Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Update on Ribbon

In May Ribbon got her CD at the Swansea trial in Etobicoke.  She passed 4/4.  Her scores were okay.  She had one 198, which was quite nice.  She had a minor blip in her first trial on the heel free she noticed the judge move her clipboard and she paused for a second and then caught up immediately.  But I could feel she wasn't totally focused and her heeling got a little loose.  But overall I was pleased with her work ethic.  She was pestered by a fly a couple of times on her stays and had another dog come over to visit on another set of stays, so other than my high blood pressure during all of that, Ribbon was just fine!
I had also entered Ribbon in 2 more trials the two weeks following Swansea.  I looked over my videos from Swansea and worked on a few things I wanted to clean up. Namely her fast pace and about turns. Both of these element got loose during the trials.  I realized that when I play with Ribbon I tend to run around and play with her, she jumps up and chases me.  It occurred to me that she looked almost the same when I did my fast pace in the ring.  I decided that I needed to give her a better picture so that she would know how to respond by continue heeling and not seeing it as play.  I decided to lengthen my stride and keep my left arm quiet against my body.  It worked really well in training.  For about turns I decided to try a longer head cue and look more to my right, instead of just to the outside of my right foot like I have done with all my other dogs.  She immediately responded to that and it felt really good.  We had fun training together and I was really looking forward to the trials.  The day arrived and Ribbon warmed up really well, she was relaxed and focused.  We walked into the ring and she was fabulous- her figure 8 was to die for!! (although all of her figure 8's were really good).  All the things we worked on were rock solid!! It felt really, really good.  There were only a few dogs left in the class and then stays.  She was great and when we walked out of the ring, they were waiting for us in the next ring.  I did a quick warm up and played with her for a second and off we went.  I was so proud of her, because in a span of 20 minutes she did two runs and both sets of stays and came out a 198 and 197.5 and both HITS!!!

Yeah Ribbon!!!

We are working hard on our CDX and I have mailed in my entries for 4 trials December 01/02.  Ribbon is REALLY enjoying open.  I have been working on proofing drills and continue to work on making our heeling perfect and fun!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Update on Gali

Sorry it has been so long since I wrote, but I have been busy writing the new edition of "Rally On".  It is in the final stages and just about to go for proofreading.  Hopefully it will be ready for print in the new year.

Gali and I have not been out much this summer.  We do have 3 AE legs in rally, but this summer has been so busy that I could never quite get organized to get to the local trials and with the price of gas it seemed silly to spend all that money for what amounts to 6 minutes in the ring (on a really bad day, I might add!) I am hoping to finish his title as Ribbon is out being shown at the end of the year and into next year.

We didn't ever get our last leg for our OTCH.  I was seeing signs of stress in a dog that LOVES to go to trials and bee bop around the ring.  I will admit to being haunted by the fact that I couldn't finish it. In August I actually started to lose sleep over this - did I give up too soon - am I losing my ability to train a dog? - I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.  In August I lost 3 days sleep over this and decided it was crazy that I was going to put him in one more trial.  I entered one of my favourite trials, knowing that there would be a match the night before.  The deal I made with myself was that I would see how he worked at the match and decide if I would run him the next morning.  I kept the fact that I had entered him to myself.  One of my thoughts was that I was putting too much pressure on myself and not doing my best job with my dog. This thought was a large part of my not sleeping for 3 days!

The night of the match Gali's heeling, front/finishes, articles and signals were really, really good!! I was having fun with him and he was having fun with me.  He was a little hesitant on his go out and didn't take the first jump, but I really felt like I had given my signal too fast for the bar jump and I had also said over instead of bar.  I redid it and he was really good, the jumping looked nice and he seemed comfortable, the second half was fine.  We did glove last, when I sent him out for the glove, he went straight out looking for the glove and he couldn't see it!! The glove was located about 6 feet to his right.  He stopped for a few seconds, put his head way up in the air and started air scenting to find the glove, which he did quickly and returned to me.

I felt my heart sink - these cataracts really are affecting him!  I pulled from the trial the next day and ran him in rally only.  I am at peace with this now.  I would never want my dog to get hurt doing the sport I chose for him.  That is that!!!