?

Log in

About This Site

This site is about Beanie, Ronin, and Callie my American Cocker Spaniels (Parti-color) and our journey through the world of competitive obedience in American Kennel Club (AKC) Obedience Trials and AKC Conformation. We also do some Rally Trials, just to make things interesting. Rally and Obedience are Companion Events, and are meant to demonstrate the utility of dogs as a companion to humans. This site is about my dogs entry and life in that effort.

More about Obedience can be found at http://www.akc.org/events/obedience/what_is_obedience.cfm

R.I.P. Katchu's Beanie Baby

My 15 1/2 year-old Cocker Spaniel Beanie has passed away. She was a sweet old girl whose life had been full and loving. Along the way she managed to earn her Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) title in AKC Obedience and Rally Advanced (RA) in AKC Rally. I miss her greatly.

Screen Shot 2012-09-21 at 1.51.07 PM

Tags:

Ronin Wins His UDX Title!

Today my Cocker Spaniel dog, Ronin (CH Ebony Hills Evening Echo RA UDX), got a score of 196 (out of 200) in Utility B and 193 in Open B at the Flatiron Kennel Club Obedience Trial in Longmont, Colorado. He thus obtained his 10th UDX Leg to win his UDX Title (Utility Dog eXcellent). Five and a half years hard work by this super Cocker Spaniel has paid off.

Just last week we got word that Ronin is tied for 2nd Place for Cocker Spaniels in AKC Obedience in the United States. 

Yay, Ronin!  You go, boy!
Ronin practicing jumping in the park

New puppy

I haven't been keeping this journal up-to-date. My bad.

I got a new Cocker Spaniel puppy. Her name is Callie (Cedar Ledge Calypso). She's a black Cocker Spaniel and is currently learning basic obedience. What a joy.

Tags:

Arapahoe Kennel Club 2010

Arapaho Kennel Club First Annual Obedience Trial
Held at Arapaho County Fairgrounds, Aurora, Colorado
25 September 2010


Ronin did his Sit-Stay!!! 

This was the first dog show, rally trial, and obedience trial for the new Arapaho Kennel Club.  The facilities were superb in our opinion. Ronin was as excited as I'd ever seen him.  The rings were nicely set up and there was a good deal of traffic through the area to and from the conformation rings.  There was no crowding however and the weather outside was beautiful: mild with a slight breeze.  This could be a really great show in the future.  As it was an initial show for the Arapaho KC one might have expected some glitches, but as far as I could see everything was going quite well, with no major problems.

Ronin needed a second command on the figure 8 exercise of heeling.  He decided he liked the judge and started to veer towards her, but a quick "Ronin!" corrected that.  The bugaboo was the Sit-Stay exercise.  We've been practicing this a lot (Thanks to Dr. Gail Clark, K9 Shrink http://www.k9shrink.com ).  Right before we went in we were practicing Sit-Stay and someone came up to talk to me and Ronin broke the Sit-Stay to greet her.  "Ah! Ah! Ah! RONIN! Sit-Stay!" was a mild rebuke that got his attention.  He knows better and you could see that he was feeling bad about breaking the Sit-Stay.  I think that final reminder helped because he was really solid on the stays.

As a result Ronin Qualified in Open B and took Third Place.  I was really happy we got the Sit-Stay, the Q and 3rd Place were gravy on that positive performance.

Practice in backyard

My Cocker Spaniel Ronin and I had a nice practice session in the backyard today
Ronin at Sit-Stay
Ronin at Sit-Stay

Ronin doing Go-Out for Directed Jumping
Ronin doing Go-Out for Directed Jumping exercise

Ronin at sit, waiting command in Directed Jumping
Ronin at Sit awaiting command during Directed Jumping

Ronin at Sit
Ronin still at Sit. We don't want him coming in immediately after going out.

Ronin takes High Jump
Ronin takes the High Jump

Ronin on the "home stretch"
Ronin returning after the High Jump in Directed Jumping practice.

Ronin in Front position
Ronin in Front Position. This was fun.

