Sunday, September 27, 2009

Obedience Novice A Trial - our 3rd leg and CD title!

Everything started an hour earlier today, but I didn't want it to be as long of a day as yesterday, so we got there at 11:30am today. I had left our crate and chair overnight so it was waiting for us when we got there. There were considerably less people today than yesterday though.

They had just finished Utility in our ring, and were taking a lunch break before starting Open. So we had about 20 minutes before they started Open, then to wait for the 7 or so dogs to go. I kept Red out for awhile, playing and doing some exercises for treats, and took him out on the grounds to sniff around and play a little. After that, I put him in his crate and watched the Open dogs.

I figured I would try something a little different and get him out more in advance to hang out. Normally I get him out while the dog before us is going because that's what worked before, but since he's been tarting out on off-leash halt/sits (and I'm not sure if he's distracted or what) that I'd try something different. So I got him out while Open were doing their sits/downs. We played with the rope and practiced halt/sits.

I had a good feelig about today. I wasn't near as nervous as I was yesterday, which is strange because it all came down to today to get our title. But I wasn't cold, it was a nicer day, and I felt more comfortable and calm. I promised Red if he did good today, I would buy him TWO hamburgers from McDonald's instead of his usual one! =)

There were only 3 people registered for Novice A, but only 2 signed in including me. We were second in line to go. The team in front of us was a young girl and a large German Shepherd. After the judge's briefing/walkthrough, the first team went. I wasn't really watching because I was focusing on Red, but the part I did see was once the dog was off leash during the heel, he jumped the fence into the next ring! Thankfully no one was trialing in the next ring, but that is an automatic NQ and dismissal, so their run was cut short. Red and I were up!

The on leash heeling was great. He sat at all the halts and kept up with me. The figure 8 was good, and sat at all the halts. The stand for exam was great, no problems. The off leash heeling was sloppy. He lagged and went wide on one of the about turns, and didn't sit at the halts. What is up with that?? He came in crooked for the front on recall and didn't sit for the finish. But I didn't care because all that are just poin deductions.

Since we were the only qualifying team, the judge had us go right into sits/downs. Which was kind of a bummer because I usually jackpot him after his run. But we had to stay in the ring and do sits/downs alone... I was nervous about that because usually there is a line of dogs which is normal. It's harded for a dog when they are the only one.

The 1 minute sit/stay was fine. But the down/stay was the longest 3 minutes of my life! There were flies in the building and they kept landing on him and he kept snapping at them, sniffing around, and shooing them off him. But he STAYED! Even the judge said afterwards that she couldn't believe he made it through that with all the flies harassing him!

We Qualified for our 3rd leg, and got our CD title!!! w00t!!

Here's the video:

On the way home, I kept my promise and stopped at McDonald's to get Red his two hamburgers... (click to enlarge pics)

"omg is that for me??"

"I can haz cheezburger?"

"om nom nom"

And Redders showing off his gold and silver medallions and title ribbon! =)


I just received an email from the photographer with a sneak peek of our win photos. We did a couple different poses, but here is one of them.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Obedience Novice A Trial - for our 2nd leg

I wasn't sure what time to go there today, since they were splitting everything up into 2 rings, and since I'd rather be early than late, I decided to play it safe and go early.

We got there at 11am and the place was a mad house. There was no where to put our crate and I circled around for awhile before I was told a spot to put it. Sam and Mally and Glee and Maximus were able to set up pretty close to us, so that was good. Michelle wasn't there yet because she decided not to show Maisy, but was still going to come to watch us.

They were still doing Utility in our ring when we got there, so we had a long time to wait. I couldn't even check in yet. After Utility, the judge took a 30 minute break, then went into Open, which was another hour as least. We didn't end up going into the ring til after 3pm. Waaay too long for Redders to be in his crate.

I was really nervous today because he did not do well at the fun match this week. I didn't make a blog post about it because I didn't want to relive it. Basically, I yelled at him for chewing up hs crate mat just before we went into the ring, and during heeling he was off in left field and didn't sit at any of the halts. So I was extra nervous today just hoping to god he wouldn't repeat the performance. Plus I was a little cold, so I was uncomfortable which didn't help.

