Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm home!

Landed in Columbia MO last night at 9:00. Picked up my well-taken-care-of but happy to see me dogs and went home. This morning it was back to the usual routine, though I confess getting up at 5:00 a.m. was not fun.

Some musings about the National in general.

The show:
The AKC people and the volunteers were incredible. So were the competitors. Everyone was having a great time, and as far as I could tell things were run with a smooth efficiency I wish we could all see every show weekend. It was a lot of dogs and a lot of runs, but they were done each day by 5:00.

The facility:
The arena was very nice, though rings 3 and 4 were cramped and basically had little to no spectator room. The large arena made up for it, it was hard to NOT get a great seat in the arena. I didn't see any dogs slip on the dirt, but it did look awfully packed by the end of the weekend. I was sort of surprised they didn't groom it Sat night for Sunday. Food at the arena was good, but very limited.

The area:
Okay, I confess, not in love with the area. I could NOT find a decent place to eat that wasn't Fried, greasy, or both. My hotel was, frankly, a dump. There are inexpensive hotels then there are cheap hotels, and the Econolodge was cheap. The wireless was a joke, the TV remote didn't work, the clock radio didn't work because the wiring was screwy in the wall plug, and my non-smoking room reeked of old, stale smoke. Even after a specific request to clean it, the smell was only muted by heavy perfume. To cap it off, the mattress had seen better decades and the pillows were more like pancakes. If the National ever goes back to NC, please do not stay at the Econolodge.

The agility:
Lots of spectacular runs this weekend and a few really unfortunate ones. I felt horrible for the dobe gal whose dog, running in the main ring so she was the center of all eyes, had to stop and have diarrhea. There were some runs that fell completely apart. On the other hand, there was some amazing stuff. I saw some handling that worked but that I'd never even want to try to emulate, and some that both worked and was gorgeous.

I watched a lot of running contacts over the weekend. In the Challenge round it was very clear that if you did not have a true running contact you were not going to the finals. On the other hand, quite a few of the dogs missed their contacts, both aframe and dogwalk, thus also not going to the finals. It's sort of a catch 22. If you want to be truly competitive now you have to have one, but a lot of them are still prone to failure. So you either win or are eliminated.

I hope next year I get to go to Tulsa and actually watch the finals. I can drive there, so no plane to catch!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thanks all

Hope you enjoyed the blog. I have to pack up now and get ready to leave. I've really enjoyed my National and am very sad I don't get to see the finals. But I'm also ready to get home to my own dogs.

Challenger's round

They're walking 8, 12, and 26 right now and will then run those dogs, then walk and run 16 and 20. I'll try to give some updates as they happen, refresh your screen often if you're following me.

The course starts with a 180 to a difficult offside entry to the weaves, with some expected tough angles.

ETA: Carla Boudrot is judge. The walkthrough is finished...looks like they're doing split times with 3 sets of timers on the course.

Finally starting with 8"...first dog 37 seconds with a flyoff.

Only one clean so far...

Our 8" challenge is Darlene and I can't hear the rest...

Melissa Ganning and Savvy 32.287 win the 12" class.

Now for the 16" dogs

32.015 for Maggie the ACD, and the Rat Terrier just got 30.3. Wow.

Dylan the Rat Terrier does it! He's in the final.

Now it's 26" dogs, after which they'll walk 20s and 24s.

32.75 is the time to beat so far by Jace and Lisa ??. Gerry brown and Raptor just had an unfortunate run.

Gerry Hernandez and Focus 30.610, but Olga Chaiko and Yankee made it in 29.725 to take the class. wow.

A break, they will walk 20" and 24".

Okay, here we go with 20" dogs.

First dog is Golden Skye with 32.1.

30.69 with Toby the BC wins the class. Lauren Mitchell handler.

Now there are 24" dogs, and two handlers haven't checked in. Oops. This is the last height.

Still not a single dog clean!

Anne Brau and Scream finally clean in 30.32.

Denise Thomas and 30.16 with Zippity wins it, only two clean rounds!

We're still on 12" and 16"

Because of the delay due to the fire alarm, I probably won't be able to see ANY of the finals. But I'll be watching the challenger's round. Don't know if I'll get that course up, but I'll try to blog. I already have my spot picked out!

