I’m a little behind on Rally posts but here is the first of many. A few weekends ago, we attended a CARO Rally Trial in Regina, Saskatchewan hosted by KAOS Dogsports Inc.. I have wanted to take our rally show on the road since our last ‘away’ trial in the spring and this was a good opportunity: Regina is as close as it gets for a CARO Trial around here, the KAOS facility is really nice and the folks are awesome! I decided to enter one Excellent C Run and one Advanced Team run each day.
Saturday was a non-qualifying day but I was relatively pleased.
During our Advanced Team Run, Bear did some stress scratching and drifted a bit around the food bowls. The good news is that he did come right back when called – he did not become obsessed by the lore of food. Our partners, Dayna and Romeo had a nice run but the scratching costs us too much time – we were 19 seconds over the allotted course time which meant our run was non-qualifying.
Our Excellent C run was also non-qualifying because Bear attempted to leave the ring. In hindsight, I was so fried by the time we got to the second to last exercise that I walked right by the sign and as I realized my mistake, he went off to visit he timer and ring steward outside the gate who kindly, did not allow him to go. I called him back and set him up for the last exercise, which he performed, which was a recall and then we left. It was not a stellar run but it was important to me because even though I did ‘lose’ him, I was able to get him back in the game without a huge effort and we finished on a good note.
On Sunday, I made a few small changes to our trial routine that I think helped.
- I brought Bear into the building for about 15-20 minutes in the early afternoon to visit and have some cookies.
- I borrowed some of Dayna’s Tuna Fudge which just about made Bear’s eyeballs drop out of his head.
- For the Advanced Team Run, I decided to take Bear’s collar off completely so that it would be much easier and quicker to put his collar/leash on at the end of our run and save us a few seconds.
The Advanced Team course was more of a moving course (which is more of our kinda thing) and we didn’t have to walk close enough to the food bowls for them to be a distraction for Bear. We lost a few points for crooked sits. Our Teammates, Romeo and Dayna completed their half of the course easily and we finished our run with time to spare, and a score of 196 which earned us a High in Class and some snappy ribbons and prizes. This was the final leg we needed to complete our Advanced Team title – The first rally title we’ve obtained since 2009
Since our Advanced team run was the final leg for both of us, Dayna and I also entered the boys in an Excellent Team Run. Both dogs were less precise than earlier that weekend but we still qualified with a respectable score of 186.
Our Excellent run was also much better. We disqualified with a sloppy back up three steps (need to fix that again). The tunnel was also incredibly exciting for him and while he heeled nicely, he did kind of ‘forget’ some exercises. Since we had already NQ’d I decided to use our time to retry those stations and Bear did get them right on the second time and we finished the course with plenty of time to spare considering we took the time to perform three retries.
I am thrilled with this weekend because I was able to keep Bear working through full courses which to date has been a challenge in a new environment. Typically, I have ‘given up’ and left the ring when things were not going well but this past weekend, I felt like I could and should expect more of him because after all – to him it’s all the same whether we qualify or not. Now I think we have a few exercises to work on but otherwise I’m ready to take this show on the road again.