Category Archives: Rally-O

Ribbon Round-up

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Turns out we had a busy spring and summer with some nice rewards to go along with it; CB has some new titles, 3 of them as a matter of fact.

In July at the Evelynn Kenny show he got his 3rd Rally Excellent leg for his Rally Excellent (RE) title. I entered CB on a whim since I was going to be there showing a friends pom but then didn’t really have a lot of time to practice. I do practice the stations here and there but didn’t dedicate time to it. Seems that that is they way I need to work him. A little bit here and there to make sure he knows everything but then just leave it alone. He rocked for me – was peppy and bright and had fun. Our score was just enough for a Q and we got cheers from friends and hugs as soon as our score went up on the board. It was a great moment.

CB has also been doing much better in agility. I’ve figured out how to get him to run a little faster and he got his Agility Dog of Canada (ADC) title this past weekend. This one has been a long time coming and he got the Standard Q he needed to get the title. I didn’t think it was going to happen as I rolled my ankle during our Jumpers run and the delay from me slowing down not only cost us a Q but the days outlook for me being able to run didn’t look good. Fortunately my husband was able to come and finish off the trial and got 2 standard Q’s with CB. I’m so proud of them – CB ran really fast for him on the first standard run and it was so fun to watch.

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The third title CB received this summer was from the Teacup Dog Agility Association (TDAA). We were traveling down in the US and I had learned about a TDAA trial that was happening while we’d be south. I’ve been kind of curious about the smaller equipment and tighter courses so we went to check it out and entered. Unlike AAC or CKC trials where CB has often been the only dog entered in his class, there were many dogs entered in his jump height category and when CB Q’d we didn’t necessarily place first. It was nice to see so many little dogs competing.

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How about that – little dogs, little equipment and ironically a little handler.

This was a lot of fun and the all the people there were so nice and friendly. CB got his three qualifying beginner standard runs at that trial and we can now add TBAD (Teacup Beginner Agility Dog) to his name. There are definitely some added challenges to a tighter course but the two pieces of equipment where the smaller size made a difference in time for us (as in faster!) were the weaves and the chute. For some reason the smaller barrel sped CB up and with the tighter weave spacing he could “bob” between the weaves instead of having to run around them. It was a great time and the folks were all really welcoming if not confused that we had come from Canada.

The last set of ribbons is actually from earlier in the summer. Because AAC nationals was in Leduc, Alberta this year I had a good number of friends going to Regionals this past June at Rivierre Qui Barre in hopes of qualify for Nationals. I ended up being talked into entering so CB and I went.

I had no goals other than to see what Regionals was about, to have fun with CB and cheer on my friends. CB’s class (6 inch specials) was small at 5 dogs and he was the only one in that class that is not competing at Masters level. In the end we left the weekend with a score of 279.82 points. Not enough to qualify for Nationals as you need 350 points to do that, but pretty respectable in my humble opinion for a first time handler and first agility dog.

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It also turns out we do better at Master’s Jumpers courses than we do at Starters. Who would have thought. Perhaps the tighter courses are more fun for him and me? It’s a curiosity.

Our first day was a little bit chaotic we had an OK Jumpers 1 with CB stopping to attack a spider in a tunnel but our Standard 1 was pretty good even if we spent too much time in the weaves. The second day was better, we had more speed and almost made standard course time for Jumpers 2; off by four seconds but good enough to get us a Fourth place finish out of 5 dogs and we also got a fourth place finish in Standard 2. If we could gamble we may have broken 300.

What thrills me most was to see the trial photos. CB is now extending over jumps. We’ve worked a lot on this and it’s just awesome to see the results. It’s definitely helped to improve our course times. Doesn’t he look like he’s having a ball in these pics from our Jumpers 2 run. He used to just hop over jumps; He is now in flight.

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CryBabyIn the end I’m so glad I went. I had a great time with CB and learned a few things too.

Catching up….

I just don’t know what happened to March. It flew by and was very busy. I attended an out of town show, have been training CB in agility and doing a lot of Pilates among other things things. Even though I’ve been busy CB and Kona have still been getting their walks in and we’ve finally had some nicer weather.
Here are some things that have kept us busy of the last couple of weeks in no specific order….

March has had mostly miserable weather but it finally has started to warm up and we’ve been able to get out for some of our longer walks. We also explored a couple new parks; Bowmont and Baker.

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As well as hitting our favorite place for walks – Edworthy Park. The ice formations are pretty awesome right now and make for some interesting photo ops.

