2006 Adventures and Updates
Diva on the Beach
Diva on the beach in front of Costa Bonita, Mazatlan

January 2006:
In our last update in 2005 I said that we would be doing a 4 day trial in Pomona, CA for New Years. So after spending 2 months on the beaches of Mazatlan, we were off to California. We met up with our good friends, Linda and Joel, who came to cheer us on. We weren't 100% perfect at the show, but we did add two more double Q's toward our MACH3. It was a fun show and we got to do a demo trial of the new FAST class that will be official January 2007. This new game is called 15 and send and includes a gamble. It is fast and fun. I am looking forward to doing this new game next year.

After the New Years trial, we traveled home to Idaho only to hop a plane to Seattle 5 days later. We did a 4 day trial in Puyallup, WA. This trial was not our usual performance. As a matter of fact it was the worse trial we ever did. I think all the traveling with little time between and no practice was probably a factor. However, not to be discouraged, Diva and I drove from Puyallup, to Portland. We had a nice 3 day rest and some private lessons and practice before the Rose City Cluster show. This three day show was very nice. Held inside on new mats (like those used at Nationals) we earned two more double Q's to bring our double Q's to half-way to MACH 3 and past all the points needed.

Click here to see some beautiful agility pictures of Diva at the Rose City Cluster trials. The photos were shot by Matt Sachs of Agility Images, but the graphics and art work were done by Susy Harris.

February 2006:
Here we are in Mazatlan again. And of course we had fun at another trial on the way to Mexico in Henderson, NV (Las Vegas area). We had a really nice time at this trial, but we didn't rack up any more double Q's, so we are at 50 and holding. We did however, get a chance to run a demo of the new F.A.S.T. class game again and it was fun and fast! I have posted a copy of the course with the permission of the judge, Dave Lawniczak. Also included are the the rules that he had printed on the back of the course. This new game will be fun for fast dogs and strategy wise handlers. Click here to see the new F.A.S.T. Class.

MARCH 24, 25 and 26, 2006:
English Springer Spaniel Trial in Boulder City, NV (Las Vegas). We just finished 3 fine days of trials with 3 double Q's! I couldn't ask for a better weekend. The judge for the Excellent level runs was Sherry Porter of Tucson, AZ. Her courses were challenging with some interesting twists and turns, but do-able. The first standard run of the weekend featured 3 contact/tunnel discriminations! This led to some tunnel sucking for some dogs, off courses for others and some heart stopping moments for the rest. It was a good thing we practiced those discriminations while on the beach in Mazatlan! Although I don't have full size contact equipment, I do have a contact trainer and some light weight play tunnels. That seemed to help as we made all the discriminations with a little help from my body language as well as my verbal calls.

The first day of these trials the weather was absolutely perfect. Sunny, but not too hot. The next day the weather started great, but then it got hotter and hotter. Then the wind started. It was REALLY windy. I had to take out my contacts and wear my glasses as I had dirt in both eyes and couldn't see. Sunday morning when I arrived I found that the wind had snapped one of my tent poles and so I had to put my crate out in the open. No shade for the day. The wind was moderate and finally very light. Again I had to wear my glasses as the dirt kept going into my hard contacts. But the weather didn't keep us from getting those precious double Q's! We now have 53 double Q's and 2,428 points. Only 7 more double Q's for MACH 3.

Also this weekend we have now qualified for the Nationals in Columbus, OH that will be held in March 2007. I have our hotel reservations and we are ready to go!

April 2, 2006: We just got home from Moses Lake, WA and a 3 day trial. Not quite as successful as last weekend, but we did get 2 perfect days out of 3. A respectable performance. We also got to try the FAST game again. We had a great time, but my plan didn't quite work out as well as I would have liked. I still need a lot more practice in designing our own course to get all the obstacles and make the time. It is a lot of fun and a chance to go all out without all the stress of the titling runs. Next AKC trial will be in Helena, MT at the end of April. In the meantime we are doing a NADAC trial next weekend and then in a couple more weeks we are off to Lewiston, ID to try Rally Obedience.

55 Double Q's and 2,482 points. 5 more double Q's for MACH 3.

April 8 and 9, 2006: Sandpoint, ID. Our second NADAC trial and what a hoot! We had a blast and we are tired!

Here is what I wrote to my friend, Jane from New Orleans:

We did NADAC this weekend and they do 5 games each day. Boy am I tired! The first day we finished our last game at 6:25 pm and didn't leave the trial site until 7:30 pm! Wow what a long, long day. The first day we were in Novice in most of the games and Open in the Standard. We got all first places! Yesterday we missed one run due to Mommy error and it was pass/fail game called Chance (so we “failed”), but it was fun and fast and we did the distance A frame/tunnel discrimination just fine and that was the important part. On the other runs we had 2 first places and 2 second places. We were in novice and open classes.