Ronin: First and Fourth Place in Utility B

On August 19 Ronin took First Place in Utility B at the Belgian Tervuren Specialty All-breed Obedience Trial in Greeley, Colorado.  This earned him 4 OTCH Points (Obedience Trial Champion Points).  He went down on the Sit-Stay so we didn't qualify in Open B that day.

Today (September 12) Ronin took Fourth Place in Utility B at the Evergreen Kennel Club Obedience Trials in Greeley. This was particularly satisfying because he's been having problems with the "go-outs" for the Directed Jumping. We practiced a lot yesterday with really long go-outs to a toy with a treat on it.  Two practices, one early in the afternoon and one just before sundown seemed to help.  We did many go-outs, with and without jumps, at various distances from 25 feet to 75 feet in various orientations (directions).  Today he had fairly good go-outs, but he was slow and he was the one who chose the distance. I had to quickly give a "Sit" command before he turned and sat.  We still need to work on that. We concentrated on distance, and I have been giving him treats at the farthest extent of the go-out.  So now I need to keep him heading out to that distance but call him to Sit before he turns.  And if he turns, I need to let him know that he needs to keep going until I say Sit.  Today we got by with points off and I was happy enough that we qualified. 

Again today Ronin went down on the Sit-Stay.  It is really hard to fix this; he is so consistently good in practices and our informal fun matches.  Since we can't correct the dogs or even let them know they've done wrong, it is quite difficult to fix this once the dog gets it in his head that it is OK to go down on Sit-Stay in the ring during competition.  There is a training session on Tuesday nights in Longmont at the Boulder County Fairgrounds where a ring is set up and we're allowed to purchase time for a drop-in.  I'm going there in hopes that the ring situation in the same building as the trials are held (big Exhibit Hall with tall ceilings, ring gates, and such) will induce him to break a Sit-Stay so I can let him know that is a no-no.

In any case, next weekend is the Flatirons Kennel Club Obedience Trial there at the Exhibit Hall at Boulder County Fairgrounds, so I hope we can get some more go-outs and Sit-Stays.

This assumes that there aren't refugees from the Four-Mile Canyon Wildfire staying at the Exhibit Hall--there were some the first few days.  Today the fire looked as if it had picked up and was burning again, although it has been reported to be under control.  On the drive back to Fort Collins from Greeley, a large area of the foothills near Boulder was sending up a lot of smoke.

     +------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+

OK, this is a new wildfire, the Reservoir Road Wildfire, west of Loveland. This fire is about 1000 acres and has consumed at least 2 homes.  Evacuees are in Loveland.  So far this wildfire is completely not contained.  And another grassland wildfire was reported near Arvada in grassland.  I'm canceling my plan to take the dogs on a mountain hike--it is simply too dry.

     +------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+------+-----+

It was a very weird day at the obedience trial. A friend's dog was in 2 dogs before us in Utility B stopped with diarrhea right in front of the jump.  That took some cleaning. While Ronin and I were doing the Signal Exercise a dog in the next ring went rather berserk and started aggressively growling.  I was busy, so I didn't see what was going on but when we finished the handler, judge and a ring steward all had the dog pinned to the mat.  We were given a few minutes break between exercises as they removed the dog from the building. After we were done, the next dog went in and one of the ring stewards started into the ring too early and tried to back out quickly, tripped on Onofrio's lousy mat, fell and knocked herself unconscious. Paramedics were there quickly and they kept her down until a fire engine and ambulance came to take her to hospital. That took another 20 to 30 minutes.  Then another dog was excused for aggression. What a day for the poor judges.
My little Cocker Spaniel Ronin (Ch Ebony Hills Evening Echo UD RA) received an invitation to the AKC National Obedience Invitational on December 4th & 5th in Long Beach, California.

This is the second year in a row Ronin has be privileged to be invited. Last year we couldn't go, and I must make up my mind quickly so that another person and dog can be invited if we don't go.

Ronin at Dog Practice in the park -- A happy Cocker SpanielWhy not go?  Well, first off, it makes me really nervous.  Not just being at that venue on that day, but starting about now I will become more and more nervous about Ronin's performance, and my handling goes kaput when I'm nervous.  We do best when we just go to have fun, and don't worry about placement in the trial, let alone nationally.

