Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Trialing

I showed Joker the nearly 10-year-old Border Terrier and Ty the Flat-Coated Retriever at the Greater Toledo Obedience Training Club's spring trials today. Joker needed one Rally Excellent B leg to finish his RE. I happen to love the trial site (the Sylvania Tam-O-Shanter Sports & Exhibition Center), though I've had my ups and downs of success there in the past. It is so spacious and the club simply puts on great trials - fine judges, excellent stewards, etc. This weekend was the first time the obedience trials were held directly on the field turf. Running on it made me feel 10 years younger and 10 lbs. lighter. Given how leaden I've felt lately when running, it was a really fine feeling.

Joker was the 1st Excellent B dog and scored a 97 to finish his RE with a 1st place. It was great to be in the ring on the turf in Rally before going into Utility. 
     This was the first time Joker and Ty were In Utility somewhere we haven't ever trained. Given our poor success rate with Directed Jumping in new places on our recent trip, I didn't have much hope, but they both came through and each passed DJ in the 1st trial. The little bit of proofing I've done with Joker for jumping from off-center  (again, with mixed results) turned out to have been enough, at least for today. We had glove 1 in the first trial, and he arced that way on his go-outs. I was very happy that he confidently took the jump to the right. Joker's heeling was not stellar (okay, it hasn't ever been), but he did muddle through his Signals. He NQ'ed the first article - it was at 12 o'clock and after a dutiful search, he retrieved the one at 6 o'clock. The 2nd article was at 6 o'clock, which he did get right. His glove #1 retrieve was dynamite - he zipped out with great confidence, and came back promptly, albeit arcing away from scary judge Joe Heidinger. When I reached to take it, I missed, so it hit the floor. When I reached down to pick it up, Joker decided I was pointing out something interesting, so started to sniff, which meant he missed by first finish command. Oops! His Moving Stand was fine. So only the article NQ today. This performance gave me real hope that he can get this title this year. We just have to keep plugging away.
     Ty's signals have been broken for the past several weeks. When I was in SC, her down broke, but her sit was pretty consistent. Since getting back home, she's been variable about doing either, darn it. She DID do her drop signal nicely in each trial (she showed in Utility in both morning and afternoon trials, also in Open in the afternoon), but did not do the sit signal either time. Nor did she come on my signal in the AM trial. She passed everything else, tho pulled up a bit short on both go-outs (1 pt off each). But they were straight, yeah.
     We did our individuals in Open B 1st in the afternoon. There was a lot to be happy about. But could she get through stays? We've been doing a lot of stays around the house for the past several weeks. We went in Utility about 1/2 hour later and had to come right out of Utility and go in for Open stays. I am so happy to report that she held both stays and earned just her 4th ever Q (qualifying score) in Open. She had a 196.5, just out of the placements (tho I heard the judge mention that score to a bunch of other exhibitors).
     It was very satisfying to cross off one annual goal today (Joker's RE) and 1/3 of another (to double Ty's lifetime Open Q's). Although there is another trial tomorrow, I'm staying home. A radical idea.

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