The weekend started off on April Fool's day with both the dogs entered in Rally. It was a later starting day, but that was okay because I had some much needed errands to run in the morning and my mom was also coming down to check out the golden retriever specialty, to connect with some breeder's and get on a waiting list for a puppy. I was a little concerned at first when we got down to Albany because it was 70 degrees. While that's not terribly hot, going from temps in the 40's to a temp of 70 is not something that Heffner enjoys. It took a little while to get him settled down in his crate and cooled off enough that I felt okay leaving him. I then got to go over and watch the goldens with my mom and meet some really nice people.
Our first run of the day was Excellent B with Bess. I was not the best handler and in a few areas didn't really give Bess adequate room to move properly with the sign and myself. Thankfully she's a clever girl and can get out of her own way and therefore saved us. She was very excited to go over the jump and that's when I started really having a happy dog. Probably my proudest moment was on the backing up while staying in position station. This is something that we've actually been working on. I can get both dogs to back up with me, but staying in position without a physical barrier on the other side of me has been difficult. I finally started playing around more with cues and how I position my body and found a combination that seems to work well for us. I am happy to say that Bess backed straight up with me! It has become more of a game for her and she tends to scoot backwards much faster than I walk, so she ends up a bit further behind me, but still within the rally heel position zone. There were two stations that we had to redo thanks to handler error, but otherwise a decent run. We ended with a qualifying score of 85. Next up was Rally Advanced. Bess was in the B class and Heffner in the A class. I remember having to redo one station with Bess, though I can't remember which one. I know that it was again handler error (the dogs seriously need one of those t-shirts asking for a handler exchange program!). Overall, it wasn't bad. She ended with a qualifying score of 88, earning her fifth RAE leg!! Following Bess was the Heffmeister. With regards to my goals for Heff, I was pleased with his performance. He was a bit stressed, but handled it well and I had an adorable happy dog for parts of the course. Bit by bit we're getting there! Thankfully the station that I screwed him up the most on was the last one. Even though I'd walked two courses that had that exact station in them, including running them correctly with Bess, I completely glossed over the initial halt before calling the dog to front. I just called him right to front and then couldn't remember if I had halted him or not. Since I couldn't remember, I decided to redo the station regardless. Good thing I did, because when I asked the judge afterwards, I had in fact started to do the station incorrectly! Unfortunately, redoing the station deflated Heffner. His initial halt was painfully slow, but we got through it. He got a qualifying score of 80 for his third RA leg and his RA title!! Naturally I got a picture.:0)
Saturday was just conformation with Bess. While she won her class, she didn't do anything beyond that. She also didn't quite have the zest that I've gotten used to seeing with her in the conformation ring. I think that I didn't do as good of a job getting her happy before entering the ring. I took a chance by entering her under this judge. We've shown under him twice before and haven't done anything, but it was usually with a much larger entry and therefore kind of hard to base an opinion on. After I packed our stuff up, I went to say hi to Kennedy and Vegas who were at the same fairgrounds, but competing in agility in another building. I made it just in time to watch them run a fast and lovely Excellent Standard run.
Today was another day of conformation under a judge that we've never shown to before. Our ring location was in a different building than on Saturday and on packed dirt. The ring was also quite large. Sweet! I fully intended to use the ring and show off Bess' movement. I played some little games with her and got her showing off some of her favorite tricks. She was quite pleased with herself and genuinely happy to be there. Excellent! Once we got into the ring, I worked it and she won her class. Then we went in for Winners Bitch and I knew that I was going to have to work it really hard here. The judge moved each dog a fair bit and I did my best to make sure that I showed Bess off. In the final line up she was stacking well and giving me great expression and great ears. And then the judge pointed to us for Winners Bitch!!! When we went back in for breed, we ended up with Best of Winners and Best of Opposite Sex!!!! The entry was small and the point break down was only one point for dogs and one point for bitches, so no cross over points, but still. We got a freaking point! That puts Bess at 9 points including one major. The judge was also complimentary of her when we got our picture, praising her soundness and ability to move.:0) Yes, this judge gets highlighted on our spreadsheet!In other less exciting news, I managed to bag up an entire three month supply of meat for the dogs in one day! That's a new record for me! After we got home from the dog show and I vegged out a bit, I just got down to it and didn't stop until it was done. It feels really good to have that out of the way for another three months! I hope everyone else has had a fabulous weekend!