This weekend we had a local trial -- huzzah for short drives! -- for APDT Rally Obedience and, for our first time, St. Hubert's CDSP Obedience. It was much fun, but I've discovered that trialing two dogs in multiple runs in each of two venues (15 runs/day?) and working the trials is just a bit much for me. I'm not sure how other people do it.
On the other hand, we had a successful weekend. Laev and Shakespeare each earned a CD-H today. Shakespeare achieved his highest ever traditional obedience score, 196 -- which is pretty good, considering that he's always disliked it to the point of hesitating before entering a ring. This weekend, though, he was actually prancing into the rings; Rally sure changed his outlook on trials! He also took High Scoring Rescue Dog on both days of APDT Rally, with scores of 209 and 210 respectively. (APDT Rally Obedience has a perfect score of 200 with a 10-point bonus exercise. I'm not sure why the single bonus exercise is large enough to make up for 10 points of errors, but there it is.) No placings in CDSP Obedience, but I didn't care; I was happy with his scores!
Laev didn't score so impressively -- we're still working on straightening those crooked sits, because she likes to heel sideways so she can look up at me -- but I was very pleased with her performance. She had marvelous focus all weekend, even when tiring, and behaved quite well with the crowding of other dogs, etc., which she rarely or never sees. Once she did lock eyes with another dog, barking at him, but he'd poked her in the butt while she was in a down at the gate and it took her a moment to forgive him. We walked into the ring, and she was able to focus on me and leave him out of it, though. She even placed once, which was quite nice in a trial which had some pretty nice Rally dogs (Sam and Syn are #3 nationally, for example). She got some nice compliments, even if she wasn't winning.
The handler didn't do so well! I cheated Shakespeare out of a 205+ round by touching him during the run, which is illegal -- bad Laura! I also had neglected to prepare for heeling around treat-filled food dishes, which is a standard part of Rally that I had simply neglected to practice, so Laev NQ'd twice on that. Dogs, yes, people, yes, food, no! The second time, it was the first station, so when she went for the food I simply grabbed her and asked to be excused. No heeling, no ring time, and she was actually quite disappointed to lose the opportunity to work. I got to go in and train a bit while trial paperwork was finished, and within three minutes or so of clicking, she was heeling with focus through the food bowls. It's not that she can't learn it -- it's that her mentally challenged handler needs to tell her what to do before the trial!
All in all, it was a good weekend, and we'll try to hit those venues again. (I was especially pleased since I'd spent almost no time training with the dogs for this trial -- maybe a couple hours' total over the last 4-6 weeks. I was relying on their good memories.) I also want to look for a smallish AKC trial for Laev.
(In other news.... The primary reason I'd been neglecting the dogs was preparation for a con last which took place last weekend. At the risk of publicly proving I am a geek with no life, I will proudly announce that our cosplay group took Best In Show at Ohayocon against a very respectable array of entries. This made us very happy.)