Tag Archives: Rally-O

Ribbon Round-up


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


CKOC Trial Results


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.


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.


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.


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?

Evelyn Kenny trial results – the good, the bad and the ugly

First for the Good – Kona has a new title. He is now Firesprite’s Dark N Bold RN – whoohoo! He also came in third in class on Saturday in a large Novice A class under Judge Judith Snowden; and her courses tend to make you think.

Kona did very well. He was a little demure (ring stress, slow responses) on Friday and our score showed it (72) but by Saturday he was more himself and stayed with me nicely and our score of 93 was well earned. I moved him up to Advance for today not sure how he’d do off-leash but I thought a 4th Novice Q wouldn’t do much for us so why not. What can I say, he was awesome – he really paid attention and stayed in heel position for me – I really didn’t expect that he’d be that on. In the end we got a score of 87 and a Q in Advanced B. For some reason I screwed up yesterday and moved him to the Advanced B not A class. That realization threw me off a little bit but then maybe it was a good thing. I probably would have put pressure on us for a Q since there were only two other entries in A and thus a good chance at a prize; maybe I would have blown it. Considering we haven’t off-leash heeled much I’m thrilled with how things went. He’s entered for the AKC show on the August long and I’ve requested a move-up (Advanced A this time) for that show as well.

The Bad – the trial did not go so well for CB and I. He was disinterested and unfocused. The outcome is a little disappointing since I put so much effort into proofing those last couple exercises and that he was so good at our last trial (Red Deer) and at our last drop in practice 2 weeks ago. Over this weekend he was okay for parts and not for others, and Excellent requires more of a dog and handler and we were just not there.

The Ugly – our run today actually started off pretty good, I had decent focus and he wasn’t sniffy – much. I was actually starting to think we might Q this one. That’s when things fell apart. The Obedience rings were in a covered hockey arena but it’s part open air and I started to loose him a little just as the rain came down. Then I lost him a little more because the rain got heavy – the sound of water running off the building was so loud, and then a group of people took cover under the arena just beside the Rally ring. They were noisy and CB was looking towards them for a while. I was told later that others tried to get their attention to hush them but by then it was too late. CB was so unimpressed with the noise he popped up on his hind legs to get a good look at them and was seconds away from barking and telling them to zip it. It’s sucky that this happened but we have to be able to keep focus around distractions. At least they moved on right after our run so as not to bother other teams.

Even though this weekends outcome wasn’t what I wanted there were some good moments with CB. I was able to get him past the offset figure 8 without too much effort and he held his stay (except for today – he was too distracted). And perhaps the best thing to happen is that I figured out how to jazz him up without food or treats while waiting ring side. Something I hope to use at our next Agility trial to keep his interest as we wait to enter the ring.

Looking back, I’m wondering what was different between now and the Red Deer show. For one, I only had CB with me in Red Deer and two, we hadn’t trialed in Agility yet so he and I were not going back and forth between events. I do find Agility with him to be a blast and I’m sure he knows it. I also think that he and I should only be focusing on one thing and I’d like that to be Agility. So we’ll leave Rally on the sidelines for a while and work at getting better at Agility. His one Rally Excellent Q isn’t going to expire so it will be there for us when we’re ready to come back to it. In the mean time we have two more Agility trial’s coming up – An AAC trial next weekend and the AKC trial in August.

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


Oh boy – well it was an interesting trial to say the least. It was judged by Larry Tanner and he had two really nice courses for us and there were definitely a few firsts. First time I took two dogs to a trial, first time Kona was in the ring, first leg for his Rally Novice and the first time we’ve (CB and I) have been NQ’d because he peed in the ring. Wah.

Kona did well and had a score of 83 (not bad) and came in third in class. There were 7 dogs entered and 4 qualified. The judge was very nice but pickier than I have seen before. 3 dogs NQ’d so even though the course was pretty easy he was not as generous as some on scoring. We didn’t loose points for tight leash (I’ve worked that – oh yes I have) but for some dumb things. Him lagging behind me on a couple of exercises and a moving into position slowly on the Call Front – there were two, one with a finish right and the other with the finish left halt. It’s funny because Kona is way quicker than CB and we’ve never had that deduction. I won’t quibble with that and if there is one thing I don’t do is argue with a judge. Considering that I was still flustered from CB’s turn in the ring I don’t think we did too bad. These are the best pics I could get of him with his spoils – the ribbon is way bigger than he is.

Kona with his goodies

I did learn something today – make sure I keep track of water intake on Trial day. I didn’t realize it this morning when I filled the water dish for the 3rd time that CB must have drank a half liter. Makes sense in hindsight considering that he had to pee 3 times in less than an hour. Sadly one of them was in the ring — just before the start sign.  Oh well you win some you lose some.

3 days to go

to CKOC and I’ve done no Rally work. Eeek! It doesn’t look like I’ll be doing any tonight either as we’ve hardly been home. At least Kona has a class tomorrow night and he’s on-leash so a little bit of a walk before the trial and I’ll have good focus. CB however, nothing since last week.

