Saturday, September 29, 2007

Day 3 of the Wine Cluster

It is always interesting to attend an agility trial in another region of the U.S.A. You see a lot of the same........... most competitors are middle-aged women, the volunteers are great, everyone has elaborate set-ups for the comfort of their dogs, and there are always a couple of husbands that build all of the courses, move tents, and other labor intensive work. I find that most trials are held in beautiful areas and some have cute, small, downtown areas. Geneva/Romulus, NY was no exception.

In Georgia, we have a few guys who have standard poodles. I have never considered a poodle to be a man's dog, but in the southeast region there are a few men who consider the poodle to be man's best friend.............. New York was also no exception. This tall, sturdy man with rugged physical traits (see picture on left) even stated on his shirt that his best friend was a poodle. It gave me a chuckle and he too was one of those good guys who was also volunteering and helping out with a trial.

In the Southeast, we are big believers in child labor and often put the little munchkins to work. We often bribe small children to run leashes or scribe sheets. In New York, they are kept in crates.

OK, so its day 3 and the weather is perfect. Today we start off with obedience. Both classes again start at 8:30 AM. I am still not sure who thought that would be a good idea. Most people in Open B, also enter Utility B.... so why not stagger the classes a little. Katie was far down on both lists so I was unable to determine which class would come up first for us. It finally appeared that we would do Utility first (which I prefer). I warmed her up and then suddenly the steward from the Open ring was asking if I could go. Sure, I'll go. Open did not go as well today. I had to call her twice on the drop on recall. She also ran around the high jump when she retrieved her dumbbell. So no qualifying score for us this time. Came out and was immediately called to the utility ring. We lucked out again and had Utility III which means the articles are first. This was the same judge from the specialty. Katie got both articles this time. It was strange because the judge was putting the scented article at 6 o'clock and 12 o'clock, but I think she forgot what she was doing because she put it down at 6 o'clock twice. Regardless, I was just happy that Katie got it right. Go outs were icky again, but her heeling was good and she got lots of compliments from everyone again. We came out of the ring and they were literally screaming for Open sit and down stays before I could even give her a treat. Well, I wasn't about to skip the food reward for a utility performance, so I motioned that I needed a minute..... especially since we already were not qualifying in Open and could careless if we did stays or not. Katie once again preformed her 3 minutes sit stay and 5 minute down stay perfectly. Even though we didn't qualify, I was pleased to see that Katie held up to the rigors of obedience. She took it all in stride. We were especially rushed today and Stephen was a huge help with keeping up with what was going on in the agility ring, helping me change arm bands, meeting me after the class with Katie's food rewards, etc. With obedience done for the day, it was back to the agility ring where Travis was waiting patiently for his turn.

Well, the perfect run streak was about to end. On the standard course, he missed the teeter contact, dogwalk contact, and weave poles. Oh well, at least we got all of the errors out of the way in one run. Jumpers was very good, but there was a section at the end where he needed to go straight, but I was afraid he'd pull towards me and jump the jump closest to me. So I increased my speed to really drive him straight.... well, he went very straight, but was unfortunately angled towards a jump on the far side of the correct jump. It was definitely my error. There was also a very tough weave entrance, but he nailed it.
One other cool thing about today, Corey Fountain and his girlfriend came to see Katie and Travis perform. He lives in NY, but has 2 greyhounds he adopted from Southeastern Greyhound Adoption. I had helped him with some training advice via email and mentioned a few months ago that I would actually be in NY in Sept. He was only an hour away, so he jumped at the chance to see some greyhounds in action and was quite impressed with Katie and Travis..... and hopefully insprired to train his own greyhounds who need it.