Thursday, February 16, 2012

Looks like we made it ... Obedience Open class - 4 & 5 June 2011

Back to back DWD events on Saturday and Sunday meant that Mr Owner and I were up for 4 dance routines in the Heelwork to Music and Freestyle classes. Could hear Mr Owner’s backbone creaking from all that practice and attempts to fine tune our grooves, plus he needed to keep my excited woofs to a minimum. Appears that teams get points deducted if dog makes too much noise while dancing and teams may even be disqualified for continuous barking … oh errr.

Why are humans permitted to shout out the requisite commands, while dogs are not allowed to have any say during the performance … it is supposed to be a team sport. Although they are less than willing to admit it, humans do require the occasional guidance from us, more so when it comes to shuffling around the dance floor.

1st ever DWD competition officiated by an experienced Australian judge, 1st trial officially sanctioned by the Malaysian Kennel Association, number of videocams on standby ready to capture the moment and a huge crowd turnout at MidValley Megamall … hey, no pressure.

True to form, once the beats started, I was all worked up and went straight into the singing and ‘pogo stick‘ bouncing act, which did put Mr Owner off … just a little. But it went smoother as we got stuck into the routine and we finished strongly. Think I was skating on thin ice with regards to the singing part but kudos to the DJ and his music machine which helped to disguise some of my incessant chatter.

Did get marks deducted for the chanting but still managed to secure two 1st spots, a 2nd and a 3rd in all 4 events entered into. At the end of the weekend, this was enough to give us the overall National DWD Champion trophy … it was a big, red and shiny cup, sweet!

My Golden Retriever pals, Amber and Duchess, presented great routines and deservedly won the remaining 2 events in the HTM and Freestyle Novice levels.

Agility, my favourite event, was up next but I must have left my running sneakers at home that day. Made it to the podium in 1 (Novice Agility) out of 4 events entered, which must be my weakest showing to date. The tighter indoor conditions and carpeting are less suited to this fast paced and hurried JRT. Knocked down poles were the order of the day … guess we will have to work on similar conditions or shift to low gear instead.

My fellow boarding mate, Cami the Cairn Terrier, gave us a lesson in running indoors and took 5 podium spots including 3 wins, and claimed the National Agility Champion award, cool … at least, it went to one of my best friends.

OB trials saw a familiar judge who is known to be one of the strictest and technically demanding in the region. Took part in the higher level Intermediate and Open classes. Just missed out on a qualifying certificate for Intermediate as I wasn’t concentrating during the Distance Control exercise and missed Mr Owner’s cue for a sit … or was it a down or stand?

That’s OB for you, miss a sit or a stay and you are OUT! This is despite having performed reasonably well in the other 7 exercises. Hence why, OB is not on my list of fav things to do. The margin for error is so minute … you don’t even have time to sniff your own private parts, let alone your opponents’. Unlike DWD, there’s no room to fit in another move to make up for one that you have just missed … zero opportunity to wing it as you go along, which is a real challenge for me.

Open level OB and I almost got unstuck in the Distance Control exercise again. Tight call as to whether I had moved a full body length from the starting line but judge must have given me the benefit of the doubt … perhaps because he included 5 positions in this exercise, 2 more than the recommended 3 positions as stipulated in the rules.

Close to perfect for the remaining exercises and even managed to score 35/ 40 for heeling, my best to date. Heeling is traditionally my soft spot as being a JRT, we seldom measure up to the steadfast watch, consistency and discipline of the working group dogs. But once in a blue moon, we make the grade and fancy our chances of being in the police K9 squad … very rare, but it happens.

My qualifying score was 183/ 200, pretty darn good. As we were the only qualifier in Open class, 1st place was in the bag, plus the points were enough to give us the Overall National Obedience award. Another big, red, shiny trophy … 2 overall champions awards, how cool is that! My best haul to date, notwithstanding the no show in the Agility ring.

Mr and Ms Owners were quite amazed and beaming with pride when the results were announced. Certainly delivered the goodies this time round.

This is the OB Open class cup. May be a small cup … but it means more to me than all the others in my cabinet. This one-eyed JRT is in the company of a handful of dogs who have made it through the most demanding level of OB trials.

Mr Owner, can we give OB exercises a miss now?

Mr Owner, “Sure … once you’ve managed to get through Intermediate class and earned your OB title.”

ps. Would like to dedicate the trophies to a puppydog club out there who has a habit of making up rules just to prevent this JRT from making an impact at their events.

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