jon_d_r: (jonR)
Arapaho Kennel Club First Annual Obedience Trial
Held at Arapaho County Fairgrounds, Aurora, Colorado
25 September 2010


Ronin did his Sit-Stay!!! 

This was the first dog show, rally trial, and obedience trial for the new Arapaho Kennel Club.  The facilities were superb in our opinion. Ronin was as excited as I'd ever seen him.  The rings were nicely set up and there was a good deal of traffic through the area to and from the conformation rings.  There was no crowding however and the weather outside was beautiful: mild with a slight breeze.  This could be a really great show in the future.  As it was an initial show for the Arapaho KC one might have expected some glitches, but as far as I could see everything was going quite well, with no major problems.

Ronin needed a second command on the figure 8 exercise of heeling.  He decided he liked the judge and started to veer towards her, but a quick "Ronin!" corrected that.  The bugaboo was the Sit-Stay exercise.  We've been practicing this a lot (Thanks to Dr. Gail Clark, K9 Shrink http://www.k9shrink.com ).  Right before we went in we were practicing Sit-Stay and someone came up to talk to me and Ronin broke the Sit-Stay to greet her.  "Ah! Ah! Ah! RONIN! Sit-Stay!" was a mild rebuke that got his attention.  He knows better and you could see that he was feeling bad about breaking the Sit-Stay.  I think that final reminder helped because he was really solid on the stays.

As a result Ronin Qualified in Open B and took Third Place.  I was really happy we got the Sit-Stay, the Q and 3rd Place were gravy on that positive performance.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
This is why obtaining a UDX is no simple matter.  We were really bad for six trials in a row. Something went wrong at Mountain States Dog Training Club at the Adams County Fairgrounds on 8-9 May. I became uptight, nervous, overly conscious of my self and lost control of my voice, my body, my attitude, and, of course, my dog Ronin.  Poor guy really wants to do what I say, but when I start miscommunicating, he has no chance.  And when he starts getting off the track that makes me more nervous, anxious, and frustrated. 

I should have called off going to Albuquerque the next weekend.  Several friends suggested I do that until Ronin and I got back into the "groove". But Albuquerque was a big 5 day dog show with 4 days of obedience trials.  I'd paid the entries and made plans to go with friends and visit with my sister.  In other words, I really wanted to go. I thought I could turn it around and overcome our problems. Wow. We only got worse.  And the bad thing is that Ronin had 4 more trials of poor performance in the ring.  That can tend to reinforce itself for a long time. Ouch.  I finally pulled him from Open B on the last day after a really disastrous Utility B run.  We went to the dog park and relaxed for several hours, then had dinner with my sister and friends.  I decided then to pull Ronin from the next few shows, hoping to work with him on some fundamentals and try to regain control of myself.

I couldn't withdraw from Central Wyoming (Casper, Wyoming) dog show because entry deadline had passed. So on Friday and Saturday, May 28-29, Ronin is the only dog in Utility B there, and one of three dogs in Open B (the only UDX dog).  I'm tempted to go because (maybe) we won't be nervous and (maybe) we can squeak through with a qualifying score or two (or even a UDX leg, or two).  But should I chance it?  I dunno, I need to think this through.

The other two upcoming shows are Flatirons (Longmont) and Colorado Springs, both in Colorado.  I've withdrawn Ronin from Utility and Open B obedience, but I could enter him in Rally. 

We've done OK in Rally, Ronin has is Rally Advanced Title and one leg of Rally Excellent.  Rally is different from obedience, although some of the same elements are there. It was originally conceived as a step before going into obedience.  But really, it is a different sport, and to do well the dog and handler must do 17 to 25 different exercises in a tight course, all timed.  Properly done, this is a challenge and no mean feat.  One advantage is that the atmosphere tends to be more relaxed. The handler can talk to the dog and encourage it through the course.  If an exercise is failed, the rules allow for a "do over" with only points off.  All the exercises must be done properly, however, and tied scores are settled on the basis of the shortest time.  In all, it is an excellent way to build communication between dog and handler, and to build confidence in the team.  It is also a lot of fun when things go well.  It is also a really good way to get a dog prepared for the obedience ring.

So, I have until Wednesday to decide if I should enter Ronin in Rally for two more shows.  And until next Thursday to decide if I should make the attempt to try obedience in Central Wyoming....

