What do you do when you're just geting into a really fun level of Obedience and the dog earns his title? Move on? Methinks not so soon! Just another wonderful thing about CDSP - they offer level championships, so if you enjoy a particular level, you can stay there in the C class and compete for another title. I love Open too much to just stop now, so we will continue on towards Tripp's CDX-CCH. Perhaps by the time we finish that we'll be ready for Utility.
Here is our first trial in Open C. My head wasn't in the game for some reason so we weren't anywhere near in top form. But we still had fun, and Tripp managed to score a 192, so it's all good. :-)
Because he just doesn't have nearly enough yet! ;-) Tripp finished his Open Obedience title at DogStar Activity Center's CDSP trials this past weekend. He is now UWP, UROC, UKC CH Tintlet Destin Parfait CD, BN, CDX-C, RA, SG, W-FD, ATD, CGC, TT, VC Oh yeah! Definitely need to add some more letters to that. LOL!!!
And I will have you know that I had to look that up and copy it here, as I can no longer remember his full list of titles. ;-)
As usual, DogStar hosted an intimate trial full of friendly competitors; always a nice time there. Great place, and not too far away in Acton, Mass. Tripp had a great first run, giving a wonderful performance and scoring a 198. His second run wasn't quite as pretty, but he still managed a 192.5 (not all him, I had several handling faults) plus 1st place, and with that finished his CDX-C.
Check out the video and pics below!
It was another long day - but this time mostly due to travel. I arose at 4 am (ugh!!) to drive nearly 3 hours to Westfield for a UKC show & weight pull on Sunday. The morning start was not exactly smooth (whataya expect at that ungodly hour?), but we made it in time to register and the rest of the day went ok. Weather was beautiful. And the Pittie club put on good show as usual.
A dinner break on the way home at the VT Welcome Center, with a good shot of caffeine (V8 Fusion Energy; I don't do coffee) - and cranking up some Nickelback - helped me make it home safely a bit after dark (ick, it's coming earlier every day now!)...
Vids and more below!
Fri. Aug. 30
Merrimack Valley Kennel Club began it's annual 3 day AKC Obedience trial in Amherst, NH at American K9 Country. This was an afternoon trial, not beginning until 2 pm. Entering on days like this, you risk a late evening ring time, but I chanced it, figuring how bad could it be? Ha! Well, we arrived around 2:30 to set up the crate and settle in, allowing plenty of time for that and walkies, warming up, and watching a bit of the other classes. Plenty of time, indeed. I knew our classes (Novice A & Beginner Novice A) were to follow a large Utility & Open entry, but I severely underestimated the amount of time those classes would take. Hours passed, they took a dinner break, then other classes continued. It was very late evening by the time we finally entered the Novice ring. I don't even remember what time it was by that point. It was certainly after 9 pm!
Click below on "Read More" to see how we did!
I think it's been about a year since we've entered any AKC events. But since we've been practicing (and doing well) in other Obedience rings, I decided to try for Tripp's 2nd Beginner Novice leg at Cheshire Kennel Club's annual show & trial in Keene. I didn't bother to bring my camera, however, since I'd have to impose upon a stranger again to film us, and honestly, I didn't have high expectations for Tripp's performance. Our luck has just never been in AKC, plus this was an outdoor trial, so you never know what added distractions might appear.
Well go figure, Tripp did a great job in the ring, earning a near-perfect score of 199! Now I wish I had it on video! Oh well, next time, definitely.
Fingers crossed he continues this success in AKC... next trials I plan to enter some higher levels (and of course finish his BN). I sure hope there will be run thrus between now and then for practice!
Practice has been paying off. After moving up to Open level in CDSP Obedience, we had several new exercises to learn. I actually managed to squeeze in some regular clicker training sessions and worked on what we could at home to prepare. Tripp caught on quickly, as usual, and not only did he prove he was ready to perform the new stuff in the ring, he also kept his head in the game and had lovely attention during most of the performance.
