Monday, May 3, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up!

I honestly meant to do some blogging while I was down in California, but was busier than I had thought and finding time to sit down and do the blogging thing just wasn't going to happen. But we did have a whole lot of fun! I'm going to try and do a day by by recap. I didn't take a ton of pictures because I was running around pottying, holding, and prepping the dogs that Bess' breeder brought down with her, or taking care of my two. It didn't leave for much in the way of idle hands when dog hand offs had to be carefully timed!

One of the things that I enjoy doing while on road trips is taking pictures of the pretty scenery while we're driving. I usually wait to do this on straight stretches when steering doesn't require both of my hands. Don't worry, I play it safe. After all, it is my two dogs in the back of the truck that I'm driving! The weather through Oregon was off and on raining. Sometimes raining buckets! But the scenery was quite lovely along I-5.

Going over the pass we encountered something that I really thought our weather had been too warm for, snow!
Thankfully we made it through there without any problems. In winter, this pass often gets shut down completely and even when it's open things can be dicey. Unfortunately, one of the other Oregon people that came through a little while after us didn't fare too well. They hit a nasty bit of road after some more recent snow fall and slid into a semi. The vehicle was still drive able and everyone in the vehicle was okay, but there were some pretty good dents to show for it.

Since I was following Bess' breeder and we had a total of six dogs between us, we decided to stop in Yreka and spend the night instead of pushing on through to Lodi. The dogs all needed to be pottied, fed, and pottied again before calling it a night. Heffner and Bess thoroughly enjoyed getting to hang out in the motel room with mom and take over the bed!

If you'll notice, the dogs took up the ENTIRE bed. Where exactly I was supposed to sleep was hard to decipher. I had to rouse them from their languid slumbers to get them to give me a little sliver of bed. P.S. Bess twitches a LOT in her sleep!

Once everyone was pottied in the morning and given their breakfasts, it was time to hit the road and head out to Lodi! On the way we went through some more lovely countryside.

Once in Lodi, we dropped our non-essentials off at the hotel and then headed out to the show site to get our stuff set up for the weekend. The show was being held at this amazing commercial boarding kennel, Sycamore Lane Kennels! The place was just gorgeous! And we had it all to ourselves!! No all breed show going on, just lots and lots of danes!!

I was excited because I got to break out my new x-pens! I was really happy with them and the dogs were definitely more pleased to have the added room instead of being stuck in a soft crate three days in a row. Bess was her usual well behaved self. Heffner, however, didn't appreciate any dog passing by his pen. I ended up putting up a couple of visual barriers around our pens. It helped. He got less barky as the days went on, but he still really had a hard time with any intact males around his pen.

The Friday before the show starts there's a conformation fun match. Georgia had three of her four dogs entered in that in addition to another puppy from that same litter who came with her owners. All of them are half siblings to Bess. Same dam, but different sire. So that was pretty neat! Once things got going, there was a whole lot of juggling dogs in classes and figuring out who was going to handle who. I had the pleasure of taking a couple of the dogs in and got quite the work out! It's a lot different to work with puppies with limited show experience who have been stuck in crates and then x-pens for the better part of 24 hours while travelling.;o) And it just so happened that two of the puppies entered took the honors that day. One of the boy puppies went Best Puppy in Match and the girl puppy went Best of Opposite! If you want to see pictures from the match as well as the rest of the show, there was a club person taking pictures and you can check them out here. There were a lot of pictures taken, so it will take a while for the entire weekend's worth to get uploaded. I'm in there a few times.:)

After the match, a bunch of us went out for a little dinner and then back to the hotel to get unpacked and ready for Saturday. Once again, my dogs were more than happy to take over the bed. While the bed in Lodi was bigger than the one in Yreka, my two still tend to be bed hogs!!

Saturday was an early morning for us. As I mentioned before, this is one of the few specialties outside of the national that offers obedience and rally! And since I whole heartedly support any specialty that will go through the expense of putting this on, I entered both dogs in both events. I also mentioned previously that we were NOT ready for obedience, but I was going to enter anyhow to gain the experience and to support the club for putting this on. I did no end up videoing any of our runs. And probably for the better.

Neither dog was performing up to par. Part of this I'm sure had to do with all the time in the truck and being at an outdoor ring. I also wasn't able to work with my dogs as much as I normally would have if they were the sole dogs that I was taking care of. I definitely think that came into play. I expected Heffner to be at least somewhat distracted, but was hoping that I could warm him up out of it. Bess, I assumed, would be my little rock and put in the types of performances that made me so proud during practice and at matches with little to no warm up. I was a bit disappointed in the results, but I have some ideas on things to work on and different warm ups to try for the next time we're entered. Oh yeah, and I will be going back to only entering one dog per day per event, which will help as well.

