I think I may have used that title before. But this HAS to beat anything else we've done. Or should I say, almost done. LOL
We were entered in trial 1 at Waggin Tails in Westford, MA on Oct. 29. Big trial, lots of entries. How exciting. :-) Tripp (ok, both of us) had received lots of compliments last weekend, but I think he topped himself this weekend. He was SO good!
Me, on the other hand, well... I've done far worse, but I messed up my signal during the directed retrieve (don't even ask why/how! LOL) which confused the poor boy. Tripp made a wide swing, then went for the wrong glove. I groaned. He stopped and just stood there asking me what the heck I wanted from him. XD He redirected well, but alas my brain fart resulted in an NQ. Ah, it happens.
But what a bummer - if I hadn't thrown him off, and he did both gloves as well as everything else, we would have finished with a nearly perfect score (including earning all 20 points in baseball!) of 219.5! OMG. And that would have put us almost halfway to OTCH. Oh well. Next time...
I will still savor his almost perfect performance, even if we got nothing to show for it. But hey, we did get it on video! :-D
You know the drill... the best runs are never caught on camera. Today was no different. Oh, I questioned how it'd go as we set up for our turn in the obedience ring. Tripp was wound like a top (I swear he read the sign that said agility, haha), and when he gets like that it can go one of two ways - he can be out of control or very distractable, or if he manages to stay reasonably focused, he can pull off a great performance with even more flash and drive. Thankfully, and somewhat surprisingly, today we were blessed with the latter.
Now, our last trial a couple weeks ago was a miserable failure. He literally did everything wrong right from the start. Ok, so he pulled his act together some half way through, but it was an automatic NQ, so any recovery was for naught. It was just one of those days; they happen. As long as they don't happen too often! LOL Hey, those entry fees add up! Obviously I hoped our next trials would be more successful.
Today was a new venue; Breeze Thru Agility in Brattleboro, VT. This was the first ever CDSP trial in VT, as well as Breeze Thru's first time hosting an obedience event. So exciting times for all! It's a small but nice facility. We did have to work out of our cars, but rain notwithstanding, it was not a real inconvenience. Parking was just outside the door, and the hosts were well organized and gave everyone plenty of notice and time to get ringside. It all flowed quite smoothly.
So, our turn comes... The Utility entry was tiny - we were the only ones in B class, so it went quick. (Novice entries were highest, which probably shouldn't be surprising considering CDSP is new to that area.) As I said, Tripp went into high drive for some reason known only to him. I managed (barely) to keep him in working mode (and me in "cool" mode), and he actually settled decently into the obedience routine once we entered the ring and set up for signals and heeling. Miraculously, in those two exercises he only got hit with a single half point deduction for a crooked finish. It really was a rather lovely performance. :-) The rest of the trial went similarly; only a couple minor position faults. His biggest booboo was anticipating the finish during the retrieve - everything was good, then judge says "finish" and Tripp flips himself into heel position before I tell him to. That was certainly a first! LOL 3 points off right there. Plus another half point for sitting crooked too. Twerp. Oh well. We still ended with a 194 subtotal, so that's still pretty great.
But wait, CDSP has baseball! We never turn down the opportunity to play for bonus points! There's a chance of the dog getting silly with the gloves and the whole thing being a flop, but there is practically nothing to lose, so why not try? As as proof that it's so worth it... Tripp did a super job, and we earned 18.5 out of a possible 20 (just position faults again), which brought our total up to 212.5. There's another 15 OTCH points! Woohoo! 30 down, 70 to go.
Yes, I really am running out of places to squeeze more ribbons! LOL I actually have some stashed in a drawer now. I guess it was inevitable. But I never get tired of looking at them! Silken memories of all that Tripp has done, and the fun that we've had. :-) It truly has been a great journey.
