Wednesday, April 21, 2010

CWCCA National Time...

Are you getting excited yet? It's almost time for the CWCCA National Specialty!!


Two or three years ago, when I was asked to do the Juniors Program, and then a few minutes later, "Hey Kathy, you'll do RV Parking, right?"-- it didn't seem like such a big deal! After all- I was working full-time; my job was secure (or so I thought)- I would be on vacation- I would have lots of help(!!) and it WAS the local specialty!!

Fast forward to 2010... Perhaps I should have titled this Blog... My, how times have changed...

Less than a week until THE BIG EVENT...

1) I am unemployed~ However, instead of being on an unending vacation- I am in school full time, and our Nationals just happen to fall two weeks before Final Exams for Spring Semester. If you remember back to your college days, that means that our National falls during the LAST week of classes. The week I get back from the Nationals will be what they nicely call "Reading Week"~ which actually means your last ditch chance to get any and all assignments in to the professors in for grading...

What this has meant to preparation for the National has meant several bouts of absolute PANIC! Like- OMG- I am NEVER going to get all this CRAP done in time to leave- kind of panic!

Not to mention that I have been carrying 18 credits this semester; I mean- SERIOUSLY- only CRAZY people do that!!

2) The Good news is I have had quite a bit of help from other CWCCA Members and friends to pull this together- and I may actually survive this experience with some semblence of sanity.

That is, providing that nothing else goes wrong in the meantime...

Between school, my husband, my petsitter, my children, my car-- and the RV parking issues and the Juniors gifts and whatever else seems to not be cooperating... it does seem like there are forces bigger than me trying to keep me away from this years National Speciatly....

AT any rate... My intention is to have a GREAT time- see all my friends, enjoy all the wonderful Cardigans, and create wonderful memories to keep me going until the next CWCCA National Specialty!

I am looking forward to seeing everyone next week! Travel safely!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bugsy in Syracuse

I decided to take Bugsy to Syracuse for the Obedience and Rally Trials. I wanted to see just how much I needed to work on before the Nationals~ knowing full well that Bugsy really wasn't ready to compete in Novice B obedience, and that he still had some issues for Rally Excellent!

Besides, it was a great excuse to visit Terri Clingerman and Cricket (Spotman x Dora), who has become one of our absolute favorite puppy people and a great friend!

The original plan was that Lisa and I would only take George and Bugsy up for the weekend so that we could devote undivided attention to the "smart" dogs... but it didn't quite work out that way!

1) we forgot it was Easter weekend, which meant that Lisa didn't have a dog-sitter! Her daughters had "other plans" so would not watch her other dogs

2) Sera and Jitterbug both came in season- and while normally all of my dogs can go out together, and my hubby is wonderful about taking care of them when I am away- the two girls don't get along when they are in season, and naturally the intact boys can't go out with the in-season girls... so a quick calculation made it obvious that we were going to have to bring a few extra dogs along for the ride.

Friday evening we arrived at Terri's just in time to see a brand-new baby lamb! I wanted so badly to bring her home! So very cute! We walked the dogs and visited with everyone and settled in, then enjoyed an incredible dinner with Terri's family.

Saturday dawned as a beautiful, sunny day! Temps were in the low 80's~ a complete suprise in Syracuse, NY! We left the "extra" dogs at Terri's house, since she has such a wonderful set up and we weren't going to be gone all day.

Rally Excellent started walk-through at 8:30, and Bugsy was the first dog in A. It was a complicated course- the judge really liked those cross-ring angles! Mr. Bugs was AWESOME and right on target until we got to the "Back up 3 steps"~ I backed up... Bugsy sat down and watched me!... OOPS! So I circled him back out of the station, and we tried it again (3 points there!) The second attempt was only slightly better- Bugsy turned sideways and walked toward me instead of backing. ~

Our score in Rally Exc. A was an 89- we lost 10 pts on that Back up station, and a point on the pivot Left~ but it was good enough for a 2nd place!

We were not as fortunate in Novice B!

Focus was an issue in Obedience~ Bugsy must have felt my apprehension come down the lead! He lagged on lead and through the figure 8- Moved his feet on the Stand for exam (GASP-- he never does that in class...) then came the off lead heel...

Bugsy spied a dried leaf off to the left, so he went and picked that up as soon as we started the off lead heel. He carried that through the rest of his off lead heeling. He did all of his sits- most a bit crooked. Heeled very wide on his about turns- (making sure he was checking outside the ring, you know...) The good news was he stayed on his recall-- and he did his finish-- almost perfectly!! Final score was a depressing 174-- but at least he qualified!

Back to Terri's~ and some intensive training on focus and attention~ we even trained right next to the sheep pen!

Then we got to watch the amazing Cricket train on the sheep (I just love that little girl!! Just wait to see all that dog can do!) and had a scrumptious dinner and crashed for the night...

Sunday was a bit chilly and we were all tired... even the dogs seemed tired! Because we were leaving directly from the show, we had to load the van and bring all the dogs.

Once again, Rally was first. The class was smaller, probably because it was Easter Sunday (Good people were in Church). This course had better flow, and the stations were less challenging; Bugsy, however, was not as focused this morning. (or maybe it was me?) We finally clicked about 1/3 of the way into the course~ the last station was the Back up 3 steps== once again- I backed- Bugsy stood up on his hind legs, turned toward me and stood still. I circled him around and came back into the station, and the second time he did a beautiful back... I was THRILLED (this station has always been tough for us!)

We ended up with a 94 and 3rd place-- losing 3 pts on the back- a single pt on a 360 (sniffing), a single pt on his sit/stand/down (took 2 commands to down) and a single on his halt/call front/finish right/ (finish crooked).

On to Novice B-- without time to put him away for much of a break! I proofed him on his stand really quickly... did some play/release/quick sits first... and off we went. I was, frankly, worried- since he was not really into it in Rally.

So I worked really hard at being very cheerful in Obedience- I heeled him very quickly- smiled a lot- tried to maintain eye contact with him. In between exercises, I did a lot of physical "touch" - good dog- rah rah stuff (which I normally don't do except in training)

He "felt" good! I knew he heeled a bit wide a few times, but his sits were better- he was with me more- and he was connected. He stayed for his stand and his recall was great~ his finish could have been better (sat crooked) but it was acceptable.

On his stays he ended up on a steel grate covered with matting; I was so worried he was going to break; I could feel the grating shift when I left him and he was fidgeting. Thats the longest 1 and 3 minutes!!!

Final score was a 189--- AND a 4th place!!! For a dog that is really not ready~ I was THRILLED!!!

So~ the final tally for the weekend was 2 Rally Exc legs and 2 Novice Obedience legs going into the National~

AND~ a wonderful weekend with some great friends!