Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Weekend Trials - 1st leg!

I can't speak for Jackson, but I think the trials this past weekend were a real confidence builder for both of us. Recently, Susan Garrett posted on her dog training blog about the need to rehearse success to build confidence. So, that was our goal last weekend. I felt we needed to get back into the ring to try to find some success in doing the utility exercises under stress/with distractions. We had not been in a trial since last February - a trial where I discovered we had a lot of things that needed work, to put it mildly : )

I'm happy to report that we did find some success. Actually, I would have been happy to have just seen a lot of improvement, even if we didn't qualify. Needless to say though, I was thrilled when we qualified on Sunday and got our first UD leg! And, a First place no less - not because of our score, but we were the only one out of seven entered that qualified.

Overall, it was a great weekend. The trials were in Loveland, Colorado, which is quite a ways from where we live so I didn't know anyone at the trials. However, we met a lot of really nice people and found the show site and the judges to be super. (The reason we went so far for the trials is because we love the mountains and usually make a trek to Colorado each year anyway to get our 'fix' of mountains, so decided to combine the trip with a trial this time.)

There were two trials over the weekend. We NQ'd on the first trial because he did not go all the way down on the 'down' signal - he just sat. It was one of those, "He's never done that before" moments. He has missed the signal on occasion, but he's always gone completely down when he's started it. The rest of the exercises were pretty solid on the basics. He lost a lot of points both days though on lack of briskness, slow sits, crooked sits and some lagging , which was pretty much as I expected. Even though in practice we can get some speed and some good heeling without the lagging, everything really slows down under the stress of a trial.

I posted a couple short clips of the moving stand exercise and the directed retrieve (glove) exercise.

So, now we have a better idea of where we are, as far as progress we've made in performing the exercises. And, we know we need a lot of work to keep improving. It's really the same things we've been working on in the last few months - the basics (attention, heeling), building confidence and having fun! Maybe the briskness will come with the confidence : )


Honey the Great Dane said...

Wooohoooo!! Jackson! Congratulations!! That is fantastic - you did so well!! Am so proud of you - although I don't really understand this "leg" thing - whose leg did you get and why would your human be thrilled about that??

Anyway, am SO impressed as usual. If this was only your 2nd time at trials, you're going to be amazing! :-) Can't wait to see more videos!

Honey the Great Dane
ps. I like your new videos in YouTube - they are a lot easier to watch!

Kathie R said...

Hey Honey, Thanks for the congrats. I'm not sure how they came up with the 'leg thing' but in AKC trials, you need to qualify in three trials. Each time you qualify you get a 'leg.' When you get three legs, you have earned your title. So, I have two more legs to go in order to get my UD title!

ps. Actually, I've been in a few trials previously, but I didn't get it together enough to qualify. Hope I've got it together now so I can qualify two more times :)

Jennifer H. said...

Oh my gosh Kathie!!! I am SOO excited for you and Jackson. We just got back from a visit to Michigan and your blog was one of the first I checked when I got on the computer. I am just tickled for you two. HUGE congrats and it certainly shows all the hard work you've been doing.

Are you going to enter at the September trial?

Way to go Kathie and Jackson!!!!

Kathie R said...

Thanks Jennifer!
I haven't decided about the September shows yet. The VI building is a tough place to trial - but I might enter Friday to support our club's specialty show. How about you?

The PR Gang said...

YAY!! Congratulations Jackson and Kathie!! Now that you know he can do it, I'm sure that's great for your confidence and his too. Way to go!