We entered our first trial on 7/13/13 at DogStar Activity Center in Acton, MA. Our judges were Rachel Brostrom & Sheila Bennett. It was a nice day (other than sitting in traffic over half an hour, but at least we got there in time). Tripp won 1st place in trial one with a score of 193.5 - and half of those point deductions were my fault. Still not bad for a couple newbies! :-)
This has always been my favorite level. Ok, so I've never done it before either, but I liked the look of it. ;-) Jumps, retrieves, send outs, and other advanced challenges beyond heeling... Novice was fun, but Open rocks! Tripp seemed to enjoy it too, and I'm so happy with his performance this weekend. His only mishap was on the broad jump in trial 2. There seems to have been some confusion; it was like he didn't even try. I can't figure out for sure what caused it, and unfortunately it cost us a Q, but as the judges said, "it is what it is." These things happen. What I do know is that I really need to get a broad jump for practice at home. Considering Tripp has only seen one less than half a dozen times in his life, I'm impressed he can do it at all!
Regardless of scores, we had a blast. Of course I'm glad we did earn at least 1 Q so I got something for my time and money. LOL Tripp obviously doesn't care about those things, he's just happy to be our there working with his mom. Sounds like a win-win to me!
This is how dog people celebrate national holidays... they enter dog shows & trials. :-)
I started out the long 4th of July weekend by braving the Friday traffic to enter a World Cynosport Rally Tournament at All Dogs Gym in Manchester, as well as attend a handler seminar taking place beforehand. Peg Munves taught about the fundamentals of WCRL's (formerly APDT) particular style of Rally, cleared up some questions on rules, scoring, and such, and shared a few strategies on effective handling. This definitely better prepared me for competition, since I had no previous experience with APDT/WCRL Rally beyond a single run through a few years ago. While there are plenty of similarities across the board, each venue has it's own flavor and rules - just enough to confuse those of us with half a dozen different rulebooks in our heads. LOL At least the judges are always there to help.
After a small break, the Tournament began.
Tourneys are non-sanctioned, meaning they're just for fun. No points or titles to earn. No ribbons, even! *gasp!* There was, however, a cash prize for the top 4 placements - a percentage of total entry fees. A nice little incentive to enjoy a fun night out with your dog. :-)
Teams at any level were welcome, and the competition was run according to traditional rules. The only difference was everyone competed on the same course, which consisted of exercises from all levels, increasing in difficulty as each round progressed. Everyone got to play in the first two rounds. In round one, the top 50% scoring teams were separated into a winners group, while the bottom 50% were bumped to an elimination group. In round two, each group was split in half again, bumping some teams out of the competition. And it continued that way through rounds 3 and 4, finally taking 1st & 2nd place from the winners group, and 3rd & 4th place from the elimination group. Competition was tough, with challenging courses, and some great handlers consistently earning near perfect scores, so staying in that top 50% was very tricky! All Dogs Gym kindly offered free run throughs (which were taking place in an adjacent ring) for all entered teams who finished early.
Tripp & I didn't get a chance to take advantage of that offer though... we hung in the Tournament until the very end! I only wish I had been able to catch it all on video - Tripp did great, with only a few small imperfections. Round one, we easily stayed in the top 50% with a 199 (perfect score is 200). Tripp started off round two obsessing over a pretty girl dog nearby, but eventually I got him under control and he behaved decently on course. We squeaked through to the next round with a 198 and faster time (tie breaker). The boy's brain returned for the most part in round three, just losing a couple points to crooked sits and such. That was enough to bump us into the elimination group with a 197, but at least we got to move on to round four. The final round included a bonus exercise, which is an optional sign after the finish line. You can't lose points by doing it wrong, so it's silly to not try - a perfect score with the bonus could be as high as 210. Everyone in the tourney of course performed it! We finished the competition with a 208 and earned 3rd place!
Our prize was $20.50... how about that, I finally made a profit at a trial... ok, so only fifty cents... and I spent more than that on tolls... oh well, it was still lots of fun! I look forward to doing more WCRL Rally, if only the Tournaments for now. I'm holding off on going for titles until we finish up in some other venues. Perhaps Cynosport will be one of Tripp's "retirement" games. Nah, I doubt we'll be able to wait that long. LOL
Check out World Cynosport at www.rallydogs.com.
Also visit Gura Photography for pics of us in the ring! This photographer was there snapping pics of many of the teams working. She caught some cute shots of me & Tripp in the different rounds.
Well, so much for my "free night out" - you know I'll have to order some of those pics. ;-) But I'm glad to at least have photos, since I don't have video to memorialize this awesome event.
