Monday, March 17, 2014

Tessa's Rally FrEe Weekend

Our Dandy Dogs Rally FrEe competition was a rousing success!  Everyone there was extremely supportive and a good time seemed to be had by all - qualifiers and non-qualifiers alike!

It was a fruitful weekend for Tessa and me, and on Sunday we really had a great time.

I noticed on Saturday that Tessa was not her usual sparkly self.  She actually perked up a lot in the ring, but seemed, uncharacteristically, worried out there.  I am not sure if she was unnerved because Dean wasn't there.  Maybe she was just feeling off kilter.  Not sure.

I had entered Dean in non-titling on Sunday, so we brought him along that day, and she was almost back to her normal self.

That said, we really did perform at the level of our training in the ring.  She did some really, really, really nice stuff and I see TONS of improvement in her overall performance.

Her return to position at the end of each exercise truly shines!!  Through the work with did for Precision Heeling, she has moving herself into heel or side and getting in there ramrod straight down pat!

She did back away from me on course several times, and she performed some behaviors without hand signals in competition for the first time.

Her Free Choice behaviors were all very good, and we got very high scores for every one of them.

That said, there are still things that we need to work on.  She didn't back through my legs once.  Didn't even come close!!  She did manage a back-around on Sunday, but on Saturday the back-around fell apart completely.  We need to build more confidence into basic leg weaves!  She actually got stuck on those several times!  And our bow really needs to get finished.

We missed qualifying by a mile on Saturday morning with a 115!!  We did better on her second run, with a 123, only missing the Q by two points!!  And on Sunday we finally pulled it off with a 128!

Of course, qualifying isn't everything and when I look at the overall picture, I see the whole weekend as a big success.  I knew going in that we really weren't at the level we needed to be at to do this comfortably.  And she surprised me in a lot of ways with her position work and the backing that she did.  Last Monday she still needed a platform to back away from me!

And given the fact that she was feeling "off" on Saturday, I was very proud of her for going out there and putting all she had into it!

Here is our second run from Saturday.  I have put some captions on it, so there is explanation of some of the good and some of the not-so-good!!

And here is our run from Sunday morning - the qualifying one.

I am very excited to keep working these exercises with Tessa to get them really good.  The next time we attempt Advanced - probably by video - I want to go in knowing that she can do it all!

Some other highlights of the weekend:  The wooden flowers that I painted for our "spring garden of awards" were well received.  There was a pistachio cake at lunch that was absolutely to die for!  It was great catching up with some Freestyle friends that I don't see very often.

It was just a really nice weekend!

A few ribbon photos!!

Tessa with her Saturday placements - a second and a third!

Tessa with her Q ribbon and placement for Sunday!

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