ETA: 12" and 16" are finished, they're building Challengers and have announced finalists for 8" and 26"

12" dog video

Not the best quality because I took it with the new camera, and no sound, but watch part of one run and an entire other run. I'm sorry I don't know the handler of either dog.

An interruption in the proceedings....

We just had a fire alarm and the entire facility had to evacuate. This is the second time in a row this has happened to me at a big show. At least this time we weren't standing outside in zero degree windchills for 20 minutes.

Agility competitors are a very unflappable bunch. Everybody just got up and left, then came back when told.

What IS that???

That thing. Up in the sky. Why, it's the sun! And the sky is blue, not grey and spitting things at me. I can hardly believe it.

Hybrid course

Here's the hybrid course. So far, trouble spots seem to be 3 to the 4 tunnel, and pushing out to 5. Most handlers are doing well on the push from the aframe to the triple, beating their dogs over the aframe with the dog on the left then pushing.

Olka Chaiko just ran a 24.80 with Yankee, and is currently leading.

ETA: The aframe is a bit of a tricky issue. If the handler stays close, they risk the dog flipping into the tunnel. If they go past to set the line to the triple and the dog doesn't have a good contact, the dog blows off the aframe to get to the handler.

12s just started. The 16" ring is currently stalled while a chute problem is deal with, looks like the judge thinks dogs are slipping in the tunnel.

The final day begins

Here we are again. As I sit here, Andy is in the ring thanking the stewards and now Gail is briefing everyone for the day.

The Hybrid course is first. Then Challengers and finally Finals. I will not be able to watch much of the finals, so I will probably shut this blog (and my display) down to watch what I can of Challengers round. I'll be working on getting that course up for you soon.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Isn't there supposed to be a drought?

There has been nothing but rain, fog, drizzle, rain, downpour and, oh, rain. Since we arrived.

Guess what tonight's forecast is? Severe storms and rain.

Hello? Isn't North Carolina in a terrible drought?

Guess not.

I think it's supposed to clear a bit tomorrow, just in time for me to go home. At least we aren't getting the snow here that they're apparently getting in Missouri.

Our day is done, I'm getting ready to pack up and go get some supper. Back bright and early tomorrow, when the rings start at 7:30 a.m.

the day wears on...

Poodles in a blur of ecstasy.

8" still running. I'm not sure who is announcing, but holy cow her throat must be sore. She's been doing an almost unending stream for hours, and this is the second day. Wow.

For those of you like me who have never been to a National before, there is one ring that is announced. Each dog submits a small bio, and as they run in the main ring, the announcer not only gives their full name and all titles, but any tidbits the owner has added. It's a nice feature, and the way they have structured the rings, ALL dogs will get announced once during the weekend. It's great for JQP.

Another feature I've discovered today (okay, I'm a bit slow, sue me) is that after one dog finishes, the next dog's number is flashed up on the timer screen and stays there until they break the start beams. A huge help in figuring out where the ring is.

Looks like they're finishing up 8".

ETA: The announcer's name is Anna Johnson (please forgive if not spelled correctly). Pam Manaton told me she announces each year, and is able to announce for the entire weekend, but won't be able to speak Monday. I'm incredibly impressed.

I've been told to mention...

that it's official. The Border Collies have taken over the 16" class. So out of six jump heights, it's BCs in 16, 20, 24, and 26, Shelties in 12", and 8" is the lone refuge of variety. :)

JWW course

This one may be hard to read, sorry, I did the best I could. Fast times are about 24-25 on this course. Right now dropped bars seem to be a real issue as dogs try to cut corners and turn in midair.

ETA: What's running right now are 12" and 24". In 12s, I got to see a really fast Min Pin run, unfortunately he paused right in front of a jump to bark at his handler and I think got a refusal. In 24" Marcus and Juice currently have the time to beat at 24.265

A bit of news for the locals

Our midwest contingent is doing well. Paul Young and Bit just had a nice clean run for 31 seconds. Nancy Lauremann was in 3rd place overall in the 16s last I heard, with 28 and change from her sheltie Pilot.

It makes me muse on the table. Even very moderate-speed dogs are doing these very tough courses in 35-40 seconds with no table. The fastest teams are doing sub-30 times. That's a good 10-15 seconds faster than a usual agility trial. Granted, the National is the best of the best. But not every dog here is a speed demon by any means.

If the table was eliminated from Excellent, think how much time would be saved....