In the meantime, the weather has been excellent. We need to do some work in the back yard and the parks on some basic obedience stuff. Bring on the Cones! (Rally exercises are often done around tiny orange traffic cones).
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Ronin had a good three day weekend in obedience trials. No legs, darn it.  We may have fixed a sit-stay problem, but he suddenly forgot the drop-on-recall exercise in Open B.  And today the first exercise was the broad-jump.  I placed him, left him, got into position and gave the command, "Ronin, OVER!" and he quietly sat there staring at me. He'd flunked the class without moving an inch, without taking a step. He jumped on the second command.  And no drop-on-recall. But the last two days he did his sit-stays.  Friday he went down on sit-stay for about the 8th time in a row. The judge "made" him get back into a sit position (she said she didn't touch him, but got him up into sit).  That must have helped.  When a dog gets by with going down on sit-stays in the ring, it is difficult to break them of it. Ronin always does sit-stays in practice, and we practice all sorts of ways: on the bed, in a chair, in the dark, with and without dogs, with and without people and other distractions, long and short sit-stays, with objects placed under his chest, with me in sight, out of sight, far away, close, whatever, he does stays in practice. Thanks to Nancy Pollack, who must have convinced him that going down on sit-stays in the ring was a "wrong" thing to do, and probably all the practice, he did sit-stays. And for about 8 trials he had done everything fine except sit-stays. So of course when we fixed the sit-stays, other things became problems. But those are easier to fix, so I'm happy.

Besides, on Friday he took 1st Place in Utility B and today, Sunday, he took 2nd Place.  He should have qualified Saturday, but brought the wrong metal article.  Articles (Scent Discrimination) is something he had solid.  So I didn't work him enough on that exercise.

What I learned from this weekend (and last weekend) of no UDX legs is:
  1. Work on every exercise, no matter what he's been good in before,
  2. Continue working extra on sit-stays,
  3. Work through some run-throughs without breaks in between exercises and keeping his attention,
  4. Try to get longer "go outs" all the way to the opposite side of the ring,
  5. Polish fronts and finishes,
  6. Get him up and excited after a long break between classes (bring a toy, he awakens to that)
We have time before next month when there are 6 trials to attempt to get another UDX Leg (or more ;^).

When he did his sit-stays again, even though he NQ'd I was really happy.  It felt almost as good as getting a title, it had been that much of a problem.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Ronin won 5th UDX Leg today. More Later, this note from site on phone.

Later:

Open B went wonderfully! Ronin Dropped on Recall. We lost minor points hear and there. We had stays last and the Down-Stay first -- no problem. Last exercise was the Sit-Stay. I talked him up with "Yay! Ronin! OK!" and we turned around and I sat him with a firm "SIT!". Then the judge had us sit our dogs.  I gave a firm "RONIN!...SIT!". The judge told us to leave our dogs, I paused until after most of the commands, then gave "RONIN!.......STAAAAAAYYY!" and walked slowly out of the ring with the other handlers. That was a long 3 minutes. Coming back in I couldn't see the dogs because there were too many people watching. Finally we entered the ring and ALL the dogs were SITTING! YAAAY!

WE GOT 195 POINTS IN OPEN B (out of 200). Tough competition, we were 5th or 6th. But half way to UDX Leg!!

Utility B was a happy time. We went in calm and confident. I was in the moment...not thinking ahead or behind. We had Scent Discrimination first, and he did that great with both metal and leather articles...slightly off center on one front and a little crooked on a finish. We did Directed Retrieve with the Number 3 glove, next to a handful of onlookers. No problem at all.  We did Signal Exercise and he did the heeling pattern about the best ever and stood on command. He read the signals from across the room and did a beautiful front and finish. Next was Stand For Exam and he was solid.  Now the dreaded Directed Jumping: First the High Jump and then the Bar Jump.  He went out fairly good on the first Go-Out, but a little short and to the left. Did the High Jump. Good Front and Finish. Second Go-Out was short, to the left. Judge decided it was far enough so he let me jump Ronin. Ronin was so angled that he almost had to do a barrel-roll to get over the jump, but he did it!  The judge said, "Wow! I didn't think he could possibly make it!" as Ronin came to a great Front and Finish.

We had DONE IT!  Qualified in both Open B and Utility B on the same day for Ronin's Fifth UDX Leg!  We only need 5 more for a title.

WE GOT 192 POINTS IN UTILITY B (out of 200).  The short Go-Outs had cost 6 points, so Ronin had a 198 going into the Jumping. That would have been enough to have placed him.

RONIN HAS 5 UDX LEGS!!