First up was rally. I had both dogs entered in novice A and both only needed one more leg to get their RNs. I had planned this on purpose. I knew that I was going to be entering the Lodi specialty and I thought it would be really great for them to both get their titles at this show, so I pushed with both of them and got their first two legs. The first run went to Heffner. Oy! It started off rough with him being pretty distracted and looking around a fair bit, but he generally stayed with me. He can do a lot better, but we just need more work and practice. When we were TWO stations from the end of the run and that final RN leg, he starts sniffing a station sign and then lifts his leg and PEES ON IT!!! OMG!!! I could NOT believe that he did that! ARG!! In case your wondering what the significance is of a dog relieving themselves in the ring during a performance event, it's an automatic disqualification. That's right. We only needed one more leg, and were just about done with our run when he peed. That boy!! And to top it off, he peed three times prior to going into the ring. With plenty of intact males around, there were plenty of things to mark. So it wasn't like he had a full bladder or anything. Ug! Here's a picture taken by Kate Jackson, who was taking the club pictures that are posted on the page that I linked to, right after he peed.

Next up was Bess. She's a really solid dog and I wasn't worried about her doing anything in the ring like Heffner. We warmed up a little bit before going in, but probably not as much as I should have warmed her up. Once we started, she just wasn't quite herself. Her movements were sluggish and she was prone to lagging throughout. She otherwise did a decent job, but it just wasn't what I'm used to with her. However, we did get a qualifying score (I think it was a 91 or a 92) and first place!! Bessy got her RN!!! She is now Daynakin's Penelope RN.:o) Naturally, we got a picture taken with the judge (this is the unofficial picture with the judge).
After our lackluster performance in rally, I decided to pull Heffner from obedience. This is one of the few times that I will not be upset about spending the money on an entry when I have a pretty good feeling that I won't actually go through with showing the dog. Heffner was just too distracted and there was just no way that I thought we were going to make it through the obedience exercises. I didn't want to end on a sour note, even though our rally run was fairly poor, so I pulled him. Elizabeth, who owns Bess' sire and half sister, was nice enough to hang out hold Heffner ring side for me while I took Bess into the ring. Again, Bess was just generally lack luster and pretty much gave me the impression that she would rather be anywhere but there. I was hoping that our rally run would sort of wake her up and she'd be back to performing like her usual self for obedience. That wasn't quite the case.

Our on lead heeling wasn't totally awful. She shocked the heck out of me by pretty much not doing any of her automatic sits. Normally she loves plopping that butt down nice and fast and I've had many people comment on how quickly she does that and how surprised they were that she was that quick for her size. She lagged a fair amount, but that was the crux of it. For our figure 8, I was pretty much dragging her behind me when she was on the outside. That's also a new one. While she does have a tendency to lag some on that spot, it's not usually that pronounced. Then we had the off leash heeling pattern. Oh boy! Something that our obedience instructor has said to me before was very prominent in my mind at that point. It was something along the lines of "until you've heeled around the ring without your dog, you're not fully educated in all the aspects of obedience." Well, I can pretty much check that one off the list now! I had Bess in a sit, and when I said heel, she continued to sit as I walked off towards the corner of the ring. When I was about to do a left turn the judge told me to give her another command. She did come jogging up to me at that point, but it was all over the place after that. At one point, she got distracted on an about turn and when she came back to me, she was on my right side. So that was pretty bad. Her stand for exam was perfect though! The judge even commented on that (probably to help boost me up a bit). For the recall, I had to give her a second command to get her to come to front. This has happened before, but we've been practicing it a lot lately and she hasn't done it for a couple of weeks. She's been catching on more to the left finish that the right with just a signal, so I opted for that. I had to do a second signal for that one. She at least did sort of try to finish correctly, so that at least tells me that she gets the general idea. It just needs work. Needless to say, we NQed. The judge said that she was trying really hard to give it to us, but she just couldn't. And that I totally understand. Our performance most certainly did NOT warrant it! Oh well. We've got much to work on and get fine tuned over the summer.

Here are some of the other pictures from the performance section of Saturday that are also posted on the link I gave.