Anyway, there were only 2 people in Novice A. The 3rd person who was supposed to be there didn't show up. So it was just me and my friend Glee and her Doberman, Maximus. It was pretty cool to see the 2 dobes together. The judge gave us our briefing and showed us the heeling pattern - really nice guy and just stressed to us to have fun and don't worry! He even let us take a 5 minute break after the walk through to prepare our dogs, and waited til the awards ceremony in the next ring was finished so we didn't have to try to run during all the clapping. I thought that was really cool of him.

Once Glee and Max went into the ring, I went and got Red out of the crate. I fed him treats and did some focusing. I really wanted to watch Glee and Max, but I had to concentrate on not freaking out and getting Red focused! I fed the last piece of hotdog well before we went into the ring and made sure he wasn't going to choke it back up!

We were called into the ring and started our heeling pattern. The sits were ok, though a little slow. During the figure 8, I messed up my footwork on the halt and after that, he wouldn't sit at the halts anymore! gah! Th stand for exam was good, but th off-leash heeling was frustrating due to his lack of sitting at the halts. The recall was a very crooked front and didn't sit on the finish! grrr... At least the sits/downs were ok, though I was starting to worry on the down because he was very restless and was fidgeting a lot. It seemed like A LOT longer than 3 minutes... I just kept praying the judge would tell us to go back so I could release before he did something stupid! But it was fine and we qualified for our 2nd leg!

Here's the video:

We got a really nice silver medallion plus the usual green qualifying ribbon and red second plac ribbon. Here's Redders modeling his medallion (click to enlarge):


The score was 186.5, and the judge told me it was because of all the sits - which I already knew. I'm just so confused on why he would stop sitting all of a sudden?? He does it great during practice, but the fun matches and trials... who knows... Definitely something I'm going to have to grill into him. But no time now because our last trial is tomorrow to (hopefully!) finish our CD title!

I am going to be a basket case tomorrow...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fun Match

Up and at 'em early for a fun match today! It's about 30 minutes away and we got there at 9am.

Did our usual, left Red in the car while I carried in and set up the crate and all our stuff, then got him out of the car, took him around to the potty area (he never goes though), then went inside. We did a few warm ups, played some tug, then put him in the crate so I could get a coffee =)

I signed us up for one Novice Obedience run and one Rally Excellent run, since we're going to be going for our RE next month and neither one of us has done Rally in a long time!

Novice Obedience:

On-leash heel: Started out normal pace, then went into a slow pace. He bumped me a few times and the "judge" had us stop and start again. The second time he was better and didn't bump, but I requested not stopping us in the middle of a heeling pattern again because it throws him off. We went through it and he was fine.

On-leash figure 8: Very good! He's getting much better at not bumping as we go around the posts. Very happy with this.

Stand for exam: Great, no problem.

Off-leash heel: No problem, the same as the on-leash. Stayed with me fine. I think I told him to sit once at a halt because he was not paying attention and was distracted by what was going on in the next ring. But he was fine.

Recall: Great! Came in nice and fast and had a nice front - still a little crooked, but it was better than what he's done in the past, so I'll take it!

It was a qualifying run if it were a real trial, so that's all the matters! I do think he is bored with the exercises though, which is why he can get distracted during the heeling. He's been through it a million times!

Rally Excellent: He did fine. It's been awhile since we've done Rally so I hadto walk through it to make sure I knew what all the signs were. It was a tight course, but it was better than they usually have which is why I chose to do it. I hate it when they cram 25 signs in a little tiny ring - its difficult to manuever and easy to get lost. But we did fine - I think we would've qualified for that too.

I've been teaching Red the backing up heeling and its going quite well! At first I started to see if he would do it in front of me, but he kept backing up and out of my way as I stepped toward him, so we did it in heel position. At first I started from a sit and went backwards, but he'd just scoot backwards on his butt. But then I started heeling forward, then going backwards and he got it! I can't believe how fast he learns - its really neat to watch. And he was so excited to be learning something new too =) It's been awhile since he learned anything new. It's like I'm afraid to teach him anything else because I'm afraid I'm going to teach it wrong and then be stuck. He's the type of dog that is hard to fix once you've already taught it incorrectly. I'm going to have to start training for Open, though so I'll definitely need some help!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Red's recheck echocardiogram

Red had his echocardiogram rechecked today. It's a couple weeks shy of the 6 months, but I couldn't wait any longer... In case you missed the first echo post, here it is.