Another little note about the National. There are a huge number of dogs here who are over 10 years old. Listening to the announcer of the 16" dogs, dog after dog is 10+, with a good number being 12 or 13. Goes to show that the experience of years really counts, and that agility does a lot to keep dogs young.

non-sequiter...the sacred and the profane

Was driving home yesterday, very tired, when I saw a sign.

Easter Trinity. He died. He was buried. He got it up.

Wait. What???

Oh. Drop the word "it"....

Random Photos

Just for Eddie, Beagle fix! This is Abby, a top ranked Agility Beagle.

Rings 3 and 4 have no seating, so competitors and spectators crowd around to watch runs.

In depth consultation over the run order.

Chic Stall Decor

Sat Standard Course

As always, green numbers are behind the obstacle and coming toward you, black going away.

So far most of the teams seem to be doing pretty well on this course. Trouble spots are the turn into the tunnel before the dogwalk, and the weave/chute discrimination.

I'm also seeing a fair number of "failed" running contacts this weekend.

Our day begins

We have Standard in rings one and two, starting with 20" and 26". I'll have pictures soon. It's even busier today than yesterday, and I'm seeing more locals (to me anyway) which is very cool.

Today will be my shopping day, need to pick up a little something for the kind saints keeping my dogs while I'm gone; Zipper, i.e., Buns of Steel, who doesn't like to poop on strange ground (he held it 36 hours again) Cala, couch thief, and Viva, who wailed for hours in despair after I left.

ETA: The early 26" runs have been marked by a scorching run by Olga Chaiko and her dog at 27 seconds and change. Average is more like 30 seconds for even the fastest dogs.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Armchair Quarterback

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State team finals

Getting ready for State Team finals. They just finished walking. It's Wisconsin, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania and the Northwest states. So far Wisconsin is winning the yelling game!

ETA: course coming soon. Barb Davis will be first and last because she has two dogs. Rocket with a Clean Run and 37 seconds. I won't report everyone, but that's the start.

ETA: Terry Elger, in the middle of a great run for Wisc. just knocked over a jump wing himself. Too bad. The next dog, a Terv, has a missed contact.

ETA: So far, only NW states has had 3 clear runs. Just MA and CA to go.

MA missed contact with first dog. Second dog some really nice turns, 33 econds and change.

ETA: NW States is still only clean state. CA is getting ready to start.

ETA: CA still not clean, unfortunately Terry Smorch and Remy were an accident that did happen, with an Off course and and not finishing the course.

ETA, the winners are: Northwest States!

A very few results

Halfway through, Massachusetts is in the lead in State competition with California second. Nancy Gyes won the 24" ISC Std class with ??Ace?? We're about halfway through the 16s and 20s. Nancy Lauermann from St. Louis had some really gorgeous tight turns with Pilot but he unexpectedly took the broad jump instead of the aframe, the first time I've seen that today (but remember, I can't watch all the time!)

Moving on

16s in one ring 20s in the other. Paul Young and Bit, a great team from St. Louis, had an unfortunate run and pulled up early. Too bad because when they're on it's amazing. Paul is 74 and has Parkinsons and Bit is one of the fastest labs in the U.S. Hopefully better tomorrow. Still waiting for Nancy Lauermann and Pilot to go. Ashley and Luka the Pyr Shep had a blazing run and 30 seconds and change (wonder how many times I've typed the word blazing today??)

ISC Standard Course

20" dogs are running now. The biggest problems seem to be from 8 to 9, the pull through at the dogwalk, and the turn to the teeter 14-15.

ISC Standard running

26" ISC Standard just started. Fastest times seem to be around 31 seconds, with the fastest I've seen so far by Brigit McNight and her BC Kestrel, who just beat out Linda Mecklinburg and Stellar. My friend Yvonne and her great Dobe Flare did a more than respectable 35, Flare letting everybody know how much she loves this stuff.

I'll get the course up as soon as I can.

ISC Jumpers course Friday

I hope this is legible. This is Friday's ISC course. Green numbers are behind the jump; as an example, 13 to 14 was a threadle, then from 14 to 15 a 180. Click on the image to enlarge.

Biggest issues on this course were the push from 6 to 7 and the threadle. The angles demanded a very efficient turning dog. Dogs who could turn tight to the jump while maintaining speed had a definite advantage.


Part of the Mini Schnauzer Fan Club, about 20 people who cheer like maniacs every time a Mini runs.

