Ring Sport, Trial Prep, and a Whole Lot of Rain

Someone this past week said to me, “You write a blog don’t you?”

And, I mean, yes, I do, sometimes. Today will be one of those times. But I’m not very good about blog writing these days, so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyway.

What a week last week was!

From Wednesday through Friday, I audited a ring sport seminar put on by a local ring sport group with Andrew Steinkohl. I don’t know anything about ring sport, but I like all things working dog, and it was nearby, so I figured I’d check it out and learn some new things.

And learn I did!

It was a fabulous seminar. If you ever get the chance to attend a seminar with Mr. Steinkohl, I’d highly, highly recommend it. He is incredibly skilled as both a trainer and a decoy – even I could see that and I know nothing. All of the dogs improved by leaps and bounds throughout the week and I felt like I came away from the seminar having watched some exceptional dog training.

Am I raving? I feel like I’m raving.

I also got to meet and hang out with some awesome dog sport people, which always makes for a good day.

One major difference I will note between an IPO (I’m adjusting to calling it IGP, give me a minute) seminar and a ring sport seminar – the dogs in ring sport are SO QUIET. It was so peaceful!

I think I may have found my people because, if you’ve ever trained with me at all, you know that nuisance barking absolutely tips me over the edge.

It won’t be the super cool exercises that lure me to ring sport, it will be the peace and quiet.

So that was Wednesday – Friday.

On Saturday, I ventured over the mountains to work with a neighboring club that I really need to work with more often. They very graciously invited me up to track on their dirt tracking as we all prep for DVG Regionals being held next month.

I won’t even hold it against them that their “dirt” tracking was actually calf-deep mud. 😉

It was pouring rain, windy, muddy, and cold. Perfect tracking weather, really.

I tracked Rye, first. And while she struggled a bit, she kept her head down and figured it out with minimal input from me. She’s going to be such a tracking superstar and I won’t even be able to take credit for it.

Rye had to dig for the food in places, but she kept working

Brody was an absolute shit. There’s not other way to put it.

We’ve always struggled with his work ethic in tracking. Partly genetic, I’m sure, and partly the really shitty tracking foundation that I put on him.

We’ve been working hard to overcome these issues, but I knew that the mud and the rain and the wind would make him want to quit, and I was right.

I essentially had to compulse him into tracking on Saturday. And while it wasn’t pretty, he had some really nice sections where he demonstrated that he *can* track, he just doesn’t always want to.

And he REALLY didn’t want to down on the articles. Not that I blame him, entirely, but articles aren’t optional, no matter the weather.

Sorry, buddy.

The rain stopped basically as soon as we were all done tracking, because of course.

Obedience was fine. Brody is a little rusty because I’ve been a lazy-ass lately. Rye was pretty good, considering how many dogs are on the field at once at this particular club. It was a great opportunity to proof her focus on me, no matter what is going on around her.

In Protection, I had the opportunity to work Brody on one of the helpers selected for DVG Regionals. Brody had never worked on this particular helper before, so it was a good opportunity to see how our work with him is progressing.

He was honestly really good. He still wants to be “handsy” in his guarding – a game he started recently that we haven’t been able to cure him of yet – and he was a little unsure during the re-attack, but we didn’t have any control issues at all and he was great for the side-transport, so we’re definitely going to call it a win.

I think we’re going to need to free him up a bit before the trial, as he’s a little *too* controlled at the moment, but in the grand scheme of the issues that we’ve had with him, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Rye got worked on a back tie and I got to show her pretty-princess self off to a group of new people. She worked great and everyone approved of the purchase.

Incidentally, people have now started referring to Brody as my “learning dog”, which maybe should offend me a little but doesn’t at all because damn if it isn’t true.

Still love you, though, buddy.

Sunday was club day at our club. Where it was also pouring rain.

Our tracks were on grass, but mostly underwater. Rye tracked like she’s been water-tracking her whole life. Brody didn’t want to down all the way on articles, but apparently remembered his lessons from Saturday, because the track itself was beautiful, though it was almost entirely in ankle-deep water.

Obedience was good. Brody was back his usual perfect self and didn’t seem to notice the rain.

Rye was a little flat, but that’s not unexpected.

Protection was freaking awesome.

I’ve been working on developing guarding with Rye, but she’s never done it on a helper without a back tie or post, and certainly has never been sent around a blind. But we were feeling goofy on Sunday, so my helper and I decided to send her around the blind to see what she did.

The first time, she tried to jump through the back of the blind and succeeded in pushing it over on top of the helper.

After I showed her how to go around it, however…

Rye’s very first bark-and-hold

No shit, that is her first time being sent into a blind.

She’s perfect.

Then came Brody’s turn. We should have been working on his guarding, since he’s been “molestier than shit” (per one of the helpers on Saturday), but instead, we decided to do a police-dog-style hide because we are children and it’s more fun to play than to do actual work.

So our helper (who does train and sell police dogs), laid us longish-trail around a building and hid in some bushes.

Brody has played this game some before, so he was on the trail immediately and only paused in a couple of places to check the scent.

Man-trailing is more fun than actually working

Then, since it was still pouring, we all packed up early and went to lunch.

Overall, a very busy and very educational week. I say it a lot (though probably still not enough), but I’m so extraordinarily grateful for all of the people that lend me their time and expertise. We have a phenomenal working dog community around here and I’m grateful and proud to be apart of it.

And as for the drama that occasionally occurs, and that I will only passive aggressively acknowledge, because, as stated earlier, I am a child…

Credit to Nomad Schutzhund Club, because I stole this off their Facebook Page

Six weeks until Regionals!

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