the Send jumps, then up the A-Frame, which she again took off for a loop around the ring! But she came back, I got her to lay down, then I took her over the A-Frame again & she stuck the contact as I went passed it, paused & released her over the finish jump!! We were over time by 9 seconds, which with the points we had earned, left us 4 points short of Qualifying… but I call that a big win!! She did really well for most of it & I was able to get a redo on the A-Frame in the ring at a trial – & I think that helped!!

Jumpers With Weaves – Novice A (Ben Gibbs – TN)
I was talking with Stephanie right outside the ring before the walk-through about how to get around the first loop of the course & the judge came over & mentioned that the dog will always come out of the tunnel towards you, so it was a great opportunity to use the “Go – over” command to get her to 5, very nice of him – and that tip worked! I again worked on the obedience exercises before going in the ring. Some people have to amp up their dogs, but Sierra (& I know this is a good thing) does not – so getting her to focus & work with me calmly is seeming to help. I led out past 2, & took her to 3, tunnel & rear crossed as I gave her the “Go – over” to 5, got her around 6 & as she’s headed to 7 I blind crossed & got her to 8, & she passed the weaves – I tried to get her to come back to try again, but she started sniffing & I think she dropped the top bar on 2 or 3, so I didn’t think we were going to Q anyway, so I didn’t think getting her back to the weaves was in our best interest – so I took her to 10, 11 & headed 12. This was all with her on my right, I knew it could be hard with 11 pushing into my path & having to get her back right & to the tunnel, but I didn’t feel like I had a way to get crosses in there so I decided I was going to keep her on my right. This caused a little oddness getting to 12, but I got her there, into the tunnel & out over 14 & 15. Big win!! Big party!!

Standard – Novice A (Dan Faulkner – TN)
When we went in the ring for our briefing, the judge asked us if any of us hadn’t gotten a Q yet this weekend & jokingly he said the pressures on! I don’t think it got in my head & messed me up, but I was thinking that a Q would be nice! I had been doing the Timer for several classes throughout Saturday & Sunday, I again had done the Timer for whatever was before Open Standard & then just the 24″ jumps in Open Standard before Debbie came to take my place. I had taken Sierra out a couple times to potty & have water. I walked the course, I was calm, but ready. Still, making sure I’m there with the right timing of 3 dogs ahead & making sure I’m not there too early so she doesn’t start watching everyone running & getting goofy. In this case I was 2nd in the class, which is tough! I worked on obedience again.

I got her in the ring & had her sit. Most of the time as I start to walk away, she puts her head down to sniff & I’m not too far, so I come back & get her head up & start walking away again – in the other entries of the weekend she kept her head up after that, but this time she put it back down. I walked past the tire & she was still sniffing. I said her name to get her attention & she didn’t look up, so I said “ok”

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