But I don't want my picture taken. Leave me alone!

We've finished 24" and 12" dogs in ISC. From my vendor booth I can't keep track to know who has placed where. We're now running 14" and 8". In 14" it was nice to see two "locals," Joan Myer with Neil and Tammi Gigstad with her great little PRT Buzz. I think Buzz might have the time to beat, at 23 sesconds and change to Neil's 24+.

Oh and by the way please forgive the blurriness of some of these photos. Without the flash, my new little camera has to resort to a slower shutter speed and thus movement = blur.

Early morning

We're off. The ISC jumpers course comes complete with a very tight threadle that a lot of dogs, especially small dogs, are having trouble with. Times are averaging around 25 seconds, but Jean Levally just laid down a smoking run in 12" with Spec at 23.05. Chris Parker and Wow! had a lovely run in 24" but, unfortunately, she started on the wrong side of jump 1!

Friday morning

Nothing like waking up at 3:00 a.m. (2 a.m. Missouri time) and not being able to get back to sleep. Then IHOP was closed, even though the sign said "open 24 hours Friday and Saturday." Hmmmm. It's Friday everywhere except IHOP I guess.

But it's exciting too. Bustling, and ISC is walking. Rings 1 and 2 will be 12" and 24" so maybe I'll be able to sneak some peeks.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A few more pictures

My guess is this person has Yorkies. And does agility. What do you think?

I'm ready. You?

The main discussion; which will be the party stalls?

Mad shopping frenzy

Running order not complicated. Not complicated at ALL.


Okay, I realize I'm in the South, I'm FROM the south. But geez-o-pete things are slow here. Lights? I sat at a traffic light last night for one solid minute with all lanes, all sides, showing red. We all just looked at each other. What's with that? My hotel wireless connection is so slow I'm amazed it even functions at all, sometimes it's running at a max of 28k. I didn't know wireless came that slow. Traffic is slow too, with the startling exception of the few Dale Jr. Wannabees who slice in and out of traffic at about 95mph.

My most boggling experience so far? The lady on the moped in the 45 degrees of fog and rain, complete with flapping trench coat and, get this, flip-flops. What's with that?

Where the heck am I???

Pea soup fog this morning, and I got lost on the way down from the hotel to the arena, almost ended up back in Charlotte. But I did get a tiny glimpse of Lowe's Motor Speedway, basically a wall looming out of the fog.

The display is setup and ready for tomorrow and looks good. The arenas are getting groomed and prepped. No exhibitor checkin until 3:00 this afternoon, then the real deal starts tomorrow. There's already a sense of excitement and electricity.

I'm here

Tried to post this last night but the wireless here at the hotel was so slow I had to give up. Now now it's 6:30 a.m. on Thursday. Feeling kind of groggy, my room is supposed to be non-smoking but obviously a lot of people have smoked in here, it reeks of stale smoke. They did promise to clean it today so hopefully it will be better.

Viva apparently wailed in anguish for *hours* after I left yesterday, but managed to get over her self-pity well enough to snarf her food at her usual pace. The rest of my guys are doing fine in their temporary digs.

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with myself today. I need to go set up the display, which will take, oh, 30 minutes max. After that I'll probably drive into Charlotte from Cabarrus just to get the lay of the land and see where I can drop off the display on Sunday, etc. But that's it. We don't actually start until tomorrow. I did buy a new camera (bad me!) and hopefully will have lots of pictures later on.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Off to North Carolina

I'm off! Well not quite yet, but soon. To North Carolina and the AKC Agility National. I do so wish I had a camera and could take pictures. But I'll at least try to keep the blog updated with reports. I hope to be able to see some Min Pins and some Dobes running. There will actually be quite a few Dobes there, I can't wait!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back to work

I'm so excited. I'm going back to class tonight! It's 3 weeks to the day since I tore my calf muscle at the very start of agility class. I had to leave that night. I came back the next week but could not run at all, and Zipper's performance reflected it. Last week I was still very sore and it was cold. I didn't even go. But this week I'm there. I won't be able to run full-out, but I think I'll be able to at least jog IF I'm careful and I warm up properly.

My calf is not yet back 100% and it will probably be at least another 2-3 weeks before I can really begin to push it. My goal is to be able to run Zip at Lake St. Louis the weekend of April 10. Meanwhile this class is pretty much a wash. Tonight is the 4th week and I've only managed part of one week. Next week I'll be gone to NC for the Agility National, leaving only one week left when I return. So I'll retake the entire class next session!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Is it show nerves? Or what?

