Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rally Fun Match

Katie, Louie and I drove to Pine Bluff, Arkansas today to participate in a rally fun match. The timing was great because it gave us a chance to practice in a competitive environment before our big match in two weeks. Before the match started I walked both dogs around to get them used to the area. I was very proud of how well they behaved. They listened to me and didn't go nuts around all of the people and their dogs. Maybe handling the two of them by myself in public won't be quite as grueling as I thought. They really are good dogs; they even made it through their rally routines without a single bite of food which is miraculous.

Katie was entered in Rally Advanced so she was the first of my two to enter the Bog. I say bog instead of ring because it truly was bog like terrain. The ground was very moist and mushy. Your feet would sink down as you walked. Most of the dogs did not want to do the downs because of the muck. Thankfully Katie and Louie did theirs. There were distractions in abundance: an obedience ring right next to the rally ring, outdoor smells, wet ground, dogs milling about everywhere and even a car alarm going off. This was Katie's very first time to try Advanced which is all off lead. I was a bit nervous that she would get mentally overwhelmed by all of the chaos around us and not be able to stay with me, but she did fantastic. A few times when she momentarily got off track I was able to get her right back with me. I think she finally grasps the fact that we are a team out there. The light bulb in her brain came on today :-)

We did have a few problems. They forgot to reset the jump height for Katie, so I had to set it for her. Then she decided she didn't want to do it anyway :-) She still managed to score an 86. She lost 10 points for not doing the jump and I lost us four points for getting disoriented on the course. I somehow managed to do a 360 degree turn instead of 270 and then had to get us back on track. I think Katie did a fabulous job for her first try in Advanced Rally competition. I am so proud of her.

Louie was entered in Rally Novice. It was his first time to do rally in a competitive environment. In fact, Louie has never even taken a rally class. He did put thrus last Monday, but that was it, other than the practice we do at home. He was a bit spacey because of all of the above mentioned distractions, but he did extremely well. I was leaning over a lot trying to hold his attention...probably not the best form, but it worked. Louie scored 97 and got third place in his class! The two dogs that beat him are 5 and 3 years old, so he did great for a 13 month old puppy. He also was only 2 seconds behind the fastest time. Our baby is a smartie...he is such a pleasure to work and play with.

The Rally Fun Match was aptly named. It was so much fun for all three of us. Now, I feel much more confident going into the big match later this month.

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