Saturday, January 8, 2011

Surprise, Surprise

Imagine my frustration when I found out that my club's APDT Rally trial had filled.

Imagine my amazement when I found out just a few days ago that a couple of runs opened up and I was able to show.

Imagine my sheer JOY when Marge showed successfully in all three of her runs, boasting two first places and a second place, one perfect score, finishing one title and double qualifying for the first leg of her first championship title!  That's a mouthful!

I had a blast today; Marge was a LOT of fun to play some Rally with.  Unfortunately, I have no video because I went by myself and was paranoid that if I asked someone to record me, I'd jinx myself and we'd NQ.  But, take my word for it: Marge was really phenomenal!

The trial stress stuff that she sometimes experiences was really kept to a minimum.  In fact, I'd say she was more calm in the ring at this Rally trial than any of the others that I've gone to.  She had a couple of spacey moments (her second run of the day probably felt the worst of the three - I did jokingly say "brains! brains!" out loud to her as we heeled between two signs, as a reminder for her to not lose her mind and have some fun), but over all, her eye contact was good, she was responsive to me, and she stayed that way for three runs!

Our recent expeditions in to formal obedience training definitely helped tighten some things up.  Her finishes were much more accurate, and she seemed to be trying hard to find that perfect spot to sit.  To me, that tells me that she was definitely thinking about what she was doing instead of, well, just plain old doing.

I did a couple of things differently than usual.  For one, I brought new treats out for the last couple of runs of the day.  I took a piece of mozzarella from the giant hero sandwich I picked up for the trial, which worked out really well in the last run.  Marge's eyes nearly popped out of her head when she saw a ball of cheese heading for her mouth.

I also ran the course with her physically faster than usual.  Faster times lead to higher placements in the B classes of APDT Rally, so I gave it a try and it seemed to improve Marge's focus and keep her motivated and on her toes.  I have been told that I "babysit" her too much, in both obedience and agility - so I moved a little faster with a little more spark in my stride, and I think that she liked it.

Several people commented on how well Marge did and, more importantly, how happy she looked to be doing it.

One of the judges, who has never met Marge before, called her "dynamite."  What a compliment!

The whole day was super pleasant and super unexpected.  We're going to have another opportunity to trial in APDT at the end of this month, so stay tuned!


NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! January 8, 2011 at 11:21 PM  


As we just told Amy and Layla, I'm sure Marge is proud of you as Layla is proud of the training she's done with Amy ;-)

houndstooth January 9, 2011 at 12:10 AM  

I am glad you two had such a great showing! That is definitely something to be proud of. Way to go!

Unknown January 9, 2011 at 12:22 AM  

Marge did so wonderfully and so did you. You two made a great team and it is so good to know that Marge was so willing and so happy to do it.

Brenda's Arizona January 9, 2011 at 12:49 AM  

Your day is really cool! Imagine, faster is more engaging! And one happy dog is always the BEST! Congrats to you both!!

Wyatt January 9, 2011 at 1:13 AM  

Way to go, canine!! Congrats!


Sara January 9, 2011 at 7:11 AM  

Congratulations to you and Marge! I can see your smile through your words. What a great day :)

Chris and Ricky January 9, 2011 at 8:08 AM  

Congratulations on such an awesome day!!

Cyndi and Stumpy January 9, 2011 at 8:43 AM  

Some things are just meant to be! Hard work never hurt any, either! Congratulations!!!

Wishing you treats, trails and waggin’ tails, ALL DAY LONG!
Stumpy and her bean

BRUTUS January 9, 2011 at 9:27 AM  

WoooHoooo!! Nice job Team Marge! That being said, we aren't surprised at all, you guys are way more awesome that you give yourselves credit for being! So was this your RL-2 title?

Getting into trials is really kind of an art around here. Not tons of them to chose from & they fill up FAST - like ON opening day! In fact we got wait-listed for one on opening day! So now we have a calendar just for trials/entires/closing, and have started to enter extra ones in case we get closed out of others! Sending in entries for mid-March trials in the beginning of January?? Crazy!

Again, fantastic job on the rally, congratulations!! Make sure you check out our current post about titles, there's some stuff in there that will really ring true with you guys :)


♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ January 9, 2011 at 9:41 AM  

Awesome, awesome, what a wonderful way to start the year. Congrats to both Marge and you - you make quite the wonderful team.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Kathy Mocharnuk January 9, 2011 at 10:42 AM  

ALL RIGHT, you guys have just come so far, and are doing so well, you and Marge have to both be so proud, really, really FANTASTIC!

Muttsandaklutz January 9, 2011 at 11:56 AM  

Wow!!!!! What an amazing day! Big huge congrats to you and Marge, I'm so happy for you guys! :-)

LauraK January 9, 2011 at 12:44 PM  

What an awesome day, I'm so happy for you two! Sounds like you two were really clicking and did some work by earning all those ribbons and titles! Go team Marge!

Diana January 9, 2011 at 3:46 PM  

Congrats on your wonderful weekend!!

Gus, Louie and Callie January 9, 2011 at 4:16 PM  

Congrad's Marge. We are so proud of you...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

AC January 9, 2011 at 4:31 PM  

Nice work Team Smarge!! It's fun to see how you're experimenting and working on different things with Marge and how she's responding so well...the faster pace, the special cheese...nice work!!

Lorenza January 9, 2011 at 8:35 PM  

Kisses and hugs

KB January 10, 2011 at 8:44 AM  

Congrats on the huge accomplishment, and most of all, I'm thrilled that you both had so much fun!

Faster seems to bring out focus in my dogs too... Maybe you're onto something for Marge. She can move so fast that I cannot imagine you ever being *too* fast for her!

ForPetsSake January 10, 2011 at 11:40 AM  

Yeah!! Awesome job! You've given me some insights to working with Nyxie, too: Speed and better treats. I do find that in everything, the dogs are physically faster than me and I'm sure it's frustrating to be tethered to a human seemingly lumbering along behind. Also, better, or at least varied treats might increase performance - or at least focus. I use single ingredient beef liver treats, which Nyxie LOVES, but maybe changing it up a bit will bring new energy. Thanks for sharing!

Kristine January 10, 2011 at 1:29 PM  

Congratulations!! That's so exciting. And to think it was all last minute. Sometimes the best things happen by surprise. Good for you both!!

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart January 10, 2011 at 8:19 PM  

Congrats on such a nice weekend together. I wish there were more APDT rally here. There is little rally (at all), and we we do have is somewhat far away and AKC style.

Since we only did a tiny bit of rally training in hopes of building ring confidence for agility, I don't have any advice about the speed or level of babying Marge needs.

I'm sure you'll find the right balance, even if that balance changes from event to event.

Sue January 10, 2011 at 10:35 PM  

Interesting idea, vary the treats so that boredom doesn't set in. I'll have to try that on a couple of mine.

Laura and The Corgi, Toller, & Duck January 11, 2011 at 9:28 AM  

Congrats! I wish there was more APDT here, its so much more fun then AKC! I try to remember to walk fast as my dogs always do better but it's hard when stressed!

Kari in Alaska January 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM  

Congrats to both of you on a job well done!


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