Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dog Rally Obedience, New title, New starts for 2 great Labrador Retrievers

Tallulah, Nissa and I enjoyed our trip to the Mid-Jersey Labrador Retriever specialty show. There were 2 days of showing with 2 separate rally trials and obedience trials. I am proud to say my girls both won both of their rally classes; four tries, four blue ribbons. Tallulah was wonderful getting us going for our first time in Rally Excellent. She did it all easily, winning with 100 points and a fast time the first day and 99 points the second day. Nissa had me a bit nervous after refusing to jump at our last trial. She needed one more leg to earn her Rally Advanced title. Approaching tentatively, she started to by-pass the jump on Thursday, but in Rally you are allowed a second chance and, after a moment of bonding eye-contact, she jumped with gusto. Hurrah!! That left her eligible to move up to Rally Excellent for Friday. With little time to warm up between dogs I gave her a quick pep talk and off we went. No issue this time, she jumped both jumps on the course with confidence and enthusiasm. It was a great way to start the Excellent level. We'll take the winter off and aim to finish those titles in 2011.

Unfortunately, Nissa made up a new issue for the obedience ring. She had good scores going both days (190.5 and 195 out of 200), but she failed to come on the first call - an automatic NQ. She came beautifully and did a perfect finish on my second call both times. You could see her lean forward as if to start, then correct herself back into a sit, waiting to be sure I really had called. First day I thought it had something to do with the leaf blower I was shouting over, but in retrospect I think it is because I had corrected her for breaking a WAIT when practicing rally a few days before and, being the sensitive sort, that was on her mind. I know it is my fault one way or another when they are working so well and make a mistake, so I'll fix it and we will get her Companion Dog title next year. Still proud of you, Nissa. And Tallulah, it is always a joy to go into the ring with such a show-off!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Labrador Christmas Card Yellow Lab Dog Tugs Santa

Here is a fun new little painting I did for a Labrador Christmas card design. This yellow Labrador dog has Santa by the leg as he descends down the chimney with holiday gifts for all. Well, this Lab may not be on the "Good Dog" list anymore - Will Santa leave him coal in his stocking? Brighten your holidays with humor and a smile when you send this holiday card to friends for Christmas. Two inside holiday verse versions are available singly or in set of 10 and 20 in my OtterTail Art for Dog Lovers Shop or create your own verse and customize the card with your signature, photos inside, or whatever you like at my OtterTail Art Cards Shop.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Advanced Rally Obedience, 2 Labradors and 3 days

My black Lab, Tallulah, and her best buddy chocolate Labrador, Nissa, had a big weekend working toward Rally Advanced titles. We were entered 3 days with great expectations for our first try at this level of rally. These 2 girls and I are learning the Rally ropes together - as usual, I think they are getting it better than I am.

The first morning brought us a wet, cold start, but everyone seemed positive at the show and our judge was very pleasant. Tallulah went first in Rally Advanced B since she already has her Companion Dog obedience title. She did a perfect job and I was most proud of her, but as I exited the ring the judge told me I had made a mistake on one sign by having her sit at heel when no sit was called for. Opps!! That is a 10-point handler error. So we received a score of 90 points out of 100 and Tallulah was jipped out of winning the class. Bad Mommy, good Tallulah. Nissa went a short time later in the Rally Advanced A class and I had a chance to redeem myself. She was perfect too and won her class with a 100 point routine. We got home just in time for the torrential rains to start -- and on they went all night.

Day 2 brought drier air, but mud mud everywhere. My girls made me proud again, both winning their classes. Tallulah got the perfect 100 point score she deserved the day before and Nissa won with 99 points. Tallulah decided she will keep me.

Day 3 was cold, but pleasant. Tallulah was great once again, placing 2nd in her class and finishing her RA title. Way to go, Tallulah Bear!! Many dogs did not show up, probably due to the site conditions. That left me running with only 1 dog between my 2 and foolishly I did not take the time I needed to help my Nissa get ready. She started out great, but faltered mid-test at the jump. It's not like her to refuse and I did not make good use of the handling that is allowed in rally. We took a second try, but without success. We were allowed to complete the run and the rest was perfect. The judge and stewards asked me why it happened and after explaining I thought it was due to my hurrying and no proper warm-up the judge scolded me for not asking for a few minutes before my run. As I told her, I didn't know I could do that. Live and learn. So, Nissa will have to try for one more leg another time and I hope I will be the better handler that she deserves!