Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sawyer's First Agility Trial

Sunday, July 18, 2013.  We finally took the plunge and entered our very first agility trial.  It's about time we got out there after all the classes we've taken.  I decided to start in a few venues other than AKC.  As luck would have it there was a NADAC trial this weekend right in Madison, NJ that was accepting day-of entries.  We were busy on Saturday taking the anise Odor Recognition Test (ORT), which Sawyer passed, YEA!  But we were free on Sunday to do agility.  I originally planned to enter 4 classes but chickened out of Tunnelers when we got there.  It was the first class up and I wanted to watch some runs before we jumped in.

The first class we tried was Jumpers.  This is a course consisting of only jumps and tunnels.  Sawyer did pretty well but on the very last jump he went passed it and apparently that's an NQ.  With the other obstacles the dog was able to pass it and the handler could call them back to do it, unless the dog took another obstacle, but that can't happen on the very last one.  After watching the video I see I started to slow down so Sawyer came into me.  Handler error, shocker! 

The next class was Touch N Go.  This class has contact obstacles, tunnels and hoops.  Sawyer started out slowly and about half way through he picked up speed.  As he kicked it in gear I thought "oh crap, he's picking up speed and I have to keep up".  Right before the end of the course was a discrimination between the dog walk and a tunnel.  My dogs always choose the contact obstacle because they are rewarded there so often.  But not this time.  Sawyer went right in the tunnel.  Looks like I didn't turn enough to direct him to the right place, handler error, again.  He also missed that darn last hoop again!

Last up was the Regular class.  This class can have any of the obstacles used by NADAC.  The second obstacle on the course was the weave poles, our weakest obstacle.  Oh well, we were there and was still going to give it a go.  Glad we did because Sawyer did great and qualified!  He even went through that darn last hoop!  At least it was a good ending to the day. 

We ended up with First place too! 
 Thanks to Andrea Kilkenny for video taping our runs for us!  At least I can see where I went wrong and what I need to work on. 

Sawyer and I were exhausted when we got home.  I'm still waiting to take my nap.

Sawyer's Anise ORT

Saturday, August 17, 2013.  Today we commuted to South Jersey with our friends to take an Odor Recognition Test (ORT) for Nosework.  A dog needs to pass an ORT to demonstrate they are odor obedient before entering a trial.  Sawyer has already passed the birch ORT and obtained the first level title in Nosework (NW1) back in May.  This time we were taking the ORT for anise.  We're not ready to trial in Level 2 yet but the ORT should not be a problem and figured we'd try since the test was being offered close by. 

Sawyer passed, no problem.  He found the box with the odor in it right away but of course I didn't trust him and made him go back and search all the boxes.  When he got to the right box again he pushed it with his nose as if to say "This is it Mother, I already told you that!"

Also taking the test were our friends Sarah (who is also our instructor) with her Vizsla, Rayne and Pat with her Tibbie, Zeke.  I'm happy to report that we all passed. 

Sawyer and Michelle celebrating our ORT pass.  A photo with Sawyer's eyes open, YES!
A happy Sarah and Rayne after they passed.
Pat and Mr. Zeke after he passed.
Next up for us is the Nosework trial at the end of October.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Obedience Class is so Exhausting!

Monday, July 15, 2013.  Sawyer had an early judging time and was done for the day so Scott came and picked him up from the show so he could spend the afternoon home in the air conditioning.  I figured he could relax at home since we have two classes on Monday nights: Competitive Obedience and Agility.  I have no idea what happened during the day but it must have been a lot of fun.  Sawyer could hardly keep his eyes open during class. 

It's actually not unusual for Sawyer to be closing his eyes during class.  Normally he's standing up but tonight he's laying down and almost falling over while nodding off.  We couldn't help but laugh at him.

But during agility class he manages to stay awake.  Hmmm, wonder if it's a class preference.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Brooke's turn for fun!

June 12, 2013.  It was another beautiful day so we headed to Natirar again this evening.  This time we decided to take Brooke and Daisy.  Sawyer and Sharon got to stay home and rest.  I keep forgetting to turn the phone sideways to shoot video. 

I remembered to bring the bumpers for the water this time.  But Scott had to criticize my throwing technique.

Those who can't do any better, really shouldn't criticize.

Brooke loved splashing in the water, which was a little deeper than Daisy expected.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Beautiful day to play hooky

June 4, 2013.  After the past two weeks of going from freezing cold, wet weather to sweltering hot, today was finally a beautiful day.  So after work today I decided to take advantage and enjoy some fresh air.  I ditched the to-do list of responsibilities and sat out on the deck for a few hours to soak up some sunshine, then took the dogs for a hike in the evening.  Scott and I met our friend Francine and our favorite senior Cocker Spaniel, Dazzle at Natirar.

Trying to get the Weims up on the wall with Dazzle to pose for a photo was a challenge.  Sawyer was cooperating....

