Three strikes you're out.
I had been wanting to give AKC Versatility class a shot for a while. This year I had particular incentive, with the opportunity to earn an Achiever Dog certificate too (which Tripp certainly deserves for all he has done in his career!) - he has enough variety in past qualifying scores, he just needed one new Q in a sport for this year...
So we entered a few local obedience trials in hopes of at least winning one. And each time, Tripp performed really well... with the exception of one silly little thing (different each time) that killed it for us. :-(
Our third and final trial was in Topsham, ME last Saturday morning. We made a short weekend of it, enjoying the area afterwards, so the trip was not a total loss. And I did get our performance on video! (Thanks to a nice guy who's been following me around. ;-) Definitely a bittersweet memory that I'm grateful to have.
I was happy to see Tripp work so well, enthusiastic, not straining to take full jump height, and very nicely focused... his positioning was even quite good overall! But then that brain fart at the very end, on the turn & sit during directed jumping... Sigh.
I am glad we didn't completely go down in flames. I'm glad we can end on a high(ish) note. (Of course it would have been higher if we got that Q & Achiever Dog. haha) Sure, we could keep trying, but at this point I have (unfortunately, several) bigger things to put my time & money into. I raise the white flag. Tripp is ready to officially retire.
It is certainly not easy to admit defeat. Tripp is still a good worker. But he also doesn't have the stamina he used to. He's got some old man stuff going on. Calling official retirement really hits hard that my baby is in his veteran years.
I confess, packing up our show setup for the last time was rough. I was very thankful to have JZ with me for support, so I wasn't sitting there alone on the floor crying like an idiot. :-p Not only was it coming to terms with Tripp's aging, but it was also letting go of my lifelong dream of participating in dog sports (which I am so grateful to have fulfilled with this special Poodle). It is the end of an era.
There will, of course, be more for me in the future. I will, at some point (after Tripp is gone), get another Standard Poodle, and return to dog sports & showing. I will hopefully get the chance to do some things I did not with Tripp. (Which of course isn't much, as he's done a lot! LOL) My dream is not over. And this winding down actually times well with other things I have going on in my life right now. It still doesn't make it easier. But so goes the journey...
And so, I leave you with the final performance of Team TNT:
Below are pics from the trial - warming up before ring time - followed by part of our excursion along the Maine coast. :-) Tripp stood at Land's End (in a very cold wind!), then in view of the Cribstone Bridge from the other side of Bailey Island. We also spent some time in town Brunswick & Freeport, where (as usual) Tripp left every other passerby in awe of his magnificence. haha
He was happy & tired that night, for sure, and quickly took over JZ's bed while we played a board game. LOL Because, of course, he knows a soft bed with pillows is where Poodles belong. ;-)
Especially a great, versatile Poodle who's earned a much deserved retirement.
The boy did quite well in both trials of the day, and we finished his UDX-C3 in Trial 2. Meaning he's earned his CDSP UDX three times over. Yes, three times. When will we retire? Well, I considered doing so after this point, but he is already pre-entered in another trial in a couple weeks, and after doing some math I see he could be halfway to his OTCH-C3 if he Qs in that one... And if we finish that title, then he'll be just a couple legs away from UDX4, so it'd be hard to not go for it. And so on, in an endless cycle, apparently! LOL So yeah, I dunno. Tripp's still having fun, so it's likely that we will keep going as long as he physically can (and I financially can. haha)
In any case, for now enjoy the increasingly rare footage of my "old man" working. (Incidentally, I called him an old man in the ring after an extra slow set up at one point - following which he flew over the jump, tackled the dumbbell, and returned like he was an agility star again. LOL It actually was a beautiful sight. :-)
Last year's spree of CDSP obedience trials was not for nought. Tripp finished his OTCH-C2 and UDX-C2 (championships earned twice), along our way of continuing the fun of competing, and chasing points for rank. Getting higher rank would just be the frosting, but I sure did have my fingers crossed for a top placement! Tripp's career is winding down, and 2017 may have been our last "big" year (we'll see), so getting an awesome rank would be an awesome way to go out with a bang.
Well, today a dog show friend made my day. CDSP had finally posted the national rankings, and as usual I was apparently the last to know. LOL
I logged into facebook to find a congratulations post.
I got excited.
I knew we'd made the list. But what number were we? Did we land the top spot as I was aiming for?
FINALLY! Not that we had many chances for this, but it's still been a long road... (Maybe I'm just impatient. haha ;-)
There are only a couple UKC obedience trials in my area per year, so it's always quite a gap between opportunities to compete. (And then I have to contend with the "other" rulebooks in my head confusing me in the ring. LOL Which is what killed us this spring.) Thankfully the weather cooperated and I was able to enter UDSNNE's December trials in Westford, MA.