After our performance stuff was over, the dogs got to go back to their x-pens to chill. The puppy sweepstakes was going on at roughly the same time that rally and obedience were and that was still going on when we got there. Things were starting to heat up a bit and we had to be mindful of the dogs and make sure that they were all in shade. I chose to have Bess' breeder show her because she can get more out of her and I wanted her at her best for this show. My expectations were low, but it's the principle of it. There were only four bitches entered in the American Bred class that I had entered her in. She ended up going fourth out of four. Oh well.

There were well over 100 danes entered in just the conformation part on Saturday and Sunday, which made for a longish day. Saturday's judge was in no hurry during the judging and took a little bit of time. There was a planned dinner at the grounds that night and since judging didn't get over until after the time that it was supposed to start, we just hung out there. The dinner was good and just hanging out with everyone and taking a break from running dogs around was really nice. It totally felt like a middle of the summer evening. At least for us Oregonians it would have been! Then it was back to the hotel to rinse and repeat for Sunday's judging.

There were no performance events on Sunday, just conformation. And the judging started a little earlier. Which was nice for those of us who had a bit of driving to do Sunday evening. Sunday's judge was cooking along with her picks and keeping a good pace. There was still a lot of dogs to juggle, but it worked out. There was also a heck of a lot of wind that day. Many easy ups had to get taken down or else they were going to get blown over all together if not broken. Thankfully, none of the dogs really seemed at all purturbed by all the flapping and wipping about of the various tents. Bess was entered in conformation again and this time she won her class of four. She didn't do anything in the Winners Bitch ring, but that's okay.

Once judging was completed for the day, it was amazing how quickly everyone was breaking their stuff down and heading out. The temperature at that point was about 85 F. Definitely warmer than we are used to this time of year. I kept the truck in the shade and the windows open. I was more concerned about Heffner getting too hot. He tends to feel it a lot more and quicker than Bess does.

I decided to push on through for home from Lodi. Originally I was going to stop with Georgia in Yreka again and stay the night. But I felt really alert and that I could push through and make it home not too late. I took today off as a day to get things in order after the trip, and I didn't want to spend the majority of the day on the road. Everything worked out great and we pulled into the driveway at a little past 1am. Not bad!

Today has just been spent getting the truck unpacked and getting things put away. And now I'm all caught up! I hope that everyone had a great weekend!!


Training my Mammoth said...

Wow, what a busy weekend!

I love looking at the pictures on the site. Most people think that Great Danes all kind of look the same (not counting coloring), but there's a lot of size differences between them, it was very interesting to see.

I also take pictures while I drive! Glad I'm not the only one.

CONGRATULATIONS on the RN!! That's very exciting :)

Sorry that the obedience didn't go as well, but it sounds like the judge was helpful. It would've been much worse if it was a rude judge.

Also sorry about Heffner lifting his leg! Layla does that - my instructor said that she's the only bitch that she's ever seen who can/does lift her leg to urinate. She does it more to mark her territory; she squats at home.

The show site looked gorgeous! It's great that you guys got the place all to yourselves.

Also, THANK YOU (and the dogs thank you especially) for letting us know about the Costco dog beds. They're fantastic. I can't believe how inexpensive they are, other places would've sold the same quality ones for over $80. We got the beds yesterday and they're in heaven.

Jennifer H. said...

HUGE congrats on Bess's RN!!! That is fanastic!!

And I give you BIG props for even trying obedience outdoors! I KNOW that Falkor would be super, duper, mega distracted. We have a fun match the end of May outside and I am really interested to see how it will go. Doing a formal obedience run outside is SO very different than doing one indoors.

Ohhh and I can SO relate to doing the off leash heeling pattern without your dog. One year ago I took my late great Newfy/Great Pyr mix, Finnegan, into the Novice A ring and after the first sit of the off leash pattern he decided it would be fun to watch me heel the rest of pattern until it was almost done and then he caught up. It is quite the interesting experience to say the least. LOL

And it is wonderful that the judge was encouraging and kind. Love to hear that for Novice A people. :)

Thank you for sharing all your fab photos and your experience for the weekend!

We are proud of you and the furkids!!!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Sorry about the weekend. I too know what it's like to do heel by yourself!!! I've never had to do obedience outdoors and the thought of it terrifies me!
and congrats on bess's win on sunday!

M.T. said...

Wow, what a weekend! CONGRATS on the RN, especially in an outdoor trial, go Bess!!! :) Too bad about obedience, but hey, at least you went out and did it! That in itself deserves thumbs up!!! :)