jon_d_r: (jonR)
My Cocker Spaniel Ronin and I had a nice practice session in the backyard today
Ronin at Sit-Stay
Ronin at Sit-Stay

Ronin doing Go-Out for Directed Jumping
Ronin doing Go-Out for Directed Jumping exercise

Ronin at sit, waiting command in Directed Jumping
Ronin at Sit awaiting command during Directed Jumping

Ronin at Sit
Ronin still at Sit. We don't want him coming in immediately after going out.

Ronin takes High Jump
Ronin takes the High Jump

Ronin on the "home stretch"
Ronin returning after the High Jump in Directed Jumping practice.

Ronin in Front position
Ronin in Front Position. This was fun.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
On August 19 Ronin took First Place in Utility B at the Belgian Tervuren Specialty All-breed Obedience Trial in Greeley, Colorado.  This earned him 4 OTCH Points (Obedience Trial Champion Points).  He went down on the Sit-Stay so we didn't qualify in Open B that day.

Today (September 12) Ronin took Fourth Place in Utility B at the Evergreen Kennel Club Obedience Trials in Greeley. This was particularly satisfying because he's been having problems with the "go-outs" for the Directed Jumping. We practiced a lot yesterday with really long go-outs to a toy with a treat on it.  Two practices, one early in the afternoon and one just before sundown seemed to help.  We did many go-outs, with and without jumps, at various distances from 25 feet to 75 feet in various orientations (directions).  Today he had fairly good go-outs, but he was slow and he was the one who chose the distance. I had to quickly give a "Sit" command before he turned and sat.  We still need to work on that. We concentrated on distance, and I have been giving him treats at the farthest extent of the go-out.  So now I need to keep him heading out to that distance but call him to Sit before he turns.  And if he turns, I need to let him know that he needs to keep going until I say Sit.  Today we got by with points off and I was happy enough that we qualified. 

Again today Ronin went down on the Sit-Stay.  It is really hard to fix this; he is so consistently good in practices and our informal fun matches.  Since we can't correct the dogs or even let them know they've done wrong, it is quite difficult to fix this once the dog gets it in his head that it is OK to go down on Sit-Stay in the ring during competition.  There is a training session on Tuesday nights in Longmont at the Boulder County Fairgrounds where a ring is set up and we're allowed to purchase time for a drop-in.  I'm going there in hopes that the ring situation in the same building as the trials are held (big Exhibit Hall with tall ceilings, ring gates, and such) will induce him to break a Sit-Stay so I can let him know that is a no-no.

In any case, next weekend is the Flatirons Kennel Club Obedience Trial there at the Exhibit Hall at Boulder County Fairgrounds, so I hope we can get some more go-outs and Sit-Stays.

This assumes that there aren't refugees from the Four-Mile Canyon Wildfire staying at the Exhibit Hall--there were some the first few days.  Today the fire looked as if it had picked up and was burning again, although it has been reported to be under control.  On the drive back to Fort Collins from Greeley, a large area of the foothills near Boulder was sending up a lot of smoke.

     +------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+

OK, this is a new wildfire, the Reservoir Road Wildfire, west of Loveland. This fire is about 1000 acres and has consumed at least 2 homes.  Evacuees are in Loveland.  So far this wildfire is completely not contained.  And another grassland wildfire was reported near Arvada in grassland.  I'm canceling my plan to take the dogs on a mountain hike--it is simply too dry.

     +------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+

It was a very weird day at the obedience trial. A friend's dog was in 2 dogs before us in Utility B stopped with diarrhea right in front of the jump.  That took some cleaning. While Ronin and I were doing the Signal Exercise a dog in the next ring went rather berserk and started aggressively growling.  I was busy, so I didn't see what was going on but when we finished the handler, judge and a ring steward all had the dog pinned to the mat.  We were given a few minutes break between exercises as they removed the dog from the building. After we were done, the next dog went in and one of the ring stewards started into the ring too early and tried to back out quickly, tripped on Onofrio's lousy mat, fell and knocked herself unconscious. Paramedics were there quickly and they kept her down until a fire engine and ambulance came to take her to hospital. That took another 20 to 30 minutes.  Then another dog was excused for aggression. What a day for the poor judges.
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)
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)
Argh! Over the weekend we were at Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Beanie turned 11 on Friday and the blizzard and cold weather got to her arthritis so she was unable to compete in Rally.

Argh, Argh! Ronin was in Utility A. Ronin forgot the "sit" command on Saturday ("What's that?"). On Sunday he was doing wonderfully. He had some points off for a bit of lagging on the signals exercise and off-center finishes. Did the first jump in the directed jumping. Whew! One jump to go to get his second leg. Jon gives sign to "mark go-to" then judge asks "Ready?" Jon responds "Ready" and Judge says "Send your dog!"

Jon takes a deep breath, makes hand signal, and then "Ronin, go-tooooo...." he squeaks.

Ronin hesitates, trots off slowly, passes jump distance, then turns and looks at Jon and automatically sits, cocks his head and looks as if saying "WTF was that?"

Judges says "Awww, NO! Call him back. So sorry."

Jon files into permanent memory: "Remember to breath! Relax! Sound normal!" :-(

No dogs in Utility A Class qualified, but Ronin came so very close!

Other than that it was a really good weekend. Beanie got a massage therapy session, Ronin met many interesting dogs and their people. The people of Scottsbluff were really friendly and the Scottsbluff Kennel Club hosted a wonderful show, despite the remnants of the blizzard the day before.

On to the next show!

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