Today we were all at another obedience show . This one is only an hours drive away and one of the closest shows we have to us. This is actually the 3rd time we’ve competed at this venue, this is where Kez did her very first ever obedience show. However, this is also the only venue she has ever broken stays at! In fact, both times she’s competed her she hasn’t held her stays. So it was to be an interesting day to see if she would finally break that streak. The other 2 came along as well, and it was Ernie’s 2nd time at the venue and Indi’s first time . The weather was kind to us too, considering at the beginning of the week we had been forecast heavy rain. Thankfully it stayed away, and it ended up being a lovely sunny day .
The drive over was actually more stressful than last weeks. I’d given Indi a quick run beforehand to try and stop the whining… that had turned out to be a nightmare as he’d ended up almost dragging me after a cat and then bombing it in the direction of the road when in the field. And, it didnt stop the whining . Poor Ernie was not happy about being stuck in the back with him, so decided that after trying to get out the doors (obviously impossible) to jump on the seat in the front with Kez! I’d forgotten to strap Ernie in without realising, or he’d never have been able to do that. No idea how I forgot, as Im usually paranoid about it so I do wonder if he’d somehow unclipped himself. Anyway, so I ended up getting all stressy and decided to take a pit stop at services. Got both Indi and Ernie out for a pitstop… and they both toiletted again despite toiletting before leaving. Oh dear! We were only about 20 minutes from the showground at this point anyway, so got back onto the motorway (which turned out to be super busy, everyone had suddenly decided to drive up it while I was in services) and made it to the venue safe and sound. However, my car did start making funny noises causing more stress… more on that later!
So we arrived, parked up and took a deep breath. We were in the running order again, this time drawn to work 4th in novice. It wasn’t long before we were back in the ring. First up we had the retrieve. She performed this perfectly, couldn’t have asked for anymore from her . Then a bit of heelwork. I thought she did really well, she was focused and trotting along so I, again, couldnt have asked for anymore. However, the judge said that I had been walking too slow for her and that we hadn’t set off together (as in I’d started and she hadn’t straight away). He also said that she had been doing some surging forward… thats certainly a first for Kez! Looking back, I think I know what went wrong. I actually hadn’t memorised the sequence which meant I had no idea where I was going. This meant I walked slower, and so she was maybe going forwards a bit as shes used to me going faster. Lesson learnt . I do know that her set offs need some work, she doesn’t set off in a set pattern with her feet which makes it look messy… we’ve got a bit of homework there .
In the recall, Kez once again was not watching me at all when I went to call her. She was focused entirely on the dog heeling in the ring next to her. She wasn’t watching me at all, so when I went to call her I had to really shout to make sure she heard. She was slow off the mark, and I did wonder if she’d respond at all! So I need to do some work on her focus when in waits, more homework . Her other bit of heelwork was just a diagonal line, about turn and back again. Super easy, and she actually lost very few marks on this bit. The judge commented on how I’d been walking faster and so her heelwork was much much better. So, all in all, I was pleased. We lost 7 1/4 which earnt us a 10th place .
Next up, I had Ernie’s round to do. Yep, I’d entered him in beginners. First up for him was some heelwork. I tried to get him doing tricks and a touch while walking up to the starting point, but he was just not interested. However, once we got going he was hugely better than when we competed in August last year. He had moments of being focused and in the game. He also had moments where he just lost the plot and was staring straight ahead though, lol! But, considering he rarely competes I was happy to just get some attention from him . We then had recall to do. He performed this perfectly . He did a perfect wait, was entirely focused on me and then came into a perfect present. His finishes need some work, but I was happy. His retrieve wasn’t too bad either. In August he’d been quite nervous about going out and picking up the dumbell, but today he was totally confident and knew his job. Good boy . His 2nd bit of heelwork was actually a lot better. He was much more focused and happy for longer, and although he was very wide from position and did lose focus a few times, I was pleased that I didn’t have to turn it into a training round . All in all, we lost 10 and a bit (cant remember what exactly). Not bad at all! There were dogs that did a lot worse than him, so I was very pleased . The fact he was doing obedience and actually having confidence, its more than we’ve ever got before . He’s not quite ready for novice yet, but maybe in the future… who knows?
So I was umming and ahhing whether it was worth it or not to do stays with him. He’s never done group stays in a stay ring at a show before, so I had no idea what would happen. In the end, I thought we might as well go for it as the placings were up to 10th so we could get a spot… if he held . He held his sit stay perfectly actually, not bad at all for his first ever try in a stay ring . He did break the down stay though, he started scratching and ended up sitting up. That’s not actually too bad, my biggest fear was of him wandering off, rolling or disturbing other dogs. So the fact he did stay there, I was pleased.
