One thing she and Dean absolutely loved, however, was walking up and down the hotel corridor. I don't know why they thought this was so cool, but every time I leashed them up to go out, they trotted down that hallway like it was the most fun ever! They did the same every time we came back in.
They seemed very happy when I put them in the car and was packing it up. They have traveled enough to know that means we are leaving and that idea was clearly a good one to them.
I don't usually stay overnight for competitions. When Ben was an over the road trucker, I could never count on him getting home for the weekend 100%, so traveling overnight required backup arrangements. There is enough Agility, Freestyle, and Rally within a 1 - 2 hour drive of here that I don't technically have to travel to participate in dog sports, as long as I am willing to drive a lot. Even when I competed in Freestyle with Speedy, Dean, and Maddie in Pittsburgh, I drove there and home all in the same day - a three hour drive each way!
But right now Ben is working a night driving job and he's home every day, so I knew that he would definitely be home on Saturday to take care of Sammie and Speedy. I wanted to have the full experience of this very first eastern Rally FrEe event, so I entered both days and got the hotel. I am very glad that I did - it made this an even more unique experience.
Because we don't usually compete two days in a row, and the dogs never stay in hotels before competing, I wasn't sure what state of mind the dogs would be in. But when we pulled in to the trial site, they recognized it and were clearly happy to be there. They eagerly went back into the building to hang out in the crates for a bit while I got situated. We were able to pick right back up where we left off.
The third course was one that I had the chance to practice because our instructor had set it up at class that week. It felt familiar and comfortable and I was looking forward to having fun out there. Also - no stands in this course!
Tessa went out and had a great time again, and this third run was definitely our best. Here is a partial video:
There were just a few minor blips. On her second Free Choice, she was supposed to give paw when she sat in front of me, but she sat pretty. That was actually OK, but I forgot (at that point) that I had a sit pretty planned for the final Free Choice at the end of the course. When we were approaching that one, a split second before we began to perform the sign, I realized that she had already done a sit pretty as a Free Choice and that I should have had her do something else. But it was too late. I was mentally committed. Her second sit pretty was certainly quite pretty!
I figured it would be OK. The first one was a call front sit-pretty, this was a sit on right sit-pretty. And, in the end it was. But it did make me wonder how it would play out.
She struggled a bit on her Figure 8 Weave. This has never been a strength of hers. Something to work on.
But by and large, I was thrilled with the run.
Again, I put her in the car and went back in to watch some of the event.
Finally, it was Dean's turn, and he did it! He wasn't as focused as he had been in his second run the day before, but he was far better than he was on his first run. He even did his fancy dive under my leg again and enjoyed it!
He and Tessa both earned their highest scores of the weekend on the third course, and Dean was only one point lower than Tessa!
I was pleased beyond belief at earning the Novice Title with both of them! It was truly a challenge that I feel my whole "team" rose to.
But there was one big surprise in store. Special awards were given out, and I got one of them. For the Team Having the Most Fun. And the winner was . . .
That was a big surprise, but a most excellent one!
Dean's award basket . . .
A bag of treats came in the basket that fit perfectly into the cookie jar, and all of the dogs are enjoying those.
Ben commented that the cookie jar, which is a ceramic purse, kind of looks like Dean!! In some odd way I actually see what he means - it's black gold and white like he is.
After awards, I finished packing up and we drove home on a perfect day for travel. I was sorry that it was all over, but it had been an almost perfect experience in every way.
Congrats to . . .
ARCH Dean Dog, RFE-N, DCD-Ent, DCD-CF, WFD-MF, RL2, CRO-1, CL1-R, CL1-F, CL2-H, CTL1-R, CTL1-H, TN-N, ITD
Tessa, RFE-N, DCD-Ent, DCD-CF, WFDX-MF, CRO-1, CL1, CL2-H, CL2-F, ITD
Purple Q ribbons! The best color!