Monday, October 22, 2012

This Fall's Competitions

I've had a very productive fall of various competitions - field, obedience, and rally. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Ty finishing her UDX, and Sonic earning her WC, a couple of Junior Hunter passes and her 1st rally novice leg.

This past weekend were the annual Marshbanks Golden Retriever Club's obedience and rally trials held in my training building. Assuming all my arithmetic is correct, Ty finished her OM2 title, earning 12 points for her 2 Utility B Qs. Earning a UDX and OM2 were my top level title goals for her, so anything else she does in the future will be a bonus. Her heeling is simply not up to snuff enough to pursue an OTCh., especially in my very competitive area.

Sonic earned legs 2 & 3 on her RN (rally novice), making this her 1st AKC title. Her performance on Saturday was the best of the three legs.
I gave her 2 runs before showing her, 1 first thing in the morning and another about an hour before we showed. I'd run her through rally and beginner novice on Friday at the match that Northfield Dog Training sponsored. She had a lot of trouble concentrating for any length of time outside the ring, but once we entered to run the course, she was quite good. This gave me some confidence on Saturday before I showed her.

She earned a perfect 100 and 2nd place. I never did look at the times of my run and the 1st place exhibitor, but since we moved through the course pretty quickly, I have to assume I paused longer on the walk around exercises.

On Sunday, she had a lot more trouble concentrating, plus the course was quite jammed in together, so almost as soon as you'd finish one sign, you'd be at the next one. I kept her with me mainly because I talked to her almost non-stop and was very proactive about giving her extra help when she needed it.
We earned a 99 and 1st place to complete her RN, her 1st AKC title.

Little is still staying with my family, since I'm still having good weather and time enough to train her. Plus, she's hit a really fun and exciting stage of training called 'Transition', where it seems like she makes progress every day. She learned a set of pattern blinds last week easy as pie. Essentially, you teach the dog 3 new blinds over several days, adding a new blind when they've mastered the previous one(s). If you hold 3 fingers up and spread them wide, that is kind of the directions of the blinds. I don't remember having so little problems when I did pattern blinds with Gryffin and Ty, but maybe it's a case of amnesia. Whatever the case, she did them so well, I asked Helen to help me get started with Blind Drills, where you add a gunner and marks to the pattern blind field. The 1st day we did them (last Friday), I had Helen positioned to the right of the right blind, throwing to the right. It went so smoothly that on the 2nd day, I positioned her between the middle and right blinds, throwing an angle back mark to the left. This produced several chances to work on casting Little away from distractions, as she really wanted to veer to where the mark was thrown. Since this is exactly what the drill is intended to teach, I felt it was a successful venture. I'm not sure when I'll be able to have someone throw again, but hopefully soon.

I'm working on whistle sits with Sonic, using a PVC baby gate parallel to and to the right of the line she's running, because she has been tending to loop at least 6-8 feet to her right AND come creeping in before she sits. Neither of these is what I want, so borrowing from my obedience fixes for go-out sits, I'm using a barrier. I had tried using my 4 foot PVC broad jump boards a month or so ago, but they weren't big enough to work well. She seems to only need the gate to the right, so that's all I'm using. I saw some nice results with it yesterday. I'd really love to have her either started on Double T or ready to start it when we get to the Catledges in Tennessee, because I've heard wonderful things about their Double T field. We are also working on baseball casting where I put her on the (imaginary) pitcher's mound and 'cast' her (give hand signals and voice commands) to send her to 1st, 2nd or 3rd base to retrieve a bumper.

I've also been shaking the bushes looking for some local hay fields in which to work on marking, and I've got a few lined up. Now I just need time!

What is next? My next two weekends will be spent flying to Minnesota and Lakeland, FL to present seminars. The following weekend, Marshbanks is hosting a CCA (Certificate of Conformation Assessment), an event for Golden Retrievers at my building, and I'm co-chairing the eye clinic that same day. The next afternoon, I'm driving to Tennessee with Sonic and Little to train field. For a whole week!!! When I made the final arrangements, I felt like a kid on Christmas, I was so excited. I hope, hope, hope that it is still warm enough for water work, because that is the biggest reason I'm going. I am leaving T3 behind since the place I'm going has a trailer I can stay in. It also means I can travel a lot faster.

I'll probably enter Ty in the Toledo KC trials Thanksgiving weekend. She really likes showing there, and therefore, so do I.

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