Now in NADAC the courses are way wide open and flowing and very very very fast. Even the elite courses are way easier than the AKC ones. However they now embed a distance challenge in all their standard courses. So if you run NADAC courses you will learn where your weak points are so you can train those things. Last summer I learned rather pointedly that we didn't have distance discrimination skills and Diva didn't have a clue about her contacts as I had to baby sit them. So I have been working on those things with my contact trainer out on the beach. It really helped!

I highly recommend that you try some NADAC trials if you haven’t already. You will have a blast and so will your dogs. They also allow “training in the ring”. If you or your dog messes up then you can go back on the contacts, or re-do the sequence. It is really good to get the dog use to doing it right at a trial, not just at school or home.

Running in Novice takes the pressure off so you will have a ton of fun. You will be very very tired after an entire day! The next time we do a NADAC trial, we will be in each division category; novice, open and elite depending on the game. Some of the games have the same course for all levels, but different time requirements – the tunnelers and the touch-n-go. The tunnelers is all tunnels mostly stretched out and the dogs run like the wind and so do you! It is just a matter of pointing out the right tunnel and the pattern is not very hard and the courses are a lot shorter than AKC. The Touch-n-Go is tunnels and contacts. Again a great way to proof contacts at a fast, fast speed. Woo-ho!

On the jumpers open course yesterday we had our fastest (I believe) yards per second: 5.834. We did the 100 yards course in 17.14 seconds and it was the last game of the weekend. I told Diva: “GATOS, GATOS, donde esta los gatos?” (cats, cats, where are the cats? ) That perked her up. I lead out 4 and ¾ straight on jumps. Called her and then put a front cross between 5 and 6 for a loop, Sent her around the loop at a distance and as the line turned, sent her out and rear crossed her. Told her to get out and go on and she crossed the finish about two or so jumps ahead of me! Just stand back as she was smoking! Pretty simple course, very short and really fast. I bet Nike would do even faster than Diva on a course like that! Nothing but jumps and very little off course in the way stuff.

Now we are off to prepare for Rally in Lewiston for 4 days: 4/24/24. We have a lesson this afternoon. I have been reading the book and practicing. We will see if we can do this stuff. Not as exciting as jumping, but interesting.


April 23, 2006: Diva becomes an RN. Well not really a nurse, but the Rally Novice title! We went into this weekend not expecting much as Diva just didn't seem to like to do all this heeling stuff. However we pulled it off. On Friday our very first trial we got a 97 out of 100 and a first place in Novice A. On Saturday we had a major error, but we still qualified with an 88. Sunday we got a very good 97 again and a second place. Tomorrow we will try Advance A for the first time. It ought to be interesting as we haven't had any coaching on the Advance signs.

Diva gets an RN title
Here we are posed with the judge, Ms. Linda Scanlen, who judged our title trial on Sunday.
On Monday we did our first Advanced Rally trial and got a qualifying score and a second place!

April 26, 2006: Diva got a baby "sis". Tessa, the Papillon who joined our family. Two days later we were off to Helena, MT for a three day trial. Although we only got one double Q, it was a good one: both runs were first places! The other two days, Diva was great, her "mommy" (me) was not quite right on and so we only got one run each day, but they were nice runs resulting in 2 second places. We need only 4 more perfect days for our 3rd MACH. It will happen sooner or later.

May 8, 2006: One more double Q earned last weekend, so we need only 3 more for our MACH3. We will be at 9 Mile in Spokane, WA May 13 and 14 and then Eugene, OR at the end of the month for a 4 day trial.

May 21, 2005 Spokane, Washington Susy and Diva complete Rally Advance title at Spokane Dog Training Club trial. Diva doesn't seem to excited to do the Rally, so we will be continuing with the agility and leaving the Rally competition. Perhaps Tessa will like Rally in the future.

May 28, 2006 Eugene, Oregon: We went into this trial still needing 3 double Q's. Sunday May 28th, we completed our 60th double Q for our MACH 3 title. More trial days to come, so check back.

Diva and Susy with MACH bar and ribbon

June 18, 2006: We have just finished our month long tour. Tomorrow we head back to North Idaho for a few weeks of rest. We started with 4 days in Eugene and received our MACH3 title. Then we did two days in Canby, OR. After that 2 days At Argus Ranch in Auburn, WA followed by 2 more days in Puyallup, WA. On the drive from Puyallup to Blackfoot, ID I caught a cold. Luckily I had a day before the next trial to sleep and start to recover. We had 4 days of trialing in Blackfoot, ID. We now have 67 double Q's and 3,068 speed points. We need 13 more double Q's for MACH4 and we already have the 3,000 points needed. More trials to come!

