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  I've withdrawn Ronin from Utility and Open B obedience, but I could enter him in Rally.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 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)
Oh, Jon! You messed up Ronin's second UDX Leg.

Ronin got 1st Place in Utility B at the second day of the Obedience Trials in Laramie, Wyoming!

Ronin did all the exercises correctly and was set to at least place in Open B. Jon started to put on his lead and Ronin "fouled the ring" (pooped). Jon had neglected to take him out and make SURE he was finished with that job. He had gone twice before, and from the look of it, had done enough for awhile. But for some reason, he just had to go then, not wait the two seconds it would have taken to leave the ring. Sigh.

Jon's fault, the guy would most likely gotten his second UDX leg and High Combined Score again.

Note to self: Walk the dog.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Ok, today is day 1 of the obedience trials at the Laramie (Wyoming) Kennel Club dog shows this Memorial Day Weekend. Also, First day of Ronin in UDX Competition. Whee!

Ronin took 1st (FIRST) Place in Utility B!

Ronin took 2nd (SECOND) Place in Open B!

Ronin achieved Highest Combined Score in Open B and Utility Classes for the entire Obedience Trial!

Ronin got his FIRST leg in Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) competition.

Just five years ago Beanie also got Highest Combined Score at Laramie.

Tomorrow we will try again...
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Beanie after a hard run through Open B and Utility B (couple years ago):



Beanie practicing scent discrimination exercise (couple years ago):



Beanie going over thea bar jump practicing directed jumping (couple years ago):



Beanie doing a really long down stay (couple years ago):



All that practice paid off! Beanie gets Highest Scoring Dog in Regular Classes in Trial, Highest Combined Score in Utility B and Open B, and two First Place ribbons, and (most important of all: two Qualifying Ribbons and another leg to her UDX which she got in August 2008

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