Week in Review – trials and seminars and classes

Looking back at the the past few weeks is quite a blur. Between my own personal stuff and dog stuff there has been little time for blogging. I’ve jammed in two trials, a seminar and I started competition obedience classes with Kona among other things. I also volunteered for the Southern Alberta Toy Dog Fanciers getting prizes for the specialty show that happened as part of the AKC summer show this past weekend as well as getting the performance specialty ribbons organized.

Just a sampling of the available prizes the Toy dog specialty

Two weekends ago CB and I were at the Paws N Effect Agility (PNE) trial – it was a good time and a good trial and but I was exhausted by being out in the heat and sun for two days. CB was hot too, as it showed in his times. There were some good runs even though they were slower than usual and he managed to get a closing gamble (that had a chute!) even though we haven’t done much for distance work and we didn’t have enough points to Q.

CB at the PNE trial – one pooched pup.

This weekend was the AKC summer show at Spuce Meadows. CB was entered in Agility both yesterday and today. My husband and I both ran him and dear hubby managed to get two Q’s with CB! Hurray!! Our second Q in Novice standard and our first Q in Novice jumpers with weaves. CB also won the Toy Dog Specialty ribbon for high score in Trial 1 (Regular class) yesterday. I didn’t expect we’d get this as there were toy dogs competing in higher classes and the ribbon was to go to Excellent first and then down the chain until it could be awarded. As it turns out CB was the only toy dog to Q so the ribbon is his. And it’s pretty.

CB and his pretty specialty ribbon. He is also modeling his brand new slip lead            no tinky dogs here!

A couple of things that have made a bit of a difference is that we dedicated a bit of time nearly every day the last two weeks to training outside in our yard, mostly weaves and jumps and it made a difference. I also ordered a bunch of new tug toys and and it was good to have new stuff with us as new things are always exciting and we’ve really worked at building up his drive over the last two weeks. I attended a jumps seminar just after the PNE trial and that made a difference, for me as well as I learned some things we probably should have been doing at the start.

The seminar was run by Shannen Jorgensen. This was great for us and it showed me how to get CB to extend more and we’ve also added more value to jumping. CB readily collects over jumps when I should want him to extend and that slows us down. We did a few exercises to increase “jump” value but what was the most useful exercise was the jump grid. I was first off surprised at his stride length and then at how he flew over the jumps. The grid is a series of five jumps set at his max stride length so he has to bound (extend) over each jump with no steps in between.

CB in extension during a jump grid exercise.

We spent the last two weeks alternating the jump grids with rewarding him for choosing to take jumps.  For the “jump reward” I set up with either one or two jumps (with two I’m in between) and then reward him for taking the jump (or both jumps) without my asking. We also set up small courses in our yard incorporating the weaves and worked at making it more fun and exciting for him and alternating working him with Kona which built up a bit more desire for CB to work and vice versa.

You could tell the weekend and heat was really wearing on him as he wasn’t interested in the chute today and his last jumpers/weaves run the weaves were a struggle. This heat level is quite unusual for us (>30 degrees yesterday and today!!) and if we enter summer trials again we’ll only do the mornings but I think we’re better off indoors and for trials before mid-June and after into September.

Kona was also entered at the AKC show but in Rally. I entered him in two Advanced trials for just yesterday and he was looking good in practice as the trial was approaching. So good and so focused before his turn that I thought we should have Q’d both runs unless something happened. Well distraction happened once we got into the ring. He was not at all focused as he was at Evelyn Kenny last month and I think how busy this trial was overwhelmed him. The barn was busy with two trials, lots of spectators, many other dogs and handlers, the barn was HOT and he was distracted by the Judge and wanted to visit. I did have a cool coat on him before we entered the ring and he seemed peppy but his energy level dropped as soon as I took it off. I should have asked someone if he could have warn his cool coat in the ring – it’s allowed in Obedience but I didn’t think he could for Rally.

Kona feeling the heat

As it is we’ve had few opportunities to practice with that much distraction and even though we didn’t qualify it was good for me to see what we need to work on. He’s such an outgoing little dog that I just didn’t think that he would have been this distracted with how he did in July. I should have just brought him along when I came to help with the Specialty show on Friday and just hung out with him in the Obedience ring a while so he could get accustomed to just how busy it was.

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