In other news from the obedience trials, there were 4 runoff dogs for Utility B.  As it turned out the last runoff dog finished 2nd Place. That gave that dog enough OTCH points (Obedience Trial Champion points) to get 100 OTCH points total so that dog got her OTCH!  There was pandemonium, people were screaming and crying, jumping up and down and hugging. The judge goes, like, "WTF!?!?" then realizes it must have been significant, then we told him.  We had cake and pictures afterward. Congratulations to Sandy Paulick and her sheltie named "Sandy's Mystic Mindy Lee".  That made the entire 3 day weekend a special time!!
jon_d_r: (jonR)
I should have put an emphasis on the "ha ha" about Ronin's mastery of Stays yesterday. Today he passed Utility B, doing better than yesterday, but with short (but longer than yesterday) "go outs".  In Open B, he did all the exercises really well; we had a 195 going into the Stays. He did the Drop-on-recall, which he missed yesterday. But he went DOWN on the SIT-STAY. Argh!

All the practice yesterday after the trial did correct or improve the problem areas he had yesterday. But like the game "Whak-A-Mole" another problem popped up: the infamous Sit-Stays.  We did practice that, and he seemed to understand--never a problem in practice. But in the Ring...

Anyway, we had a great time.  He really enjoyed being there at the trials, and had a lot of fun in the ring.

Tomorrow there is another Obedience Trial, and we shall try again.  Put it all together, Ronin!
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Ronin had a fairly good day. He definitely was happy throughout. We tried for another UDX leg, but didn't quite make it. 

First off was Utility B and the first exercise was Directed Jumping. He barely went out beyond the jumps, almost not far enough to qualify. The judge really gave us a gift by only penalizing 6 points for each "Go-Out".  We really need to practice longer distances, but it is hard in the winter. Time to stop by some training facilities for drop-in practice.  After squeaking through the jumps, I was discombobulated and blew a lot of what I had practiced so hard for. We Qualified, though, one of 6 out of 15 entries to do so.  The score was good enough to get a trophy as highest scoring Cocker Spaniel in trial (a Toy and a bag of Biscuits).

I had really good feeling going into Open B.  Ronin is rock solid on everything there (ha ha). And he did really well. We had pattern I (one) which is like Utility A. He did really well on everything, including magnificent stays. He didn't even move a centimeter on the Sit-Stay. Someone slammed down some equipment in the next ring just as he was coming off the Broad Jump and he flinched and had a crooked front (1 1/2 points off). In all, he had a 196 going until HE DIDN'T DROP ON RECALL. It was if he didn't even hear it. gAh.

So we practiced "Go-Out"  and "Drop-On-Recall" elsewhere in Island Grove for awhile and signed up for a C Match for practice.  We had a good 20 Minutes of practice to go over problem areas and play with his New Toy. I checked out the area where he was supposed to drop and there were two large electrical transformers on the wall inside the building right there.  And they were HUMMMMMMMing.  Handlers using voice commands for the Drop had problems, those who used hand signals did better. We played around the transformer, then did several practice Drops.  I hope we worked through that problem.

He enjoyed every minute of the day, and made friends with the judges.  A dog that loves to work in the ring is a joy to be with. I hope I can become a better handler to get him the scores he deserves.  Right now he's asleep at my feet. We have two more days of Obedience Trials, and I hope we do better.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Ronin is hurting. He yelps when he pushes off jumping or running. We were at Pikes Peak Obedience Club trials (three days) in the Black Forest east of Colorado Springs this weekend.  The first day (Friday) Ronin didn't take any jumps and stumbled on the broad jump. That evening he yelped attempting to jump onto the motel bed. I pulled him from the competition on Saturday and we didn't even go on Sunday, we just came home. He is not limping, it seems to hurt when he pushes off. We're off to the veterinarian tomorrow to see what's up.

We're scheduled for a 4 day Dog Show and Obedience Trial in Rapid City, South Dakota in a couple of weeks.  I'm hoping he'll be back in shape by then.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Day two of Obedience Trials in Greeley at Evergreen Colorado Kennel Club dog show.  Ronin had it together! He took Third Place in Utility B. The practice sessions at the park yesterday helped. He remembered to do everything. Still no sit on the Directed Jumping, but he went out far enough (not great) and took the proper jumps. No problems on finding and bringing articles in Scent Discrimination. Signal Exercise was fine (not great). Still problems with fronts and finishes on nearly everything, but only points off.

Ronin then did really good in Open B ... Until the *last* exercise which was the Out-Of-Sight-Sit-Stay-For-Three-MinutesARGH!  Ronin broke my heart when he went down after only 1 minute.  Again he had sloppy fronts and finishes.  But then again his heeling patterns were good enough to evoke positive comments from the Judge.

