Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: Our year in review

As I write this I had to dig up the last years post - for those who are interested in such things it's here.

  • My obedience goal for Teller was to get him through CDX this season. That didn't happen. While I think he's very technically competent on the Open (and Utility) work he's not there mentally. We had three obedience weekends this year and he thought the party was all about him (he's partially right). Stewards and judges are really distracting to him - particularly during heelwork where he's on his own so much. We squeaked out one leg this summer though - he's got to refocus his brain - I think perhaps a couple of jaunts into the breed ring might be the ticket and/or going up to Canada to work on a Canadian CD.

  • My goals for Teller in agility was his novice preferred titles. He did that and more. Between March and November in eight weekends Teller knocked out his NAP, NJP, NA, NAJ, OAJ, AXJ, and a couple of OA and MXJ legs and a few MACH points. It was a good year! I did see his a-frame contact fall apart and I'm working to fix it - it's going to be reps and reinforcement I think - build up a history of success now that he's got so much confidence in competition. Speaking of confidence - he's got it - and he's a blast to run. He LOVES the game and plays the game for the entire run. We had a small (and I mean small - twice maybe) distraction episodes out in Syracuse (his first trial) but that has all melted away. The boy knows his job and he's honest - ring crew and judges aren't as much fun as agility....{{now if only to get heelwork as fun as agility}}. Almost all of those legs were first or second placements (one third and one fourth) - we're literally swimming in rosettes these days and will have to come up with a creative use for that we're in Excellent B I'm sure that rosettes will be few and far between - but it's nice to dream ;-)

  • I didn't get an OA on Murphy. Murph entered more or less retirement, though he did come out and play preferred agility at the GMGRC show. He liked the easier game and he did seem to have a good time. Murphy got two NJP legs and finished his NAP - though I did see a stress issue in one of his JWW runs when he goofed an entry at the weaves. To be determined if I'll enter him in our other home show in April...

  • We didn't get out tracking - between the rain, rain and more rain this season and just not having enough hours in the day it didn't happen.

  • And the same thing happened with hunting and conformation - not enough hours in the day. For conformation Teller has to carry more weight and I'm just not willing to do that to him while he's playing agility. I'm just not willing to put him on a shelf in agility for conformation right now...

  • We're still looking for commercials and print ads if anyone is looking for a well-trained photogenic golden retriever!

  • As far as our last bullet item - we're totally having fun. I've (shocking I know) been able to keep things light and fun. Teller doesn't know this trial stuff is work and he's ready to go every time I let them out to the truck...
  • Monday, December 07, 2009

    Yankee Golden Trial

    Our last trial of the season - there will be time to recap - but that's not here, well it's here, but it's not now. And if I'm not making any sense - well that's probably to be expected.

    So the trial this weekend was at "All Dogs Gym" in NH - I've heard so many awesome things about this place it was interesting to see it in person. This was the first AKC trial for this location that usually offers CPE and USDAA trials - and lots and lots of CPE/USDAA trials. Because there was equipment already there the host club didn't have to hire Max 200 to truck in equipment...there were problems with the USDAA specs and the AKC specs - the chute for example was an adorable doghouse with snoopy on top - but the opening was too small for AKC regs.

    Of course this wasn't noticed or reported to the judges until the Ex STD course was setup and walked (and dogs lined up to run) which stopped the whole freakin' trial for 90 minutes while they went to find another chute (I think they went to someone's house to get their chute!). Saturday started at 8am with Ex FAST and ran until after 9pm finishing with Novice JWW. LONG day. We were the third dog on-line for Ex JWW and we still didn't get out of there until 7pm. There wasn't a chute delay on Sunday but we still didn't get on the road headed home until just before 7pm - which made for a very long ride home in the dark and snow.

    Now for the Teller recap. We are only a week into his box work - and well, it's not there yet. Which is to be expected honestly - it's going to take a lot longer than a week to solidify the behavior. His FAST runs were fun - he's seeing lines and he's so tuned in that if I make a mistake he's responding to it. He comes right back, but there were clearly moments when I got myself into a position I didn't want to be, tried to move too soon, or took a line for granted (without telling him where to go). I saw some nice speed and continued confidence - he's really into the game right now and that's most important part of this endeavor. He'll come together and it's going to be brilliant!