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A couple weeks ago I went to a show in Camrose and we drove out from Calgary during treacherous road conditions. I went to help a friend show some poms and her friends chihuahua’s and also entered Kona in 1 Pre-Novice trial and 2 Rally Advanced runs to try and finish his Rally Advanced Title. I didn’t do so great in the conformation ring with the Chi but did better with my friends pom (Remmie) even though I didn’t get any points on him.

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This is my friend’s pom puppy Remmie. Pretty cute little guy.

Kona did well and got his first Q in Pre-Novice and got his 3rd leg in Rally Advanced for that Title and is now Firesprite’s Dark N Bold RA.  Woohoo! It was a little too close for comfort running between the rings and on the Saturday I ran from the Rally ring to the conformation ring with about 5 minutes to spare. Missed getting Kona’s Q ribbon from the judge (and third in class ribbon) as I left when right as we finished our run but I was able to pick it up after we were all done.

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I didn’t get a picture of Kona in the Rally ring but here he is on the grooming table getting a little touch up before his title photo with the judge.

Last weekend it was really nice and I found a Canine Good Neighbor test to take Kona too – he pass it easily. It was a lot less stressful for me doing the test with Kona than it was with CB last year, I guess my confidence has also improved over the last year.

CB and I have been spending our training time together focusing on agility. I’ve done 3 agility training seminars this month and one of them was with Kathy Keats. It was interesting to do her seminar with a faster dog this year. One of the skills she helped me with was pulling CB through threadles. His speed has picked up but we slow down when the handling is a little more complicated such as where I need to wrap him or bring him through a threadle.

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Kathy has such great insight and the time I got to spend with her was even more amazing than it was last year. I have a better idea of where I need to be to pull CB through a threadle quickly. It was so worth the time and Kathy and a couple other participants remarked how much quicker we were than last year.

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This weekend is going to be a little busy. My agility club is hosting a two day trial and it’s also the weekend of the Red Deer show. I love the Red Deer show, CB has usually done well there but the agility trial is my priority. He only needs one Rally Excellent Q for his title so I entered him in the Friday in Red Deer and then we’re in my club’s agility trial Saturday and Sunday. And I’m also helping in conformation and showing Remmie again. Fortunately the show schedule is working out much better than it did in Camrose as I’m in one ring in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

This weekend is probably going to be too much for CB though with how long we’ll be in Red Deer. I think it might be too much for me…. The weather is supposed to be crap too so the drive to Red Deer might not be that great. Oh and did I mention that I’ve been focusing on agility? When we’ve been practicing our Q ratio has been about 50% with Rally at this level. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes and I hope he (and me!) won’t be too tired on Saturday when we are in the barn.

CKOC Trial Results

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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.

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Kona is first dog on the list for Advance A since he has just a low jump height.

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.

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We weren’t first up for once! And look at those amazing Excellent B scores.

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.

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Here we are with Judge Michael Calhoon and CB’s pretty ribbon. It’s so easy for me to forget how tiny CB is as he’s a little on the big side for a pom. He looks pretty small next to the Judge don’t you think?

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.

Training Time and some other random thoughts on tracking

It’s been just over 6 weeks since Kona’s surgery to remove the plate. We’ve been doing his physio and he’s been getting daily walks; since he has been using his leg as normal I thought I’d take him to a Rally class and get him back to training.

I ended up taking both CB and Kona and the outcome was quite good for both of them – especially considering that CB and Kona would rather play if they had their choice. But what pom wouldn’t? This is also the first Rally training session I have taken CB to since the tracking seminar. We have been to agility – but we don’t have the “sniffing” issue with agility.

Kona – I am really pleased with how he did. He was eager, focused and stayed nicely in heel. We are just starting to work on Advanced exercises but have not progressed to offleash work yet. For the jumps we left the bar on the floor and I gave him the command to “JUMP” and he did a little jump over the bar. I wanted to make sure he understands to jump but we can’t give him any height to clear while his leg is healing. So far so good.

CB – I don’t think I’ve ever had as much interest from him as I did last night without lure. I don’t know if having Kona there made it more fun for him or if letting him do a small serpentine track in the afternoon has made sniffing in Rally less interesting. Whatever it was there is something different. He was faster and I didn’t need to work to get his interest.

I did take the pups for a walk in the afternoon – a walk we do quite often that takes us through some trails and a field in the west end of Edworthy. After last weekends seminar I’m looking at parks and fields a little differently scoping out places I can lay short tracks. I happened to have treats in my pocket and tied up the dogs and laid a short baited serpentine with a scent pad.

And since I don't think a post is complete without a photo - here is a picture of Kona's sister from another mister, just because I think it's cute. Doesn't have anything to do with this post other than it's in the field in Edworthy.

