Saturday, May 7, 2011

An Update on my Training

April marked the first month I showed on two separate weekends in obedience in a very long time. Ty & Joker were entered at the Greater Toledo OTC. Ty was entered in Utility in both morning and afternoon trials, as well as Open in the afternoon trial. Joker was entered in the morning trial in Rally Excellent B and Utility B.

Joker finished up his RE title with a 97 1st place effort. It was great to go in the rally ring before Utility, since it was our first time showing obedience on the field turf. It was also our first try at Utility somewhere they've never trained. They had both showed in Novice and Open in the facility before, though, so it wasn't brand new for them.

Joker managed to pass everything except the first article. We had glove 1, and he headed that way on both go-outs. One proud moment came during DJ. The bar on the left was the first jump, handy since he was over in that direction. When he sat on the 2nd go-out, he did a small shoulder movement towards the high jump on my right. Although we had worked on jumping from off-center when we were in SC, it hadn't gone particularly brilliantly ("I'm supposed to do WHAT? How about if I just sit here and look confused?"). But that shoulder dip gave me hope. Sure enough, he took the 2nd jump confidently. All in all, I was very pleased with his day.

Last month, I wrote, "Ty's sit signal, which was so poor last month, has been going very well (oops, hope I didn't just jinx myself)...". Yup, you guessed it. I jinxed myself. It went away again. In both trials, Ty did her down signal nicely, and then did not do the sit. She also didn't come on my first signal in the AM trial. She passed everything else, including very straight go-outs in the first trial, BUT she is clearly picking where to stop. Not an NQing shortness, but certainly scoreable. In the 2nd trial, she veered a bit to the right of center, and also got distracted by a flying dumbbell in the adjoining Open ring just as I started to give my jump signal. So that was also an NQ.

The highlight of the weekend for her was her Q in Open B. She took several trials to get her CDX back in 2009, and hadn't managed to pass stays the past two times we'd tried. We had been doing LOTS of stays around the house (note to self: get back to doing that!) and it paid off. She also earned her first OM points.

We showed again at the Saturday Progressive trial, again just on Saturday. I'm thrilled to report that Joker earned his 2nd leg. He did a grand job. We had Order III, with articles first. It was nice to get those out of the way successfully. Ty also managed a Q, doing very fine signals. But I suspect her apparent response to my sit signal was luck. Sometimes, I get lucky. The metal article  took flight out of her mouth as she left the articles pile, costing us 2 points, and she again stopped somewhat short on her go-outs. Imagine my surprise and delight when little Mr. Joker placed 3rd in the class with a fabulous score of 195 (I don't think he has ever scored that high in his brief career), with Ty in 4th place with a 194. A very fine day at the dog show. A fun fact: there was 1 OTCh. point available for that 3rd place, so I can now claim Joker has a Phantom OTCh point (phantom because it doesn't count since he doesn't yet have his UD).

Gryff continues to have soreness in his iliopsoas muscles. I resumed laser treatments a couple of weeks ago, and found out that the early treatments probably weren't really getting to the right spot. I think yesterday's treatment finally was, so I'm hopeful that he can get some relief.

I did pull my bike out of storage, pumped up the tires, and have been biking the dogs a couple times a week. Gryff is on a flexi leash while the other two run free. We've been going up and down my looooong driveway (property is 600 feet from road to back) or doing laps in the building when it's been nasty outside. I can much more successfully keep Gryff in a trot on the bike than when I'm walking.

Next up: three trials in two days at the Kalamazoo Memorial Day cluster, then the Flat-Coated Retriever National in Maryland in June. We are going to a Mother's Day obedience match to see if I can catch Ty stopping where she chooses on her go-outs. Or catch her doing it right in a relatively new place so she can get a jackpot.

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