A fantastic rally-o weekend

As I mentioned last week, this past weekend was Shayne and Rio’s first APDT Rally-Obedience trial (first rally trial in general). We haven’t had much practice recently on some of the specific behaviors and haven’t walked a rally course in over a year but I figured now was as good a time as any to get out there and accomplish a goal I set for myself this year. Finding APDT trials locally is difficult so I had to jump at the chance even if I wasn’t sure how prepared we would be.

It was a really fantastic weekend and I am just so proud of my pups! Shayne only had one snarky moment when a young friendly lab lunged at her face (after I moved away from them 2 or 3 times, they kept getting closer). I ‘crated’ them both in the car since there was VERY limited crating space and they would NOT have been comfortable in that situation.

With the area being a little bit tight, it was harder to warm Shayne up inside before she went into the ring but we seemed to make it work. I definitely learned that Shayne just loves to work–it doesn’t seem to matter what she is doing, she enjoys whatever activity it is so long as she’s with me and busy. Her performances were just out of this world… she was wiggly and wagging and smiling and totally focused. Rio, well, he worked, he worked hard, and I do think he enjoyed himself but he would have much preferred running agility. I was really happy with his effort and his awesome attitude, but I think I will keep him doing agility and start Shayne doing more Rally-O (since frisbee doesn’t happen much out this way). I want them both to do things they love, PLUS, it’s expensive to run a dog in something they aren’t loving. I wouldn’t say Rio is done with Rally but I know he’d rather do agility and that works for me! Rio did gain a few new fans though from other exhibitors who just loved watching him–he is pretty handsome and does have nice movements and a nice heel position!

I honestly wasn’t sure how the dogs would perform at the trial–I know they know most of the skills/behaviors but it’s been a while since we practiced a lot of them. I did have to do some parking lot training to teach some behaviors before our runs which was fun. Shayne has a semi reliable stand but I’ve never really worked on it with Rio so he had to learn that before one of his runs, they had to practice a front-step L/R-front, and a halt-pivot 1 step-halt that I’d never seen. Both Rio and Shayne missed their ‘stand’ behavior during the first run but they nailed it in the 3rd run (I’m sure MY nerves about the skill had something to do with that).

Even before the results were known, I couldn’t have been prouder of my dogs–they were total rockstars both on and off the course. The fact that they had amazingly awesome results was just icing on the cake.

Both dogs ended up earning their RL1 title this weekend, though Shayne had her brother’s number on every run!

Run 1
Shayne– Q — 200 points (out of 210) — 2nd place
Rio– Q — 197 points (out of 210) –3rd place

Run 2
Shayne– Q –209 points (out of 210) –1st place
Rio– Q — 208 points (out of 210) –2nd place

Run 3
Shayne– Q — 207 points (out of 210) –2nd place
Rio– Q — 197 points (out of 210) –3rd place

I’m apparently nothing if not consistent!

I’m attaching the videos from day 1 and day 2 at the event. Watching Shayne’s run in the first video brought tears to my eyes the first time I watched it… it FELT amazing while we were on the course but I wasn’t sure how it looked from the outside. I really felt connected and it was just a special run… I’m so thankful that I got it on film. There were dogs running that were stress yawning repeatedly, displacement sniffing, lip licking, etc… I watched her video and I think I saw 1 sniff that may have been a displacement sniff rather than a sniff-sniff but what I saw more than anything was an amazingly happy dog.

I hope you enjoy the videos!

  1. Super impressive! Will you do AKC Rally, too? APDT Rally is super hard to find locally west-coast, but I love the atmosphere more than AKC from what I’ve seen.

    Super precise heeling! Our biggest issue but I think she’s finally getting it. I’m totally nervous to enter Elli into any trial just because I feel like it’ll totally fall apart. But, this gives me hope: you haven’t practiced recently and you got both dogs titled! AWESOME. Great work.

    • I won’t do AKC events–I don’t want to give them any more money than I have to already to get CGCs. With the resent sale of APDT Rally to USDAA, I suspect there will be a lot more Rally on the westcoast that isn’t AKC (USDAA agility seems to be big on the west coast).

      There were so many novice dogs there–some were clearly not ready, others were ready… what I loved was that whether the dog rocked it or the handler had to NQ early on, everyone got some applause from the other exhibitors.

      I KNEW Shayne and Rio knew most of the skills needed… but with the new environment, I would not have been surprised in the least if either were sniffing monsters in the ring totally ignoring me and maybe even pulling me around (ironically enough, Shayne more than Rio)…. I just had to jump in and hope we would swim. I have no experience in AKC other than watching 1 trial, but I can say that the APDT environment was super supportive and I wouldn’t hesitate to enter an “I have no idea what he’ll do” dog into the ring there (also, if it absolutely goes to hell, you can pull treats out of your pocket, NQ, and just take it as a training opportunity).

  2. Nice job! I knew you were going to be a huge success and I am so happy I was right. This proves how important foundations and handling is. Even though you were out of practice your dogs know what their job is and followed your lead. They also looked so happy to be there, working with you, which is beautiful to watch. Loved Shayne’s happy tail!

    • Thanks! Shayne was the real wild card… I know she knows most of the behaviors, and knows them WELL….but this is a new environment, a semi-stressful environment and …well, I had no idea how she’d handle all the dogs there in that environment…. but she rocked. I was just so happy that SHE looked so happy!

      It is truth! Foundations are huge… we were definitely out of practice but because they both have great foundations, we were able to not only ‘pass’ but be pretty successful. Can’t complain at all (though, with Shayne’s next rally trial, we will actually try to be more prepared!)

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