July 3, 2006: We added one more double Q to bring our total to 68 (12 more for MACH 4) and our next AKC trial will be in Central Point, OR at the end of the month. This is a 4 day trial. In the meantime we are going to try to do a couple of NADAC trials in Cataldo, Idaho.

August 16, 2006: Since my last summary July 3rd: We had fun at a couple of NADAC trials and added some NADAC titles to our achievements. Then we headed off to California with a stop in Central Point, OR for a 4 day trial. We did really nicely on all the runs, however Diva took it into her head to stop just short of the contact on the dog walk on one of the runs and then take a flying leap. So much for that double Q! Also she had a jumpers course where she knocked a bar- something that doesn't happen very often. So we got 2 double Q's in Central Point, OR.

From Central Point, we then went to Southern California to see some friends and family and of course to do another trial. We did a weekend trial in Woodley Park located in Van Nuys, CA. We had friends and family come and watch and we had a lovely time. We also earned two more double Q's making our total 72!

After we left Van Nuys, CA we proceeded to Sacramento to do a one day trial on the opening day of the state fair! This was a first time event for the club and it was well organized. The trial was held inside of the pavilion on very hard packed gravel with some loose little pieces. This made the surface slippery and not wise to push for speed. The crating area was right at the ring side, but on very loose powdery dirt that made everything very dirty. It was very, very noisy inside and this was a distraction to some of the less experienced dogs, but didn't seem to bother Diva in the least. The courses were fun and we had an audience all day long. The down side was that the club wanted to show off the excellent dogs and ran the excellent class last. We were not done until very late in the day. We were not only dirty, but also happy with another double Q under our "belt.".

The next morning was Saturday and we had our tent all set up in Petaluma the night before just as the sun disappeared. Ronnie dropped us off so he could get breakfast and we both forgot my trial bag. Inside were my trial shoes with cleats (for the wet grass surface) and treats for Diva. Luckily I had my wallet and there were vendors, so I purchased some treats. I didn't run hard so I wouldn't slip and we were able to double Q. Our first run was really slow as we placed 11th out of 30 qualifying dogs (50 in our class total!). The second run the grass had dried and we were 5th. That made double Q number 74.

Sunday the courses were challenging but quite do-able. I had high hopes for double Q number 75. We had a real audience gasping call off, but made it in the jumpers with a 4th place. We were really going fast and clean in the standard run. After the weaves I sent Diva to the dog walk and ran ahead to meet her at the end. I heard a big gasp from the audience and along came Diva on the ground. She had slipped off the up ramp, but was unhurt. I pretended that we got to the contacts on the dog walk and finished the course with her with no other errors. She was fine, but that meant no double Q number 75 (yet). I was very happy that Diva was unhurt and she did so well not only before the slip but afterwards too. I didn't shape her entrance to the dog walk and apparently the angle was poor causing her to slip off the walk. This was very unusual for us, but I will be more aware in the future!

Diva going through the weaves
Photo by Doghouse Arts
August 2006 Petaluma, California

Two days at Enumclaw and no double Q's. However the next weekend August 26 and 27th in Spokane was very sucessful. Spokane Dog Training Club held a trial at University Elementary School with Dan Butcher as the judge. We double Q'd on both Saturday and Sunday and we got 2 first places, 1 second place and came in 5th in one run. We got a lot of points and we now have 76 double Q's. Only 4 more to go for MACH 4.

Labor Day: 3 days at Argus Ranch in Auburn, WA. One more double Q under our "belts", 3 more to go.

Sept 8, 9 and 10 at Bremerton, WA. Two more double Q's. Only one more for MACH4.

Well it took several weekend trials before we got that one more perfect day. On September 30, 2006 at Olympia, WA we made out MACH4 title. I was so excited that I forgot and jumped up in a victory leap and there went my knee (again). The judge, Steve Herwig, had to help me up, but I was able to hop and limp through my victory run.

Our MACH4 ribbon
MACH4 ribbon from Hurricane Ridge Kennel Club

By October 31, 2006 we were on our way to Mazatlan, Mexico and we have 85 double Q's and 3,917 points. Next trial: December 29, 30, 31 and Jan 1 at Pomona, California.

"Stay Tuned". More trials to come!

Diva and Tessa at the beach in Mazatlan, Mexico Winter 2006
Diva and Tessa in Mazatlan

license plate