Dottie, Pie and I attended the Winterfest Cluster here in Ventura County. So nice to have such a close trial! Dottie was entered all 3 days in Utility A, and Pie was entered in Rally Excellent on Saturday and Sunday in order to finish up her title.
Dottie did not qualify any day. The first day we failed signals and 1 article, and the second and third days we only failed one article each day. Oddly, it was the second article all 3 times. The first 2 days the judge put the scented article in the middle on the second article. Dottie did not find it. The second day she searched longer, so perhaps her confidence was going up. After the second day I went home and put peanut butter on the article in the middle. Then no peanut butter, then I proofed it by putting an unscented one in the middle. She was correct each time.
Come Sunday, the judge did not put the scented article in the middle at all! As expected, Dottie grabbed the middle one anyway. :) Well, at least she knows the middle is an option now. Other than signals the first day, besides the articles, she did everything right. The rings were very big, which is unusual for being inside. Her go outs were perfect, something which is nice since I had to work hard to get those. We had glove 2 all 3 days, which is nice, but will I ever get her to take 1 or 3 again?
I haven't done rally in forever, but since Pie is done with obedience, I figured I'd finish her RE title. She had 1 leg from a long time ago. One of my friend's lent me her rally sign explanation binder and the first day we had first with 97. The second day I only had time to walk the course once, then I took Dottie in her ring, and by the time we came out, it was Pie's turn in rally, and she was the last dog, so they couldn't skip us and come back. I didn't have a chance to look at the sheets telling me how to do some of the stations, so I just winged it. We ended up with a 91, I think. Or maybe 93. Good enough for 3rd place and her RE title.
I have practiced articles with Dottie Sunday evening, Monday morning and Monday afternoon (using the same ones that were scented in the morning) and she has gotten it right every time. I'm sure confidence is the problem at the trial. I worked each position of the "clock" and the middle, and just now I made a strange square, filled all in with articles, and she noses the wrong ones out of the way to grab the correct one. I will have to try to figure out stressful ways to practice the articles, in an attempt to mimic the trials. Not that I want to stress her out, but I want her to learn to work through the stress, and still be correct. At this point I'm not really sure how to mimic the stress of a trial in a fair manner. I'll ask for K's help, she always has great ideas!
On Saturday, I called a SchH friend, and we hung out at the show together, watching the breed rings and shopping. Someone had German Showdogs entered in the GSD ring. They are still very angulated, with sloping toplines, but they are so much nicer than American show shepherds. Of course they didn't win any class, but we appreciated them. We also watched the BSD, Tervs and border collies, among others.
I'm not sure when our next obedience trial will be. For now it is tracking time, then agility will be the focus, as the Nationals are approaching very fast!