Sunday, July 10, 2011
July 4, 2011
After Tessa jumped herself into the Junior division (10' - 14'11"), I decided to enter her in the last wave of the event to go for the Junior finals. How bold!
During warm-up, she jumped an unofficial 16 feet! Exciting, but as you now know, 16 feet is the Senior division (15' - 19'11") ... dangerous turf because she could now jump herself out of the Junior division. And I knew there was no way she would leap farther than 16 feet. Still, I was thrilled to see my pup go at it with such gusto, despite my horrible, just horrible throwing skills.
During the actual competition, her best score was 14 feet even, which awarded her 2nd place in the Junior division for Wave 9 (red ribbon seen here) and a spot in the Junior finals. Yay!
Finals consist of the best 6 dogs (determined by their best jump) for each division. As always, each dog gets two jumps, the longest being the official score. Tessa's first jump in the finals was 14'8". Her second jump was 14'10" - yet another personal best, the 4th one in two days! She was tied with another dog for 3rd place, so they looked at the first jumps, and by 1" we missed a tie and got 4th (white & teal ribbon). Still, what an accomplishment for us newbies, to increase the distance jumped by 7 feet! It seemed to me that Tessa sensed this was not only about just jumping in the pool and retrieving the bumper - it was about jumping long, because with each round, she tried harder and went further.
The plan now is to work on our technique - we haven't even started on that yet - and for me to work on my throwing skills, on land if needed. Our next event is August 6 & 7 in Cherokee, NC, as well as October 2 & 3 in Gainesville, GA.
There is no way of knowing if Tessa will be a Master jumper one day (over 20 feet and it DOES get lonely at the top) but it would be nice to work up to the Senior division (15' - 19'11") and I think the potential is there, at least on her part. Above is our friend's GSP Lady, and her winning jump of 20 feet, which awarded her First Place Senior Finals. Lady caught the bumper before both hit the water - this demonstrates the excellence of the handler's throw, with the bumper travelling just a tad in front of the dog who tries to reach it, thus increasing jumping distance.
July 2, 2011
Today, Tessa entered her first Dock Diving (DD) competition, at the Great American Dawg Jump in Watkinsville, GA.
From her sessions in the pool I guessed that she should be capable of jumping 8-10 feet which would place her at the upper end of the Novice division (1" - 9'11"). Never having formally practiced at a DD dock, and not having decided on the technique yet ("place and send" or "chase" method), Novice and a lot of fun was all I expected. We were in Wave 1 (each wave consisted of 40 dogs) and her official score was 8 feet which got her a nice ribbon for Third Place Novice Wave 1, and a chance of making it into the Novice finals (after nine Waves, the best 6 dogs of each division advance to the finals).
Foolishly, I got carried away in all the excitement and spontaneously entered Tessa in Wave 2. And lo and behold, she surprised me with a 11'6" jump - that is Junior Division (10' - 14'11")! It is at the lower end of that division, so no placement, but we got another nice participation ribbon. Awesome, Tessa!
The next day I was checking out the preliminary Novice finals line-up and was suprised not to see us listed. Little did I know that the Junior jump of 11'6" had disqualified her from the Novice finals, because for this event she was now considered a Junior dog.
To be continued ...
June 19, 2011
I had the glorious idea to buy a small disposable underwater camera to capture Tessa below the water's surface. It wasn't easy. The simplicity of the camera's operation threw me off a bit, being so accustomed to the bells and whistles of my D200. Also, it is difficult to hold still enough to frame the image, as I am under water as well, and under water, we float. But the results were fun nonetheless.
June 19, 2011
Today we returned to the pool for another session. This was mainly for fun but also to prepare for an upcoming dock diving event, her first. I wanted to make sure Tessa is comfortable with the blue water (as opposed to the muddy pond water she is used to). Turns out she just loves any body of water!
To spice things up a bit I thought I'd add the diving board to the mix. At first she thought it was smarter and much easier to just back down and jump into the pool from the side - after all, the diving board is kind of high up and a very skinny and somewhat wobbly platform. But once I got on it myself and jumped off, she followed suit and we had no problem thereafter.
June 18, 2011
As if a morning at the plantation - birds and dock diving - and a visit to a farm is not enough, in the afternoon, we went swimming at a friend's pool.
This was Tessa's first time in a swimming pool, and my first time ever swimming with a dog. It was so much fun!
June 18, 2011
Oconee County, GA
After our NAVHDA training in the morning, we stopped by the University of Georgia's Crop Sciences farm. Sadly, the sign says no hunting, fishing, swimming, and Tessa was clearly disappointed. So much land and so little fun!
While I was taking some photos of the dusty road leading into the farm, the farm manager stopped by and we started talking. He explained the sign was mainly to keep out the folks that abuse the land and its crops, and he gave me permission to drive onto the farm and take as many pictures as I want. I found the 522-acre farm absolutely beautiful, with small fields of different crops scattered about.
Sadly, this farm is currently up for auction, and 18 UGA employees will lose their jobs as a result - with yet more budget cuts to come, UGA simply can no longer afford to run it, and needs the money from the sale to help maintain agricultural facilities elsewhere.
The property has been on the market for three weeks now and bidding will end on June 27. Given the land's location in the ever growing Oconee County, we all know what will likely happen here.
June 18, 2011
NAVHDA training days are short for us in the summer, due to the heat. Also, Tessa is still being worked on only one bird at a time, to improve steadiness, so it's a quick event. We worked our bird first thing in the morning, and a little later we followed a seasoned dog into the field to work on steadiness and backing, and then it was off to the pond for a little dock diving session.
Mainly, I just wanted to see if she still likes it after last month's excitement at this very dock. She does still like it. We were trying to get all three dogs to jump at the same time, but G was a little reluctant (she would jump in later).