Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The National Continued - Obedience

As promised, I'm going to break down the performance events from the national specialty in order to not make Monday's already lengthy post even lengthier.;0) Today we'll start with obedience (and I promise that next week I'll get back to more regular and "normal" posts). I'll start by also saying, that this trip was not only about the dogs and the performances, but about my planned outfits.;0) I had specifically planned out what I was going to wear in advance. Even things weren't going to go quite as I might like them to, we were going to look good trying!!:0) My obedience outfit consisted of some pants with dane heads beautifully painted on them that I got at the 2009 national specialty. I loved the pants, but really hadn't had any where to wear them. This seemed like the perfect opportunity! And of course, I couldn't forget the awesome pair of gold sparkly shoes that are now going to be my competition obedience shoes!!

Obedience was moved from it's originally scheduled time slot of the afternoon on Monday that 31st to the morning of the 31st. And thank goodness!! It was getting hot even towards the end of the morning! With some help, that morning I had set up my canopy and the dogs' soft crates and we were pretty much good to go. As the time was drawing nearer, I took Bess away from the hustle and bustle and put her through a bit of a warm up. I didn't want to work her too much and have her start to get warm and decide that she was done, but I wanted to feel confident going into the ring. We did a bit of heeling, a bit of on leash dropping, and just a smidge of dumbbell. We had done a little bit of work with the dumbbell the previous two nights at the end of her evening potty walk and I felt pretty good about how she was working with her new dumbbell (which I will have to do a separate post on, because I love it!!). Just a little bit of waiting and it was our turn!

One of the many reasons that we entered Graduate Novice versus one of the other classes, was that there wasn't any off lead heeling. While Bess is totally capable of all the exercises up through Graduate Novice, we've struggled with a few aspects of competition. Namely that she stresses out and really shuts down. The other difficulty for her that I've found both in competition as well as in practice is that she has a harder time thinking and working on grass. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but I'm chalking it up at least in part due to her sensitivity to texture. At any rate, our off lead heeling even in a training situation is most definitely less than ring ready. I don't even know that it's match ready. We're struggling, but we're working on it. And as with everything else, I know that with time it will improve. I just have to be patient and plug away at it.

I am going to recount the exercises as I remember them, but not necessarily in their actual order. However, I do remember that our first exercise was the on lead heeling. It started out a bit rough, but I think it started to improve as the pattern wore on. I don't entirely remember, but I don't think we had a single sit during the halts. While the heeling pattern was rough, there were absolutely parts of it where I could tell she was thinking and working through it. It's just tough for her right now. Glimmers of hope are much better than nothing at all. So I will take that!

Our next exercise, I believe, was the off lead figure 8. I had totally forgotten that this was off lead. If it had been on lead, I know that we would have fared better if for no other reason than the fact that I would have been willing to give up some points for a tight leash or two to remind her to stay with me. As it was, she got distracted on one of the turns and decided that sniffing the butt of one of the people who was the post was far more interesting than continuing on with me. When I called her to heel again, she did come up to me, but on the wrong side. And there was some wandering off. However, we did get a sit at the very end! Sometimes, you just gotta take what you get!

Next up was the dumbbell recall. I am very happy to say that this was her BEST exercise!! For that alone, our run was a success! She had a good recall. No slinking along like a beaten dog. She came to front. She dropped the dumbbell when I asked her to. And she finished. THAT was awesome!!

Her recall over the high jump was also quite good, though our finish didn't happen.

The drop on recall was an okay recall, it just lacked the essential drop part. Oy!

And finally the recall over the broad jump. This was weird. Bess actually went around the broad jump! I can't even remember when the last time that happened if at all! (yeah, yeah, how many times have you heard someone say that at a trial!!)

After only recently getting up the courage to review the videos, I have to admit that it didn't look quite as horrible as I had built it up in my mind. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't good, but it wasn't as awful as I was thinking it was. I have hope. And I'm very happy to see how happy she was in between exercises. She is starting to grow into the mental image that I have of us as a team in the ring. That makes me happy.:0)

A while later, Heffner was up in Beginner Novice. Poor Heffner! By the time he got to run it was quite warm and the flies had really been bugging him. And also not entirely in his favor, the intact male running before us had marked on the course. Yikes! But I was already willing to give up some points for a tight leash, and you better believe I wasn't going to let him get distracted and stall out at that spot! The heeling was okay. More par for the course for him. We had no sit on the halt. The figure 8 wasn't so great and I made the mistake of starting off in a different direction than I normally do with him. He was acting a bit distracted so I started off with him on the inside, and I think that just set him off from the get go. Normally he's quite good heeling on the outside of the circle, but not so much this time around. His sit for exam was great! The flies just wouldn't stop bothering him for his sit stay and unfortunately he stood up. But at least he otherwise stayed where I put him.:0/ And the recall was just bad. He didn't come on the first command and he didn't want to come to front without a lot of help. Oh well! Much to keep working on at matches!


Kimberley said...

I cant comment from show experience on these videos, but they look great to me. I am glad yall had a good time doing it, and hope that Heffner has better luck next time. Thanks for sharing

Jennifer H. said...

OMG I LOVE the pants and the shoes are wicked awesome. :)

There were some really great moments in both of their performances and you should be very proud of them! I think that doing performance outside on the grass is VERY hard. I admire you for getting out there and doing it!!

GO Bess and Heffner!!!!