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)
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)
My little Cocker Spaniel Ronin (Ch Ebony Hills Evening Echo UD RA) received an invitation to the AKC National Obedience Invitational on December 4th & 5th in Long Beach, California.

This is the second year in a row Ronin has be privileged to be invited. Last year we couldn't go, and I must make up my mind quickly so that another person and dog can be invited if we don't go.

Ronin at Dog Practice in the park -- A happy Cocker SpanielWhy not go?  Well, first off, it makes me really nervous.  Not just being at that venue on that day, but starting about now I will become more and more nervous about Ronin's performance, and my handling goes kaput when I'm nervous.  We do best when we just go to have fun, and don't worry about placement in the trial, let alone nationally.

Second, there are some really very good obedience competitors. Ronin is very good, also, but some folks are into this competition to an extreme degree. A lot of their own self-worth is involved. They practice diligently, frequently, and seriously. It is really important to them to win at any and all costs.  We're not that way, Ronin and I.  We love to do obedience, and like to do it as best we can.  But we're not perfectionists, nor is it really that important to us. We are happy to compete, somewhat happier to qualify.  Anything beyond that is just fun.  It hurts when we show poorly, mainly because it is inevitably my fault. I've got my own problems that I carry into the ring.  But I'd just as soon keep a happy level of competition than to force both of us to perfection. It doesn't thrill me to beat anyone else--I'm just am happy when we do our best.  The competition at the Nationals, from the tales friends have told me, is simply too serious.  I don't want us to be there only to be fodder for the top dogs (Labs, Border Collies, and other OCD types and their OCD handlers ;^).

Third, that is a 2 day trip, 2 day show, 2 day return trip (plus maybe an extra rest day before the competition).  I'm retired on fixed income, and although I could save up to go that would mean cutting back on smaller, more local obedience trials.  These local trials are the ones we enjoy.  We'd forgo a lot of enjoyment for a long, expensive trip where we'd get stomped.  I'm not sure I'd enjoy that: I've already developed a humility that I'm quite proud of, thank you very much.

On the other hand, we've been given a second chance to go.  And even knowing we probably wouldn't finish in the top 32 and get eliminated early, it would be a once in a lifetime chance to do something outrageously bold.  With proper attitude, we'd be happy enough.

So I need to think, and not be influenced by others who have other agendas, to make up my mind. Should we go?
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)
I received an e-mail from the American Spaniel Club wanting details about Ronin. Is seems that Ronin is in the list of the top 5 Cocker Spaniels for 2009 so they are  requesting information and a photo to put in the annual Top Dog catalog.  This is distributed at the National Specialty which is in Richmond, Virginia, this year.  The specialty is in the second week of July and it would be a wonderful trip to attend, compete, and attend the "Cocker Cotillion" awards dinner in the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Richmond West where they will possibly mention Ronin. Well, that is a big trip and would cost some serious money for gas, but it would really be fun to do. I missed the National Specialty a few years ago in Perry, Georgia, when Beanie was in the list of Top Dogs and I've regretted not going since then. We're not getting any younger, so if not now, when?

We are set to attend the next three dog shows within 400 miles of home, so it would be nice to pick up another UDX Leg.  Ronin can certainly do it, I just need to keep my head and do the things I've practiced. It's a pity when the dog is trained better than the handler.

The bad news is that Beanie has been loosing weight and not eating consistently well. I set an appointment for her to have her teeth cleaned on March 1st and they did a blood panel in anticipation of that. She had a high white blood cell count, so the vet put her on Clavimox for a week before to a week after the dental appointment to make sure things would be OK.  It turned out she had no tooth problems, they cleaned up nicely. Her ears are great (not infected) and she has occasional gook in her eyes, but I keep that cleared up with ointment. After the antibiotic treatment they did another blood panel to see if that clobbered the potential infection. But instead the white blood cell count had gone up, a lot. So today I took her in with a urine sample to run through the lab. She's not been running any fever and shows no other symptoms except the white blood cell count and a little high in Globulin--other hepatic signs normal. But she's developed a pot belly and still losing weight. So they did a couple of x-rays. Her liver is huge. Everything else is normal except the kidneys didn't show up well and her spleen is out of position clear at the bottom of her tummy instead of being tucked away where it should along the back.  The enlarged liver does not look good.  So the vet is trying to set up an appointment to have an ultrasound done tomorrow.  This will let us know what is going on, maybe.  There is a probability this is cancer.  I'm praying for the best, but am prepared for the worst.

Tonight the dogs are getting one of their favorites: ox tail bones. These are really meaty and are all edible, except for the largest bones, which are really fun to chew on for a few days.  I think I have some venison left which they'll get for breakfast tomorrow.  For me, peanut butter sandwich tonight and the last of this month's cereal for breakfast (that went too fast).  Time to make soup.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Ronin practices the drop on recall to man with camera.
Wait. Wait.

