Always Training. Always Learning.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Experiences

I decided to enter Phlox in a UKC Agility trial just for fun. I ran him over the tea cup agility equipment at the kennel a few times but didn't manage to make it to any classes. I also didn't actually find the chute until the night before so he got a whopping 20 minutes of practice with that obstacle.
Disclaimer: Don't do what I do. Always train adequately for a new event and make sure you read all the rules. Jumping in head first can backfire especially when obstacles are involved.

Day 1 trial
I kept Phlox from running full speed so that I could keep up. We had a nice careful run where he refused the chute initially but took it in the allotted 3 tries. We ended with a 195 and third place.

Day 1 trial 2
Phlox decided he enjoyed running and went faster. It must have been hilarious to watch me waddle around the course trying to keep up with him. Other than Phlox slipping after coming off the table it was a nice run (for us). We had a clean run and perfect 200. First place!

Day 2 Trial 1
He went even faster but seemed to have forgotten about the chute over night. I didn't help by forgetting to give him the command and he started to run by. Another nice run all in all. Score 198 and first place!

I sat out the last trial because he had earned his title and I was done running.
I had a blast and enjoyed spending time with Phlox's brothers owner. My sister drove with me and I'm pretty sure she caught the agility bug just by watching.  

Staffordshire Terrier Club of America National Specialty was in October. I got lucky this year and it is within an hours drive. I only signed Phlox up for Obedience because at this point Conformation would be a waste of money.

Obedience was a mixed bag. Some highs and some lows.
Show one was pretty sloppy with Phlox and I earning our lowest score to date 191. We did end up in second place.

I had no real expectations for show 2. I was pleased with the heel on leash, thrilled with the figure 8, over joyed at his exam and heel free and proud of his progress on the recall. I left the ring fairly confidence that we had won the class. I was thinking that a 195-197 would be a fair score. When the judge called our number I could not believe it. Phlox earn a 199 1/2! This from the same judge who earlier hit me for every little thing imaginable.
We lost our half a point on the recall. I still can not believe not only how well Phlox did but how well I did. I don't think there has ever been a time when I didn't loose a point or two with some handler error.

This is my very first high in trial and I am certain it wont be my last. Now I know what Phlox can do and will be working on attitude endurance and consistency.
I went home on cloud nine.

The next morning brought me crashing back down to earth. Phlox was sluggish and just not into it. To be honest I would really have liked to be at home in bed and I'm sure that played a role in Phlox's attitude.
We ended up with a 192 and 3rd place.

His CD was a roller coaster ride that I will never forget. This little black dog has so much potential and I think I am beginning to have the skills to get him to where he needs to go in his obedience career.

On Friday Phlox took the American Temperament Test Society test. He passed easily and reacted predictably to each station. No problem with the people or load noises. He moved out of the umbrella's way but went right back up to it. Walked over the metal and plastic with out so much as batting an eye. He had very little reaction to the aggressive stranger he kept an eye on him but continued about his business. The evaluators comment on his temperament was "Aloof".

My son also got to join in the fun on Friday. They had a pee wee handling class and my son showed Phlox. I wasn't sure how it would turn out since Phlox is a good 10lbs heavier than Chase but my little boy held his own and made sure Phlox did what he was told.
I had a professional picture taken and can't wait for it to arrive. He had so much fun that he is begging to do it again.

In other news Phlox earned his first 50 points in UKC Conformation. He's halfway to his Champion!

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