Last weekend, Paul had his first full-scale regatta and John's mom was due to arrive for a long-anticipated visit. So naturally I was up in Boonsboro Maryland at an obedience trial with Bo & Tip. It was the Mason & Dixon Kennel Club trial, held at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum (http://www.ruralheritagemuseum.org/). They have an impressive collection of very nicely maintained log cabins, donated from various sources. I know the history of them all, because I got a personal tour from a very kind guide (after the easter egg hunt had cleared out). An energetic greybeard in his 60s, he confessed to being the youngster amongst the volunteers.
But that is not the main point, but it is important. It was an absolutely lovely setting for a trial. Lovely indoor buildings (one ring per room), with sufficient crating, paved parking, running toilets, and seemingly endless lovely vistas to walk your dog.
Bo, being small, was first dog in Utility both days. Another lovely feature: the trial started at 9AM. So I could leave home at 7, and still have a whole hour to let the dogs settle in and get them ready to work!
Bo Q'ed in Utility saturday moring. I was stunned. We had had such a long streak of NQs. I don't know where to put the reason for the Q, but it must be (in part) because I told myself VERY FIRMLY that the goal was to have dogs that WANTED TO BE IN THE RING WORKING WITH ME. That was my goal. Not a Q. So Bo Qed. Then he Qed in Open B, and we got our third UDX leg! Whoo hoo!!!! In Utility I thought he worked fabulously, but it was a strict judge so we score din the 180s.
Then came Tip. The dog I should not have entered in Novice because he was so not trained or ready for it. Heel on lead was a bit ugly. Heel off lead was even uglier. I had to give him a second command on off lead heeling. Entertainingly I rapped out "Tip! HEEL!!!", which was effective at getting him back with me. Even though he has never heard that command before in his life. His heel command is "let's go!" And I did much of the heeling with no idea where he was, because I could not see him. Then I decided that was a good thing, as it meant he must be trailing along after me, because if he were anywhere else in the ring I would have seen him.
The kind kind judge in Novice B (who had just an hour earlier judged Bo and commented that he was obviously a Border Collie based on how he worked) determined that Tip had put in a qualifying performance in the individual exercises.
Then we had to survive the novice stays. Luckily Tip was between two small and very solid dogs. Not next to the flatcoat who vibrated and flirted (but held position) throughout the entire stays. Novice stays are awful, you just stand there and are a silent witness to the entire ten-million-year-long torturous ordeal. But Tip (king of doing nothing) held his stays like a champ! And he Q'ed and earned his first CD leg!! With a big 3 points to spare!!!! lost a dozen points on each of the heeling exercises and did everything else essentially perfectly. well except on the recall did not sit front and did not really finish. (details, details...).
I was so pleased with life and Gloria was here, I almost didn't go back on Sunday. Then I thought "they are all just going to sleep in sunday morning anyhow", so took only Bo off to the trial. Tip rested on his laurels (more about him in a moment). Bo was again first in the Utility ring again. He put in an OK performance, but there were a lot of off fronts and finishes. However he Q'ed (YEAH!!!!!!), and the judge made a comment about how he made it look easy. Didn't seem like it to me, so I thought he was joking.
Then came Sunday's Open B. the way the trial was organized, Bo had maybe 30 minutes downtime between Utility and his open performance. Broad jump was first, and he seemed a bit tired. Let's be honest -- I am used to him vibrating with energy. I told him to jump and he walked up to the jump and I foresaw him walking through the broad jump. But no, he jumped over it and gave me a perfect front. He Q'ed on all the individual exercises, and was so tired did not even pounce on the dumbbell on the retrieve on flat.
Then the stays. He was next to a big hairy dog who was having a bad day. Then on the stays it almost didn't go down, and when it did, there was barely a foot away from Bo. This was a dog that the previous day Bo had made sure he was facing away from during the stays. I look in unhappy desperation at the judge, and we lave our dogs. During the stays, I abjectly beg the nice lady with the big hairy dog to walk really carefully around Bo when she returns (there is so little space), and I don't want him to NQ in the final seconds of the stays. Happily, as the follow owner of a hairy dog, she understands and sympathizes. And Bo Qs and earns his FOURTH UDX leg.
But -- saving the best for last. Ribbons for the Utility B class. The previous day all ribbons were earned by 3 brilliant black & white border collies and a brilliant Keeshond. On sunday, the judge pinned first through third, then called fourth place. My lead was firmly tucked in my pocket so I could applaud everyone. But no one moved. and then I started to think that #305 sounded sort of familiar. So I glanced at my arm and realized that Bo had won 4th place!!! Go Little Dog Go!!!!