The day started with a beautiful sunrise on the drive down (one perk to getting up and out early!) I reviewed my notes several times so I had some idea of what I was supposed to be doing out there. haha And packed the American cheese - Tripp's very most favorite - as his post-competition reward...
We had two chances to place. And only one Utility leg needed. I told him he better get it this time! LOL Well, here comes his first turn in the ring. It wasn't perfect, but it was really quite nice overall. I lost as many points as he did, but I was still very happy with our performance. And Go Tripp, he titled right then and there! :-) Yes!! For that, I gave him BOTH pieces of cheese! Well deserved.
Don't worry, he still had string cheese and chicken for trial two. Sure, we could have left, but after all, I paid for the entry, you know I'm gonna take it! And as the judge said, it never hurts to have a "buffer leg" just in case. ;-)
Of course, what does he do on the leg that doesn't count but get a better score. LOL Hey, I'm ok with that though! And we even had a brief moment of excitement when packing up to leave - I was told to stay a bit longer as we were in the running for High In Trial! Woah! On the plus side, it was a short wait at that point for the trial to end. On the down side, we were beat out at the last minute. But it's all good, and I'm ok with "runner up" for HIT. :-) Either way, a fine day to finish his UUD!
Yes, I know. Another title. Has it's specialness worn off yet? ;-)
Not for me! Well, ok, it's not as novel an experience, but I'm still thrilled with every award Tripp earns. He's racked up quite a legacy for himself in 8 years!
Today was his final CDSP trial of the year. He did very well in the ring and qualified in both trials, earning his OTCH2 right off the bat. Second trial took him halfway to UDX2, so I'm betting we'll most likely keep at it next year to at least finish that off. (But you knew we would anyway, didn't you?)
And here I set a record for the shortest dog blog ever. LOL I'll simply leave you with his scoresheets (because per our new norm, I have no pics or video).
Ok, fine, here's an obligatory "title/win" pic, just for you. ;-)
I happened to glance at the CDSP calendar last week, for no particular reason, and lo and behold there was a trial posted at Waggin Tails in Westford this weekend that I didn't know about. I swear it wasn't that long ago that I checked the schedule! Either I somehow missed it, or it was a last minute addition. In any case, it turned out to have a relatively small number of entries, so there was plenty of room for us to register day of show. So glad I caught it!
We've been continuing to compete throughout the summer, racking up points for rank and UDX/OTCH-2. And mainly just having fun. Still, it's not every week (or month for that matter) that we get out there, and I actually had just decided to skip a few upcoming trials, so this was perfect to fill the gap. Less withdrawal, more opportunity for points... and most importantly, just something to do.
Today, was a good day in obedience...
Tripp had his twerpy moments (as usual) but overall did very well in the ring. In fact, had a few downright perfect performances too! Qed in both trials. Yay! We were the only competitors in Utility today, so added to our collection of "default" blue ribbons, but what matters is we racked up more points... AND those two legs earned him his UDX-2! :-)
Really just a bonus along the way as we are out there doing our thing, but it does give us something of a goal to shoot for. Next up: OTCH-2. Our main goal for 2017 remains ranking higher in the top 20 (because why not?), so with at least a handful more trials this year, and only 27 points to go for the next title (which he can get in 2 good Qs), I'm betting he'll reach it. ;-)
Still unknown where we'll go from here in 2018. Guess we'll see where we're at, what we're up for, etc... As always.
I did feel that temptation again to get back into agility. Veterans class, of course. Tripp played a bit on the agility course set up in Waggin Tails' field, and he's still got it! Remembered quite a bit, if not as polished as he was when competing. It probably wouldn't take much... LOL Ah, well, once again, we shall see...
It's silly. But it's something I always have a bit of trouble with. And a quick google search reveals I'm not the only one.
When you compete in multiple venues, and earn countless titles, where are those titles supposed to go? I mean, in relationship to each other on the dog's official name... There is an established order for AKC - registered name, followed by Obedience titles, then Rally, then Tracking, Hunting, and Agility. Except any Championship titles precede the name. In UKC, on the other hand, all titles precede the registered name. I've been told the order is supposed to be titles listed chronologically by date earned. As for any of the other performance venues (such as CDSP, USDAA, etc.) I have no idea! And then when you combine a whole bunch of them together... Oy!
