23 October 2010

Miska in Open

Miska (DOB: June 26, 2003) recently competed in her first Open (CDX) obedience trials at the London Canine Assoc. trials.  As for me, I haven't competed in Open since Feb. 2002, when I was competing with my Vizsla Keira (DOB: June 5, 1997).  Keira was a fabulous working dog and just aced obedience and agility.  Anyway, I have wanted to return to Open. Miska and I have been training rather intensively for the past few months. In particular, I've focussed on her heeling and her motivation / speed in the ring with the help of Marie Sawford's expertise at Companion Dog Training. This has really paid off and now Miska gives me great  - not perfect but significantly improved - attention while heeling.  And most importantly, she enjoys being in the ring even though she'd really rather be outdoors hunting.

Miska -posing with her dumbbell

Retrieve over the High Jump

My initial plan was not to do her first two Open trials in a single day but that's the way the entries and schedule went. I had hoped for at least 1 Q (qualifying score) but that didn't happen either.  Here's my post mortem of her performances.

Trial 1
V good heeling; only lost 2.5 marks! I gave her a verbal command for the Drop on Recall & she didn't hear me so that was an automatic Fail.  Lost 1 mark for a poor sit in front & poor finish on the retrieve on flat. 1/2 mark lost on her retrieve over the high jump for a crooked sit in front. Then the biggest faux pas - she walked over the broad jump.  Oh brother! And then just as I returned to her on the long sit, she stood.  Oh well. We still had another trial later in the afternoon.

Miska was doing better in the first four exercises. So far, so good. I gave her a hand signal for the drop & she dropped this time. Up until the broad jump, we were qualifying. Then she walked over it again.  AAAAArrrrrgggghhhh - despite the fact that I had brought my jumps to the trial and she practiced cleanly outdoors.  Hmmmm.  And then in the long sit, she went down.  Well, it was a very long day.  I had risen at 5:30 AM & Miska was awakened at 6:15 as we had a really early start to drive to the show.  She's 7 years old and hasn't competed in obedience trials (and never 2 in one day) for a long, long time. So chalk the going down in the long sit up to fatigue?? Maybe yes, maybe no.

Despite the NQ's,  I was really pleased with Miska's heeling and her motivation in the ring. She appeared genuinely happy to be competing even though I'm sure she would rather have been hunting.  So, I'm working the broad jump & her fronts in the next few weeks until our next trials, mid-November.

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