After that, I had Kez’s beginner stays to do. Even though were now out of the class, we can still compete in the classes we’ve got left to do. I was umming and ahhing as to whether to train beginners or to compete, because if we win we’re taking away the win of someone else. In the end, I decided we might as well compete. We’re not going to be in beginners ever again, so might as well go for it. She held a perfect sit stay, despite dogs all over the place breaking to lay down because of the heat. Good girlie . Then we had down stay… where my worse nightmare was fulfilled. A Belgian Shepherd broke the down stay… and then started wandering round the ring. She ended up going right behind Kez, and being very very close. Kez was clearly nervous, but she held firm. Not bad at all for my reactive dog. This Belgian Shepherd then ended up going through the bushes… where a busy road lay on the other side. Suddenly everyone in the ring was talking at once, but luckily the dog came back and all was fine. This is why if I even thought my dog would start wandering off in stays I wouldn’t do them. It’s just not fair on other dogs and can be dangerous. I’m so proud of Kez for holding her stays though, that is a huge distraction and she was just perfect. She even had the German Shepherd next to her break and go to her owner during this, so with all these big shepherds moving around her she still held. I think she should have won just on that .
We did our beginner round straight after stays. It was quite hot by this point, so Kez was puffing quite a bit. First up we had heelwork. She did well, but was lagging a bit and clearly not as bouncy as she could be. That was just the heat though. She still kept position and I couldnt have asked for anymore . Next up was recall. She was perfect in this too, focused entirely on me. It’s quieter round the rings at this point, so less distractions. Just need to make sure she’s focused at all times. I did notice her finishes were a little slow though, so need to do a bit of work on them. Her retrieve was also perfect, she did bring it in a bit crooked but nothing major . We finished on more heelwork, this was a little laggy but still good. All in all, we got a good score of 2 and a bit (forgotten again). We ended up winning the class . I do feel a bit guilty about taking the win despite winning out of beginners last week, but then I think, we’ll be out of beginners after our next show and will never compete in it again! Plus, I think this show needs remembering for her holding stays with such a huge distraction . Good girlie!
So last up we had our novice stays. I wasn’t actually going to do these as they were quite late and I was almost certain we didn’t have a place. Then we had a huge gap of doing nothing before finding out the results for beginner, so I decided to do them as they were timed in this. She held a 2nd set of perfect stays . I was especially happy about this after the nightmare that was beginner stays, which means it hasnt effected her confidence at all . Yay! I’m glad we did stays too, as we ended up in 10th place. Not bad at all, especially as it was a very large class.
All in all, another great day out . Indi was much better at this show, I got him out on the long line and let him have a good wander (couldnt do this last weekend as they had been playing football on the venue). He was much better with the other dogs too, only reacting when they walked directly past the car and when we had a Rottweiler almost come bombing straight into us! The owner had accidently thrown the toy right at me and Indi… and this huge Rottweiler followed it. Poor Indi was not impressed! Other than that, he did well and was turning away well from all the other dogs. Good Spaniel .
Kez did well too, the only dogs she had a bit of a bark at was when a very young (but big) German Shepherd lunged at her in play and when about 3 collies all came rushing over to greet Kez at once. I actually tensed up and it was only when I tensed up that Kez barked, which I thought very interesting. Would she have barked if I’d remained calm? Earlier in the day she’d been off-lead when 2 collies appeared while she was sniffing. She started screeching, but then her ears went back and she went into zoomies… it was a very odd response! She was obviously suprised by the dogs, but twigged straight away they werent a threat and so had no idea how to respond. Bless her! She made friends with another collie as well, one she hasnt met before . Thats always good!
So, we had another beginner win and it was time for the drive home. It was actually a fairly easy drive home, the motorway was very quiet which made me happy. However, as we were nearing the end of the motorway (which basically goes straight into dual carriageway which leads basically straight home) my car suddenly went very strange indeed. It made a very loud strange noise, and I could feel the steering jerking slightly… it was very scary! It felt like something had got stuck somewhere. I was getting ready to pull onto the hard shoulder, when it suddenly stopped and normality had resumed. Very weird! Scary though, a heart stopping moment! Particuarly when your on a motorway. Anyway, so I ended up going all the way along the dual carriageway with no problems… it was when we had to slow down to the roundabouts that I realised something wasn’t quite right. There was definitely something loose on the left hand side of my car, and it was making a very loud noise as I drove. So I quickly turned off and parked up to investigate… we were only 15 minutes from home at this point . Turned out the plastic bit above the wheel (mudflaps?) had come loose and been dangling in front of the wheel. Going at speed along the motorway and rubbing against wheel, this had obviously caused half of it to break off… there was still a very large bit hanging down and I couldn’t tuck it anywhere or pull it off. In the end, I drove the rest of the way home and my dad cut it off as soon as I pulled up at my house. Still, a very scary experience! I generally thought my car was going to die on me when we were only half hour away from home. I’m so glad I was in left hand lane and not overtaking at time, that would have been worse. But, we all got home safe and sound .
It was a lovely day out, it certainly was fantastic to be at 2 obedience shows 2 weeks running! I only did 3 through the whole of last year… done 2 already this year . I do love my new freedom! I’ve certainly been given lots to think about and work on with Kez, and we’ve got a few weeks before our next show to practice . This is something I’ve never been able to do before as the shows have been so far apart and so few that I haven’t been able to properly learn things and then put them to test at the next show. Eeeek, its so exciting .