Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 Southern Odyssey Part 1

Sonic, Jag, and I left Ann Arbor dark and early on Tuesday February 11 to travel to Lakeland, Florida for the 4 days of conformation, obedience, and rally trials put on by the Lakeland-Winterhaven Kennel Club. We had an uneventful couple of days of driving, making it all the way to south Atlanta Tuesday evening after 730 miles that day.  

We got to Lakeland after our 1173 mile trip and checked in to our room at the La Quinta - the same lucky one as Sonic, Little and I shared in 2014.

We headed to DogSense for some obedience training and conformation class. All three of us benefitted from the concentrated practice on conformation.

Friday was pretty much a bust at the dog show, with Jag winning a meaningless Winners Dog ribbon by virtue of being the only class dog entered. The single dog special was chosen as Best of Breed. Sonic won her class of 2, but did nothing in Winners. She then NQed in Utility B by getting glove 2 instead of glove 1.

On Saturday, the day started out much better, with Jag beating the younger puppy for Winners Dog for 1 point, and then getting Best of Breed over the same special as the day before, upping his points won to 2.    

Next up was Utility B for Sonic. We qualified with a 195, which netted us a 3rd place, 2 more OTCh points, and High Scoring Flat-Coated Retriever. 

Next was conformation with Sonic. The Southern Skies Flat-Coated Retriever Club was hosting a supported entry, so there were a lot of FCRs entered. She again won the Open Bitches class, and went on to be awarded Reserve Winner's Bitch - close but no points - to a 4 point major. I received a lot of compliments on her, which is always appreciated. 

I had a break, then came time for Jag's Rally Novice debut. I asked to be put first in the class, thinking the terrier group would be starting after that. But the Novice A dogs were taking a while, and I finally realized I had to switch jackets, switch his collar and leash for his show lead (thanks so much to Debbi Snyder and Kathy Shrimpf for holding equipment and being at ring side to help!), and dash over to the group, which was fortunately just one building over, rather than the three it had been the previous day. We had fun in the group, playing a little bit of catch the ball while we waited our turn. It was lovely having time to get him well stacked on the table while the previous dog was gaiting. Most of the time we've shown, we are the only one in our class, so it is all a big rush. After the judge turned his back on our go round to judge the next dog, I released Jag to a cookie, then heeled him to the end of the line in preparation for Rally :-). 

We were released after the winners were chosen, and I dashed out to change his collar and leash, and to empty my pockets of ball and all treats, and return to wait our turn in Rally. We finally went in the ring at the end of the class, and he was wonderful, earning a perfect score of 100 and 1st place by virtue of time. I was so tired from all the classes by then that I didn't have the energy to be nervous.
Once all the classes were over, Jag helped me teach a one hour workshop on teaching Maneuvers. It's a good thing I can teach that in my sleep, because that was practically what I was doing! A couple of people took 15 minute private lessons, and then finally the long day at the show was done. I had dinner with Julie Hill, went back to our room and crashed.

On Sunday, the morning started with a solid Utility B Q for Sonic, once again earning 3rd place and 2 OTCh points. We added on Open B since conformation was over, just her 2nd time in Open since finishing her CDX in October. She managed to do the worst Figure 8's of her life, losing 3.5 of the 5 points she lost in the class just on that, but qualified to earn our 2nd UDX leg.

Jag had a couple of brain farts, but worked very nicely in between them, earning a 96 and 4th place for his 2nd Rally Novice leg. Darned good for 10 month old terrier boy :-).

He then helped me teach a one hour workshop on retrieving, with one more private session. After finishing up with those, I found an area for a bit of go-out practice for both dogs, and gave them a bit of a run.

On Monday, the final day of the 4-day cluster, Sonic and I did both classes again. As there wasn't any more Rally, Jag had the day off. Even though I arrived a lot earlier than when I thought I'd be in the ring, the dog two before me was going in the ring, so I pottied me, then the dogs, warmed Sonic up a bit, and went in the ring. I was again in short sleeves - I've been able to take off my winter clothes, but Sonic is unable to do that. She was warm. Her performance was lack luster, though she didn't have any significant glitches. She trotted when she needed to, sat when she needed to, just not always with a lot of accuracy. Once again, she qualified and earned our 3rd 3rd place of the weekend and 2 more OTCh points. There was a couple of hours break before our turn in Open, so I took Jag out for a 20 minute walk before lunch. 

I decided to try warming up for Open with a bumper instead of food. She got the bumper for a good fast and a good Figure 8, and then I put her away until the dog ahead of us was doing their Drop on Recall, the last thing before Figure 8 and Heeling. We had order 2, which meant the broad jump first, and I was pleased with her effort. While her figure 8's were not her best, they were a lot better than Sunday's, and she passed the individuals. She didn't finish on my first command on the flat retrieve - spaced out brain fart, but the rest was decent. We had the down stay first, and her chin was on the floor when we returned. She once again held her sit stay, earning her 3rd UDX leg. She was solid and straight on the sit stay both days, something for which I am so proud of her. I do think all the conditioning work we have done this winter is paying off, and it makes me determined to keep it up.

Our totals for the weekend:
Jag: WD/BOB 2 points, bringing his total to 8, and 2 Rally Novice legs with 1st and 4th places and scores of 100 and 96.

Sonic: 3 Utility B 3rd places (195, 195.5, 195), 2 UDX legs (Open scores of 195 and 193.5), 6 OTCh points (total of 40), 57 OM points (total of 141), and RWB in conformation.

My thanks to the club and its members and all the people who worked to make the shows and trials so much fun!