Second, there are some really very good obedience competitors. Ronin is very good, also, but some folks are into this competition to an extreme degree. A lot of their own self-worth is involved. They practice diligently, frequently, and seriously. It is really important to them to win at any and all costs.  We're not that way, Ronin and I.  We love to do obedience, and like to do it as best we can.  But we're not perfectionists, nor is it really that important to us. We are happy to compete, somewhat happier to qualify.  Anything beyond that is just fun.  It hurts when we show poorly, mainly because it is inevitably my fault. I've got my own problems that I carry into the ring.  But I'd just as soon keep a happy level of competition than to force both of us to perfection. It doesn't thrill me to beat anyone else--I'm just am happy when we do our best.  The competition at the Nationals, from the tales friends have told me, is simply too serious.  I don't want us to be there only to be fodder for the top dogs (Labs, Border Collies, and other OCD types and their OCD handlers ;^).

Third, that is a 2 day trip, 2 day show, 2 day return trip (plus maybe an extra rest day before the competition).  I'm retired on fixed income, and although I could save up to go that would mean cutting back on smaller, more local obedience trials.  These local trials are the ones we enjoy.  We'd forgo a lot of enjoyment for a long, expensive trip where we'd get stomped.  I'm not sure I'd enjoy that: I've already developed a humility that I'm quite proud of, thank you very much.

On the other hand, we've been given a second chance to go.  And even knowing we probably wouldn't finish in the top 32 and get eliminated early, it would be a once in a lifetime chance to do something outrageously bold.  With proper attitude, we'd be happy enough.

So I need to think, and not be influenced by others who have other agendas, to make up my mind. Should we go?
This is why obtaining a UDX is no simple matter.  We were really bad for six trials in a row. Something went wrong at Mountain States Dog Training Club at the Adams County Fairgrounds on 8-9 May. I became uptight, nervous, overly conscious of my self and lost control of my voice, my body, my attitude, and, of course, my dog Ronin.  Poor guy really wants to do what I say, but when I start miscommunicating, he has no chance.  And when he starts getting off the track that makes me more nervous, anxious, and frustrated. 

I should have called off going to Albuquerque the next weekend.  Several friends suggested I do that until Ronin and I got back into the "groove". But Albuquerque was a big 5 day dog show with 4 days of obedience trials.  I'd paid the entries and made plans to go with friends and visit with my sister.  In other words, I really wanted to go. I thought I could turn it around and overcome our problems. Wow. We only got worse.  And the bad thing is that Ronin had 4 more trials of poor performance in the ring.  That can tend to reinforce itself for a long time. Ouch.  I finally pulled him from Open B on the last day after a really disastrous Utility B run.  We went to the dog park and relaxed for several hours, then had dinner with my sister and friends.  I decided then to pull Ronin from the next few shows, hoping to work with him on some fundamentals and try to regain control of myself.

I couldn't withdraw from Central Wyoming (Casper, Wyoming) dog show because entry deadline had passed. So on Friday and Saturday, May 28-29, Ronin is the only dog in Utility B there, and one of three dogs in Open B (the only UDX dog).  I'm tempted to go because (maybe) we won't be nervous and (maybe) we can squeak through with a qualifying score or two (or even a UDX leg, or two).  But should I chance it?  I dunno, I need to think this through.

The other two upcoming shows are Flatirons (Longmont) and Colorado Springs, both in Colorado.  I've withdrawn Ronin from Utility and Open B obedience, but I could enter him in Rally. 

We've done OK in Rally, Ronin has is Rally Advanced Title and one leg of Rally Excellent.  Rally is different from obedience, although some of the same elements are there. It was originally conceived as a step before going into obedience.  But really, it is a different sport, and to do well the dog and handler must do 17 to 25 different exercises in a tight course, all timed.  Properly done, this is a challenge and no mean feat.  One advantage is that the atmosphere tends to be more relaxed. The handler can talk to the dog and encourage it through the course.  If an exercise is failed, the rules allow for a "do over" with only points off.  All the exercises must be done properly, however, and tied scores are settled on the basis of the shortest time.  In all, it is an excellent way to build communication between dog and handler, and to build confidence in the team.  It is also a lot of fun when things go well.  It is also a really good way to get a dog prepared for the obedience ring.

