Saturday, December 7, 2013

First Utility match

I took Ribbon yesterday to her first utility match away from home.  She had so much, I laughed almost the whole time!  We are nowhere near ready to go, but all of the pieces are there.  Her signals were great, quick and snappy- but I was only 10 feet away.  She also crept forward a little bit on the drop (about 3 inches I would guess)
Thing to work on #1: continue to build distance on signals and drop in place.
Her articles were a little messy, and I had to help her find the article pile.  She seems to think that "find it" means go and look around for something, instead of going to the obvious pile in the middle of the floor, she looks around at the walls to see if something is hidden there.  I think that is just carry over from some of the games we play at the training hall and in the house.  Also once I placed the first article on the chair then she wanted to go back to the chair to get the same article.  Once in the pile she worked for different lengths of time to retrieve the correct article.  She did pick up and put down the wrong article a couple of times, but she never left the pile with it.  Once she had brought me the article I sometimes threw it for her to chase or I just played with her.  Her attitude was fantastic! I may need to consider doing the turn and sit before sending to the pile
Thing to work on #2: More formal set up for articles with a chair and the jumps out.
Her moving stand was great, I just need to remember to keep my signal up really high, or she will read it as moving down (from rally).  I have also gone back to my original command of "Wait".  She is stopping really quickly and has no problem with the judges examining her.  I loved how she pushed off from the standing position to do her recall.
Thing to work on #3: Keep her happy on this exercise, get other people to pet her, play games.
In the past Ribbon has hesitated after the heeling to get her glove.  It is as though she isn't sure she can break eye contact.  Yesterday that was much reduced and she flew out there grabbed her glove, shook it and cantered back to me. I was happy to see her start to put this exercise together.  I have also been incorporating my cue word for the exercise when I ask her to nose bridge.  For the seek back, when I set up for heeling portion I lower my two fingers for her to touch and I say, " Gonna get your glovie".  I am hoping this will help her realize that this is heeling drill with a retrieve at the end. I have also been doing the same thing for signal, but as she is touching my fingers I say, "Gonna do your signals." My other thought is that I want to keep her heeling strong I don't want her first thought to be wrapped around the end of the heeling, but I don't want to cause her stress at the end of lovely heeling pattern because I leave her or ask her to retrieve.  So far it seems to be working.
Thing to work on #4: Clean up pick up and carry of the glove
For directed jumping I put out her target, it was leaning against the white wall (the target is black).  This is the first time Ribbon has done her go-outs away from home, so I wanted it to go well for her so I made the target obvious. She was fabulous!! She marked (looked out to the target) on command, the first time when Mary was giving the "judges spiel" she looked at Mary but then refocussed on her mark.  When I sent her out she went without any hesitation, I ran out to feed her the first time and I think I also followed her so that I was only half the ring away when I gave the sit command.  She sat in place looking like she had been doing this her whole life.  The directed jumping was awesome, the jumps where further apart than she has seen in a while, but she had no problem.  On the other go out, I stayed in place and sat her (beautiful turn and sit in place), praised her and then sent her to the other jump. I also did some other go outs with the target flat on the ground so that she couldn't see it.  That didn't faze her a bit.  All in all I am extremely pleased with how she is doing this exercise. Being in a new place didn't throw her at all.  LOVE MY GIRLIE!!
Thing to work on #5:  New places, longer distances on go outs, maintain all the pieces of the go out (marking, touch target, sit and sit touch target)

Other things to work on: fronts and finishes - ALWAYS! and keep up her heeling with games.  I need to practice my handling so that I feel smooth.

Happy Training!

