Saturday, October 2, 2010

Broad jumps and a Rally Trial

Only my dog.

Scorch and I had class last night, and the instructors set up the broad jump. Angie offered to put a short bar over the top of the jump, to prevent the dogs from ticking it with their feet (or trying to climb over it).

Scorch decided that, when called to jump, he would CLIMB OVER THE JUMPS WHILE GOING UNDER THE SHORT BAR.

I reiterate, only my dog. I wish I'd had a camera.

Anyway, we got the broad jump going better but I definitely need to build a set to start working on it at home.

Scorch's dumbbell work has improved tremendously, and he had several successful retrieves. He even made a liar out of me and retrieved it perfectly over the high jump. I was so sure he wouldn't... but he can make a liar out of me any time!

So TODAY was the first day of our Rally trial. I'd never been a competitor in Rally before, but I was somewhat cocky about Scorch's skills. We warmed up and everything went great. I was hoping for a score in the 90s (and maybe even the elusive 100). So into the ring we went (although despite my cockiness, I still had a crampy tummy and suddenly had the urge to pee).

The serpentine weave went well, and Scorch stayed right with me as I babbled at him. But then his attention began to wane. He was with me, but his eyes were wandering and I may have had a tight leash a few times. Still, he turned appropriately and I tended to get his attention back on 270 and 360 degree turns. The front and left finish (no halt) went ok, but later when there was a front and right finish, I lost him. I don't know what he was looking at, but he was whining and not watching me at all. I told him "front" and nothing happened. So we backed up for our one retry, and he sort of crooked fronted but ended up more in heel. I asked for a right finish and he didn't move. Sigh. So we went on to the final halt-stay-walk around dog, which he did perfectly, and then we were done.

The judge, Robert Withers, was really nice and encouraging. I was definitely frustrated, but I was always conscious that I never wanted to take any of it out on Scorch. So we ran for treats and the tug rope, which I played with him while I figured out if we'd NQ'd or not.

Thank god for my mentors. Bev and Fran were both warm and reassuring, and helped me understand the rules of NQ better. They thought I'd just get 10 points off (which was fine with me!). Bev told me to go and see if they'd written my score up yet.

So we went by the scoreboard and waited... and waited... we watched another couple of performances, and I prevented Scorch from eating an intact male lab that got in his face. Rally Novice A was a rough ring that day, and I knew I wouldn't be alone if I had a low score (or an NQ).

I heard one of the stewards ask another, "Do you need any other scores?"
"Yes, border collie 603."
She flipped through her paperwork. "87."

87?? Not only did we qualify, but when I looked over the board... WE HAD GOTTEN FIRST PLACE!! Granted, it wasn't our best performance, and I'm more proud of the second place we got in Novice a few weeks ago... BUT WE DID IT!


I definitely think I cheerleaded him too much. Scorchie is wound up enough as it is, and doesn't need any help from me. So tomorrow, we'll try again with a more formal presentation. I'm still so proud of him, and all we've accomplished. Now we have a blue ribbon tacked beside our 3 green qualifiers and our red second place.

Good, good dog! And I cannot stress enough what a relief it is to have amazing mentors. I encountered a teensy bit of bitchiness today, but it didn't bother me, because I have an incredible support system. Bev is becoming not just an instructor, but a friend. Scorch has even decided that her intact male Aussie, Jack, is NOT the devil. So I think that's a good sign.

We'll try again tomorrow!

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