Sunday, November 3, 2013

Oakes K9 Rally Trial 11/2

Slightly bumpy trial at Oakes K9 yesterday.

It was considerably smaller than their Rally trial last year -- I overheard other people saying that this time it hadn't been advertised anywhere except the Rallydogs website -- so the day only took 8 hours instead of 11 or 12.

That was good, because we didn't get off to a great start. I dropped the leash on our first Level 1 run, knocking us down to 205 points. On our first Level 2 run, we got hit for two extra Sits, each of which cost 5 points for a final score of 199 (the last point was on a crooked Sit). I hadn't seen either of those two extra Sits and thought we'd done pretty well on the run, so I was completely dumbfounded when I saw that score on the board.

Our first Level 3 run was pretty shaky too. There were several really vocal dogs at this trial and although barking/yowling from the crating area doesn't always faze Pongu, that day it did. On top of our other glitches, the bonus exercise was the Stand With Distraction, which I hadn't seen in months and had forgotten how to do. The exercise is actually a Sit then Stand (as opposed to a moving Stand), so I cued it wrong and poor Pongu got confused and went Down on his Stay halfway through.

It was a messy, bad run all around. Final score: 197. Ouch. I was feeling pretty bad by the time we limped back to the car for the lunch break.

The second round went better though. We got dinged for some minor errors (bumps, lags, crooked Sits, a split sign, etc. -- all stuff that I'm working on polishing out, but we're not 100% there yet) but Pongu was beautiful on all the things that used to be so hard for him. His Stays were solid, he flew through all the jumps without hesitation, and we even heeled right up to a jump without his taking it uncued (a booby trap that has gotten us several times before). AND his bonus retrieve was perfect.

Scores: Level 1 207, Level 2 209, Level 3 209.

Pongu finished his RL1X3 and RL2X2 level championships at this trial (which are not particularly impressive titles, insofar as they really just demonstrate that we NQ in Level 3 a bunch, but they do come with nice ribbons!) and picked up another two QQs toward his ARCHEX. We're halfway to that title now and have a good chance of finishing it this year, which makes me happy.

What really blew me away at this trial was seeing Edith the border collie put up six straight runs that all scored perfect 210s. That was amazing. Edith and her handler have been one of the top teams for as long as I've been doing this -- they rarely score below 208, and that's with a sharp-penciled judge -- but I've never seen a string of six perfect 210s before.

Man, I'd like to be that team someday.

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