Sunday, October 25, 2009

Second Rally Excellent trial

Since they were doing Obedience AND Rally on Saturday, we didn't have to get there til later in the afternoon since they always do Obedience first. The Rally Excellent walkthrough was set to start at 3:30pm, so we got there about 2:15pm or so.

It was packed - I spend a couple minutes wandering around aimlessly looking for a spot to set up the crate. Finally someone was nice enough to let me squeeze in next to them. There wasn't any room to set up a chair next to the crate, so I ended up just putting the chair in front of it.

They weren't checking in for Rally yet (or giving out course maps), so I went out and got Red out of the car once I had everything set up. There was pretty much no room to play or do any warming up, and it was raining outside, so it was difficult to manage...

Sam was there, though not with Mally - just to watch Jeff and his rott, Sam, for their Open run. And they Qualified! Very happy for them - especially since it was their first leg.

They didn't let anyone check in for Rally or get their maps until Open was finished. This was at about 3:15pm, so we only had 15 minutes to get about 30 people checked in and get familiarized with the course map before the walkthrough. It was really poorly organized. They weren't checking in people out of the line like they were supposed to - just taking random people crowded around them. Then they were checking in Excellent B first, which was not smart considering Excellent A was the first group to go! Everyone was getting really irritated and pissed off. I just stood there waiting until someone finally told the stewards that I had been waiting the longest and they finally checked me in and gave me the map.

It was the hardest course I'd ever seen! The judge had all the hardest Excellent signs - the back up 3 steps, moving stand/walk around, and moving down/walk around. Plus it was a very tight and confusing course. And a very challenging set up too - for example he had the back up 3 steps right after one of the jumps. I was not confident at all about doing well. I haven't been practicing the moving stands or downs at all, and the back up 3 steps was still iffy. And I was nervous about the honor now too since he blew it yesterday...

The judge called both Excellent classes into the ring and gave a very stern briefing. He was like a Nazi - saying the moving stand/down was the Utility exercise and he will IP anyone who hesitates even the slightest, and the 1 step to the right should be done this specific way, and on and on. We were all terrified by the end of it.

After the briefing, I got Red out of the crate. We were the 3rd or 4th team into the ring so we had some time to chill for a few - which I've found works better than getting him out when the team ahead of us is in the ring.

We entered the ring and the very first exercise was a jump, which Red LOVES, so he was all into it. He did really well! We redid the 3 steps backwards exercise (as did everyone else in our class) since it was right after the jump and the dog was charging forward by the time we got to the sign. The moving stand was good! The moving down was decent, and he held the Honor down/stay.

We ended up with a score of 86. We got 3 points off for redoing the 3 steps back, 1 point for a crooked front, and 10 points for the moving down (which apparently I hesitated on..). But we got 1st place!! I was utterly shocked. That tells you how hard of a course it was when the high score was an 86!

We got a 1st place and Qualifying ribbon, plus a coffee mug. Though I spoke with the trial secretary about how we were in the wrong class and they redistributed the ribbons, but I got to keep my mug and Qualifying ribbon =)

After the ribbon ceremony, I gave Red a special squirrel stuffy that I'd been saving for after his run, and we took it outside since it had a squeaker and I didn't want to disturb the other dogs who were trialing. Red was in stuffy heaven!

As we were outside, someone came out the door behind us and introduced herself as someone off DT! She had recognized us and came over to say hi =) It was so cool to meet someone off DT! She doesn't post much but lurks a lot and knew all about Red's photo scandel and everything! She was there for Rally Novice with her pit bull. I really wanted to stay and watch, but still I had't eaten lunch, and wasn't sure what James' dinner plans were, I couldn't stay. It was a good thing we didn't, eiher, because she said later that they didn't go into the ring til about 7pm! But they got 3rd place in their class and Qualified! I'm really glad I got to meet her. She lives in the Grand Rapids area and may come to othe shows in the area sometime.

I'm really bummed none of these shows are counting toward our title, but it's been a lot of fun, and the pressure as sort of been off knowing it won't count anyway. Red has been so awesome, and I'm very proud of my boy - whether it counts or not! =)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rally Excellent trial

We had our first Rally Excellent trial today. We have another one a little later on tomorrow afternoon.

But neither of them are going to count toward our title =( I accidentally registered for A instead of B, but now that we have our CD title, we have to be in the B classes. And you can't do a lateral move from A to B classes, only a move up from Novice to Advanced, or Advanced to Excellent. I guess they are changing the rules in January 2010 but that doesn't do me any good now.

I wasn't too upset though, because I haven't trained with Red in a long time, since I was sick and we've been working on the house. We haven't really done any Excellent Rally training at all, so I was a little nervous about it. But since it doesn't count, the pressure was off to Qualify, so I can just treat it like a fun match.

I forgot how much easier Rally is! You can talk to the dog, lure them into position, etc. A lot more fun that strict Obedience where you can't talk to the dog and have to hold your arms in a certain position, and only use certain commands/signals.

The other good thing about being in a high level of Rally, is you know what time they start in the morning (they start with high levels and down go to Novice). So we got there 1 hour before the walkthrough was set to start.

I did the walkthrough, which was a pretty straight forward pattern, not difficult to navigate. But the judge had the "3 steps back" exercise there, which we still aren't great on yet... I wasn't worried about anything else really.

After the walkthrough, I asked someone if they could video with my camera, and she said she wasn't good and volunteered someone else to do it. I recognized him as the judge of 2 of my past rally trials. Turns out he didn't know what he was doing either, even after I explained to him how simple it is, and he forgot to push the button to record...

Anyway, we were th 4th in the ring, and I got Red out of the crate right after the walkthrough. We played some tug, then I just fed treats for focus. We went into the ring and started.