So, I have until Wednesday to decide if I should enter Ronin in Rally for two more shows.  And until next Thursday to decide if I should make the attempt to try obedience in Central Wyoming....

In the meantime, the weather has been excellent. We need to do some work in the back yard and the parks on some basic obedience stuff. Bring on the Cones! (Rally exercises are often done around tiny orange traffic cones).
Ronin had a good three day weekend in obedience trials. No legs, darn it.  We may have fixed a sit-stay problem, but he suddenly forgot the drop-on-recall exercise in Open B.  And today the first exercise was the broad-jump.  I placed him, left him, got into position and gave the command, "Ronin, OVER!" and he quietly sat there staring at me. He'd flunked the class without moving an inch, without taking a step. He jumped on the second command.  And no drop-on-recall. But the last two days he did his sit-stays.  Friday he went down on sit-stay for about the 8th time in a row. The judge "made" him get back into a sit position (she said she didn't touch him, but got him up into sit).  That must have helped.  When a dog gets by with going down on sit-stays in the ring, it is difficult to break them of it. Ronin always does sit-stays in practice, and we practice all sorts of ways: on the bed, in a chair, in the dark, with and without dogs, with and without people and other distractions, long and short sit-stays, with objects placed under his chest, with me in sight, out of sight, far away, close, whatever, he does stays in practice. Thanks to Nancy Pollack, who must have convinced him that going down on sit-stays in the ring was a "wrong" thing to do, and probably all the practice, he did sit-stays. And for about 8 trials he had done everything fine except sit-stays. So of course when we fixed the sit-stays, other things became problems. But those are easier to fix, so I'm happy.

Besides, on Friday he took 1st Place in Utility B and today, Sunday, he took 2nd Place.  He should have qualified Saturday, but brought the wrong metal article.  Articles (Scent Discrimination) is something he had solid.  So I didn't work him enough on that exercise.

What I learned from this weekend (and last weekend) of no UDX legs is:
  1. Work on every exercise, no matter what he's been good in before,
  2. Continue working extra on sit-stays,
  3. Work through some run-throughs without breaks in between exercises and keeping his attention,
  4. Try to get longer "go outs" all the way to the opposite side of the ring,
  5. Polish fronts and finishes,
  6. Get him up and excited after a long break between classes (bring a toy, he awakens to that)
We have time before next month when there are 6 trials to attempt to get another UDX Leg (or more ;^).

When he did his sit-stays again, even though he NQ'd I was really happy.  It felt almost as good as getting a title, it had been that much of a problem.

Beanie is diagnosed with Cushing's disease

The results of last week's tests have come back. The indication is that Beanie has Cushing's disease. This is a condition where the adrenal glands secrete too much cortisols. From Vetinfo.com I see:

Cushing's disease is probably more accurately referred to as hyperadrenocorticism -- the production of too much adrenal hormone, in particular corticosteroids...

Hyperadrenocorticism occurs for two reasons --- a tumor of the adrenal gland that produces adrenal hormones or stimulation of the normal adrenal glands from the hormones that control it. The primary reason for this to occur is a pituitary gland tumor that produces excessive ACTH, which stimulates the adrenal gland to produce corticosteroids. Adrenal gland tumors account for 15% of the cases of spontaneous hyperadrenocorticism. Pituitary tumors account for 85%.

Cushing's disease causes increased drinking, increased urination, increased appetite, panting, high blood pressure, hair loss - usually evenly distributed on both sides of the body, pendulous abdomen, thinning of the skin, calcified lumps in the skin, susceptibility to skin infections and diabetes, weakening of the heart and skeletal muscles, nervous system disease and other symptoms.

We will begin treatment with trilostane. Trilostane inhibits the production of cortisols, and this will require some time of adjustment to get the proper dosage. I think this involves multiple ACTH stim tests.  This med is not inexpensive. This is going to take some adjustments in our life style. (May as well kiss that second Learjet goodbye ;^).

Profile

jonR, main
jon_d_r
jon_d_r

Latest Month

October 2012
S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Sponsored by Cisco