Friday, April 01, 2005

AWDF national trial

Yesterday afternoon my doggie friend Linda called me with a last-minute idea that we would drive down two states together to see the American Working Dog Federation nationals. So we left this morning at 3:30 a.m. and arrived at 9 local time -- only to learn obedience had begun at 7 local time, not 9 as we'd been told. Drat.

Still, we saw the final obedience exercise (send-away) of Linda's dog's uncle, which was very nice. We missed the sire of my puppy, whom I found in the entries last night. But we were able to see both of them work protection. I also met a woman who owned a Fabio puppy, a half-brother to my coming puppy, who raved about her dog's temperament at 8 months. Good to know! She also had a full brother who was blind, so thare's that genetic component to keep in the back of my mind.... We'll hope that doesn't show up, though. Both parents tested CERF clear.

Jim & Sunny

The weather was formidable -- about twenty degrees colder than predicted, with cold rain occasionally becoming ice. Whatever happened to spring? Sunny, the Dobe Linda wanted to see, slid in the mud over the high jump and crashed, turning a complete somersault and planting his face in the ground before hopping up and retrieving the dumbbell. Still, the dogs did very well, and I watched a splendid Doberman hold his long down while facing into the sleet. What a trooper.

Fabio on the escape

I was able to see Fabio, the sire of my coming puppy, do his protection routine. I got some photos and video, which I'll try to post here. He did cheat on the blind search. ;-) The blinds were skinny little things which did nothing to disguise the helper and sleeve hiding behind one, and quite a few dogs just skipped to the end because they could see the helper from all the way down the field. But that's why it's an obedience exercise, right? I could also see where better handler body language (a la agility handling) might have saved some of those mistakes.

I'd like to state for the record that I disliked the IPO I helper, who stepped on and kicked and tripped over the dogs. Several dogs came off the sleeve after being kicked or trod upon. Not good, buddy, not for this sport.

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