While staying the week at my parents townhouse for the week, I've had to be creative about exercising the seven dogs that are traveling with me. Typically, we go to the soccer field in the next town in the AM for a good run, then leash walk around the neighborhood in the afteroon and we head to the local health clinic for an evening run since they have a fully lit parking lot which then lights up the surrounding field and pond. The dogs think it's a good setup and are much happier relaxing in their crates after they get to run.
This morning was beautiful... 58 degrees with the sun just poking through clouds at 6am. I looked at the big mowed field and thought, boy, what a great place for a Schutzhund trial. So, I decided to hold my own! After all, six dogs (Stella is not yet trained) could make for a pretty good sized Rottweiler trial I decided to enter three dogs... Yngo, Envy and Iza. And since the trial was sanctioned by the Ann Felske-Jackman Schutzhund club, our rules were very lax and our judge was extremely fair.
We ran oldest to youngest... Envy, age 13 worked while Yngo, age 12, held his down stay. Our first big brag is that Yngo actually held the stay, contrary to his real trials in which he whined and crawled forward 90% of the time. Envy performed a ran a SchHI obedience routine, sans the jumps and a-frame and with just a little plastic AKC dumbell. She was never titled in the sport, but has a lot of other trials under her belt so she did fine. Heeling was super. All three moving exercises were downs (no sit or stand) and she did come to front after going around for every single finish. She didn't wait for me to command her for the dumbell and her go out was about 3 feet. But, all said, it was a quite nice run for a 13 year old dog!
Yngo went next. I thought that Envy would be very tired and fall asleep on her down, but alas, that didn't happen and she raced in, trying to shove Yngo out of heel position before he could even start Yngo took exception to that and bit her in the head! But, I've seen some pretty lenient judges out there, so figured we were still passing haha. Envy went in the van and Yngo went back to work. To critique his performance, he forged about 3 feet ahead througout (then again, he did that in trials too!), his moving exercises were perfect. He didn't wait on his retrieve and then slammed his dumbell into me. His go out was very good, not particularly fast, and then he lifted his leg on the goal post. He also spent a lot of time biting me between exercises... but again... we'd hired a very lenient judge! So we got a 70.
9 1/2 year old Iza was High Obedience today, NAILING the entire performance. It was a joy to see really. She was as good as any day that she'd won a real HIT and was quick, accurate and just dead on with every exercise. So cool to see in a dog who hasn't trialed in many years! Of course, Yngo and Envy will argue that Iza is 3 years younger and that it was an unfair competition Iza would remind us that she beat them both, even on their best days!
We moved on to our tracks in a very heavily covered field behind the soccer complex. Envy skipped her track in lieu of eating all of the hotdogs out of the bag before leaving the van! Yngo ran a pretty nice track, equiv. of about a SchHII but in the long cover...higher than him. He was focused and committed, but then played shake and kill with the water shoe I'd used as an article. I will have to make a note to myself to remember to take a tylanol before trying to tracking Yngo on a six food lead...yikes! Iza nailed her track as well, passing an equiv. TDX/FH quality track with ease and completely off lead (I'm not foolish enough to try that on lead with her!). It was a beautiful thing to see and I wish I'd had a video recorder. High Tracking also goes to Iza!
The bitwork was challenging without a helper, blinds or a sleeve. Envy bowed out as she was now sound asleep, leaving only Yngo and Iza to do the bitework. Iza went first, since I had to make sure that I'd set things up properly and she has more patience (ok, everyone has more patience than Yngo, but that's another story). Iza did a two blind search, going around one big evergreen and finding me behind the second (that took some running on my part!). She did a nice bark and holdalnd quickly and efficiently attacked the rolled up towel on the escape. And she never forgot her gorgeous auto-out. She then held a stay while I set up for a long bite. It was perfect and Iza was in her glory!!!
Yngo somewhow knew what we were doing and barked his head off in the van. His bark is not quite what it used to be... it's old and raspy now, but he was letting me know that he was ready! He did NOT search around his tree, instead mauling me as I tried to scoot behind my tree. He ripped the towel from my hands and proceeded to attack and shread it. An out was futile and the trial was over for us! It was deja vu from all of his real trials! No leniency from our judge was going to save us.
Iza was awarded her High in Trail while sitting on the podium (bleachers).
After a few years of too much going on in my life, this morning was a great reminder of how much joy our well trained dogs can provide. And also a reminder of how enthusiastic the old dogs are to be the center of attention again! I will admit that even with the creative performances, these three did a better job than our young dogs would have. Never count out the oldsters!!!
Multi V-1, Sieger, Multi BISS Am/Can CH Yngo van het Dornedal Am/Can CDX, TDX, SchHIII, FH, BST, BH, TT, CGC
V-1 Multi BOSS Am/Can/UKC CH Esmonds Iza One and Only Am/Can CDX, TDX, SchHIII, FH2, IPOIII, BST, AD, BH, TT, CGC