Aside for the fact that I had bait, I was pretty unprepared. I had dead grass colored bait, no flags and the conditions were really dry. I needed CB to find the scent pad because my bait disappeared into the grass but he pulled me right to it so that wasn’t a problem. He did the track pretty quickly and I’m thinking that I don’t need to bait every step now and I need to start working him with longer tracks. He was actually very excited to track, so much that I had concerns that he would be “tracking” at Rally.  It turned out not to be the case last night.

It seems strange that just a quick “track” could make that much difference so quickly.  Anyone else have experience with tracking and doing Obedience with their dog? I’m thinking that since we’re associating a command (Find It) with the scent pad that that could be making a difference. Or is just the action of having a real scent to follow more interest than sniffing random things on the floor?

Red Deer Rally Results

CB hanging out pre-trial

What a busy weekend – the Red Deer and District Kennel Club show was this past weekend and I had entered CB in all three days. But I chickened out and entered him in Advanced B (for practice) and then after a few drop-in classes it was evident that I should be moving him up to Excellent.

Well I wasn’t able to get in touch with the show secretary in time and was only able to move up for Saturday and Sunday – but that was okay. So on Friday we were in Advanced B and qualified with a respectable score of 90.

Saturday – our first run in Excellent did not go all that well. We NQ’d the Honor – CB started out 6 feet away from me in a down but finished at my feet. Then we NQ’d the course – which is totally okay because a Q on the course and an NQ because of the Honor would have been a bummer. I totally think it’s my fault too. I had great focus from CB when we got there but I’m pretty sure I overtired him with a 1/2 hour walk before the walk-thru and then we waited almost an hour and half for the Excellent B’s to finish before we had our turn. I didn’t realize we’d be waiting so long and had him in the stands with me while I stressed. We were both tired and it really showed in our course time (4.5 minutes!) and the poor focus CB had on the course. I feel terrible for the team that had to Honor us – fortunately we didn’t cost them a Q.

Sunday – a new day for sure. I had a different strategy and kept CB crated until just before our turn. He was eager and focused – we Q’d with a score of 86 and no point losses for incorrect performance  – a majority of the points off were singles for poor sits and being out of position. Our time was way better too but he was still a little sniffy and stopped a couple of times to investigate drool spots and dust bunnies. Now I don’t concern myself with time – but the more engaged CB is the faster we are on the course and we finished in 3 minutes – which also means a shorter stay for the Honor dog. And lucky for us there was nothing happening in the Obedience ring so CB didn’t crawl forward during his down-stay. He was wiggly though and there was some minor controversy with his stay because of that. The Honor Steward didn’t think he lifted his elbows (he didn’t) but the ring steward thought he got up. He didn’t but he did turn his head to chew his tail and probably would have next moved into a sit if I hadn’t been able to get his attention with a deep “HEY!”. He moved around about as much as could have been possible in one spot. The Honor steward th0ught she was paying attention but then had doubts herself – even though she didn’t see his elbows up. I wasn’t sure how much movement they would allow because he was like a little worm wriggling on the spot – but those elbows stayed down. So we have one leg toward the Rally Excellent title and got a High in Class to boot. How about that.

Way to go CB!

A tired CB with his Big Ribbon

Spring?

Sure doesn’t feel like it. The last few days have been chilly – far from the summer like weather that the rest of the country has been experiencing for March. But even when the wind picks up it’s all good with a hot beverage so we planned our walk today to conveniently stop for a hot tea before dropping into the Elbow River Valley from the Britannia slopes.

This was the first real walk we’ve taken Kona on that he hasn’t been carried. I’m really happy with how his leg is faring in the tensor he has now. It’s flexible but supportive at the same time. Unfortunately he’s regressed to a few bad habits from being confined again (ahem barking) he was actually pretty quiet on this walk.

We’ve been working on CB’s sit-stays to get ready for Red Deer’s Rally trials. I entered him in Advanced B thinking that we could have a chance to practice and measure our progress but we would have the entry so that I could move him up if I thought he was ready. Not sure if he’ll get through the honor exercise but at the Rally Drop-in last week I was talked into moving him up to Excellent – so that’s what we’re doing. I’m hoping the dog after us isn’t slow as our stay times are not that long. I feel for the dog that has to honor him — we’re a tad slow.

And these weeks of confinement have made Kona go a little stir-crazy. It was nearly impossible to get this picture of him. Instead of a stay he did his rooster dance where he scratched at the ground in circles. It’s cute but far from picture perfect. I do find it funny though – he was totally covered in grass.