The problem with fronts and finishes is that I got in the habit of cluing him during practice. When I don't (can't) give him a clue during the trial, he waits for help that never comes.  I need to train him all over to do fronts and finishes and keep at it until he does it all the time as a matter of course.  My fault.

We have a couple weeks to practice fronts, finishes, and Sit Stays. And, of course, everything else. 

I need to go buy both Ronin and Beanie some ox-tails. They love these bones that are large, meaty, lean, fully edible, high in calcium, a great gnaw, and overall fun time.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Half way through two days of obedience trials at Evergreen Colorado Kennel Club dog show in Greeley, Colorado.  First day was weird, I think Ronin needed his coffee LOL. First exercise in both Utility and Open classes he just sat/stood there staring.

First exercise in Utility B was Scent Discrimination. He turned and went out to the pile of articles really nicely. Then he walked over them and stood, staring off into the distance, not even sniffing for the proper article. I had to give a second command and that flunked the day. He got both articles (no problem) once he woke up. His go-outs for the Directed Jumping were precisely as they were the last few times--short and no sit. He took the wrong jump.

First exercise in Open B was a simple Retrieval On The Flat (fetch a dumbbell). I *think* I clearly, loudly, succinctly said "Ronin, Take It!" but he just sat there staring at the dumbbell.  Again I had to give a second command and he did the exercise.  Then *again* he went down on the Out Of Site Sit Stay.  This is after working on it all week.

These "errors off the starting block" got me rattled, but by then we'd flunked so everything after that was "for practice" anyway.

I need to have him *awake* when we start. Maybe I need to bring a squirrel along for him to see just before we go in the ring.

Ronin Looked almost good otherwise. Judges complimented us on his heeling patterns. We took time afterward to meet friends at a park and do some run-through sessions.  We'll try again tomorrow.

P.S. Three of Dr. Gail Clark's students (and their owners) were invited to the (Eukanuba) National Obedience Invitational this year (including Ronin), so she must be doing something right! Today we learned that Gail and her Portuguese Water Dog Ship were also invited.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Some of Dr. Gail Clark's clients got together today for a fun time. We set up a small ring and gave ourselves a practice obedience match at a Fort Collins park.  Beanie came along to watch and have some fun in the park. Ronin watched Jon be the acting Open Judge and by the time he got to try, he was really gung-ho. 

Некоторые клиенты доктор Гейл Кларк собрались сегодня для веселья время. Мы создали малое кольцо и имела соответствуют практике послушание в парке Форт Коллинз. Beanie пришли вместе смотреть и повеселиться в парк. Ронин смотрел Джон. Джон исполнял обязанности судьи. Когда он попытался Ронин очень хотелось.

Here are some pictures of the dogs doing stays:
Вот некоторые фотографии из собак делают спецпредложений:

Ronin is the blur fourth from the left. Ронин является размытость четвертый слева.


Wow, look at 'em sit! Wow, смотреть на них сидеть!


Ronin is fourth blob from the right. Beanie is in brown crate next to the tree on the left of picture.  Dr. Gail Clark is by the car with the rear lifted up (the car's rear lifted up). 
Ронин является четвертым BLOB от правых. Beanie в коричневом ящике рядом с деревом в левой части картины. Доктор Гейл Кларк, у автомобиля с задним подняли
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Ronin had the best heeling pattern ever in Open B today. And we fixed the stays, he did them correctly.  But no drop on recall. There was something interesting in the next ring: All the Open A dogs and handlers were lined up to do stays and all of them were looking at Ronin. So he didn't hear the first "drop" command. And in Utility B he took the wrong 1st jump again. Other than those 2 things he had a good day at the 2nd day of the Greeley Kennel Club Obedience Trials. No legs for the week.  Only 1 qualifying ribbon on Thursday in Utility B (4th Place).

We know what to fix.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Saturday. OK, Ronin, you dork! ;^) He started to come back instead of sitting on "go-out" to first jump so I had to give a second "sit" command and that was a Non-Qualify for Utility (a.k.a. humility, a.k.a. futility). He was wonderful in Open but he was popping up and down at his own whim during both the sit-stay and the down-stay, so he NQ'd Open also. We fixed the "drop on recall" so I was grateful for his efforts today.