Friday, November 29, 2013

This year is almost over

I haven't been doing very well writing on this blog.  There always seems to be something else that MUST be done and then the day is over.  I know it is only November, well tomorrow will be December, so I guess I am not too much ahead of schedule saying that the year is almost over.
Ribbon and I had a lot of fun trialling in Open this year.  I learned a lot about how to warm up at trials with her.  She certainly is enjoying her time in the ring.  The sit stay has plagued me a little bit.  But to be perfectly honest I haven't had much time to work in a group of dogs or get to many different locations.  We have been working on utility and having a blast!! We have done two matches and although Ribbon is not completely sure what she is being asked to do (as in the order), her little eyes light up and she runs out and does it.  My plan is Utility trials in April.  There is a club that is hosting a trial at the school, so it seems silly not to have her ready for that.  I also have entered Gali in it.  Closer to the trial I will work him and if I feel confident about his vision I will try for that last leg. If not I will pull before closing. Otherwise Gali is his normal happy bouncy self!

I got to do quite a bit of herding with Maddie, it was such a great learning experience.  I am so lucky to have her.  We haven't done anything in a couple of weeks and she is getting pretty bored.  I have two lessons booked in December and maybe I can get out on my own over the Christmas holidays.  Viki is currently looking for a nursery dog for me ( Nursery is a class for dogs under 36 months).  It would be great to have him/her over the winter to build our teamwork (and learn to whistle) and then be ready for the trials in the spring. Maddie will be 11 in January and while she is very healthy, I am not comfortable asking her to do those big outruns, what if she steps in a hole and blows a cruicate? My gut is telling me to stop so I am going to. She can still do lessons and barn chores and maybe some setting out at trials, she doesn't care as long as she gets to work.

I finally finished all my criteria for obedience judging!!! It took almost 5 years!! I have done my first assignment and I think it went well.  Once I was judging I felt confident.  I was glad to have utility first, so that I could take my time and get my ring set up, measured and not feel rushed at all.  The trial filled (in fact overfilled so Ted Leslie had to judge some dogs for me) so I didn't want to feel under the gun about going over the 7 hours of judging, which I didn't.  A few days after the assignment was over I was feeling an adrenaline let down.  After all the hype of getting ready to do my first assignment, now I have to wait for the next one in February.   I guess it will get here soon enough.  The final step is that I still need to judge 7 Novice dogs and then once I hear from the CKC that I have judged all the numbers (10 Novice, 8 Open and 7 Utility) then I can accept other assignments.

Happy Training!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Last day of vacation

It has been a long time since  I have blogged, but here I am on the last day of my vacation.  I have a bought of insomnia and I am in our trailer with Chad, Aydon and the six dogs - did I mention that it is 3:55 am, so it seems like a good time to write something down.
This year so far has been pretty great.  I have done some obedience trialling with Ribbon in Open and she is doing amazing.  I am working on her utility - which she is really enjoying and coming up in September we are entered in some more Open trials, plus the HIT of HITS, which is being held in Ancaster this year.  Ribbon is competing in the Novice division, even though she qualified in Open as well.  - More about that event later
I have been doing some herding with Maddie and we even have some placements from the Pro Novice class.  Make no mistake here with our team I am not the Pro!! However we did have one run that everything went great and I felt like we were a team.  We were sitting in first for a long time, but ended up in 5th out of 46 dogs, so not bad really!  It felt good to see it all come together.  The other runs had some great parts and not so great bits - if only I could remember the correct flank commands!! I am also on the quest to learn how to use my whistle.  I have learn how to use it and also be able to produce the whistle commands that Maddie is already trained for.  I didn't really think it would be so hard.
Maddie is really healthy, fit and so much fun to live with.  She has been with us for over a year now and I can't imagine life without her.  We have a few trials coming up in the first week of September and then we are going to try a AHBA trial, since there is one only 20 mins. from my house.
Gali is doing great, we haven't been showing very much, just lots of walks and demo time at the training hall.  We hope to finish his RAE before the end of the year.  I haven't been pushing too hard to finish it, since it gives him an opportunity to go to more dog shows and enjoy himself
We are in Kincardine, camping.  We go home today and I am looking forward to my own bed, but it has been fun.  The dogs have enjoyed walking on the trails and swimming in the lake.  Ribbon has dumped all of her coat this week, but boy does she love to swim!  Maddie even joined in on the swimming.  She would rather stay on the shore or just in the shallows, but because of the sand bars she would come out further and then swim a little and return to the sand bar.
Lastly the new book is almost done.  We have one more photo shoot and then all the laying out stuff can start.  So with fingers crossed I hope it will be out by October.  Officially it is called Rally On - Second Edition.