It seems to be everyone's favorite "catch-word" at the moment, so I just had to say it. Epic seems appropriate to describe our latest show weekend. Or at least our schedule! 4 Conformation shows, 8 Rally Obedience classes (entries in both level 2 & 3 in 4 trials), all packed into 2 hot summer days. That's 12 events in 1 weekend. If ever my sanity was up for serious questioning, this confirms that I've completely lost my mind. LOL
I'm so glad that Tripp is such a good sport...
Click on "Read More" below for the full story and video footage!
It was a very competitive weekend... but only in the talent of so many teams - the atmosphere of course was all supportive and friendly. This is your typical CDSP Obedience trial. The exercises are similar to mainstream trials, but everything is much more relaxed and fun. Praise is allowed in the ring, and even a treat between exercises. The focus in CDSP is teamwork over absolute precision. Obviously this makes for more happy dogs!
Monadnock Humane Society was our gracious host on June 16, and as our wonderful judges, Charlene Swainamer & Barb Burri. Tripp held his own in both trials against stiff competition, earning a near-perfect score of 199 each time. And both trials required a "run-off" (repeat the heeling pattern to break a tie) - trial 1 actually had a 4-way tie! As I said, lots of great teams out there. Tripp, as usual, got a little wacky in the run-offs, so we took lower placements - but 3rd & 4th place is still quite respectable.
More importantly, this finished Tripp's CD-C title - our first in the sport of obedience. The next trial is a month away, where we will enter Open level. There's still a lot of training left to do to prepare for that! Time to get to work!
You all know Tripp does a lot of tricks. You've seen many in his freestyle routines. He knows so many that I can't even remember half of them without looking at a list. But ironically, with all the filming I do of him, I have never compiled a video specifically of Tripp's tricks. Until now...
For some time, I had intended to apply for Trick Dog titles through DMWYD, partly because they count as points towards VIP's versatility certificates. As of Sept. 3, 2012 Tripp officially became an Advanced Trick Dog, thus giving him more than enough points for his VCX. (Now I still need to apply for that. Don't hold your breath. ;-)
As DMWYD states, titles also offer training goals to keep handlers motivated and focused on, well, doing more with their dog! No other organization offers recognition for the "sport" of dog tricks. I admit, I have heard the rare brush-off that it's just a "buy-a-title" thing, since lower titles are given basically on the honor system (you just have a witness confirm performance - which could be "fixed" - but really, why would anyone do that? Meanwhile Championship application requires a video submission to ensure correct performance.) But it would be unreasonable to expect everyone to have video capabilities for even Novice level, and I don't forsee organized trick dog competitions popping up across the country (how would you even judge that?)... So how else could it be done? Besides, if these weren't respectable titles, VIP would certainly not be recognizing them!
Not everyone wants to compete in mainstream trials, but many people enjoy teaching their dog tricks. Even if it only takes place in their living room, it still makes for great bonding and mental stimulation. Titles are something tangible for us humans to get in reward for our training efforts. And as previously stated, it keeps us motivated to go futher.
Ok, so getting down to the technical details... There are 5 levels of trick titles - Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, and Champion. Each level is successive to the one before it. There is a long list of tricks, organized by difficulty, from which to choose behaviors to earn the titles. Each title requires a certain number of tricks at the given level or higher. Novice requires 15 tricks (Tripp is adept at 26, and can do more - imperfectly), Intermediate requires NTD title, plus 12 tricks at the appropriate levels (Tripp knows 18, and again, a few more still in the learning stages), Advanced & Expert require the previous titles plus 5 more high level tricks (Tripp now has 8 advanced tricks and 6 expert tricks, plus a few of his own). TDCH reviews all levels and has more stringent, specific requirements and some more difficult behaviors. I'd like to get that far with Tripp some day.
So why the extreme delay in announcing this new award? I mean, besides being a master of procrastination. Well, making movies takes time... but I certainly couldn't tease you all with so many fun tricks without providing a video montage of the talented Tripp showing off! ;-) Our latest movie includes the tricks used for credit towards his ATD title, as well as a few new & original ones thrown in... after all, it's been almost a year, we've learned some new things along the way! But if you meet us on the street, don't ask me what tricks Tripp can do - I still can't remember them all! LOL