After flunking I was practicing sit-stays and down-stays with Ronin in an enclosed cabana (belonging to the Obedience Chairperson) beside the 4H building. I put him on a sit-stay and then volunteered to help pack up some other folks who were leaving to return to Utah. As I carried some equipment to their van, I saw Ronin had broken the stay and was investigating an empty dog crate. When I returned from the van, Ronin had popped back out of the crate and had returned to the sit-stay position and was innocently gazing about as if he hadn't moved! It cracked me up. I was later able to "catch" him moving out of position and surprised him with a "Hey, you-are-on-a-sit-stay!" (Ronin had an "Ooops" look, so I know it got to him). We did that some more with both sits and downs. Finally he was able to hold the stays for well beyond the required time.

Ronin got to watch a very cute Miniature Bull Terrier puppy (such as this) during his stays so it wasn't too awful for him.

Ronin also got to watch one of his breeder-brothers in the Conformation Ring. Except Ronin got bored and laid out on the floor with his butt to the ring. His breeder-brother did take a couple of good looks at Ronin as he went by--I hope this didn't detract too much. He was looking good, Andrea!
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Oh, Ronin! Friday at the AKC All-breed Obedience Trial of the Irish Setter Club of Colorado. Again Ronin did not drop on recall, went down on sit-stay so NQ in Open B, and went over wrong first jump so NQ in Utility B. Other than that ... ;^).

Lots of dogs and their people are converging on Island Grove Regional Park.  The Greeley Kennel Club has shows Saturday and Sunday.  There are about 3000 dogs entered in conformation, obedience, and rally. With them are their handlers, owners, families, and the local people who will come to watch. This will be a grand time.

The 4H building is HOT. There is an air conditioner, a swamp cooler, that needs to be cleaned out and new pads installed. It can't keep up with what is going on inside.  It is nice in the shade outside, so long as the weather holds. This is the monsoon season, and the Greeley show as often as not gets some really hard rains.  There really isn't room for all the obedience dogs and owners to be inside the 4H building waiting to compete. There is no room for crating and we can't heel our dogs at sit for hours on end in the hot, stuffy building anyway. An option is the Livestock building next door, which is crowded and gets several inches of water on the floor when it storms.  Other than that, it is a great venue (so long as the weather holds). 

We intend to have fun.  Where is my army poncho? (hmm. PUP tent)
jon_d_r: (jonR)
The American Belgian Tervuren Club had a Specialty Show today and with it held an all-breed Obedience Trial. AKC Judge Mrs. Linda Scanlon had 56 entries to judge--she was the only judge for all the regular classes. We didn't start until 12:00 (noon) so she was still going when we left after 6:00 p.m. The venue was at the Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley, Colorado. Obedience was in the 4H building, as usual. Most of the time there was only one ring going, so there were no distractions, no dogs in other rings, no barking, no loud noises, really a quiet situation. Probably too quiet for most dogs--when there was something happening it drew the dogs attention away from the task at hand.

Ronin is after another UDX leg, which means he must qualify in both Utility B and Open B at the same trial. Utility B went fairly well for us (we qualified). Ronin's "go around" finishes were non-existent, he went part way around and stopped, staring off into the distance as if the rest of the world held too much of interest to come around and sit at heel. The "swing" finishes were OK. He did everything fairly well except his "go-outs" for the directed jumping. He went out straight, but slowed and was about to stop prior to my command. He didn't go out far enough, so he lost 6 points on each go-out. Plus 2 points off on each finish. gah! But he came in Fourth Place out of 14 entries (2 were absent so only 12 competed).

In Open B he should have done really well. He is solid there (right). He did NOT drop on recall--I had to give a second command so that gave us an NQ (Non-Qualify) for that and thus for Open B. Then he perked up and did very nicely, losing only 5 points for the other exercises. Until out-of-sight stays. He did the down stay first, no problem. Then on the sit stay he went down at 1:57. Some other dogs went down before, but a friend said Ronin didn't pay attention to them, he just went down on his own. GAH!

He's done go-outs, drop-on-recalls, out-of-sight stays solidly for weeks, with and without distraction. Some days, that's just the way it goes.

The fun part was there was a Belgian Terverun and handler who place high in both Utility B and Open B, finished her (the dog's) UDX Title, got First Place in Open B, and got High Combined Score! And this was at the Belgian Terverun Specialty! There weren't any catalogs available so I don't know who it was. I'll come back and edit this entry later when the results show up on the AKC website.

Lots of familiar dogs and handlers. Some new people also. In all it was a very nice day. I'm looking forward to tomorrow when we will be in the Irish Setter Club's Specialty and all-breed Obedience Trial.

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