Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First place!

Last weekend (July 23-25th) was the Reliant Dog show, and the pups and I were there all 3 days. Duke was doing frisbee demos, Coral was doing Rally, and I was their chauffer and buyer of treats.

Duke was scheduled for one demo on Friday, and two each on Saturday and Sunday. That's 5 demos in 3 days for my lazy beast! The Friday demo went great! He did awesome, and wasn't distracted by the crowds or noise at all. Saturday morning, he landed weird a couple times. We think it was just carpet burn on his precious little toes, because we checked him afterwards, and nothing seemed to be injured. Either way, I pulled him from the afternoon demo just to let him rest. On Sunday, I could tell he was holding back a bit, so I kept the throws REALLY short, and slowed down the pace a bit. His paw may have still been bothering him, or he could have just been tired. The Reliant dog show is crazy, lots of noise and commotion, dogs everywhere, people everywhere, and my pups were there from 8:30 until almost 5 all 3 days. The poor pups were tired!

Coral was entered in Rally Novice on Friday and Sunday. I had actually taken her to Reliant on Wednesday so I could get my crate there, and let Coral check the place out a little. I never take Coral to places as crazy or with as many dogs as Reliant, so I knew she'd be overwhelmed, so I thought I'd give her a chance to see the area before the craziness started. I grabbed my treats, and we practiced right by our ring, and she did great. During the actual competition, treats aren't allowed, but you can train and practice with treats right up until you enter.

On Friday, Rally started at 11:30, but I knew we had 80 dogs in Rally Excellent and Rally Advanced before us, so I knew we wouldn't be going for a while. What I didn't realize, was that "a while" would be 5 hours. I took Coral out of the crate several times throughout the day to practice, and she did great each time. Until it was her time to compete. She was tired by then. And since she hadn't actually been in the ring before, she wanted to sniff and check everything out. For the first few signs, she didn't pay attention to me, and just wanted to sniff everything. I did get her refocused on me, and she did great the rest of the run. We pulled off a 90/100, which was sufficient to qualify for her first leg. (You need a 70/100 to qualify. Once you get 3 legs, you get your Rally Novice title.) Not bad for her first Rally run ever. Especially since I didn't get serious about practicing until 2 weeks before the show.

Coral got a break on Sat, she wasn't entered in the competition, but I brought her to Reliant anyway to practice. Good thing I hadn't entered her! She was SO distracted! And I got frustrated with her, which only made her shut down more. Oy vey.

Sunday was a fresh start. A very stressful fresh start. Duke's second demo and Coral's rally run were going to be almost at the same time. I kept running back and forth between the two areas so check how things were going. I ended up running outside to let the dogs potty, changing clothes really quick, grabbing Coral to practice for a couple minutes before her run, doing Coral's run, running back to the frisbee area to crate her and grab Duke, doing Duke's demo, throwing him back in the crate, and then running back to the Rally area to see how Coral scored. A very out of breath, but excited me was practically flipping cartwheels when I saw that Coral got a 96/100, and that no other dog had even scored a 90! My puppyface got first place! One more leg, and she gets letters after her name, yay Coral! Not a perfect run, and I definitely see where I messed up (I gave her the wrong command to back out of my way on inside turns!) but overall, I'm superhappy with how we did.

Her prize for her awesomeness? A stuffed pink elephant squeaky toy. She was so happy!

And I got her a first place cookie. Since Duke is spoiled too, he got a watermelon cookie.
Oh! And to make things even more exciting, guess who was sitting RIGHT in front of the Rally ring? Coral's foster mom, Cathy! Cathy is all sorts of knowledgeable about Danes, Agility, Rally, and Conformation, so I was all sorts of nervous to have her watching. She teased me about being so loud, but hey, my puppyface was paying attention. I think part of the reason the other dogs didn't so well was because earlier in the day, someone ran a dog in heat, and there were drops of blood in the ring, which really distracted a lot of dogs. Especially male dogs. Especially the intact male dogs. But not my spayed female puppyface with the really loud handler! :)