To be continued next week... 2 more trials to go this year in CDSP. Fingers crossed we keep up this pace!
p.s. Blame Geoff for that "crazy dog" sign. I told him he had it backwards, but then, Tripp is kinda nuts too, so I guess it's not all wrong. LOL
We are back in the game, folks! :-) Today Tripp and I competed in CDSP and, woohoo, finished his Utility title!
I woke up at an ungodly hour and left just as dawn was breaking to make it for our early ring time 2 hours south into MA at SureFire Dogs. But it was worth it...
Our one AKC trial of the year. Our one chance to knock off that last Open leg. We braved yesterday's Labor Day weekend traffic to do it, and risked a very late ring time in an afternoon show. (Last time we did that, we ended up in the ring at 10pm!) Yeah sure, no worries... ;-)
Actually, traffic turned out fairly decent along the routes I took, and our ring time ended up being around 5 pm, so not bad. Though I hit several snags throughout the day, overall it went pretty well. Even better once we were done. Because... we finally got it!!
Man, that took far longer than it should have. But between infrequent entries, being out of practice, and just some plain old bad luck, I guess it could have gone worse. Now that we have our heads more in the game again, we were definitely due to finish up that straggler PCDX.
It wasn't all pretty; Tripp lost his focus a few times and strayed way out of position. But there were some really lovely spots in his performance as well. I wouldn't call it anything special, except for the fact that we won and got that damn title. LOL I'm probably nitpicking. Maybe if I'd gotten video I'd have seen how well he really did (most of the time). Either way, the most important thing is that we had fun.
Oh yes, we did indeed win too. First place with a 192! Not sure how we managed that, but I'll take it! LOL In AKC no less... I certainly can not complain. Made finishing that much sweeter.
And yes, I think we are in fact finished. I don't have an overwhelming desire to chase down any more AKC titles with Tripp. So now, once we finish his UKC Utility title, we will likely focus purely on CDSP Utility & possibly Obedience Championship. I think that's enough at this point.
I did hope to try out AKC's Versatility class, which sounds like fun. Unfortunately I was not allowed to transfer to that class for today's trial. (I entered two days, just in case he NQed yesterday.) A little bummed about that, but we still got we we came for. That's all that matters. And as much as I hate to throw away an entry fee, I decided to scratch on day two. I didn't feel it was worth repeating a needless Open run, or moving to a class I didn't want to enter. Better to end on a high note. So today we just relaxed at home. Well, isn't that what Labor Day is supposed to be anyway?
I haven't posted a new video in a long time, and haven't updated with new blogs very often either for that matter. The former is mostly because I tend to forget or not have the chance to have someone film us at events, the latter is because we have not been doing as many events as we used to. I'm still considering Tripp semi-retired, relative to his previous performance schedule, but we are continuing on in Obedience. That's about it right now.
We've done a couple trials over the spring/summer, but most were flops. Surprisingly, we have had better luck so far in UKC than in CDSP. Go figure. Now watch, I probably just jinxed myself by saying that, and we'll be chasing our final UUD leg forever. :-p LOL
But this weekend we finally had some great runs at the CDSP trial in Raymond. (And no, unfortunately that was not me who won the powerball there. ;-) Better yet, we got it all on video!
It was a hot day, and the humidity brought out all sorts of distracting smells in the ring, so it was a challenging day for many of the dogs. I was so proud of Tripp; he did SO well. Kept his focus decently, and beyond some crooked sits and such he did a lovely job in the ring.
In trial 1, we managed to earn a 196.5 score for our second Utility leg. That right there made waking up at 5:30 am worth it. haha Finally we were coming home with ribbons again.
Trial 2 went even better, until I confused Tripp with my cue on the gloves. Oh well, totally my fault there. Tripp did a beautiful job. It was a bittersweet loss, as we would have only had a single point deduction otherwise if we'd Qed, for a 199! Oh man! But it was still a fantastic run, great practice, and you know I'll be shooting for that again. ;-)
One more leg to go. Then I don't know. I hate to quit just when we're getting good, and still enjoying it. I don't know if we'll get as far as OTCH-C, but we can still aim for UDX-C. One step at a time...
