Last night I took the dogs up to Ridgefield, WA for our NW Agility League practice! It actually started last Fri., but I was running both dogs in the AKC agility trial in Albany and really didn't feel like doing that much driving. Plus, I think it would have just been overload for the dogs. They needed to come home and have some time to unwind and decompress from the excitement of the trial. So last night was our first night! Aside from traffic pretty much sucking on the way out due to stall going into the tunnel (if you're from the area you know what I'm talking about and how horribly that can totally screw up traffic even under light conditions), the rest of the night went really well! Our first course of the night was Standard and we were running small to tall. Since we were able to park so close to an entrance door, I decided to just leave both dogs inside the truck and run back and forth. The atmosphere there is really laid back and it's not like anyone was going to get upset waiting a few extra minutes for me to change out dogs.
Both dogs did really well on their Standard runs and I was very pleased! Their runs went well enough that I ALMOST wished that we had joined a team. ALMOST!LOL Heffner wasn't having any of his distraction problems that he had at the last trial. I'm essentially treating these practices as fun matches, so I kept everything very upbeat and positive (not that I'm mean and overbearing otherwise, but you know what I mean!).
The next run was a nontraditional Jackpot. I didn't review the specific league rules for this game and since I wasn't actually going for a score I had the laxity to just do whatever the heck I wanted to out on the course without trying to keep track of points! Both dogs did well, but Heffner got a little distracted about the middle of the course and went to say hi to the judge.**insert eye roll** I got him back with a squeaky high voice and lots of pats. I do have to say though that Bess did a fair bit better than he did on her Jackpot run.lol She did everything that I asked her to and even threw in an extra tire jump!
So altogether, I'm really pleased with how the dogs were running in a trial like setting around strange dogs and in a brand new barn! And I do have to admit that I'm thoroughly enjoying the leisure of running my dogs For Exhibition Only (FEO)! Not only is it less pressure on me, but it's great to have inexpensive weekly fun matches for seven weeks.:o) I had originally thought that this year I would get a feel for League by running them FEO and then run them both on teams next year. Plus I knew from the outset that I was going to miss at least two practices due to dog show stuff. However, I'm really starting to think that I'll most likely run them both FEO next year as well.
Now on to the dog show this morning! Bess and I headed down to Salem for an all breed show. Not a very large turnout for danes. Three class dogs, three class bitches, and one special. Unfortunately Bess got pretty well dumped. She took her class, but didn't do anything in the WB ring. Such is showing!
On the up side, I was able to watch my friend Andrea and her bull mastiff, Brody, get a beautiful qualifying leg towards their Rally Advanced title! They did great!
I also got to tool around with Bess' breeder and check out some of the other breed rings. Aside from just enjoying the other dogs (something I seldom do for small shows because I usually just head on out once we're done showing), I was getting some ring side handling instructions! While we were at the national specialty I told her that I really wanted to be a better handler. If for nothing else than to be able to show my own dogs well. I know that I don't do a horrible job with Bess, she has 8 points including one major that I've put on her, but I know that I could be better. I also plan on being involved in exhibiting the breed for many years to come, so it would be a good idea if I start getting worked over!;o) So we went around to a few different breeds and she pointed out the really good handlers and what they were doing that was also good. I need to start applying all of this to my handling with Bess now. I have to admit that I've been very lax when it comes to practicing handling with Bess. For all intents and purposes she's a trained show dog and I've just kind of used that as an excuse to not continue working with her at home. I need to get back to practicing with her so that I can fine tune things and put to use the things that I'm learning.
We go back down to Salem tomorrow for another of showing. Another day, another judge. Hopefully we'll be able to pick up a point! I'm also going to be transporting a lovely ridgeback male back up to the Beaverton area with me. AND my cousin is down this weekend from Ft. Lewis and will be coming and staying with us on Sun. evening! Busy, busy weekend!:o)