Sunday, May 8, 2011

Catch Up

As is starting to become a habit, I'm going to be playing a bit of catch up in this post.

1) I have the pictures from the talent show!!

2) Yesterday I stewarded for the very first time at an obedience trial!! And I have to say, I really enjoyed myself! I didn't think that I wasn't going to like it, but I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I learned a lot from watching the exhibitors ("my" judge had Open B, Open A, Graduate Novice, and Versatility) and a lot from the people who I was stewarding with. The other three stewards all have a lot more experience than I do and not only had tips on how to be a better steward (which the judge and the exhibitors all can appreciate), but pointed out the many things that the good handlers were doing as well as nuances with our particular judge. I didn't do too bad until the versatility class where I forgot to give the handlers their leashes at the end without being prompted. D'oh! I also won a short leather leash in the stewards raffle!!

3) As I've mentioned previously, Bess is in season right now, so I had to pull her Novice A entry from the trial today. Heffner was entered in Rally Excellent A.
Unfortunately, it did not go well. The honor portion went fine. Since we were the last Excellent entry, we honored first. The dog running the course while we honored was a papillon. The way the course ended up being laid out, the honor dog was in a down directly next to the #10 station sign, with the dog on the course halting within about a foot of the dog. Oy! That poor little dog was definitely nervous having to perform so close to an animal that was so much bigger than him, even though Heffner was in a down. Heffner held his down, though he did look at the little guy, and I'm sure that didn't help much.

When it was our turn to run the course, I was a little apprehensive. Heffner did NOT want to sit for the set up. He kept staring off at the dogs outside of the ring. Our first station was the off set figure eight. While we haven't practiced that in a while (I will be rectifying that before either dog gets entered in another trial), he understands the basic commands. The bowls contained a stuffed ball. Something that ordinarily isn't all that enticing to Heffner. Except today it really was and I could not get him to leave it for the longest time! I was starting to get really frustrated when he finally came back to me. Only then he meandered off into essentially the middle of the ring and started heading towards the judge to say hello.

I had two choices at this point. Continue on with our run and most likely only get more and more frustrated with him to the point that he would most likely shut down on me and create a totally negative experience for him in the ring. Or I could ask to be excused. I asked to be excused. I'm getting a little too used to doing that with him lately.:0/

I had thought to enter him in a rally trial or two next month, but I think I'm just going to wait until the fall and hopefully find a way to work through these periodic issues that we have. I'm in no hurry with him, so there's no reason to push him.

4) After the trial was over we met up with Kennedy and Vegas for a little walk/hike on some of the trails in Memorial Park. Heffner used to get along just fine with Vegas, even when he started having issues with other dogs. At some point that started to change, though I'm not entirely sure now if it was a reaction aimed directly at Vegas, or if it was more of a blanket response that he was having to all large dogs. Regardless, Kennedy and I have talked about this a bit and it would be REALLY nice if Heffner had another buddy aside from Bess that he was comfortable with and could possibly "hang out" with. Since Kennedy and I share a lot of the same dog centered interests, it would also be really nice if I didn't have to either barricade Heffner or leave him out of things all together. She suggested getting together after the trial today for a little trial run at Memorial park. We'd keep both dogs on leash and just hike around on the trails and keep the experience relaxed and positive. We were thinking that the outing had a high probability of going well because we actually had both dogs in fairly close proximity at the last agility trial, with Heffner even eating a frozen sardine in front of Vegas, without incident.

I am VERY happy to say that it went fabulously! Even getting out of the truck, Heffner didn't so much as grumble at Vegas. They got closer than I've allowed any other dog to get to Heffner without a physical barrier in a very long time. There were no grumbles, no raised hackles, no stiff posturing, no concerned looks from Heffner. It was great! Vegas totally didn't care that he was there at all and just went on her merry way enjoying the outing.:0) Which is part of the reason why we thought this might work out so well. Vegas is very non-plussed by Heffner's presence, which is great because he then doesn't have anything to react to.

It's a start, and a very good one at that!

5) Bess is in season. And she's at the point where her hormones have completely taken over her brain. It. Drives. Me. Nuts. As I started typing this post up I had to continually separate them because she won't leave Heffner alone. He's content to lay down. She is not. I finally got so annoyed that I put the baby gate up with Heffner in here with me and her on the outside. My little girl is the worst kind of hussy right now and it makes me crazy! What's even more unpleasant is that over the next few days it's only going to get worse. We still have a week and a half to go. Heaven help me!!!


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

I'm sorry about Heffner's rally run but at least you ended the day on a FABULOUS note!!! Really really exciting!

Intact males I can do, females not so much!

Urban canines said...

Great update! Heffner was a great breed ambassador at the demo!

Hiking Hounds said...

I love the box trick!! Great job!