We’ve been busy with Agility – it’s so much fun and we’re both getting so much better. We had a positive handling seminar on the weekend with Shannen Jorgensen and then class last night. Shannen is really great and has been so much help in getting CB motivated. I’m really shocked at where we are now considering the first class with her we were on-leash and I had to walk him right up to the obstacle for him to take it.

Fingers crossed for Friday and here’s hoping that there’s no Offset Figure 8.

A Different Perspective

Is sometimes a very good thing. With the CKOC show coming up next week I thought I’d get CB out to drop-in Rally class the other night to see where we are since we’ve been so focused on Agility the last couple of months. Kona has been enrolled in Rally classes and he’s definitely ready for Novice A next week. I checked out a to a new place and was expecting to just do a course run but as there were only two of us I had a really good opportunity to problem solve with the instructor. I have to admit if I take him for a good long walk and make it fun with direction changes and obstacles I get great focus, but I usually don’t have time to do that before a class and I don’t before early morning trials which is when we’ve done poorer.

The Advance exercise we really need work on is the Off-set figure 8. Both times we’ve come across it in a trial we’ve NQ’d, although the second encounter was much less worse than the first. The first was with toys and there was no way he was doing anything other than teaching that toy a lesson for being on the floor – sigh. The second time was with food dishes and even though I eventually got him past the dishes, he ended up so distracted in the ring that I totally lost his focus. It also didn’t help that the ring was used for conformation the day before and I know CB was not the only dog sniffing around and not really into it. The Offset figure 8, Back-up 3 steps, and the Honor are what we need to get more polished before I enter us in Excellent.

So I think my approach to the Offset figure 8 hasn’t been the best for how easily distracted he is. I’ve essentially set up the exercise, have gone around the cones past the food/toys on leash and used lure to keep his attention. I have trouble getting him past the distraction the first time, but then the 2nd/3rd etc. pass by are not a problem. It’s that first go that I lose focus on and we can’t redo exercises in the Excellent class. I see from last night we need to do something different and go at this by focusing on keeping his attention through distractions (either food-toy-environment). I got some great suggestions from the instructor and we started with:

1 – walking past a toy at a distance and rewarding him for looking at me, then we got closer and continued to reward. By the time we walked past the toy close enough to where he could grab it, he did nothing but look at me.

2 – walked around the training room, and the instructor randomly would drop a toy near CB and I would reward him for looking at me and ignoring the toy. When we were done let him play with the toy. *

3 – put out a food dish with some smelly treats, did the same as 1. Then took out one of the treats, walked past that same as before, rewarded him for leaving it, focusing on me, then eventually let him have the treat.

4 – next we walked around the training room and she walked right beside us distracting him with a cookie and I rewarded him every time he looked at me and not at the cookie. **

After working on these four steps a few times and keeping good focus, the next step would be to heel him past multiple distractions and to then work-up to a mine-field of toys/food and all the while having him focus on me.  Won’t be at this point by next week but we’ll have something to work towards over the next few months.

For the Honor she suggested a similar approach. For some reason CB will stay put when I put him in a stay and walk away. As long as I keep moving he will stay. I can leave the room, get out of sight, come back in sight, walk in circles around him from more than 20 feet away. He will stay. But at the end of that 6 foot leash – he just seems to either get bored or stressed. The picture below documents a common occurrence.

Essentially we need to go back to basics and reward him for staying put at short distances and short time periods and then work up to ignoring the distractions while I am still. Putting out a cookie/toy and having him stay, reward for the stay and to work at an amount of time that is achievable to make it positive. This really nicely ties in to the distraction training for the Offset figure 8 with the final outcome having him in a stay and then recalling him past all the distractions.

Back-up 3 steps I taught him this the same way I taught him to Pivot Left by using bait and then getting him to move backwards beside me, but even after several months of this I can’t get him to do it without bait. What do you know, instead of what I have been doing she suggested that we take it back a step and teach him to walk backwards away from me. We were set up to face each other and then I walked towards him making him walk backwards to avoid me and reward the behavior.*** At first he sat and would jump back out of the way but after a couple of try’s I got him walking backwards. Now we can move on to having him beside me. To teach the back-up in a straight line we will start with him between myself and a wall so that he can’t turn and is forced to stay in heel position. I’m feeling pretty good about these three areas now and I’m pretty positive that we’ll be ready for Excellent trials before my target goal of July.

In the end it’s up to me to make sure we have some time to work on these skills. It does get harder this time of year as I like to work outside and the day’s just end too fast. If anyone has had success with other techniques I’d be interested some other suggestions, especially on the Offset Figure 8.

* I have to admit that I’m not very good at playing with him after a training session but I started doing that a few weeks ago.
** I also think this type of distraction training will help keep his focus in Agility since I think one of the reasons we are slow over distances is that he spends a lot of time looking around and sniffing where food has been on the floor. A fix one fix all kind of thing.
*** What’s funny is Kona and I play a game where I walk forward and he walks backwards and then I walk backwards and he walks forward towards me and we do it several times over. He finds it ridiculously fun and it’s how I taught him to come towards me for the Call Front 1, 2, 3 Steps Backwards. Almost too funny that I only just realized that I set him up for the Back-up 3 steps.