Results: everything is the same. The left ventricular dimension (which was a little too high last time), and the overall function (which was a little too low last time) - and both of these things may point to early DCM - were exactly the same. So a couple possibilities - this is just normal for him, or he has early cardio changes. Dr Brown is not worried right now and doesn't feel a need to put him on meds or anything, but would like to recheck the echo in another 9-12 months, and continue holter monitoring annually.

Redders was so good for it though! I think he thought we were going to training because he was excitedly whining the whole way there, lol... but little did he know! He looked so pitiful on the table as the techs were holding him (with an "I didn't agree to this!" look on his face), but he never struggled once and just laid there so still. It was hilarious when they put him back down on the floor he started doing the zoomies! Full out ZOOMIES in the treatment area (while I frantically tried to grab his collar saying "no zoomies! no zoomies!!", which of course made him go faster) - while a couple hospitalized dogs and a cat watched probably thinking what idiot dog would be this happy to be at the vet's. Dr Brown and the techs were pretty amused though, LOL

Here is good ol happy Redders back in the exam room after his echo (click to enlarge)


He is such a crack up! =D

Friday, September 11, 2009

Our Blog's New Look!

Thanks to Lyn at GR8ILLUSTRATION.COM, Red has his own professional custom logo! =D She designed it from a photo of him, and I am in love with it!! She did such a great job and I am honored to have Red portrayed in her artwork =) Check out her site and portfolio for examples of other work she has done - she's a truly talented person!
Even though I liked the black background of our blog's old header banner, I wanted something that featured our new logo. I'm no great shakes at Photoshop, but I put a one new one together. I didn't have a lot room to play with the logo and wording because the words "Red XIII" and "Gorrmae's Fantasty Red XIII RA CGC TDI" are part of the blog itself and are not editable - either in color, text, or placement. So I did the best I could!

I'm going to look into having a patch for our training bag and a shirt (maybe polo-style) with this logo embroidered on it. If anyone knows of any place that does this, please let me know!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

2nd Obedience Trial this Weekend - Novice A

Another beautiful day! What a gorgeous Labor Day weekend!

Our second obedience trial of the weekend was today - same time, same place. I wasn't as nervous for today as I was yesterday. I mean, it can't be any worse, right??

Michelle called me before we left the house and told me that when she went into the ring with Delilah (she was showing for Dawn) for rally today, who the judge that NQ'd me from yesterday was judging, the judge told them to be really careful about giving your dog treats before coming into the ring because she had to NQ a girl yesterday for it and she felt really bad, but didn't have a choice.

Then when I got there today and walked into the building to set up my stuff, that judge walked straight up to me and asked very sympathetically asked how I was doing after yesterday. I said I was fine, and she was very sincere when she said that she was so sorry about yesterday and she was thinking about me last night and felt really terrible, but there are just some rules you can't get around. I told her I completely understood and it just wasn't meant to be - its not her fault - it was just one of those freak things. She said she's only had that happen twice (counting me and Red) in her whole judging career. (yay me, lol)! She was really nice and complimented me again on how great of a job we did and what a great dog Red is. Then we chatted about the weather a little - she flew in from Minnesota to judge this weekend - and that was that.

I'm really glad I got to talk to her - she is genuinely a nice lady and really didn't have a choice. I feel bad for feeling upset about the whole thing. And Michelle pointed out that at least it happened for our 1st leg rather than our 3rd! That would've REALLY sucked if I thought we were going to finish our title, then that happened. So if it had to happen, it happened at the right time, I guess.

After I got everything all set up, I had at least 3 other people approach me and commented about how it was so horrible yesterday and wished me luck today. Even one of the stewards came up to me and said the judge felt really bad about it, and even scored us and we got a 190. And she said she was afraid I would be so disheartened that I would give up and not come today. But of course that wouldn't happen! Anyway, it's nice to know the score after the fact, even though we NQ'd.

Anyway, it's over and done and now I know how it feels to NQ. Onward!

