Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: Trials and Tribulations...

My annual that wraps up the previous year and one that lays out our goals for the next. It helps me reflect back a year or two. What we've really accomplished and what we should aim for.

First I just have to smile when I think of our year - it was a roller-coaster with twice as many highs: Murphy's CDX, Teller's Can Championship, Murphy's OAJ, Teller's CD, RN and CCA...We had a blast at the GRCA National Specialty this past September - so much so that I've even thought about trying to get to Oklahoma for the 2009 specialty...the problem is the distance (2+ days on the road each way) and the length of the specialty - YGRC had all of the events over 7 days - Oklahoma is doing fewer events over 10 days...Hard to plan for two plus weeks to be out of town...

The lows of course: some frustrating outdoor trials with Murphy, the broken wrist and just a life in chaos on so many levels...

  • Last year at this time I was debating leaving those two CDX legs on the table. Walking away and retiring Murphy from Obedience. I'm really glad I stuck with it - but SO SO SO glad to announce that as of July, Murphy is officially retired from obedience...maybe he'll do a veterans class in 3 years - maybe not. It just doesn't matter. Finishing Murphy's CDX - knowing who he is, his stress, his marginal work ethic - it was an incredible high for us. The CDX was one of our goals for 2008...I'm happy to check that one off!

  • I have confirmed that Murphy much prefers indoor agility trials...we'll stick to indoor trials for him in the future. Even in training he has really awesome days and days when he's not into playing...when he's on, he's really really on.

  • We didn't get much (any) tracking in this year. Not enough hours in the day or days in the week I suppose. It's on the list for next year.

  • My plan for Teller was a few conformation shows here and there - I had decided that if he hadn't won points by the end of April I was going to focus on his other work. I needn't have worried - Teller started off with 5 points in Sherbrooke (Canada) and another 3 two weeks later, then finished his Can CH out of the 12-18 class in June.
  • On a whim I entered him in the local NADAC trial in Stowe in August - I had zero expectations for him - he was so green and of course he's intact...He blew me out of the water with his ability to focus - we made some rookie mistakes - of course I had to learn not to run him like Murphy, and he had to learn a bit about taking what is in front of him...Out of the 9 runs we had over the weekend we left with one first, six second places, and a fourth place - oh and 5 legs towards various NADAC titles.
  • I didn't have to worry about doing obedience with him and breaking his conformation stuff - it just didn't happen. At nationals he did both the breed ring with Graeme and then rushed to Novice Obedience with me an hour later...
  • I had planned to put Teller in rally this year - but not obedience...some agility here and there - but didn't expect a lot. No one was more surprised than I was when he went to the National Specialty and earned his first novice obedience leg. I love GOOD surprises ;-)
  • The National Specialty was just a fantastic boost for Team Magica - Teller's first NAJ leg, his first RN leg, his first CD leg, his CCA, making three cuts in Am Bred...just a wonderful week!
  • Two weeks after the specialty we went down to the Souhegan KC show in search of a second leg...We drove down the day of the show and drove home the same day - a new thing for us. Murphy always needed to see the place the day before and feel the place out - what would Teller do? He didn't care. Settling into a crowded and chaotic environment and pulling off a nice score - which would have been nicer if I hadn't screwed him up on the recall (five point boo-boo). That was two for two for Teller-Woo!
  • Two weeks after Souhegan was our local BOTC trial. Because we had Q'ed under Bob Harris in Rhode Island a second leg under Bob wouldn't have counted towards his CD. So if we were going to finish our CD that weekend it had to be on Saturday. When I brought him into the ring and setup for the heel exercise he was visibly excited - AND interested in the dumbbells in the ring next door. It's never a good thing with the judge first compliments us on our work the previous night (there was a match and he apparently saw Teller working) and then asks me how much caffeine Teller had that morning! By now my faithful blog readers know that he went three for three and earned his CD on November 1st. I never expected to have him in obedience this year, I didn't think he'd be ready. When I entered him I just wanted to see where he was training-wise - and what he'd do in the ring. To say he surpassed my expectations is an understatement.
  • At the same trial Teller was entered in rally novice as well - easily getting his second and third RN legs with scores of 97 (both errors my fault btw), fourth place and the high scoring golden prizes both days.
  • Teller continues to train well. He's working all of the open and utility exercises now, and his agility work is really coming together - we have a lot of speed and he's consistently "on" and ready to work. One of the dogs we train with is miss consistency - she's what I would call an "honest" dog. She comes out every day and gives the same performance every time. Teller is very similar I think - if he's not working he's a beast - wanting to greet everyone and wanting to be the center of attention. When he's working though he is honest - if he makes a mistake it's almost certainly my fault. But, he forgives my mistakes and is SO much fun to train.
  • I almost forgot Teller's commercial for Pet Food Warehouse. It was great fun to film it and I'm just so damn tickled when I see it on TV! I immedieatly stop what I am doing to watch it - every darn time.

    So that's our year in review. I'll post our goals for 2009 tomorrow...
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