Monday, December 25, 2006

Training at the Club - Eros

Focus work. Having good focus from the dog is so important in Schutzhund.The reward...... A game of Tug!
Fellow club member George working Eros in puppy bitework.
Practicing our calm hold. The calm, full grip is highly valued in Schutzhund.
Barking for the tug toy...... Check out the lip!

Training at the Club - Arlo


Practicing the "send out", going for his tug toy.

Practicing a nice, calm hold on the dumbbell. Arlo likes to chew the dumbbell, a serious point loss in schutzhund.

Practicing our retrieve over the A-frame. I use his toy a lot for practice.

Taking off for the "escape".

Arlo's SchH 1

Heeling during the obedience routine.Retrieve over the high jump.
Heeling in the group. (Check out the "cobra" tail)
Hold and Bark in the protection phase.
Stopping the helper during the escape.

Special thanks to one of our club members, Brigita who took these fabulous photos.

Arlo's Accomplishments 2006

In June of 2006, the German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada hosted their very first Temperament Test, the TEC. Arlo participated in the test. I entered Arlo in the TEC just for fun. I knew he would pass this test without incident. Also, any chance I get to do something positive and fun with my dogs I will definitely do it. I knew all of the different phases of the test before I entered. It was a great feeling to have such a stable minded dog with me during this test. This would be his second temperament test that he passed, the first being during his BH. In many ways the TEC was similar to the BH temperament phase. Interestingly, Arlo jumped on the jugde in the "greeting a friendly stranger" portion of the TEC, in a happy, friendly manner. It would seem that jumping up on people to greet them is something we need to work on.......... :) (see Arlo's Accomplishments 2005)
September 2006 saw us in our first attempt at CKC obedience. I had never seriously considered CKC obedience competiton, being a serious schutzhund competitor. My journey into CKC obedience started in August of this year. Our schutzhund training director signed up some of our club members for a CKC "fun match". It was the Golden Triangle German Shepherd Dog Club verses the German Shepherd Dog Club of London. Arlo and I were on the Golden Triangle team. I had never even seen a CKC obedience routine before, and went into the ring "blind". Arlo did so well, and the judge was particularly impressed with our off leash healing. I thought to myself, "I can do this CKC stuff!", and decided to enter Arlo in the German Shepherd National Specialty Show in Kitchener. What a way to make a debut, at a National Specialty! I was so nervous going into the ring, it was crazy. Arlo's first two attempts were awesome. His very first score was 194.5. He was 1.5 points away from the high in trial dog, and I lost 2 points in that routine for handler errors! They were errors I didn't even know I made. Arlo received two first place scores for his first two routines. I was very proud of him. I received a ton of feedback from fellow competitors, and from some of the spectators. Many were impressed with Arlo's focus and attentive heeling. After one of our routines, I remember there were so many people clapping for him, it was one of the best feelings I've had ever working with one of my dogs. The next day we were not so lucky, and he broke his group sit stays in his next two routines, so no title for us. Arlo does not see the point of those group sits, and we have tried 2 more times since the National. He broke his group sits again! It seems we need to work on those group sits before we earn that last elusive leg towards our CD title. I definitely recommend watching some CKC trials before you enter. If I had just a little more knowledge of CKC trial rules, I could have went home with a high in trial win that day.
One of my happiest days was when Arlo earned his Schutzhund I title October 21st, 2006, under judge Johannes Grewe. We had been working towards this title for about a year and a half. I was a nervous wreck, and the tracking phase was my biggest worry, as our tracking seemed to fall apart about a month prior to the trial. I was convinced we would fail. When Arlo passed tracking, my anxiety level dropped dramatically, and the rest of the trial was far less stressful. I was still nervous, but not hysterical. My favourite phase was the obedience phase. I loved the way Arlo worked throughout his whole obedience routine. It was beautiful, and it felt so good to have such a happy, attentive dog by my side. Arlo is truly a special boy.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Blaze's Accomplishments 2006