I know this is a Min Pin blog, but I'm going to talk Dobes a bit. So sue me if you don't like it.

Last weekend, I entered Cala the Doberman in the Columbia Kennel Club show both days. She has her Rally Excellent title and I decided to try for her RAE, which is the highest level title you can currently get in Rally Obedience. It requires you to qualify in both Advanced and Excellent on the same day (double Q or QQ) 10 different times under at least 3 judges. On the surface, the outcome seems good. She QQd both days, so got her first two legs and only needs 8 more for the title. Sounds great, right?

But here's the rest of the story. She was very stressed, especially in her first run of the day each day (Excellent). Disconnected, not giving me attention. I had to redo a station in Excellent on Saturday and she ended up with a 94 from a very lenient judge (100 is perfect, you lose 3 points when you retry a station, so she only got 3 other single points off but it should have been more). In Advanced on Saturday she was much more relaxed and we had a very nice run for a 98.

Sunday morning's Excellent run was pretty much a disaster. My dog who normally loves this sport actually left the ring. Okay, it was a poorly designed ring, with a jump heading directly toward the gate. But she went out and I had to call her back! We had to repeat two stations, we *missed* a station (which should have been a non-qualifying score but the judge failed to see it and wouldn't change her book). She ended up with an 86, by far her lowest score ever. Advanced was marginally better, but she was still very low for what she is capable of, a 92. All together a rather upsetting day.

See, here's the thing. Some people do dog sports because the person is totally addicted, and if the dog doesn't like it that much, well, as long as they're Qing and the dog isn't completely miserable or being hurt or abused it's not that big a deal. In fact, sometimes dogs start out not real thrilled but end up really enjoying what they are doing. So I actually understand that point of view but I'm not one of those people. For me, if a dog sport is not fun for the dog, why do it? It's not about me, it's about us as a team. And if Cala has decided that showing in Rally is stressful and unfun, I'll quit with her. Not worth the money and time to trial a dog who is not having fun.

But then again, could there have been other factors affecting her performance? She had her yearly shots earlier that week, and she was a bit loose stool-wise. She seemed really flat all weekend, not her usual screaming self. I was limping from my torn calf, unable to maintain my usual speed and flow on the course, and concentrating on keeping my balance. So I couldn't commit totally to her mentally or physically. The show site is hectic and noisy.

Not long ago, Linda Baschnagel came to give a tracking seminar at CCSC, and she said something profound. She said never give up on something based on one bad experience. Before changing your training, try something at least twice. If you get the same bad results on two different days, then you can start reassessing what you're doing and modifying your program. But dogs, just like people, are allowed to have bad days or even bad weekends. So maybe Cala has decided that actually showing in Rally isn't fun. Or maybe one of the reasons I've cited affected her. I'll try her again at a different show. If she shows the same level of stress and upset, I will probably drop her from Rally competition. But I'm not going to do it based on one single weekend.

Oh and as a postscript, I also had Viva, the 11 1/2 year old, there acting as courtesy dog. The courtesy dog facilitates the flow of the Excellent class by doing an honor down for the first entered team to work, then doing the Rally course itself for the last team, while that last team does an honor down. She is on a new series of joint supplements to help with her spondylosis and she did so spectacularly well and had SO much fun that I'm thinking of bringing her out of retirement to try for her Rally Excellent title. In her case I have no reservations except physical ones. She LOVES to work and hates being retired.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Startline stays and leadouts

Last night I took Zipper to class. I'm still limping and I cannot take any running steps. I can now walk faster than I could even a couple of days ago, but I am nowhere near my usual speed.

Fortunately Barb, the instructor, decided that my disability gave her a good chance to help us work on startline stays and startline sequences. We worked on whether to run or lead out, and if we did lead out, how certain sequences are best handled through a lead out.

Dogs who need motivation rarely benefit from a leadout and usually do better when you run with them. Dogs who are ballistic often need you to be able to lead out, so you can properly position yourself to help the dog get instruction on where he needs to go. But many people lead out incorrectly. If you lead out past a jump, particularly a spread jump, the dog is going to be accelerating and extending over that jump. If you then have a sharp turn, you may jam the dog or even cause the dog to go around your back. At the very least you're likely to get a wide, inefficient turn. A lead out should always help inform the dog of any change in direction and help shape his line.

