Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Year in Review, Part 1: Trials and Accomplishments

With the end of the year upon us, I thought it would be nice to look back on all of the experiences and accomplishments that Maisy and I shared. Although there’s still a lot I’d like to work on with Maisy, I’m really proud of how far we’ve come. This post will be the first of three reviewing our year together, and will cover our trial accomplishments this year.

When January began, I never dreamed that we would spend the year going to trials, but perhaps the fact that we went to TCOTC’s run-throughs on New Year’s Day should have been a sign of what was to come. I had no idea what to expect from a run-through, and was surprised when I was told that we were ready to tackle rally obedience in competition. There were no ribbons or awards, but I loved working as a team with Maisy, and decided I wanted to try this whole trial thing.

Here is a video of our first time ever doing a rally course at the run-through:

We went to the Minnesota Mixed Breed Club’s APDT rally trial held on January 31st and February 1st. We experienced our first Q, and our first NQ at this trial (apparently, you have to do all the signs). Maisy and I ended the weekend with 3 Qs and our first title! We also earned an Award of Excellence (because all of our scores were over 190: we had a 195, a 197 and a 200, which was 4th place, 3rd place and 3rd place, respectively) along with our shiny new RL1 title

Next, we went to a trial in Illinois in June. I was very nervous about this trial! I was afraid that our previous success was just a fluke; the first trial was held at our home club and I didn’t know how Maisy would hold up in a strange location. As it turned out, she did great. It was a very tight space, but Maisy did really well chilling on my lap. The competition was stiff, but we still did well: a 200, a 206, a 207 (and 5th place), and a 204.

Only a few weeks later, we went to a trial in Des Moines. This trial was a huge success for us. Maisy had excellent scores, including her personal best of a 209 (which was a 2nd place), a 204 (and 2nd), a 208 (and her first 1st place!), a 208 (5th place), and a 201. But, the best part was that following one of our runs, the judge commented that Maisy looked “very happy.” I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a nicer compliment.

August brought two more trials. The first was another MMBC trial. This trial was a truly mixed bag for me. We had great successes mixed with great disappointments. Despite the wonderful things we accomplished in this trial, due to her reactivity, the sense of connection was lost, and I didn’t enjoy it as much. This trial really solidified my understanding that dog sports are another expression of my relationship with my dog, not about a chance for accolades.

Anyway, we had scores of 188, 206, 206, and 205, and earned a 1st place, two 3rd places, and Maisy was the high scoring mixed breed dog of the day on Sunday! We also completed our RL1X title, which is the single-level championship title.

Only a few weeks later, we headed to Omaha for another trial. Maisy did much better at this trial. Although she did have some reactivity, I had learned from the MMBC trial and managed her better. She had scores of 198, 203, 201 and 204. We also tried level 2 for the first time! Ironically, it was this spur-of-the-moment entry that gained us our highest score and our only placement of the weekend: a 208 and 2nd place! (We had to do a run-off for the placement and we won it!)

What all that boils down to is a total of 5 trials and 2 titles. Our highest score of the year was a 209. We earned 1st place twice, 2nd place three times, 3rd place a whopping four times (we’re apparently very good at 3rd place!), 4th place once, and 5th place twice, plus the high scoring mixed breed dog honor! We also have one leg towards our level 2 title. What a great year! Check out all those ribbons!


Dawn said...

Really wonderful, Crystal. Congratulations those are some huge accomplishments.

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

you have had an amazing year, congrats! Really nice job on that first run through too. Maisy seemed to become more focused as you progressed. Does walking slower help her to focus more? I know with Vito I need to walk fast and with Lance walking fast normally helps too. Except at obedience trials Lance always seems to refocus more when we get to slowtime as I think the change of pace forces him to notice that I'm there :)

Crystal said...

Thank you, Dawn! I'm very proud of my girl.

Laura- walking slowly is something of a bad habit I have (I'm working on improving that), but she really does focus much better when we go slow, including anything to the left (turns, pivots, etc.) I always find that surprising since she's such a go-go-go type of dog.