In March 2006, Blaze finally earned his Advanced Agility Dog of Canada (Specials) title. We had been working on this for a long time. This was his first title ribbon!!! Not all clubs offer title ribbons when you get your last leg towards your title. I was not aware of this until it was too late. So, for those of you out there......if you are in a position to get a title and you want one of those beautiful title ribbons, make sure the club where you have entered a trial offers them before you enter. I was immensely disappointed when Blaze got his starter title, but no ribbon. I was looking forward to that big ribbon, but none was coming our way because the club where he earned his starter title did not offer title ribbons. Some clubs have gorgeous title ribbons.
Blaze wearing his medallion he earned for placing 5th at the Ontario Regional Championships 2006.
Blaze's ribbons and medallion from the Ontario Regional Championships 2006. It was our first attempt at a regional championship. Blaze placed 5th in his division. This was completely unexpected, and I was so happy he placed in the top 6 that it was like a dream! At the end of the championships, they had all the placement ribbons, medallions, and plaques laid out on a huge table just before the awards presentation. I had no idea at the time Blaze did so well. I remember staring at those ribbons and medallions on the table thinking how much I would love to have one. Only dogs from 1st through 6th place received placement prizes. When Blaze's name was called for 5th place, I was shocked, happy, thrilled,..... I cannot really describe it. Dog sports are not about the prizes or the ribbons. Dogs don't care about placements or ribbons or prizes. However, you can't help but feel overjoyed when your dog accomplishes something beyond what you could have hoped for.
Close up view of his medallion. It is very beautiful. These medallions were generously donated by Dream Fields Training Centre for the regionals. They are much appreciated by the competitors.

Blaze's Accomplishments, 2005

In May 2005, Blaze earned his Agility Dog of Canada (Specials) title, "SADC". This title requires the dog to achieve 3 clean Standard runs under at least 2 different judges. This was the very first performance title I achieved on a dog. It was a very special moment, and I was very proud of Blaze. He is a great agility partner.
One week later, Blaze earned his Starter Games title, "SSGDC". The games classes in AAC agility are really fun, some of them involving strategy and planning on the part of the handler. Dogs often excel at one or more the games. Blaze's favorite game is the "jumpers" class.
In November 2005, Blaze earned his Advanced Games title, SAGDC. This was our most difficult title to date, as it requires 8 qualifying scores, 2 in each of the games, under at least 2 different judges.

Arlo's Accomplishments 2005

Arlo's first title, the "AD", is really an endurance certificate. The dog must trot for 20kms in approximately 2 hours alongside his handler who travels on a bicycle. He was 19 months old, and the judge was Dave Grant, (CAN).
In October 2005, Arlo earned his "BH" title, under judge Rudy Mietzner, SV. This was a huge accomplishment for me. The BH involves an obedience routine, plus a temperament test. The dog must pass both phases to be awarded the title. In the Schutzhund world, the temperament portion of the test varies somewhat depending on which judge you are trialing under. In Arlo's case, the temperament portion was particularly extensive and demanding, testing the dog repeatedly. Arlo did amazing, and I was never worried. Arlo is one of the most stable GSDs I have ever met. Arlo jumped up on the judge during our "Greeting a friendly stranger" test in excitement and happiness.......judges comments, "That's ok, I just want to make sure he's not going to eat me!". Definitely not..... :-).
Arlo with his medallion and certificate for his AD.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Girls

Mika, Arlo's littermate. Mika lives with my sister, Natalie, but she comes over to visit us often. Tess, the Collie.
Tess, hair blowing in the breeze.
Sara, Labrador/Border Collie cross. Sara is the oldest of all the dogs.
Sara smiling!

The Agility Boys

Cole. He is just starting Agility.

Masters Agility dog Blaze. Blaze competes in AAC agility
and is working on his Masters titles.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Boys

Here are the Schutzhund Boys!
Eros on the left at 5 months old, and big brother Arlo on the right at 2 years old.

Arlo posing in the dandelions.

Arlo on the left, and Eros on the right pulling on Arlo's collar.

Eros at 8 months.