Sunday, February 3, 2008

closes a door & OPENs A window

They say when God closes a door, He opens a window. Well, that is the story of my weekend showing in open A obedience. Saturday, like most of our first trial days, was a disaster. The judge was nice and easy going. He joked with me that he takes 10 points off for those who wear the same colored pants as their dog. Everything that could go wrong, did. I won't embarass myself by posting the video, but the bright spots were that our heeling is improving and Teddy did his sit and down stays. Besides that, I learned some valuable lessons.

  1. Proof for noises on the drop on recall. His drop was slow and almost complete when a dog barked and people applauded loudly. This made an already nervous dog panic, and he walked in to me before I was allowed to call him. At least this gives me something I can practice.

  2. Don't groom your dog the day before a trial. I should know this by now, but I was not thinking properly when I made the appointment. They shaved Teddy's tail a little too close, giving him a bit of razor burn. This suddenly bothered him on the retrieve on the flat. He ran out after the dumbbell quickly, but on the way back, he acted like something bit him on the tail. He dropped the dumbbell to check out what got him, but he did pick it back up and came in nicely.

  3. Work attention and distractions on the retrieve over the high jump. Although it should not matter, we were doing our retrieves toward the adjacent ring. This is how we practice at our training center, but it does provide an extra set of distractions. Teddy ran out quickly and took the jump, however, his pick up was slow, and his ring nerves got him again. He dropped the dumbbell to sniff a spot on the mat, then picked it back up and forgot what he was doing. I had to call him back over the jump. Ack! I know he knows this exercise, but we have work to do.

  4. Oh the dreaded broad jump! For some reason, Teddy lost all confidence in his ability to do the broad jump in the last week or so. I don't know why this happened all of the sudden, but it did. We've been working diligently on it. I've had him jump it over and over, chasing toys, and for jackpots. I think part of the problem is where the judge stands. So, I need to get many different people standing in different places around the broad jump. Anyway, on Saturday, when I left him in front of the jump, he was unsure and stood up, and I had to give him an extra command to jump, then he auto finished.

So, there are the ugly details. On top of that, I came down with a terrible cough on Saturday, the kind that burns in your lungs. We were fortunate to show early, so that we could come home and get a lot of rest that night. I doped up on cough medicine and watched the Eukanuba dog show. I wasn't sure that I would be able to get up the next morning and drive to the show, and I would not have, had we had an early ring time.

I'm so glad that we did make it, although I was coughing so much that I was not sure that I could give a verbal command. I kept popping cough drops to get me through. Our heeling was not quite as good as the day before, but again, I'm just glad to see Teddy trying. It's nice when we go from losing 15-16 points on heeling last year to losing 4-8 points. We are finally making progress. He usually does better the second day of a trial, and he did not break tradition this weekend. We made it through all of the exercises nicely, without second commands or too much distraction. I'm so glad I video these runs because it really helps me see why some things happen and what we need to work on. We lost the most points on, surprise, the broad jump. He took the jump, which made me very happy, but he sniffed the mat and did an auto finish. So that brought us our second open leg with a so-so score of 182.5 and a fourth place. I was worried when I saw that there were more than 4 qualifiers, but we still pulled off a placement. Yea! Here's the whole thing, minus the stays:

Two down, one more to go. It is difficult to get comfortable in the ring when we have so few shows and/or matches in our area. The last trial that we entered was the first weekend in October, so I guess it is just natural for us to be so rusty getting back into the ring. However, you should have seen us at this same trial one year ago when Teddy did zoomies in the ring and tried to run out. I kind of felt like we redeemed ourselves. I'm so grateful for the people who stayed to watch and cheer for us, and maybe even entertain Teddy on his sit-stay. :) Anyway, got to get to bed to get up early to go to the doctor.


Poodlebugs said...

Great job! I noticed you did the heeling into position with him, and I think it's helping with his set up! I think it helped his BJ as well. You are gaining so much confidence. I am so proud of you. I wish we could have been there to cheer you guys on!

Theodorable said...

Thanks! Wish you guys could have been there, too. I do think heeling in is helping. The only problem was that we were second in the ring, so I had to warm Teddy up and did not get to see the heeling pattern or where we were doing what. For example, she wanted us to start heeling on the cross mat, so we were too far forward, and that's why we had to back up at the start. I'm sure you could tell, I had no idea where we were supposed to do the figure 8! Our heeling was actually better on Saturday (hard to believe). It's a miracle that we qualified at all- on the video, notice that when I threw the DB over the jump, Teddy looked completely behind us and didn't see the throw! Thanks again!

Kim said...

A much better run than the practice video you showed. Teddy has a lovely drop on recall. I'm sure not being able to show very often does make it more difficult. Great job to both of you.

Theodorable said...

Thanks Kim! On the DOR, it cracks me up when he tucks his front paw under when he drops. He's so silly!

Ginger said...

You guys are awesome! Great job!

Avalon said...

You and Teddy have made incredible strides since you started! Sometimes, when it all goes poorly at a trial, it's hard to recall just how far you have come.

I am just learning about proofing for noise.....and we only just started Rally class 3 weeks ago. This week, Willie was really, really focused and doing terrific, and then a big dog started barking very close to us. it was nearly our undoing, so i was happy that he was able to regain his concentration.

Hope you are feeling better!