Tyson Good Agility Weekend

Tyson, U-ACH Forevr Fur Fighter U-CD CDX MX MXJ NF (Tyson), was the real star, and not just in my own brood.  First thing on Saturday, he got his first Open FAST leg.  We had only been in 4 trials that offered FAST, in which you make up your own course to garner a pre-set number of points, but you also have to correctly complete a “send” sequence that requires distance handling, all while you’re guessing when the course time will expire on you.  Two weeks ago, he finished his Novice FAST title in his third trial with FAST (the first 2 being at the Pap National), as did Willie and Geisha.  That weekend, I moved him up to Open FAST for the second day, but we took too much time completing a difficult send and he was on the A-frame (actually in the down contact) when the buzzer indicated time was up.  Unfortunately, he didn’t get credit for the A-frame, which would have made up for the time we lost getting to the finish obstacle to stop the clock (you lose 1 point for every second you’re over course time).  (I had to watch the video 4 times before I figured out why he didn’t Q on that course!!)   So this was his second time in Open FAST and he got the leg.

Next, in a rare schedule format for this part of the country, we had Excellent Jumpers instead of Standard.  He put in a really nice performance and got the Q.  In Standard, he broke a start-line stay which caused a refusal at the second obstacle, the weave poles, but it was an otherwise perfect run.  Of course, the problem at the start was partly my fault … he’s the only one of mine who likes to break the start-line stay, and I should have been watching him more carefully.  It seems I have to get reminded of this periodically, usually by “blowing” a double Q, as happened on Saturday.

On Sunday, he got his second Open FAST leg, then went on to Q on a challenging jumpers course where a lot of dogs took off courses, and in some cases, the handlers didn’t even know it until they were outside the ring and someone told them. But this wasn’t just any jumpers run for us – it completed his 10th leg in Excellent B Jumpers, so he completed his MXJ title!  (He just finished his MX 2 weeks ago.)  When the time came for Standard, the start-line stay was again crucial for me to be in position for success at another tricky weave entrance.  In this case, I wanted a 2-jump lead-out to be in position.  I decided to try a down-stay instead of a sit, so I practiced a few times outside the ring, having him lie down while I walked out, then I asked him to sit and went back to reward.  When we finally went on the line, he sat up when I was only between the first and second jumps, but the movement was enough for me to notice in my peripheral vision, and I immediately gave him another command to stay, and I got in the start position I wanted.  The next most important handling location was a jump to the far side of a curved tunnel, where a LOT of good dogs took the first end.  He handled that as if he never even saw the first end, and we went on to complete the course perfectly for another Q, and a precious double Q towards his MACH.  This was only his 4th double Q, but it was the third this year in VERY limited agility showing, so I was really excited about it.

When the class was finished, I found out this had been an even better run than I thought.  Tyson was the only dog to qualify on this course in the highly competitive 12” jump height, so he took first place.  Although I didn’t check the score boards, I believe there were also very few qualifying scores in rest of the jump heights, which made it all the sweeter that we were able to qualify on this course AND get the double Q.

Tyson actually measures into the 8” jump height, but the 8” group is so small that I have left him in 12”  to allow adequate separation between him and Willie.   He is a very capable jumper, so it has never hurt his performance in terms of dropped bars, but it does hurt his competitiveness in terms of course times … of course his gimpy, nearly 60-year-old handler doesn’t help on that count either.  At any rate, it has been quite a challenge running him, Willie and Geisha all in the FAST class, since they’ve all had to run within 10 or fewer dogs.

Shirley Murphy, 2008 Pap National Agility Chair and

Proud Mom of

UGRACH MACH2 Calypso Oui Willie Wonka NF UCDX UDX2 (Willie),

U-ACH Forevr Fur Fighter U-CD CDX MX MXJ NF (Tyson),

U-AGI Calypso Madam Butrflys Promise  U-CD CD NA NAJ NF (Geisha), and

Jann’s JC Francesca U-CDX CDX (Chessie) (1991-2007)

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