Sunday, January 04, 2009

Jan trial report -- this was better :-)

I went with a group to an APDT/CDSP trial weekend and wanted to brag on the results!

Two CIA puppy clients entered the just-approved Puppy class. Montana is an 8 month old Lab and has already beaten experienced adult competitors in her first Dock Diving competition, but this was her first obedience outing. Huxley is a Mastiff, just barely over the 6 month age requirement. Both qualified three runs of four and earned their first titles. Yay! All their qualifying scores were quite respectable, 189 and up. I was proud. :D

My CIA comrade Melissa, with a few reminders to try breathing, took her Lab/Golden mix Link (registered name "Excuuuse Me, Princess!") into Novice and qualified 3 runs of 4 to earn her first title! Yay! (Link works a LOT better when Melissa has oxygen!) But on Sunday, Melissa got wild and decided to enter Rally, too. Their first run, Link did very well, but they had a handler error which cost them an NQ. Melissa was REALLY stressing about her second run; I was stewarding the Open ring and couldn't watch, but Melissa told me it was an impossible course and they'd never make it. It must have been really impossible, because every dog in the A class NQ'd -- except Link, who got a blue ribbon and his first Rally leg. Not SO impossible, after all!

I was in the other ring during both of my Schutzhund friend Connie's runs, which really frustrated me. The first time, I'm sure it frustrated Connie as well -- we helped each other's dogs NQ! Our dogs were beside one another in adjoining rings. I had just walked away from Laev when Connie yelled, "Vor aus!" for Batman, and Laev launched to the far end of the 80' ring and started searching for her target. I called loudly for Laev to come, and that made Batman hesitate instead of finishing his sendout! We don't do much side-by-side work with conflicting concepts in club training. I missed Connie's second run, too, but I heard it was pretty decent; Batman didn't make any major errors, but just had an accumulation of points off that kept him from qualifying. But he did his retrieves, which have been very tough for him, and he recovered well after a scary dog incident, so I give him credit.

My husband Jon needed one more leg to get his one title I told him he had to have for the Rottweiler -- any venue, any title, I said, just something to prove to the insurance people that she was functional in public and trained, as I submit for the Dobermans. He was really stressing about it but wasn't willing to pay the professional handler fee I'd charge him. ;-) APDT allows handicapped dogs to compete and will even do some modifications (lower jump heights, etc.), so we submitted the proper form for Inky's utter lack of rear control. (She's gotten even worse, sometimes knuckling over as she walks and she can't get up from certain positions.) Jon worked really hard on breathing and relaxing during the course -- he tends to freeze up and freak the dog out -- and they walked out not only with their third and final leg, but a blue ribbon! which was a great finish. Jon was thrilled and is now done with trialing. :-)

Another CIA client came for just one run with her Standard Poodle Marley. She got a blue ribbon and High Scoring Dog & Handler in First Trial for Both, a special club award for the day. Yay!

My sister and CIA comrade Alena cleaned up. Seriously. She works a very low-threshold, very high-anxiety dog, who can be quite reactive. They got two new titles and ribbon placements in each of the 8 classes she entered! She had three or four run-offs and won every one of them, I think -- including when she finished her CD-H and moved up to the Novice Championship class, full of more experienced competitors, and took second place! Valenzia became mildly famous as the whining Doberman with gorgeous heeling.

Shakespeare started embarrassingly slow -- he broke stays in two classes on his first day, anticipating! -- but came back to his usual form on Sunday. My goal for him was 190+ double-Qs, which he needs for his championship, and he ended definitively with a double-Q of 210 and 209 in his Level 2 and Level 3 classes. (APDT has 200 points, with an optional 10-point bonus exercise selected by the judge.) Needs more double-Qs, but we're getting there.

Laev got another Rally leg (only after a spectacular fail involving the distraction food bowls -- she demonstrated that she can remove the safety cover quite handily!) in one ring, finished her Open title in the other and moved up to Utility, which I'd only just started prepping for after our club trial when I realized belatedly that she would probably finish Open the first day of this weekend. With perhaps 4-5 days' worth of scent discrimination work, zero directed retrieve work, and only one try at directed jumping previously, we entered Utility A. /laugh/ Laev had all the foundation skills, right? :-) Yeah, but she didn't have a handler fluent in the class! The judge called us in, set us up, and (understandably) didn't remind me that it was the Signals exercise first. "Forward," she said, and I called, "Heel!" I went forward three steps, slapped my hand over my mouth and gasped, "Oh, no! This is signals, isn't it?!"

The judge laughed and we restarted, but I was rattled and Laev looked a little worried during signals, so I just verbally cued the drop. That was an NQ, but it meant the rest of the run could be training, which was fine. And we did MUCH better than I'd expected -- a half-point on her scent retrieve, which I'd just crammed the week before, and compliments from someone watching on her nice marks. I was really happy with it.

No one else saw that run, however. All my friends got to see our second Utility run, which -- well, when I came out, Alena asked, "Is this where we start heckling?" :-) It was the very end of a long weekend, I guess; Laev spaced stuff that I know she knows better. Still, if I try to cram for a class like Utility, I can't really complain when the dog isn't ready!

All in all, it was a pretty good weekend. I was really happy with and for my friends!


Shawndra said...

Great job with the Laev! I only got to see parts of two of her runs. She is such a happy girl.

Thx for awarding Marley a blue ribbon - actually it's yellow. =)

Laura said...

Oops! I'd missed seeing Marley's run, but I thought I saw you with a blue ribbon. Oh, well -- he did a nice job, anyway!!