In all of our sequences, we practiced both doing a lead out and not doing a lead out, and handling the sequence both ways. Or, at least most people did. I only did lead outs because I am really unable to run.

Zipper is just starting to learn the startline stay. For him, I will usually drop and go, but I want the startline stay as an option. With me leaving him on a stay and leading out, he was a bit sluggish off the line. So we practiced sending him to a bait plate. But I learned very quickly that lack of motion on my part means lack of motion on his part. He was wandering and slow and did not want to move out ahead of me on his own. This is bad news in the short term, as I continue to recover from this calf-muscle tear. But it's great news in the long term, because it indicates he's learned to key his speed and momentum to my speed. That means I can use acceleration and deceleration to shape his line and get sharper turns. But it also means that later, if I want to do FAST and Gamblers, I'll need to teach a cue to have him move out ahead of me at speed.

After working on his startline stay in that first sequence, I decided I didn't want to press him on that, so I had Barb hold his collar while I led out. She whispered revving words to him while I led out, and he rocketed off the line. So I've also learned that for now, restrained recalls are great, and I need to start playing the ready-set-go game with him.

It was great to be able to work even if just a little bit.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

When Aft goes Agley

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
--Robert Burns, To a Mouse, on Turning up Her Nest with the Plow

Yes, my Aft did indeed gang agley last Thursday, as I've already moaned about. Now, four days later, I'm walking, but slowly. I missed all three days of my agility trial last weekend.

The question is, how do you train when you can't move adequately? Tonight I did six poles with Zipper and he was beating me to the end, which is just wrong. But bless his heart he did move ahead of me and do them, good boy! I then tried some heeling with Cala. She's entered for the RAE for the first time, which means I'm supposed to be showing her in both Advanced and Excellent Rally on the same day.

Heeling was actually pretty comical. I was moving so slowly, she was anticipating that I was going to halt at any moment, so basically we had the boot-scooting boogie going on. "What? Am I sitting now? Okay, now?" But she was actually amazingly patient with me.

I've decided to borrow a cane again for Saturday. Since I'll be off leash, hopefully I'll be able to do the cane and move out a bit, but I'll need to practice with it so Cala can do her left-about turn and her right finishes without being bothered by it.

Being hurt sux.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Getting hurt

I'm talking about the human being injured, not the dog.

Around the end of the year we had a fun match at the building. It was cold in there, and about halfway through my first run I felt my right calf pop. I'd pulled a muscle. It wasn't too bad, in fact I went ahead and ran on it. It felt fine a couple of days later when I went to a New Year's day exercise class, until it popped again halfway through. I sort of muddled through the rest of that and, once again, it was perfectly fine within a couple of days; until I popped it AGAIN the next week in Aerobics class.

So I scaled back dramatically on my exercise and seriously began to rehab it. And it worked. I've been back to full-intensity exercise for six weeks.

The other night I was once again at our building, getting ready to start a new class with a new instructor. It was brisk but not terrible in the building. I was the first to try the sequence, and she wanted me to run with Zipper. I put him down, took three running steps, and felt excruciating pain in my right calf. I'd torn the calf muscle. I could not continue on, in fact I could barely hobble off the floor.

I was entered all three days at Lake St. Louis this weekend and, of course, that was impossible. My calf isn't surgical, and I can walk on it, carefully, but I can't do anything else. Nothing like watching over $100 in entry fees go down the drain.

Looking back, it's obvious to me that I am not warming up my calf muscles adequately. I *had* done some warmups, but obviously not the right kind or enough. If my muscle hadn't been cold, I wouldn't have torn it. I'm sharing my tale of woe to remind you all to warm *yourselves* up, to solicit ideas on good warmups that can be done at shows, and to share that I've decided to go with a Personal Trainer for awhile and I will share any ideas he/she comes up with.

It occurs to me that stretching at shows, for humans, can be difficult. Static stretching is bad for you before exercise, dynamic stretching is best. But the recommended dynamic stretching of jogging, etc. requires more room than you may have ringside. And ring delays can make things difficult as well. Getting the timing down can be problematic.

Anyway, it's been sort of a bummer of a weekend. Please be careful out there and warm yourself up as well as your dog!

The DDGraphix store!