The fall was so busy and as I have been focusing mostly on Agility with CB and Obedience with Kona we haven’t been available to enter a Rally-O trial in months, never mind practice for one.
So as the deadline approached for the Calgary Kennel and Obedience Club closing date, and there only being one Rally trial, I thought WTH and entered both boys. CB was entered in Excellent A and Kona in Advanced A. And with how distracted Kona was at the AKC trial in the summer, I also entered Kona in a Pre-Novice run just to get him in the ring with the Judge on-leash so he would be more comfortable for our Rally run the next day.
The Obedience Pre-Novice we entered was the Saturday, and it would seem that I made a good decision. I’m kind of surprised how well Kona did since we aren’t very polished yet and he is not as “on” in the ring as he is even on the show grounds. He will need quite a bit more confidence building before he’s ready for Novice but we’re getting there. He wasn’t as focused on me during his heeling as he usually is but he did quite well and surprised me for the sit for exam by staying put for a very tall Judge – Michael Calhoon. Kona’s recall was excellent and he had all passes to that point. The last was the group sit-stay. He sat very nice and attentively and didn’t move, but the stinker laid down as I was returning and before the exercise was finished. Doh.
Honestly I was a little sad at the time to not Q because he exceeded my expectations, but my reality check is that I didn’t enter this to get a Q in Pre-Novice. I entered this for confidence building and to get the Q in Rally. Which is what we did. Kona did quite well despite the trial distractions and we ended up with a score of 90 and his second leg for the Rally Advance title. He did have a moment where I lost his attention but altogether it was a good little run. Yay for Kona.
Now CB hasn’t trialed in Rally since Evelyn Kenny in July, I wrote about it here and the outcome of that trial had me thinking that I should leave it for a while. I hadn’t been planning to enter this trial so we hadn’t practiced any Rally until the week before. I don’t know what happened but it was like a light-bulb went on for him with the break in Rally training. Some exercises that were painful to train, such as the back-up three steps and the stand on command a few months ago, suddenly stuck. And his stays improved too.
I went into the trial with him quite hopeful but practice is practice and trials can be very different. Looking at the course map I was pleased to see some exercises that CB has become very proficient at like the moving stand, pivot left and moving down, but there was a back-up three steps which we’ve only been successful at twice before in a trial. I have found CB does better the less “warming-up” we do before Rally – but I couldn’t help myself and had to check to see if he would back up on signal. He did, and then I thought lets just make sure and we did a few more. I may have over done it – he didn’t back up for our run but even with the 10 point deduction we got a score of 81. With the completed Honor, it’s the second leg for his Rally Excellent title.
The Excellent A class was only three dogs which guaranteed CB a big ribbon with a Q. He had the lowest score but was still Third in Class. That’s a pretty good result considering we barely practiced and that I entered on a whim. Hopefully I can control my compulsions and not over work him the next time he’s entered in Rally. Now we need just one more Q for that elusive Excellent Title.