His jumps were beautiful. It was nice I could talk to him so I could remind him to sit at the halts, which he has a hard time remembering to do when we're in the ring for some reason... We messed up one sign that called for a sit, stand, then down. But he sat before he went down which I knew to be an IP, but I didn't care and didn't feel like redoing the sign so we just went ahead. The 3 steps back was actually pretty good! I wasn't sure at the time if we took enough steps back but I think we did. After we finished, there is an honor exercise which means the dog is in a sit/stay in the corner of the ring while the next team is doing their run. I never worry about Red's sit/down/stays because he hasn't had any problems in a long time. But since this one is done on-leash instead of off-leash like he's used to, I'm not sure if that threw him off or not. Right at the very end, he went down on the sit!! WTF!!! Apparently its not an NQ though, its just 10 points off.

So figuring in the 20 points we lost for the IP sign and the down on the sit/stay, we ended up with a score of 78. We we lost only 2 points on th entire rest of the course, which is great. I was still happy with how he did, though I was really disappointed about the honor station. oh well... he still got hi usual jackpot and special prize afterwards =)

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Michigan Renaissance Festival 2009

Just got home from a long day with Redders :) First, we went to training at 9am this morning where we started working on Open exercises for CDX, then for a nice walk in the damp woods, then onto our annual visit to the Michigan Renaissance Festival! We were there for about 4 hours, and Red and hubby are both passed out on the floor sleeping, lol

As usual, we couldn't make it 10 feet without someone either commenting on Red, stopping us to admire him, or asking if they can take a picture of him! He's my little celebrity :) All very nice comments from everyone, and Red was very well-behaved and accepted pets from adults and children, and even met a few other pups too. It was the perfect day for it - overcast, a little rainy, and about 60 degrees - sets the mood nicely and not super-packed with people.

Here are some pics (behold the watermarking debut... *sigh*)... click to enlarge


Me and Redders


We went to a show which featured birds of prey. Here you can see one of the falcons, and Red watched the one on the peak of the roof very closely...



Dad lets Redders finish the last drops of his Guinness beer..


Red with the living statue


The Guinness Pub is where all the serious Renaissance folk hang out - you get to see some of the most elaborate costumes and get-up here.



Very fun :) We look forward to this every year. Michigan has one of the best Renaissance Festivals in the country, rivaled only by Texas and Maryland. It's fun to go, have some drinks, browse the shops, and people watch. I always end up buying a trinket or two as well... This year I bought a delicate silver puzzle ring with Celtic knotwork :)

Red has been coming to the Ren Fest since he was 6 months old, so I think he finally knows what its all about now and enjoys himself :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Stolen Puppy

The other night, just before bed, I received a PM from a member on the doberman forum. She said she was searching for red doberman photos online and came across some on a website called The Daily Puppy and there were some pics that looked a lot like Red.

I went to the link she provided, and such enough, there were about 10 photos of Red that I have taken over the last year or so, posted up under the name "Bueno the Doberman" - complete with made-up lifestory and everything! There were a ton of comments about what nice photos and a great dog Bueno is, all dating back from July of this year.

I stared at the photos that I took of MY dog, and my mouth fell open. My heart started pounding as if I had just sprinted a mile. The blood rushed to my face and I felt sick. My cherished photos of my Redders - stolen and posted by someone else with a made-up name and story. I couldn't believe it.

The first thing I did was create an account on The Daily Puppy, and commented on "Bueno's" page - how dare they use my pics, that is NOT their dog and are stolen photos and to remove them immediately. Then I reported the page to the site administrators.

The next thing I did was create a thread on DT ( - my doberman haven!) and announce that Red's photos have been stolen and posted the link. Within 5 minutes, many more people had created accounts on The Daily Puppy and comments on the page about how this person stole photos and they need to be removed. Within 10 minutes, people were posting contact information to the copyright department for me, had found 2 more pages that have been using stolen photos of Red (one as a water rescue dog who rescues people from the water! as he's pictured wearing his lifejacket on my dad's boat), and even more people had signed up to raise hell on The Daily Puppy.

By about 2am, my thread had swelled to 3 pages of 40 replies each, and I couldn't take looking at Red's pics on that site anymore and I went to bed. I had to work in the afternoon the next day, so my plan was to get up and call the copyright department first thing in the morning.

The next day, I tried calling - and of course, they are located in California on Pacific time so the offices weren't open yet. I tried calling the other offices, but the phone system would not route me to a person, and would not let me leave a message. Instead, I contented my self with re-reporting the offending pages, emailing the copyright division, and emailing The Daily Puppy a very colorful email. I also called my brother-in-law who is a lawyer about it and sent him the links. He said if the site didn't taken them down after a few days, he would send them a letter.

As hard as it was to handle knowing that someone had stolen all these pics from me, having all my DT friends stand behind me like that meant everything to me and made it so much easier to deal with. They had continued posting throughout the night on The Daily Puppy and were continuing to stand behind me in my thread on DT. As the day went on and more people saw what had been going on all night, more people registered on The Daily Puppy and commented and reported the stolen pics.

Due to the immense response and persistence of the DT crew, the photos were removed by about 3pm that day. I truly think the pics would not have been removed as quickly or no-questions-asked if the DT people hadn't been there the whole time, commenting and posting and raising the alarm.

Since then, I have deleted all my photos in my DT gallery and am in the process of watermarking all my photos and re-uploading them to photobucket, which is extremely daunting considering the sheer number of photos I have shared on that site, but I can't risk having my puppers' pics stolen again. It was such a slap in the face and a violation of my personal possessions, that I never want to relive it again.

Most importantly, I can't express how much what everyone on DT did meant to me - having all of them come together to support Red and I. We are a very tight-knit community and this proves that you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. And Doberman owners are not people you really want to fuck with.