Saturday, May 21, 2011

Obedience humor and stuff

As if we needed an excuse to eat 
more chocolate at obedience trials. 
But if that's what takes . . .

Free chocolate aside, it was a good day.

For the first time in my life, I deliberately flunked a qualifying run in order to make a correction in the ring. It wasn't exactly a correction. It was more like support or encouragement. Or keeping a questionable behavior from disintegrating further.

Phoenix started to trot in slowly from the drop on recall. Yes, technically it was a trot, so technically it was fine and not scorable. It also looked like it could become a walk-in pretty darn easily. So I told him "HURRY!" and clapped my hands and jumped around a little. He hurried, he wagged his tail and he made it totally worth throwing the run.

After that, his attitude sparked up a little bit and he gave me some nice work.


I really hate that word.

Nice is fine. It really is. Some days, I will happily take "nice." But I want dazzling, spectacular, amazing, brilliant . . . well, you get my point. Fast, happy, animated, driven, confident . . . yeah, all THAT!

Nice is a single scoop of vanilla ice cream. I want a banana split with three different flavors of ice cream and chocolate syrup and nuts and a cherry.

Today we were nice. Maybe tomorrow we'll be a little nicer. Maybe we'll be enjoying banana splits in a couple of months.

So today was a success: I wanted to catch Phoenix at just going through the motions and let him know I needed more effort than that.

I feel good about ME, too. I worked at not being so formal while warming up and between exercises in the ring and concentrated on treating our run like a training session or fun match. I know it helped me be more relaxed. We played more in the ring. We played more outside the ring, too, just for the sake of playing, something I admittedly haven't done a lot of in the past.

Had a friend video us and oh boy . . . not only was Phoenix obviously showing stress (although much, much less than last weekend in Utility, confirming my suspicion that he is more comfortable and confident about the Open exercises and that makes a big difference) but he is also very much not 100% engaged with me in the ring. He was on task during the exercises but did a lot of gawking at the crowd, judge, stewards, etc. between exercises . . . which meant he was thought he had the option of disengaging. Ack, I didn't realize he did it THAT much. Yet another thing to put on the training list.

We'll go back and give it another shot tomorrow. Hopefully they refill the magic winners' chocolate bowl.

Fun news, Kate and Orbit finished their U-CDX today by winning Open A, following up on their first place win and HIT from yesterday! And Peggy was there with the love of Phoenix's life, DeeDee. They shared a malinois moment in the parking lot. For a bit, Phoenix thought he was large and in charge. Really, dude, Dee is ready to test for her SchIII. She could put the smack down on you so fast you wouldn't know what happened. Ah, well, you could just see the little red valentine hearts floating above them.

Then we went to two local greenhouses, in search of miniature roses that apparently do not exist and came home to putter around in my flowers.

I planted this bowl of pansies back in April 
when it was so cold I thought spring would never come.

My favorite lavender columbine.


  1. Wanted to stop by and tell you I am passing on the Versatile Blogger Award to your awesome blog. I enjoy reading it a lot. You can grab the code from my post at

  2. Congratulations on the experience. It sounds like a more successful day, in the long run, than if you had let it go and Q'd. Good for you!

    I was thinking about one of your recent posts about how you aren't necessarily "stressed" in the ring and how you've had two OTCh dogs and went to the NOI. I would LOVE to hear about what the NOI was like. If you ever take requests for blog posts, that's my request!

  3. Ohhhhh free chocolate!!! LOVE that!

    I know that many of us realllly appreciate your detailed posts. The posts on ring stress were AWESOME. That is something that Falkor and I have a lot of trouble with.

    I also have trouble with Falkor disengaging between exercises and monitoring what everyone else is doing around the ring.

    Good luck tomorrow and can't wait to hear how it goes!

  4. That little tramp DeeDee led Jazz on! Coach showed quite a bit of interest also. She must be the hottest girl in town! For what it's worth, I thought Phoenix looked much more relaxed in general than he did last weekend. May be the smaller, quieter venue is also a factor?

  5. I've been reading your post with great interest. I was wondering if you video tape yourself a trails and in practice? I find that I would swear I didnt do something and look at the tape, and I was wrong. I did it and didn't even remember. Lol

  6. Anxious to hear what you do to minimize the scanning the crowd and other "checking out" behaviors between exercises. I'm dealing with that, too.

  7. I'll second (3rd?) the request on what to do on checking out the surroundings behaviors. As I mentioned before, it seems to be hard-wired for some guard-type dogs (not to mention any Belgian names). I go back and forth between thinking I need to work more on absolute attention at all times and thinking that Control Unleashed-type work on checking back in after looking at things would relieve some stress. When we get this one sorted out we'll finally be ready to enter utility.