Certainly I have not stepped up our practice time to where it should be, but we have been working at least a little bit more on obedience stuff. Of course there is always the argument too that you shouldn't over-train... Do just enough to get it right and move on. Sure, let's say that's what I'm doing. ;-) LOL But while we still need some cleaning up, and definitely more practice away from home, I think we're doing slightly better than last year, so I'm at least not totally shooting myself in the foot when we enter a trial. Well, it's worth a shot anyhow...
Today I entered the UKC trial in Westford, MA. Just the morning trial. It was a very small group, nice and relaxed - Tripp hung out ringside with me, had breakfast, got in some practice, and being second in the ring, we were in and out of there in record time.
I'm glad I chose this event. It was my original intention to enter, but then I found out a CDSP trial was also on that day. Oh, decisions decisions! It was quite the tossup. I bounced the dilemma off my dog friends, and while I kinda leaned in UKC's direction from the beginning, I just wished I knew for sure where our better odds lay. Duh. I forgot my dowsing abilities. LOL (Yes, I do that. Did you know you can dowse for more than water? It's a useful tool for just about anything. Yes it's weird - did I ever say I was normal? - but I usually have pretty good accuracy in dowsing our potential show results. When I do it right. ;-)
So I pulled out my tools and asked what we should do - what were our chances? The answers were NQ in either CDSP trial, and in UKC a Q in trial one but an NQ in trial 2 due to stress. Obviously there is no way to prove any of that, but I'm not going to argue. If I'm going to get deeper into this methodology (I'm going pro people!), then I need to embrace the unknown and trust the results, and my intuition. So I went along with it.
And I can't say it didn't pay off! We did indeed Q in trial one with a decent 188.5. Tripp did so well, for the first time I actually wouldn't have been shocked if our score was higher! But he was by no means perfect - a few points here and there for position, a couple for "mouthing" the glove (tossing it around because he's silly and having fun) - but he kept his focus most of the time, which has been our main downfall lately, and did everything right, even if not with absolute accuracy, so I am thrilled with his performance! My only disappointment is that I forgot to throw my camera at someone. Darn it, I never seem to get our best runs on video! LOL Oh well, we earned that second leg in any case. :-)
Do I regret not going for trial 2 just in case, to finish his title? Maybe part of me does. After all, neither one of us was stressed, and on the surface our chances seemed pretty good at this intimate trial. But who knows what could change? There was a dog there that Tripp was mildly obsessing over. He behaved himself and (sorta) refocused on me when asked, but how am I to know if his mood would change in a couple hours? Or if a bigger crowd would show up for the afternoon trial. There could be some sort of incident between ring times. Or something else to cause potential stress or distraction. Even just getting bored waiting around for our next turn could kill his performance. So I say, just as in training, we were best to quit while we're ahead. Leave us both with a good memory, and go for title on another day. If nothing else, I saved some money! ;-) And we had fun. And that's the most important thing.
Last Sunday Tripp & I took a small break from our break, and entered UDSNNE's UKC Obedience trials in Saco, hoping to knock off one more title before hibernating for the season. (Hey, I did say SEMI-retirement. ;-) He had just one leg left to get his Open title, and I entered both trials just in case. It was a small turnout, which worked in our favor, presenting a quieter atmosphere with less opportunity for Tripp to get distracted. It didn't much help my rusty handling skills, mind you, and half of the points we lost were handler errors. LOL But we got lucky and managed to Q in trial one, finishing Tripp's UCDX title with a 183. Could be worse!
In anticipation (or at least hope) of moving up to Utility in trial two, I had packed the necessary articles, and done a little practice at home. I didn't expect a lot, but it was worth a shot. In nearly every other exercise I swore we had NQed, but amazingly we didn't. Somehow we made it through with a 188.5 for his first UUD leg!
