For the most part, it wasn't too bad considering we've had almost a month off. His attitude was great so I'm pretty satisfied with the outcome.
Heeling was nothing to write home about. His attitude was OK but he was laggy/distracted (ring tape was fluttering in the wind). On his behalf, I will say the heeling pattern SUCKED though. I've never seen such a convoluted pattern in all my life. To top it off, we were the first in the ring and the judge refused, yes REFUSED, to show me the pattern. > She said "to my knowledge I'm not required to show you." : Since I'm not up on all of my ASCA rules (they generally follow AKC pretty closely though), I didn't have room to argue. I'm positive that I was unsure in my body language/footwork and Murray was feeling that.
The pattern was 1/2 up the short side of the ring, left turn to between the jumps for a halt. Forward to the end of the ring, right turn to end of the short side of the ring, then right turn to about 1/2 way down the ring and an about turn even with the jump, back to the end of the ring and a left turn. Slow across the short side, about turn, halt. Forward to 1/2 way pt, right turn, fast down the center of the ring, about turn, stand your dog. WHEW! I'm exhausted just typing that. Other obedience judges said that was the worst pattern they'd ever seen. They said this is supposed to be a "signal exercise" not a "heeling" exercise. : Needless to say, everyone else had an advantage as they saw me blindly stagger and stumble thru the thing.
So the first problem was on the about turn to stand for the signals. I did the about turn, took a few steps, heard the command "stand your dog" and I glanced down...no dog. I slowed my steps and looked over my shoulder. Murray was about 2 lengths behind me. I wasn't sure what to do. Do I just stop where told and wait for Murray to catch up? Do I keep walking slower and slower hoping he catches up? I finally decided to do the former. Down signal was perfect. Sit signal was perfect. Recall was...non-existant. Murray was sitting pretty staring straight thru me. I waited for what seemed like an eternity but there was no response. I gave a 2nd signal with a verbal for an NQ. He came right away. The judge told me she thought my first signal was given too fast and too close to my body. She said "if he blinked, he missed it." When we left the ring I had about 3 other people tell me the same thing so I'm going to really concentrate on exaggerating it and slowing it down for tomorrow. Another friend who is a judge also told me to hold the end of the signal longer in case Murray didn't see the first part.
Articles, gloves, and moving stand were picture perfect.
Go outs were a whole other issue. First go out was good...all the way out AND all the way back in. : He sat about even with the jumps after I gave a 2nd very stern sit command. > We didn't get to jump. The judge told me to call him to me but I didn't want to do that because I don't ever want Murray to return to me between the jumps. I wasn't sure what to do so I moved in toward Murray while calling him in a play type call. I tried not to make eye contact with the judge because I didn't want to know if she approved or not. The judge told me on the next go out to give the 2nd command sooner if needed since we've already NQd. We lined up for the 2nd go out. Murray went out...to the jump. : Game over.
Tomorrow is another day. We came home and practiced about 10 go outs. They should be engrained in his pretty little head now. ;D
Damn, what is wrong with the judges in your area. The majority of judges I've showed under have been wonderful. I had two stinkers, but they really didn't do anything wrong as far as running the ring, I sucked, and it reflected in how they treated me They just weren't very encouraging, or discourging.. just non-committal.