But Miss Daisy was not.  Scott was able to snap a quick photo before she jumped off the wall.  She must have know what was up ahead.
The highlight of the hike was the WATER!  It was funny, Dazzle just enjoys splashing around in the water but my dogs wanted to retrieve.  They kept looking in the water for something to grab.  Unfortunately I left the bumpers in the car (bad mom!) so we had to find a stick. 

It's cicada time here in the Northeast.  If you're not familiar with these insects they are bugs that come every 17 years and we're having a particularly large infestation this year.  We've been lucky enough not to have them in our yard yet.  There were some at Natirar so I was a bit paranoid about running into them.  
Dazzle sporting his extra curls after swimming.  He's so cute!
Sawyer was so happy to be in the water.  I'll have to remember the bumper next time.

Our first Nosework trial

May 24, 2013.  After taking classes for a very long time, many hours of practice and mock trialing, we finally entered our first Nosework trial.  Nosework is a newer sport that's becoming more popular across the country.  It originated on the West coast and is based on detection work where dogs are trained to find a particular odor.  The first level odor is birch and dogs are required to find the odor in 4 different elements: Exterior, Interior, Container and Vehicle. 

On this trial date is was rainy, windy and cold; not the greatest conditions to do these searches.  The group I was in started with Exteriors.  I felt this was our weakest element and I wasn't sure if it was horrible to do first or good to get it done and over with.  Since I had never even been to a trial I was pretty nervous but the motto of this sport is 'trust your dog' and it really was all up to Sawyer. 

The trial was held at a Boy Scout camp and the Exterior search was in a wooded area by a lake with a fire pit.  While waiting our turn Sawyer was pretty excited, shaking and whining.  This is not normal Sawyer behavior and I was worried he thought we were going hunting (his favorite sport).  Once we got into the search area he did his thing and worked the entire area.  He clearly indicated to me where the odor was but I always asked him to confirm and show me again.  I was more concerned about being right than how fast we called our alert.  My biggest fear was to call the alert, have the judge ask me where it was and to fail because we were two inches off the mark.  I called 'Alert', the judge said 'Yes' and I was able to breathe again.  For each of the elements I was never asked where the odor was.  I guess Sawyer's indication was pretty solid and clear that he knew exactly where it was. 

One down, three to go.  The trial involves a lot of waiting as the groups run through each element.  The next up for us was containers.  That went fairly quickly as Sawyer found the right box with the birch odor.   Two down, two to go.  More waiting, a lunch break and then it was off to vehicles.   Luckily the three trucks were parked under a large pavilion so we didn't have to do that element in the rain.  With the wet weather the odor tends to drop so I was very careful to be sure Sawyer was positive with his indication.  I was relieved to get another pass.  Now we only had one element to go, Interiors.  This last one was in a small room so I did it off lead.  Sawyer worked his magic and passed the last element!  You have to pass all 4 for a title, one failure and none of the elements would count.

Sawyer now has his NW1 title!  Only 8 of the 38 teams competing today passed so we're thrilled to be in that minority.  Next up is Daisy's turn for her NW1 and then onto NW2 for both of them. 

The end of a very long day but I have to pose for a picture with our new title rosette.
Sawyer says enough pictures Mom, I want to get out of this rain and go home to celebrate!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sawyer's Amazing Obedience Day - Part 2

April 21, 2013.  After our stellar morning at the Versatile K9 Sports Club CDSP Obedience trial, I had no expectations for the afternoon trial.  It's a really long day and I wouldn't have been surprised if Sawyer did not do as well.  But the big man proved me wrong and did just as well in the afternoon as he did the morning. 

Our second attempt at Open A went better than the first:

I didn't get the Heeling pattern or Running Broad Jump on video but both were perfect and we didn't have any points deducted.
We got a half point off on the Drop on Recall.  I can't tell why from the angle on this video and the score sheet didn't specify. 

Even though the dumbbell took a bounce to the right, Sawyer still returned nice and straight so we got no points off for the Retrieve on the Flat exercise.

Another bad dumbbell bounce, this time to the left, but Sawyer was great and went over the jump on the way out and back.  That along with the straight front and finish gave us no points off on the Retrieve Over the High Jump exercise.
The Go Out Turn and Sit is the last exercise and the one that I'm always worried about.  Sawyer did it this morning but would he do it again??  Yes he would!  It was a little to the side, which gave us a half point off. 

Final score was 199 out of 200 and 1st place in the class!!

Our last run of the day was Novice C.  The last sit on the heeling pattern was poor so we got one half point off.

The Figure 8 was perfect, again!

 Moving Stand for Exam, no points off.  He looks for me on the return but doesn't move a foot.
Recall Over the Bar Jump, no points off. 

No points on the Honor either gave us a total score of 199.5, making us first place in the class, High in Trial and High Combined again!!!
Here we are with judge, Diane Cordero.  It's especially nice doing well under Diane since she's a fellow Weimaraner person. 
Sawyer with all his ribbons.  What a long, exhausting but very successful weekend!!  He can barely keep his eyes open.