Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reflections on a lot of NQs

I showed Ty last weekend at the Really Big all-breed dog show/obedience & rally trials in Novi. Actually, we showed Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. There were 2 trials Friday-Sunday. On Thursday, we did Open B first, and she NQed right off the bat on the Drop on Recall. She stood up, took one step and froze. A second verbal command had no impact. She responded to my signals to complete the exercise. She also didn't start nicely with me on the heeling, and didn't do her finish on the broad jump. All pretty weird for her. The good news, though, is she did her stays. In Utility that day, we passed and got 4th place. It would be our only Q for the weekend.

On Friday, we did Open B in the morning trial and Utility in both trials. She had a respectable showing in Open B, did her sit stay, and then sat up, stood up, and walked forward on the down stay. She did that 3 times in the spring, but I thought we had it licked. Apparently not :-(. In the morning Utility, we had order IV, which starts with the Moving Stand, followed by Directed Jumping. She walked in on the MS finish, something that hasn't happened before, and had an attention blip right before I cued the left jump, so it took two commands for her to jump. Phooey. The rest of the class was decent. In the afternoon trial, I decided to purposefully try something I had done at the Saturday trial in Dayton 2 weeks before. At Dayton, it was accidental - I fed Sonic right before I took Ty into Utility, and Ty was a wild thing, but passed everything. At the recent trial, she was again a wild child, but this time couldn't hold it together. She did have a perfect score on Signals (we did order I) for the first time. She bounded out to the article pile, started to grab one, thought about maybe checking others, gave up and dashed in with a wrong one. Then on the Moving Stand, she forgot to stop. The DJ was very good, especially considering there were two spectators standing just beyond the gate near where she had to get her glove and sit on the go-outs.

I stayed well into the evening to participate in a conformation puppy match with Sonic. A friend stayed with me and videoed Sonic and me. I looked like a dork gaiting her and Sonic looked a bit like a spider on a leash - she's kind of long everywhere right now. It was snowing on the drive home, but my wonderful Burb got me home safe and sound.

I was grateful to stay home on Saturday and didn't do a bit of work with the dogs!

I was entered in the afternoon trial Sunday with Ty and Sonic was entered in the 4-6 month Beginner Puppy class. We did Utility first, order IV again, and darned if she didn't walk in on the Moving Stand finish again. Her first go-out was shaky, followed by the high jump on our right. On her 2nd go-out, she started down the center, got almost even with the jumps, then veered to jump the high jump. Huh??? This has simply not been an issue for her. The 2nd article was in the center. She searched and searched and searched, and searched some more, never one smelling the right one. She finally gave up and brought a wrong one. I put her away and dashed off to show Sonic. I was surprised how much bigger and more mature Sonic looked than the other Sporting group puppies. She was the only Flat-Coat, so we got to go into the baby puppy group. Sonic was pretty well behaved, except for sniffing the carpet we were showing on quite a bit the first time we gaited. We were also-rans in the group, dashed back, and showed Ty in Open B. She got through her individuals fine, did her sit stay again (yeah!), but scratched and sat up on the down stay as we were leaving the ring to fail it again.

There we were, ending up 1 for 7, garnering 9 more OM (Obedience Master) points. I think that brings her total to 186, so we are two more solid Qs away from finishing her OM1. I had really hoped to do that this month, but it wasn't meant to be.

So I explain all of this as a backdrop to my ruminating on all of those NQs. Because I've been keeping a training log, I was able to look back on my training to see why things fell apart.

The first reason is that I've never shown Ty in obedience at that busy of a trial. It was a pretty tough site, and there were a lot of NQs for a lot of people. I was in good company.

The second reason was we had only 10 days between the Dayton weekend and when we were back in the ring at the Thursday trial at Novi. I've been fighting a sinus infection for weeks now, so my energy is lacking. I trained on 6 of those 10 days, plus did a sit stay on one of the other days. I did almost NO directed jumping, and that really showed. I only trained articles once, because she's been pretty darned solid on them. Oops. We only worked the drop on recall a couple of times.

The bright spots from the weekend: the things we worked on most - sit stays and signals - she passed each time. That is huge for her. Her attitude in the Friday afternoon trial was great, which makes me want to work on the whole jack potting thing more in training to see if we can improve her attitude, which usually improves her effort.

Because of my training log, I am far less discouraged by all those NQs, because there were several contributing factors. We'll get that OM1. It just won't be in January.

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