Now, technically, most clubs don't recognize titles from other clubs. So for instance, Tripp's AKC registration will only list titles he earned from AKC (or their approved "other" venues), his UKC registration will only list UKC titles, and so on. Even CDSP, which recognizes Obed/Rally titles from any other organization, disregards any other performance sport because it's not applicable. Therefore this should not be a true dilemma, as your versatile dog's full variety of titles will rarely be recognized in one place. But it is - those titles are your hard work, bragging rights, proof of your dog's working ability, and memories & keepsakes of an amazing partnership. Of course you want to list them all together somewhere!
Which brings me back to the question, what order are they all supposed to go in?
Ah, but I digress... This dilemma was actually spurred by some very exciting news! Can you guess? ;-) Yes, it involves another new title...
Well he's nothing if not consistent...
CDSP at Surefire today. Trial one, beautiful job overall. Then the gloves. Same one - #1 in the corner. He LOOKED right at it too the little twerp! Goes out, swerves, and takes glove #2. Ahh, Tripp! ;-p LOL Of course, never have that problem in baseball. No, only in the part that counts. Sigh. Practice practice! Methinks we need to hit some run thrus or classes to fix this problem.
Oh well, once again trial two made the trip worthwhile. Tripp performed quite wonderfully. In fact he only got a half point deduction for one crooked sit. That's all! :-D Me, I got hit with a big 5 point deduction for handler error. But he got those gloves right! LOL And we Qed. That's all that matters.
And you know what that means... UDX-C! Yay!!! We finished with a score of 214.5 and 2nd place. I'll take it! haha Great title run. :-)
Plus another 15 OTCH points earned. I did the math, he only needs 17 now to title. Wow. With Tripp's history, unless he starts scoring terribly, that means we're likely to hit OTCH-C in two more trials!
Wait a minute... two trials and done? I don't think so! We're just getting good, I can't retire him now! Guess we're gonna have to go for OTCH2. ;-) hehehe
Show season has begun. Tripp is back in the Obedience game, working on his CDSP titles and rank. The points are building up! :-)
We've had a couple successful trials so far. And a few flops too, of course. haha The gloves seem to be our major downfall at the moment. Ah, well at least we know what we need to work on more.
On Feb. 25th, Tripp earned a score of 213.5 at Tova, for 15 OTCH points, which officially put him just over halfway to his Championship. Nice way to start the year!
Then on Mar. 5th at MHS, he got another 15 points, bringing his current total to 68 out of 100. That also gives him five UDX legs now, with just one more to go for that title.
Now, traditionally we don't have the best luck at MHS. I love the place; it's one of the best humane societies around, with a very nice event facility to boot. But unfortunately we have a high failure rate there. I actually had to look back to see if we'd ever Qed there in the past! LOL We had - earned a title even. (It was a while ago! ;-) That didn't make our odds any better. So although we NQed in the first trial last weekend, I was very pleased with Tripp's performance overall. He was (mostly) focused and worked well. I'd say probably his best performance there to date! He did a pretty fantastic job actually, other than the gloves, where he took the wrong one. Ugh, bummer.
Trial 2 was his redemption. It was a long day and the boy practically slept through our turn. LOL So considering how tired he was, I'm amazed he worked as well as he did. A bit slower than in the morning, but pretty on point for the most part. A couple position faults, which I expected, and I had to give an extra cue for the sit in Baseball (that was unusual), and I could personally nitpick a couple more things we didn't lose points for, like mouthing the dumbbell, but otherwise he had a beautiful run. Yeah, I know, I'm a total critic. We got tons of compliments, and I'm sure if I could have seen it myself I'd be even more impressed. But I really am - he earned an excellent score of 198, which put him in 1st place, plus 17 bonus points in Baseball, for a grand total score of 215. I am certainly not complaining! ;-)
More to come... This year's goal is not only to get those titles, but to achieve higher rank as well. That'd just be a bonus, but hey, if we're earning points anyway, why not? hehehe
After last week's unfortunate flop, we had one more chance to rack up points in CDSP obedience. Tova in Raymond, NH held a single evening trial Friday night, and while I was hesitant to enter something that might have us working late (remembering the evening AKC trial where we were competing at 10pm!), I took my chances since it was the last nearby CDSP trial of the year, and easy enough a drive to deal with being out late if it came to that.
It ended up working out well, and ended at a reasonable time. Even though I did end up eating dinner at home at 9:30 pm. Oh well. It was worth it...
But first, during the day on Friday, we took a jaunt to Wolfeboro, just to walk around town, do some shopping, and reminisce a bit. And snap a few fun pics. We didn't have time to check out the rail trail as planned, but all the more reason to go back.