The judge did go easy on a few of my rookie mistakes, but I certainly can't expect that again. If we do get back into Utility next year - and you know I'm gonna want to finish that title now - we both need to get back on our game before diving in again.
But for now, it's time to rest, enjoy the holiday season, and hunker down for the winter. Until next spring... Then, we'll see. ;-)
I guess it's official. Tripp has delved into the realm of semi-retirement. Not that he doesn't deserve a break after all that he's done and accomplished so far in his six years.
I had every intention of focusing on going further in Obedience this year. Unfortunately I've had neither the time nor, frankly, the motivation to commit to enough training to give us a fair shake in the upper levels. I've just had bigger priorities, on top of a slammed work schedule. What can I say? Life happens!
Oh, I tried to half-ass it as we often do in the ring, but that just doesn't cut it in Utility. After a few miserable failures, and several (serendipitous?) missed entry dates, I have finally given up. This just isn't our year. There are one or two trials I may enter later in the fall (at least to finish his UCDX), but I think it's best we take a break from Utility until I can find more practice time to get us to a more competent level. Hopefully things will turn around in 2016 so Tripp can get a few more brags under his belt before he has to really retire! ;-) If not, well... we had a good run.
However I really don't foresee complete abandonment of dog sports for Tripp or myself. Even if we fizzle out in Obedience before reaching that championship dream, there are other less demanding events we can get into (or return to). Just a matter of finding the time and opportunity. And if I do eventually get that next show dog (still a ways away, folks!) I will obviously remain active in one ring or another. Until then, Tripp's still got plenty of juice left in him. :-)
Hopefully this isn't going to be a habit with Tripp - failing miserably in the first trial of the day, then squeaking out a passing score in the next class. Granted, I'm thankful to get at least one Q, but if this pattern continues, our Utility career in AKC is doomed since they almost always run the highest level classes first. :-p
However, I'm going to chalk this one up to simply being green and under-practiced. We're probably not ready for the extra distracting environment of outdoor trials just yet, at least for Utility, with it's scent discrimination exercise. Tripp's nose leads him astray enough as it is. Which sucks, because most of our upcoming trials are outdoors. Of course, if I was a more committed trainer, we probably wouldn't be having as much trouble. But I digress...
For Tripp's first AKC trial of the year, I decided to only enter one day at the big Scarborough show. I prayed that we would finally finish that outstanding Graduate Novice title from last year, and get closer to being aligned with the Open/Utility levels we're at in UKC & CDSP. I also put Tripp in Graduate Open for the first time, which is actually more of a "sub-Utility" course. It was worth a shot...
Unfortunately, in GO Tripp was awful, awful, awful! I have little regret over not getting video of his performance. LOL Not a critical loss, but disappointing nonetheless.
Later, GN didn't start out a whole lot better, with a very unfocused heeling pattern. But he cleaned up his act some as we continued, and was actually doing pretty darn good by the end. Still, with so many major faults, I wasn't sure if he managed to pass or not... After the group down/stay, when the judge announced that we were the only qualifying team entered, I literally did a happy dance! :-D At least we got that title out of the way!
Over winter break (between what seemed like weekly blizzards), Tripp & I worked on further advancing in Obedience, preparing for our next season of trials. I finally ordered a set of official scent articles, which came just in time for Christmas. At last we could get "serious" with training for Utility, the highest level in Obedience. For so long I had denied any desire to compete in Utility, but everyone was right - it really is a ton of fun! I'm not sure if I'd go so far as to say it's the most fun level, as I enjoy them all; but it definitely is a blast, and an exciting challenge. I'm also looking forward to eventually competing in AKC's new Versatility class which takes exercises from all 3 levels, mixing it up each time. That should be really interesting. Not quite ready for that yet, but we'll get there!
First up: our debut in CDSP Utility on Apr. 4. (Yes, I'm behind on updating... so what's new? ;-)