Happy Training!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hamburg in a nutshell

I came home yesterday and taught all day today (which was really fun! Great group to work with). This is my first chance to think about how the last three days of Hamburg went.
One of the best things about Hamburg was that about 10 of us went.  We had more laughs than I can count.  During the dog show we were all very supportive of each other, making sure everyone got videotaped and shared in the treats that were plentiful! Each night we went out for dinner and laughed and laughed!

Day two for Ribbon was fantastic.  She worked really great - ended up with 198 and tied for High in Trial.  We lost the run off to a very experienced OTCH dog who worked great.  But I was so proud of us.  We worked really nicely as a team.  Ribbon was upbeat and enjoyed her time in the ring. Obviously our stand got fixed!

Day three was under a new judge for Ribbon.  It was James Ham who I have shown my dogs to for years.  I knew he liked a happy dog and doesn't miss much. We had a couple of little mistakes, wide about turn and forge on the slow and the finish was slightly off.  That left us with a 197.5 and another first place. That completed our title and I headed off to fill out the move up form for Open.

Day four was a great bonus.  Ribbon and I moved up to Open B and got to play with the big boys.  We got a routine which starts with drop on recall, then heeling, then retrieve over high jump, broad jump and then retrieve on flat is the last exercise. Everything was going great, minor things but we were having a great time.  While moving to the retrieve on flat exercise I notice some guy carrying a really large camera.  This guy decided to run down to the other end of the ring where Ribbon would pick up her dumbbell.  I tried not to worry about it, Ribbon is not particularly bothered by things like that.  She ran out great and picked up her dumbbell.  As she turned around she noticed the cameraman and gave him a really wide berth ( I mean really wide!).  She eventually made it to front.  I took the dumbbell and when I asked her to finish she only moved a few inches, it was obvious that she was checking out what that guy was doing.  I was very relieved when the judge said "Let's redo that exercise".  I was happy because Ribbon got an extra retrieve and she would leave the ring with a better feeling.  She nailed it!! Got a perfect score on that exercise.  She ended up being 4th in the class and now has 1 CDX leg.

Very fun, can't wait to go back next year

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hamburg - Day One

Well it wasn't the start I wanted but we got our first leg today in Novice B.  Our score was a 191. We were third in the class. If am being perfectly honest I am a little bit disappointed.  Just like any time that my dogs and I don't show to our potential.  I haven't had a chance to see the video yet, but here is my take on it.
Heel on Lead, We entered the ring together and Ribbon set up great, did her nose touch to set her head in the correct position, first halt was great, on the left turn it felt as though she stopped (there was a large sun patch there and it was a little blinding) and then caught up.  She was also a little wide.  Everything else was fine
Figure Eight - was lovely - no complaints at all!
Stand for Exam - I warmed this up earlier in the day and she was great.  She stood on her signal great, everything was fine with the exam and then on the return she started to turn with me, which she has done from time to time.  We lost major points for that ! (3) This is was I am disappointed about!
Heel Free - I was working on keeping her up and making sure that I pushed through my left turn so that I didn't have the same error as on lead.  However, I don't think I cued halt clearly enough, her response was slow and she ended up wrapping around me.  On the left turn she hesitated again but in a very minor way and the rest was fine. We also had a little bit of bumping.
Recall - When I turned to face her, she was glancing around.  This is very unusual for her.  However her response was great when I called her name, she immediately looked at me and then came on her recall command.  Front and Finish were both slightly off.

We are in the same ring tomorrow with the same judge.  Trust me I will be working on my stand!
Now to watch the video.