Friday, March 26, 2010

German Shepherd Dog of Oregon Club & PAC Trial - March 20-21

Better late than never, I'm finally going to get my recap done on last weekend's trial. First, boy was Saturday a gorgeous one last weekend! For the first day of spring it was positively amazing and made for a joyful time to go outside in between runs and soak up that sunlight (and Vitamin D). Vegas and Leo were loving it and headed toward the doors every time we were to walk by.

Saturday -
So often trials are not offering FAST both weekend days but this was an exception which was nice because it meant we got a full three runs in each day. On Saturday, we were entered in Novice FAST as we had one leg left to get to completely finish all Novice legs. The following is the course and I am super excited to say Vegas completely rocked and rolled the entire time and came through with flying colors - blue (1st place) and green (qualifying) - to be exact!
Next up was Standard then JWW finished out the day. We were entered in Open for both and to date had no Open legs. Vegas has been a stinker lately for her weaves in competition. She almost always nails the entry but has started this bad habit of just continuing on through them then looking around, sniffing, etc. It's almost like she forgot she was running a course right in the middle. Such was the case in Standard. I called her back and sent her in again. Again she nailed the entry and kept on going. I sent her in a third time and she nailed them and ran the weaves about as fast as I've ever seen her. However, she killed our time and that constitued two refusals which is not allowed. Major bummer because the rest of the course was flawless despite some fumbles in my handling.
The last run of Saturday was JWW. After Vegas' stunt with the weaves I obviously had some concern since weaves are a major component of this course. However, she turned things around and rocked the course! She really likes to jump so that's always good because she gets her fill of it in these courses. We got our first open qualifying run with this JWW course and she finished it in around 35 seconds. We were super excited!
The judge for all of our runs Saturday and Sunday was brand new to judging and so an AKC field rep was on hand. That was nice because I got to talk to her a bit about running such a large dog. I told her that since she was there I had to point out that most Great Dane handlers probably wouldn't mind if the AKC made a decision that tunnels had to be a little larger. I learned something I didn't know! I didn't know the tunnels are standard heating and air conditioning ducts! So the AKC has looked into this before and the cost to up-size them was astronimical so it didn't make sense to implement that change since clubs would struggle to purchase specially ordered and sized tunnels. But, she did tell me that they have made a decision to decrease the number of tunnels that can be in a course for that very reason - to accomodate the larger dogs. I thought that was super cool. She realy enjoyed watching Vegas run - as did the judge - and it's always nice to have people in a position to help benefit rule changes for extra large/giant breeds notice.

Sunday -
It was hard to get up and go Sunday. I showed up a bit later than usual because they were running small to tall and got the dogs all kenneled and walked our FAST course - the first time in Open. In theory I thought we had the course nailed. I thought for sure with the momentum over the jumps I could get Vegas where I needed to for the send. It turns out I should have probably mapped another course and sent her through the tunnel first as she balked at the second jump resulting in the judge calling a fault and I couldn't get her to take the send. Oh well, we tried and we had fun anyway running around doing some obstacles and burning off some morning zoomie energy.
Same order as Saturday, Standard was next. Did I mention Vegas was having issues with weaves? Cause yeah, she pulled the same exact stunt on Sunday as she did on Saturday. It was not fun. I made the very tough split decision to pull her from her standard run when she refused the weaves the second time. Some people disagree with pulling a dog and I can't say I don't. However, I do know that you get nowhere for telling a dog they did something wrong (by not treating, etc) well after they did wrong. So had we finished our run and I had not treated her, she would not have understood why. And had I treated her, she could have thought everything was fine when it was most certainly not fine. Therefore, I pulled her, told her bad several times, picked up her treat from ringside, and kenneled her. Yes, I was ticked. Two days in a row and she acted like a completely green, novice dog with the weaves. The thing is, I've always made them fun, cheering her through, cheering her completion of them, and treating her well for doing a good job. She does a beautiful job and when we practice and she nails them it isn't as if she didn't want to. In fact, she will take the weaves on occasion - at least part way - when we are just walking through the barn. So, this "stunt" (times two) makes little sense.
Basically I gave her the cold shoulder for about 90 minutes. I'd had it and I couldn't practice and drill her so I tried to take a nap to burn off my irritation. It worked. I got her all psyched up when it was time to go in for JWW and she rocked the course, qualifying again. Both days, both Open JWW courses, she was the only qualifying run in her height category. That alone is super exciting, not to give the other teams a hard time, but most are more experienced than either Vegas or I plus are running more traditional breeds.
All in all it was a great weekend. Our Q rate was 50%, we earned some Open legs, and we had fun. All of it contributes toward more experience, finding our way working together, and cementing our team relationship. I love my Vegas girl!

Here are a few pictures I scanned after purchasing from Joe Camp. They are Saturday only.

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