The match

Hello blog readers. Frodo here on this chilly white Sunday. We had snow the other day, so we have returned to the winter wonderland scenario. Which is fine by me. This is that type of snow that does not form terrible snow balls in parts unmentionable. This is the light, fly-away version – which I prefer.

As luck would have it, the snow ended Friday night, and our reliable plow man – Larry, arrived yesterday morning and freed us from our snowy prison in plenty of time to go to the rally match. In reviewing the match results, it might have been better had Larry left us stranded….

Now you need to understand that this was simply a practice match. No scores. No “qualifying legs.” No “winners.” It was a chance to practice in the very same venue where the REAL trials will be held next weekend. We are so thankful to those who organize these things. It is not an easy task. Like herding cats. Except it’s dogs. And dog people.

The Imp and I will both be competing in Rally obedience. I shall be in Masters level, and the Imp will be in Novice. So we entered the practice trial yesterday as a warm up. I hope this warm up was not an indication of how we will do next weekend.

We began with yours truly. Who happened to be THE first dog to go in the rally ring. And while this was a wonderful opportunity to practice, it was actually more difficult than a real trial. First off, there was no walk through. For those unfamiliar with rally, the humans walk the course without us dogs to familiarize themselves with the route, before we run the course. And although Her Highness had the list of signs for the course, she is very much a “hands on” learner. She NEEDS to walk the course before she does it with me. Add to that, there were no numbers on the signs. So. We were first in. With a human who can lose her way in a parking lot. Need I say more? I did brilliantly, if I do say so myself. But, I was taking directions from a confused director – and we ended up doing a course that didn’t resemble the correct pattern. We zigzagged and skipped signs like we were blindfolded. Suffice to say, had it been a REAL trial, we would have failed. Or should I say, SHE would have failed. I did everything she asked. Honestly, if we get a single leg in Masters, it will be a miracle. I would request a new handler, but I do love her. And she IS trainable. So I’ll persist. Here’s a photo of me taken by a young woman by the name of Taylor Warren. It shows that I can do the job…

Now the Imp is entered next weekend in Novice. As you may recall, he DID get two Novice legs in December- so he needs one more for his title. So did Her Highness enter him in Novice? No. She entered him in Advanced. Just for “fun.” One of the big differences between Novice and Advanced? Advanced is OFF leash. And it includes things like jumps. Well the Imp started off OK, until they came to the first jump. Unfortunately, the jump was set too high from the previous dog and he took one look at it and put on the brakes. This being the dog who ricochets 5 feet in the air off walls. And the dog who jumps over 3 foot logs in the woods. But it was 4 inches higher than he has practiced. So he refused to go over and ducked around it. When the jump was lowered to his height, he easily cleared it, but his “course momentum” had been slowed. So as they approached a corner and a dog outside the ring began to wildly hit his tail on a something, resulting in a bam-bam-bam sound, the Imp froze. All the calling and cajoling in the world could not make him move. Her Highness finally scooched his butt to make him move. He DID do the rest of the course, but he was clearly rattled by the dog tail incident. Time allowed them to repeat the run, and he did much better- but let’s just say he is not quite ready for Advanced. And he obviously needs much more work with distractions.

We both came home and were EXHAUSTED from the adventure. The Coyote was excited to see us, but no doubt was happy to have had the house to himself for a few hours. He had no Imp chewing at his ears. And wonderful treats to enjoy all by himself. He looked well rested when we came back.

So this week will be the training blitz. I don’t need ANY training. It’s Her Highness who needs to be sure what the signs are, and WHERE she is going for Masters. She need not worry about me doing my job. The Imp needs distraction work. I see him going to some stores this week. Which could be interesting….

Wish us luck. LOTS of luck…

Have a good one. Peace and paws up. Stay safe.

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