Saturday, December 28, 2019

December Trial Catch-Up

December was a fun month for trialing. We started the month off with a bang at a cluster at the local expo. The girl dogs got to play AKC Scent Work, and Zorro got to play Rally Novice. It was exciting to be busy with so many fun activities for the dogs, even if it meant some stressful conflicts!

Perri was only entered in Novice Containers each day and she absolutely crushed it! Not literally box-crushing though! She earned first place with super fast times both days, no cataloguing and total confidence. It was wonderful. She will need one more Q for her SCN title. The video is her first Container search of the weekend.

Not to be outdone Molly did a fabulous job in Novice Interiors with first places on both days, fast times and earned her SIN (Scentwork Interior Novice) title. She also earned her SBN (Buried Novice) title with a lackluster performance. Our Container performance is still suffering. I changed the way I was handling Molly and tried a tight leash approach. She began alerting with a look back to me. In training this was going really well until it wasn't. In the same training night she had her finest container search of all time and the literal next search was a disaster of false alerting. Of course, this night was the Wednesday before the trial. She was very conflicted in Buried (they're truly "just another container") but got the job done, and abysmal in Advanced Containers. Her better day there was Sunday, she correctly alerted on one container before doing a false alert on a different one. Ah well. Back to the drawing board. I am trying to come up with a way for Molly and I to both enjoy Container searches, with her enjoying the search and not destroying the containers. She is currently on a Container training break although it will be time to start up in the New Year. This video is her lovely Interior search on Saturday.

Zorro was able to earn his Rally Novice trial since the cluster offered two rally trials per day. How fun! He certainly enjoys heeling! Some further training is needed on the Slow Pace, he kept trying to sit. Otherwise we sailed straight through with scores of 97, 99 and 99 for his RN title. Yay! The whole weekend inspired me to enter an Obedience match and perhaps continue to work on some foundation skills for the game as the winter goes along. Zorro loves heelwork and I believe I finally have a dog who will love to play Obedience with me.

The following weekend was our training club's USDAA trial. We weren't able to play much this year. Sunday is a Starter/Advanced trial and I had a family gathering for the holidays to attend later in the day. We barely had enough time to play in the first two classes of the day as it was!

Zorro had his first USDAA measurement at 18 and 1/4" (I believe, I know it was 18 and something!) which puts him solidly in the 20" height class. We will need two more measurements, and one of them needs to be a CMJ. 

We got to play Snooker and Jumpers and I was a total anchor for poor Zorro! In Snooker I sent him on a wrong course and in Jumpers I didn't support a jump with him coming out of a tunnel. I now know he needs a little more support on the reconnection when he comes out of tunnels. Hey, I had a headache and I my attention was divided with fretting over the time I needed to leave. Whatever! He went home feeling great about himself and that's all that matters. 

And today was our final trial of 2019 - Zorro's AKC Agility debut! I admit to having quite a few moments of gratitude washing over me. I am so excited and honored to have a sound agility dog who enjoys playing the game with me. That is such a simple thing, yet it has been elusive for us between Molly's health and soundness issues and Perri's stress.

Zorro had been measured at a trial back in the fall, so we did not have to worry about that. He is a 20" dog until his final measurement when he turns two years old. This trial's format was to have all of the Novice classes at the end of the day. Our first walk through was not until after 3 and since this trial center is nearly two hours away it was great news! Novice Standard was first. Beautiful contacts and table, pinch me! We earned one refusal and I honestly think he was magnetized by the weave poles, they have such a heavy reward history. He then fails his first time but weaves nicely and then I kind of crammed him in with a late front cross for the ending. Great run all around!

JWW was a little bit of a hot mess but we got it done! Z missed his weave entry both classes today but this is his first time ever weaving at a place other than our regular training center so imma chalk it up to baby dog stuff! He was quite happy to weave nicely and I think his entries will come with more mileage.

Today's trial wrapped up our 2019 trialing year. I am so excited for what 2020 will bring for us in adventures, both road trips and hiking outings!

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