Sunday, May 25, 2014

So close, but yet...

We had a great time at the show today.  Ribbon worked really well, but no Q's.  In the first trial we started with go-outs.  She had never been in this ring before (at the match she was in the other ring).  So I was curious to see how she would do.  When I set her up for the first go out, she marked her location immediately.  The judge was getting in position and was just telling me the order of the exercises and Ribbon took off to do her go out.  I took that to be a good sign!! Her go outs were beautiful.  She glanced away once she was in her sit, so I had to hesitate before giving her the signal for the bar jump.  The second part of the exercise was really good.  I must be standing with my weight forward because her fronts are further away than normal.  Moving stand, articles and seek back all were quite nice.  The further into the routine we got the more she focused on the job at hand. She seemed quite interested in the judge and all the stewards coming and going in the ring.  The final exercise was signals, she heeled beautifully, dropped like a stone, sat up like a shot and then ... no response to the recall signal. I think in fairness to Ribbon,  I did the signal too fast because she was looking right at me. Overall I was quite pleased.
When I came out of the ring I did another set of signals and rewarded her for doing the recall.  I also did the same thing just before going into the ring for trial #2.

For the next trial (which was about 25 mins later) We had routine #5, which begins with the moving stand.  Ribbon heeled great, but during the exam the judge was really leaning over her almost to the point of resting her chest on Ribbon's back, this was too much pressure for Ribbon, so she took one step to the side.  I had the same issue with my fronts in this trial with her sitting too far away and slightly to my left.  The rest of the exercises went really well.  Directed Jumping was awesome, she looked so confident and just flew over the jumps.  She did jump the jump on the seek back but made her way back on line to get her front.  The last exercise was scent discrimination. The first article was at 12 o'clock.  The judge was standing quite close to the pile and I think because of what happened on the moving stand, Ribbon didn't want to go close to her.  Instead of starting to scent at 12 o'clock which is her standard pattern, she came in through the middle, searched and grabbed a metal article (it should have been wood) and brought it back to me.  Game over.  The last article she nailed with no problem at all.

So overall I am really, really pleased with our weekend.  Our next set of trials are in the same building in a few weeks.  Very fun for me to back in the utility ring.  Can't wait to do it again.

Happy Training!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Update on Jilly

Our new girl is fitting in nicely in our home.  She gets along with everyone and is starting to settle into the routine.  She spent the first few weeks tethered to me so that she didn't have any accidents in the house.  But now she hangs around and is comfortable with waiting until the other dogs go out and when her walks are going to be.  She has discovered the fun of a tennis ball and other toys, but the ball is her favourite. She is very sweet.  I am really enjoying her.

Herding is going well.  I still need to work on my whistles and Viki has given me some skills to work on to improve our driving skills.

We have entered our first trial.  It will be in Indiana at the end of June.  I am not expecting much but my goal is to build our teamwork and get some experience under our belt.  She is very talented and incredibly willing. I am looking forward to a long career with this girl.

Match at Swansea

Ribbon did a fantastic job tonight at the match.  I had a plan in my head for each exercise and we managed to pull it all off.  She was relaxed, interested and animated.  ALL good things.  I did use food and the first go out I used a target and did it half of the distance.  Although from her reaction I don't really think she needed the help.  Her signals were BEAUTIFUL!! It felt really good to heel with her around the ring.  I think I did a nice job of handling her.  I remembered to keep my knees together and stand up tall during all of the heeling.  It felt smooth and Ribbon and I felt very much in sync.
I am so excited for Sunday.  Swansea is one of my favourite trials of the year.  The club works very hard to make the trial fun.  They always have a good judging panel and the ring stewards are fantastic!  They have lots of things like a spot prize. They use a card that you find on your kennel or your chair that says you have won a prize.  When you go to the prize table they ask you to put the card on someone else's kennel.  I usually try to pick someone in Novice A.  They also have poop raffle and the "woulda, shoulda" award.  If you NQ in a trial, you get a ticket and there is a draw from all the other people that have suffered the same fate.  Takes some of the sting out of it!

Wish me luck
Happy Training

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Jill the Sheepdog

We have a new addition to our house.  Her name is Jill she is a 2 year old Border Collie.  She came to live with us on April 23rd and she is fitting in really well.  She has been very nicely trained and is clearly a very talented dog.
She has never lived in a house before and this is interesting and challenging at the same time.  It is difficult to stay in house training mode, when visually you see an adult dog.  She is currently laying at my feet with a leash and collar on, so that I don't let her slip out of my sight.  It was quite funny to watch her navigate stairs and be fascinated with the t.v.  She is getting along well with all the other dogs and much to Gali's delight, played with him this morning.
I have worked with her 6 or 7 times now and things are going along nicely.  She is very biddable and doesn't take the stop command as a punishment.  I had two days of lessons with Calvin Jones, he explained what to do with her for the next 3 or weeks, so that we can start to build a relationship without putting Jill in a situation she is not use to.
I have entered her in a trial in Indiana at the end of June, we also have a trial at Shepherd's Crook in July and a shedding clinic with Michael Gallagher.  So we will be quite busy.
This should be fun learning experience.
I must go and practice my whistles!

Counting Down

Ribbon and I are entered in Utility in a few weeks.  The plan is to go to the match on Friday night and then do both trials on Sunday.  This will be our second attempt.  We were entered in the trial held at the training hall on April 15th, but we didn't have any Q's.  She did some really nice things, heeled beautifully, worked her fronts and finished.  She struggled with someone standing behind her for signals and anticipated one half of directed jumping.  I have her in a class, hoping to work more around other distractions and have someone to place articles and call commands for me.
She worked well today, had some issues working on different go-out locations.  She always wanted to  return to the last place she had been rewarded.  Which makes perfect sense, she just needs more experience.  There is only one way to get it!!