So I brought Red in and got him situated in the crate and watched them finish up the Open classes. All the same faces from yesterday. As I was sitting there chatting with Michelle and Dawn, I was thinking that it was really nice that so many people were rooting for Red and I, and I felt like we HAD to qualify this time or I wouldn't be the only disappointed one!

After Novice B, the judge brought the 3 Novice A people in for their "walkthrough" which is more of a briefly than an actual walkthrough. The heeling pattern was the same as yesterday - so that was good.

Red and I were the last team to go again, so when the team in front of us (Dawn and Atticus) started, I got Red out and started feeding hotdog bits for focus. As they were finishing their recall, I fed Red the last treat. Just to be sure he had swallowed it and wasn't going to cough it up again, I walked him in a couple circles and beat on his chest a little, LOL. Then I was satisfied. I had horrible deja vu as we walked to the starting point. "oh god PLEASE don't choke!!" But he didn't and he sat very nicely in heel position.

Off we went for the on-leash heel and wouldn't you know that he completely blew the first halt/sit. WTF??? Don't do this to me, dog! But he was fine after that. I didn't look at him at all during the heeling. I just kept my faith that he was with me - and apparently he was. He had a really slooow sit on the last halt but finally did do it before the jude ended the exercise.

I set ourselves up at the wrong set of marks on the floor for the figure 8, and didn't realize it til I looked up and the posts were off to my right. Whoops! The figure 8 was ok - a little more bumping than yesterday, but still acceptale, and his sits at the halts were nice.

The stand for exam was fine. I thought his left rear foot was out kinda far, and for a split second I thought about fixing it, but I know from experience that if I tried to move it manually, it would throw him off and he would be more likely to break the stay. So I left it alone and it proved to be the right decision because he was great.

The off-leash heeling was even better than the on-leash. I still didn't look at him at all and just trusted (and hoped!) that he was staying with me. Nice sits at the halts too.

Last but not least, the dreaded recall. Please just give me a halfway-decent front! And he did! It wasn't as straight as yesterday, but definitely better than he had been giving me in training. Since his right finish after the recall yesterday sucked (was crooked and behind me), I finished him left this time and it was very nice.

Yay! We did it! Off to give him his jackpot! Not much to time though, because they were setting up for sits/downs now. Since the Novice A & B classes were smaller, they combined them for sits/downs like yesterday. I normally cross my arms and slightly cross my ankles for the sits/downs as sort of a non-verbal cue that I will not be calling him out of stay, but I don't think I will be crossing my ankles anymore because I was so nervous that I almost fall over, LOL. Plus Michelle said to just stand normal with my arms crossed in case the judge gets funny about the way you stand. So anyway, he was great for both the sit and the down, and that was it!

We got a 192.5 total score out of 200, and got 1st place in our class - which, granted, only had 3 people in it, but we qualified and that's all that matters!! First leg down, and 2 more to go! =)

Here's the video, complete with abbreviated sits/downs and ribbons:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Our Obedience Novice A Debut

What a beautiful, sunny day! About 80 degrees and sunny - a great day for a walk. However I don't walk Red on trial days - I need all the energy from him I can get!

In Rally and Obedience, the higher classes go first in the morning. So for Obedience, they do Utility B then Utility A, then Open B then Open A, then Novice B and Novice A. Since I have never titled a dog before, we are in Novice A - the greenest of the green! Which means we also are the last class to go.

Based on the entries, I estimated we wouldn't go into the ring til between 3:30pm-4pm, so I didn't want to get there too early. I've found that Red does better with very little down time. The best is if we get there, play some tug and do a couple exercises, put him in the crate for 10-15 minutes, then get him back out and do our run. The longer we wait, the flatter he is. So I waned to get there between 2pm-2:30pm, so I had enough time to get him in and crated, and catch the Novice A walkthrough.

We got there at about 2:10pm. I left Red in the car while I carried in my bag, my chair and the crate. I walked in and you could seriously hear a pin drop. I felt like I was even walking too loud. It was a little off-putting to have it so quiet... I'm used to training and working with a lot of distractions. I wondered if this would be a good or bad thing.

