Dylan: Official Good Dog

Dyl passed his Good Citizen Dog Scheme GOLD this weekend. I was pretty sure we were going to fail, so every exercise we passed was a relief and a bit of a surprise! We have trained, but not as much as we should have done. Emergency stop gave me the most worry, since Dylan wouldn’t hold his wait correctly. He did his cheeky agility wait instead, which involves creeping forward as soon as I turn my back.

Very pleased with his off-lead work however. He offered “proper” heelwork, shoulder to leg, for the whole duration, instead of the looser off-lead type we’ve been working on. He was a bit bemused as to why I wasn’t encouraging the flashy obedience heelwork, but he was determined in his own mind that he was correct.

We’re going to start training properly for obedience now! That’s the goal for 2015, a few Pre-Beginners, maybe the GCDS Qualifier, and see how we get on. We have passable heelwork on and off lead, need to neaten up the turns quite a bit. Down stay is good, sit stay needs work! Recall is alright, I’d like a neater present but we’ve been working on it and he’s improving. I need to train a retrieve if we’re going to do Beginners, since we have absolutely no formal retrieve at all.

May end up auditing one of the heelwork classes at http://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/, but the Dec 1st term start was not good financial timing. Maybe when it gets to February, but March is always incredibly busy so maybe not!

Hare’n’Hounds September

My wild child is finally starting to get her confidence in the ring! There isn’t a suitable word for the joy that comes after months of worry. I get to just love on her for this post.

First run was the G1-3 Jumping, fun course by Hannah Grantham! Nice and flowing with some handler challenges (two tunnels together!), but a lovely straightforward start. Rio ran a super clear, just a slight hesitation at which tunnel I wanted (my fault). Gorgeous drivey weaves, a little wide on some turns, but I didn’t want to push her. Amazingly she finished 5th, made my weekend right from the start!

G1-7 Jumping was a bit trickier, a tricky pull-thru which I didn’t think we’d get and then right-handed 12-weaves, which are Rio’s weak point at the moment. She clipped a pole out of the tunnel as I got in her way, but she nailed the pull-thru and I was so surprised I was late to the weaves, so she circled back to shout at me. We repositioned, I ran them as left-hand weaves instead and she finished nicely.

G3 Jumping was another nice course from Hannah Grantham, really needed a wait start so we gave it a shot. Rio did wait but she isn’t driving off the line from waits, so it was a slower start. This is something I need to train at UKA next time, I think. She nailed the weaves again, super run, and then I miscued her coming out of the tunnel – I front crossed awkwardly and she read it as a blind – so we picked up a refusal. She recovered and we finished nicely. Her recovery on errors is so much better, staying relatively focused and not worrying as much.

Fourth and final run was the lovely ABC C1-7 Jumping, big open course with that still required control. Rio was flagging for this one, she was tired but there were still some nice moments. I forgot my plan at the end and it was a scramble, and even though she was tired, for the first time she bailed me out when I messed up. Clever, honest girl. Clipped the last pole, but her time was only a few seconds off the G6/7 dogs, so pleased.

Our first run on Saturday was a lovely G1-3 Jumping, super spaced out and Rio reverted back to reckless speed, which is joyous but not very controlled. We missed a few jumps out and she nearly ran over the judge, but she was so happy and her weaves were beautiful. She did manage to steady up for a nice turn on the one tight section, and I managed to cue the rear-cross flick nice and early (+1 for me) but then a long spacey curve of 5 jumps was just begged for her to accelerate and she did, but too fast to actually get the curve and do the jumps. We’ll keep working on it.

Her second run was our best run of the weekend, in the G1-7 Jumpathon. We screwed it up because I didn’t step back off the box at the top, but she was responsive and fast and argumentative. Did all the tricky angled jumps, she really worked to find all the takeoffs and turn, and then just added in an extra jump to get the E. I got in her way on the weave entry and pulled her back to try again, so she shouted at me. I couldn’t stop laughing at her; more of this, Beans, more being impatient with me and telling me off for not being good enough. I will try harder, next time, I promise.

Her one space-out run was … well, most importantly, it ended well. She was able to mentally recover and find her focus midway through the course, and we finished it with a nice drive down the last line. She was anxious before running because of some noisy dogs playing behind us in the queue (oh the irony! Rio is the noisiest bounciest queuing dog once I ask her to warm up), and then a passing dog behind me did something to upset her. I didn’t see the other dog’s behaviour, but was aware of it passing behind me, and then Rio reacted as she would to another dog telling her off. So, I assume it snapped, but not sure.

This was a good show.