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.