Monday, January 7, 2013

NW1 Here We Come!


So extremely excited about how Sunday turned out!

I have to admit I was pretty darn nervous before we got there. It was a three hour drive from Norms parents where we were staying for the weekend. 1 hour to Melanie's and another 2 hours to Birmingham. Melanie and I caravaned over. Not the best for fuel efficiency, but neither of us wanted to stress our dogs out by adding in too many variables. Plus Biba can be grouchy and Reyna is a pest so they aren't exactly best of friends.

We arrive about half an hour before registration and got the dogs out to play and stretch. There were ball fields there so the dogs got some off leash play time. Melanie brought Rey who Reyna adores and everybody had a good romp before folks started showing up. We moved to the far end of the parking lot where it was quiet and that ended up being an awesome spot to spend the day. Far enough away that I could Reyna out periodically with worrying about tons of other dogs wandering around.

The ORT was very well set up and ran extremely smooth. The briefing started right on time. As we did the walk through somebody said something about converging air currents...*gulp*...then we went by the recovery case the dog struggles the recovery boxes provide an opportunity for a quick success to end on a positive note for the dog...I sure hope we don't need those, was all I could think.

The warm up boxes were set up in easy access to everybody with a set for Birch and a set for Anise. It was really a great layout, you could work warm up boxes as long and as often as you needed (being respectful of other people who may need them of course).

After the tour they called "first dog on deck!" and we were off!!!

Reyna and I were number 30ish out of about 40 people...we had a wait. So I used that time to get Reyna in and out of the car, walk around the area, do some levels work, run the warm up boxes, and then rest again. We did that about three or four times and by the end Reyna had settled into the pattern of come out, work a bit, play a bit, back in the car. So after the first few times she hopped out ready to work.

The first time we ran the warm up boxes she alerted right away and I threw the tug...she half heartedly looked at it...hmmm better bring out the good stuff...

I had brought her ball just in case she needed that little extra something to keep her focus. It worked wonders! Her alert is much stronger for the ball. She is driven and consistent with the tug, but the ball is still the holy grail as far as she's concerned. As soon as she figured out she was working for the ball any doubts about her ability to focus disappeared, now I knew my job would be to stay out of her way and give her time.

When they called our name we were ready as we'd ever be. I was super confident in Reyna and I hoped she felt the same. Then we walked into the building...

The floor was rubber, Reyna splayed her feet and crawled across it like it would swallow her whole... CRAP! I had trained for everything but the floor texture!

She perked up a little as we walked through the ring gates, we've done a lot of positive associate with walking through ring gates, then she saw the boxes and her ears came back up. There were strange people everywhere, and at first I thought that would be a major distraction, but looking back I think the comforting site of a bunch of boxes in a row helped her like a security blanket, she knew what her job was.

We walked up to the start line, Reyna's nose may have crossed early, I don't know, but we did our regular routine where I pulled back her harness and say reeeaaaddddyyy????? Go Find!

She was so clear headed it blew my mind, she methodically sniffed every single box. She did a double take on one but no alert, walked all the way back around still checking each box diligently, but got back to the first box with no alert. I took a deep breath and reminded myself we had 3 minutes and not to stress. On our second trip around we came back to the double take box and she confidently laid her chin and a paw on the box. It was so clear I had to laugh as I yelled ALERT! They said Yes and we whooped it up all the way out. I barely noticed the judges, I was too busy smiling at Reyna...she did soooo amazing!

The was our first dog event of any kind so I cant even tell you the high when we bounded past the recovery boxes and grinned like cheshire cats! Reyna and Rey had a well deserved celebratory romp in one of the fenced in ballparks.

We went to lunch with a group of folks from Atlanta and talked about our dog aerted correctly in 8 seconds, another dog made three or four trips around the boxes in 26 took us 34 and we only went around twice! It was a wonderful group of women, and I hope we get together again soon!

After lunch it was time for the long drive back to Canton and then home was 10:30pm before were wall settled back in at home. A totally exhausted, but beaming me crawled into bed last night...

NW1 dreams dancing in my head.

No comments:

Post a Comment