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)
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 took Second Place in Utility B both days, gaining Three (3) more OTCH (Obedience Trial CHampion) points! He was so good!  But it was a long day both days.  The first day in Open B he didn't Drop On Recall and went down on Sit-Stay. The second day he went down on Sit-Stay. Arghh! Back to the practice routines: sit-stays on the bed, couch, late in the day, long time out of site, and so on.

We had a good time.  The facilities, judges, host club, and competitors were the best.  We had B Matches (practice matches) Friday and Saturday night that were really helpful.

Ronin won two new squeaky toys, and this was the most important thing for him all weekend.
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)
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)
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.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
So it goes. What an interesting day. We arrived early, Ronin was first dog into the Utility B ring. In an indoor horse arena. With pigeons living in the rafters.

Just as we were entering the ring, the commotion of the obedience trial flushed the pigeons, and they took wing, each moving to another place (still within the arena). Ronin is a Cocker Spaniel. This is a bird dog whose main breeding trait is to hunt and flush gamebirds. ... I gained his attention quickly and moved into place for the first exercise, Scent Discrimination. In this exercise an article I've touched is placed in a group of similar objects about 20-25 feet away and Ronin's job is to find the article I've touched and return it to me. Not today.

We turned and I instructed "Find Mine!" and Ronin took off. He immediately went into hunt mode, nose to ground, moving out and away from me, covering back and forth, interrupted only by a coursing gaze around for sight of a bird. Past the pile of articles (Hmm, I'll get back to those after I finish business). He was not doing the exercise. The judge indicated I should give it up, so I gave a second command, then a third command. We had NQd (Non-Qualifying). He was still hunting. The judge smiled and attempted to lure him to the pile. She pointed at the article with a pencil. I gave a fourth (or fifth?) command and he looked impatiently at me and grabbed an article at random (not the correct article) and brought it. I took it and we finished. I grinned an the judge and said, "Bird dog, you know".

The second article: He picked up an article near the correct one, then dropped it atop the correct one. Could not pick up the correct one with other article atop it. So he rotated 90 degrees and picked up both articles and brought them. By this time I'm trying not to crack up.

The rest of the exercises went well, well within qualifying precision. But we had flunked Utility B.

Remembering last week, I had taken him out several times before the Open B class started, to let him poop as much as he desired. This involves some time because with 1800 other dogs and may people about, there is too much to attend to other than "business".

Into Open B, Ronin was his steady self, with better fronts and finishes than ever before (in my opinion). Then. Long Sits. Sit. About the first command a doggie learns is Sit. He knows Sit. Except today. At one minute, thirty seconds (according to judge) Ronin decides to go Down so as to better keep an eye on the pigeons. NQ. And he gets three other dogs to follow suit ("The Cocker was first, it is HIS fault"). So we do the Long Down Stay and when I returned to the ring, he was still down, still intently following the movements of pigeons. I think I startled him when I gave the command to release him from the stay, he hadn't noticed the eight of us returning to the ring.

What fun. It was a good day, in all. He is still green. We came home and after a brief rest, we went in the backyard and practiced. Of course, in practice he is perfect.

We were doing Signal Exercise where I was across the yard giving hand signals for down, up, and come. I saw Beanie, the old girl, on the patio watching. She's a retired UDX dog and is content to watch usually. I gave the Down signal. Both Ronin and also Beanie another 20 feet away settled down. I gave the Sit signal and they both simultaneously sat, keeping their eyes fixed on me. At the Come signal, they both came running, jostling to get into Front position. I'm cracking up. I give the signal to Go Around and they simultaneously moved to heel, Beanie on the inside and Ronin parallel on the outside. Time to enter them in tandem obedience.

Whew. Next show is real soon in Colorado Springs. We need to work with distractions. Gotta proof his exercises. Ronin needs me to be better for him.
jon_d_r: (jonR)
Foiled again. Hey, there were BIRDS in the horse arena!! The wonderful smelling and cool packed earth made everything smooth and fast. But Ronin pretty much ignored the birds and did quite well. Well, except for the short second go-out in Directed Jumping... and the subsequent NQ for not going over the high jump. Many dogs missed it today, dunno why. Even an OTCH UDX2 dog missed it.

In Open B, Ronin did a respectable 190 of 200 (beaten out by two 199s, two 197s, and other higher scores), but I was pleased. He very much enjoyed the day and went at everything with enthusiasm and a happy attitude. We had a good time.

Ronin spent some time meeting other dogs and many people. Several people had their human-pups along and Ronin thinks they are the greatest. Ronin is an asset to Doggies Everywhere and tries to put the best paw forward as an ambassador from the AKC to the world.

Back again tomorrow for another try at a UDX leg.

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