It was sits/downs for Open B, so they still had to do the ribbons and go through Open A, so we had some time to waste. I got Red out of the car and brought him in. His collar was jangling and I felt like we were the center of attention when we walked in. We got to the crate and he shook, which made his collar tags jangle even louder. I quickly took he collar off him. I felt like I couldn't even play tug or talk at a normal volume to give commands for warm up. I didn't like it at all. My friends who I train with were all there, so we all went in another room to chat.

I put Red away and just sat and watched. I had the heeling pattern memorized, so I hoped the judge would use the same one for Novice. After sits/downs and the ribbons for Open A, they went right into Novice B. Sam and Mally were the last in Novice B to go, and they were doin great until the off-leash heeling, then Mally stopped staying with her and they ended up NQ'ing. I felt so bad for Sam, but she kept it together and finished the run.

After Novice B, they do a walkthrough for Novice A as a courtesy to the newbs. I decided to leave Red in his crate while I did the walkthrough, and since there were only 4 people in my class and we were the last team to go, I would get him out as the dog ahead of us was going. The less time out, the better. I watched as Dawn and Atticus went, and they too were doing really well until they got to the off-leash heeling. And Atty did the same thing as Mally. Not sure what's up with the off-leash heeling today!

When the dog before us went into the ring, I took Red out and took him down to where everyone was standing near the entrance to the ring. His focus was great and I kept feeding him bits of hotdog, as people normally do to keep focus while you are on deck. The last treat should be fed just before you go into the ring.

I fed the last piece and the judge called us into the ring. On our way to the starting spot, Red coughed and up came a piece of hotdog onto the floor, which he quickly re-ate. The judge stopped us and said that she's sorry, but she's going to NQ us for food in the ring. She stood there and babbled about god knows what bullshit until finally said she would let us still run anyway even though it was an NQ. I was numb by this point, and extremely shaken and pissed off, but decided to take our run anyway. Red didn't know he had just cost us a Q, and we paid to take our run, so we were going to do it.

He was great. The heeling wasn't very attentive, but he stayed with me, and did really well. The figure 8 was good. Stand for exam, excellent. The off-leash recall was good, even though he didn't sit at the last halt - not that it mattered at that point anyway, so I told him to sit before I released. The recall was probably the best, straightest front on recall he's ever done. The finish wasn't great - a little behind me and crooked, but it didn't matter. We had, by far, the best run out of everyone and none of it mattered. Of course, I still praised like crazy - just like I normally would - in between exercises. Red did awesome. The judge told me I had a great working dog and I should be very proud of myself. I stiffly nodded without looking at her while mumbling a thanks and left the ring to give Red his jackpot.

We did sits and downs were were fine, except I had to yell at him a bit before we started because he kept straining on the leash to sniff the dog in front of us in line. At one point, the ring on the handle of my leather leash whacked him on the nose and he stopped acting like a tard. After the sit, he just about went into a down automatically, anticipating the next part, but I made him continue sitting until I told him to down. The down was fine. Lots of praise and he earned himself a new stuffy toy.

My shocked friends couldn't believe the judge would NQ a Novice A dog for that - give me a stern warning, or take 10 points off, but even other exhibitors were baffled. I'm really disappointed and I will definitely avoid showing under that judge again - sure, sure she did what she thought was right, but no one else seemed to agree that it was right, and I won't be supporting her with another entry again.

Oh well - nothing I could've done differently, except feed him his last treat with more time before going into the ring so he doesn't choke it up next time. We trial again tomorrow at the same place - different judge - so hopefully he'll do as well tomorrow as he did today! Minus the choking! It's almost worse NQ'ing this way than if we had thoroughly earned it.

Here's the video: It hurts just to watch it...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good boy on our walk

We were walking down the trail through the woods like normal and he ran out ahead of me like usual. Once we get close to the pond, he usually goes ahead and plunges himself in the pond and waits for me to catch up.

But this time he went out ahead, but I saw him come right back and stand in front of me. I kinda looked at him puzzled, then around the bend came an off leash yellow lab and his owner. Then I understood that Red had seem them, and turned around to defer back to me about the situation. I was so happy to see that Red came back to me instead of just staying and trying to play with the dog! It was like he was waiting for my reaction or permission that it was ok.

The owner and I chatted for a minute while both dogs sniffed each other - though each one was not real interested in the other - I think both of them wanted to get on with their walk!