Saturday, April 21, 2007

Trial Report (another)

Well, that was exciting.

Today we had APDT and CDSP trials in the same building, which was convenient but tiring (I had 12 runs today). It was great fun, because I was joined by a host of friends -- my husband (APDT), my sister (APDT, CDSP), and Connie and Shawndra (CDSP only) with their dogs.

Laev and Shakespeare.... Well, let's just say it was a GREAT day to have all my friends come and watch. Yeah. Because after our ring time, they could feel good about their runs, no matter what. Yep. :-)

I think Laev invented new ways to humiliate me in the Open ring. She didn't want to line up for the heel, which should have warned me...! Her heeling was atrocious; she was with me, but completely unfocused. At the end of our heeling pattern she was obligated to trot over the broad jump in an exploratory fashion, carefully stomping between each board. Fortunately she jumped it correctly a moment later.

Again, it was difficult to get her to sit for the recall start -- she wanted to sniff the tape on the floor. I finally took her collar, which NQ'd us. When she set up properly, she did a fairly nice drop on recall (she has fast drops) and that was gratifying. I figured out that while she didn't want to sit in heel position to start, she would happily down at heel and then sit when asked, so I did the rest of our setups that way.

Her retrieves were both quite decent, especially over the jump where the dumbbell bounced into the ring gate and was semi-hidden among the gate feet. The judge asked if I'd like to re-throw, but we'd already failed and so it wasn't important enough to delay things, and I thought Laev would figure it out. She did, with a nice retrieve. Her go-out, however....

Okay, this one was MY fault. I started training the go-out on Wednesday night for a Saturday trial. Laev had exactly two real training sessions with this, and I did it stupidly -- I'd forgotten that CDSP uses a marked square on the ground, so I could have trained her to target inside a taped square. Nope, I forgot that, so I didn't even take advantage of that legal help. Sheesh.

So I sent Laev, and she went ahead a few feet and hesitated, obviously confused. "My target's not out there!" So I promptly cued her to turn and sit, and she did so nicely, almost within reach of me. :-) End of exercise. Hey, at least we provide good entertainment, and we help everyone to feel better about themselves. That's good work, isn't it?

APDT wasn't much better, though Laev did get her first Level 2 leg. She didn't get a second, because we had food bowl issues. Now the food bowls have always been our nemesis (mostly because I forget to train for them!), so I was thrilled when she heeled right through them! Once, twice, and now for the third loop.... She hesitated and glanced at the nearest bowl (APDT has food in all four bowls). I panicked and reached for her, preferring to touch her and NQ than let her self-reinforce at the food bowl. Well, not only did I touch her, but I stumbled as I stepped backward and stepped on her and nearly fell on her. Yeah, that's an NQ.... I asked to be excused, and the judge was kind enough to let us heel through the bowls once more and leave with treats.

I was proud of Laev in one run, though -- I left her at the marked line for the bonus exercise and moved on. Laev was the first dog to run, and apparently the marking tape had not been applied fully, because when she touched it, it stuck to her paws. So Laev collected a wad of blue tape which clung to one, then two paws as she hobbled toward me on the recall, mildly irritated by it but not particularly stressed or willing to let it interfere with her work. So I was proud of that, at least! (And glad that it didn't happen to another dog who might have been affected by it. Almost nothing physical phases Laev.)

Shakespeare had a mediocre day, too, scoring one leg in Open by the skin of his teeth and performing very poorly (for him) in APDT. His early scores were in the 190s, which is just not his style. (Yeah, Shakespeare has me spoiled.) I actually asked to be excused from a Level 2 run, because he was lagging so badly. I thought he was overheated and tired; it's been unseasonably cold of late and today was suddenly warm as it should be, and I thought perhaps he wasn't adjusting well. I took him out and iced his armpits and stomach and offered ice to chew. He came back to earn a 205 in Level 3 and High Scoring Veteran Dog of the day, so perhaps the heat was part of it, after all. Kind of weird to have Shakespeare be a veteran, though! He's only seven and a half.

And the others? Well, Alena and Valenzia got their first leg ever, in APDT Rally, and Connie and Batman got their first leg ever, in CDSP, and Shawndra and Marley had a nice CDSP run until the final exercise, when Marley went around the jump instead of over it. But Connie and Shawndra are going back tomorrow, so there should be some more news then.

So, I've learned that Laev and I have work to do. We're doing a BH in just 4 weeks, and if today is any indication, we ain't ready! Got to get to work.

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