Come. Come.

Drop. Drop.

Front. Front.

I love you, Ronin!
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Rapid City Kennel Club
Rapid City, South Dakota
October 18, 2009




Ronin Qualifies in Open B:


Ronin Qualifies in Utility B:
jon_d_r: (jonR)
OK, Ronin, you little doggie! Ronin passed Utility B fine--not brilliantly, but good enough. I was having a hard time working smoothly. I wasn't awake enough (no coffee) and I'm suffering from dry eye.  Nevertheless Ronin was one of five dogs that qualified in a field of twelve.  Then he went through Open B like he should--he's got all that down pretty well. Then. He. Went. Down. On. A. Sit. Stay. AGAIN.  This time he was down before I had left the ring with the other exhibitors. ARG. 

We've really been working on the sit-stays, too.

He did this after a great practice in the park Thursday.  In the park there were two little kids watching us practice.  When I had Ronin on a sit-stay, I was 15 meters away behind a car.  The two kids wandered over and sat beside him and started petting him.  He sat during the entire experience although he would rather have wiggled free, shook his tail, and kissed the kids.  He was so good, he sat during the entire time until I returned and released him.

So today we got together again with some friends at a park and ran through all the exercises for Open and Utility.  And he did many long sit-stays. He did them alone. He did them with other dogs. He did them with people and dogs walking around him. He did them with other dogs doing down stays.  No Problem.

Tomorrow, we'll try again.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Beanie, my 11 year old female Cocker Spaniel, ruptured her cruciate ligament. We took some time to see if it would self-heal on recommendation of vet. Didn't self-heal so I had her in surgery last Monday (6 July). Then the fun part with massage, Range-Of-Motion exercises, cold packs, keeping her calm and off the leg, using first e-collar then Bite-Not collar to keep her from messing with the wound. Helping her around the house and in the yard on lead (no running). Whew! Then I was getting ready to load up Friday to go to Eagle for the Roaring Fork Kennel Club Dog Shows and Obedience Trials and Beanie was hobbling around with her knee (stifle) popping just as it was before the surgery. I called the vet and was told to bring her in Monday (13th) for them to check it out. Poor girl. The pain isn't too awful what with a synthetic opiate and a hefty NSAID. In fact, I worry she might think it is OK to run/jump/romp, but alas she hobbles and considers any movement. No jumping in mind at all.

Needless to say, we didn't go to Eagle. With her in that condition, I just couldn't handle it. Both dogs had an oxtail bone on Saturday. What a treat!

I was all pumped up for the trials. I felt I had confidence and self-control and Ronin was looking strong in practice (and still having fun). So I lost 4 entry fees and one night non-refundable fee at the motel in Edwards. Next trials are in mid-August.

Beanie (Бини) моя 11 летняя женщина кокер спаниель, разбили связки на ноге. Мы ожидали увидеть если она исцелилась. Он не исцелил, так что мне пришлось ей в хирургии в прошлый понедельник (6 июля). Далее самое интересное с массажем, диапазон движения упражнения, холодные компрессы, поддержанию ее спокойной и за ноги, с помощью первой электронной воротник затем "Bite-Not воротничков" (не кусать воротник) сохранить ее от ран. Я помогал ей по дому и во дворе на поводке (не запускать!). Вот так! Тогда я был готов к нагрузке вверх пятницу с поездками на орла на ревущие вилка клуб питомник собак свидетельствует и послушания испытаний. Beanie был хромал. Ее ноги сделали шум, как это было до операции. Я назвал ветеринару и сказал: "Принесите ее в понедельник". Бедные девочки. Боль не слишком ужасно с синтетическими опиатами и дюжий NSAID. В самом деле, я волнуйтесь она может подумать, это хорошо, бежать, прыгать, сорванец, - но увы она limps и избежать каких-либо движение. Нет прыжков в виду вовсе.

Мы не пошли на Орел. С ее в таком состоянии, я просто не мог обрабатывать его. Обе собаки съели один бычьих хвостов кость в субботу. Что лечить!

Мне было все закачивается для судебных разбирательств. Я чувствовал, я имел доверие и самоконтроль и Ronin искал сильны в практике (и до сих пор с удовольствием). Так я потеряла 4 вступления сборов и одну ночь не возвращается плата в мотеле в Эдвардс (близ Вейля). Следующее испытание в середине августа.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
At the Garden City Kansas Kennel Club Obedience Trial on 8 March, 2009, Ronin got his first leg on his AKC Utility Dog (UD) title.  He took First Place!  Way to go, boy!

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