Sorry about the lack of posts this last week - it was a bit of a shocker. I'll try to be a bit more organised in the future so I can at least post some photos if I don't have time for a 'real' post :)
Today, however, is another information post. This morning was Laura-moo's obedience trial at advanced level. The levels go beginners, intermediate, advanced, transition, and I think novice then open after that, though I could be wrong. Most people don't go beyond advanced unless they want titles, and the advantage of passing advanced if you happen to live in the A.C.T. is that registration fees for your dog are very significantly reduced.
This was Laura's first proper obedience test; beginners don't do an 'official' test, and we missed the intermediate one due to out-of-towness and did it with three others on the next normal training night. She's been to the grounds before during the day, though, so I didn't anticipate that aspect of it being much of a problem.
Overall, she did very well. I went into it with mixed expectations; on the one hand, if she's having a good day, she can be brilliant - but if she's not, she's a wretch. We didn't mind if she didn't pass, since we plan to do advanced again anyway - we don't do anywhere near enough practice to be able to keep up in transition, and if you pass advanced three times you qualify for the letters C.D. after the dog's name :)
First up was the loose-lead walking. Eh, this was so-so. She didn't yank, but she wasn't exactly with it, either. The heeling was about the same, sadly. Quite a bit of sniffing, not much eye contact... just generally distracted. She turned well, and did all of her default sits and the drop while heeling fine, but it just wasn't... snappy.
The position changes were okay. She drifted forward a little on the stand, which she always does. We've been working on not drifting so much for the stand, and while she did take a few steps, she didn't make it all the way to me, so I suppose that's something to be happy about :) And she didn't really drift at all for the drop, so that's happy :)
The stand for exam - can I just say, Wow?! She did not budge a single toenail. She was perfect. Absolutely, 100%, could not have been any better, perfect. I am SO happy about this one, so, so happy!
The recall was lovely, no comments really to make. I thought for one heart-stopping moment she was going to get distracted by a yummy smell and wander off to the side, but she came over, and all was well :)
Stays were great, though I lost marks because of the way I was standing. I usually stand with my fingers splayed, but apparently this counts as an extra signal to stay, for which they dock marks :( But I know for next time.
All in all, I was pleased with how well she performed given how distracted she was. I don't think I got a single 'look' when I asked for one *grumpgrump* and she spend ALL her spare time in the ring looking over at the other dogs... Oo, dogs I haven't MET! I MUST go play with them!
The instructor's comments were to work on keeping her attention (OH yes), and try to phase out the food, since as soon as I turned to the food, I had 100% attention. (I didn't, but the instructor seemed to think so, so yes :D). Also, I have to make sure I give her time to perform the task - which is odd, because a couple of times, I deliberately held off giving a second command and waited, and she did it. I obviously didn't wait a few times though, because I lost a few marks for the double commands I had to give for some of the drops etc.
A pass mark is 75 (out of 100) and we ended up with 81, which is not brilliant, but it's respectable, and hey, we passed! We're a third of our way to our first title :o)
Congratulations also to Abbi, who not only passed intermediate, but also tied third in her ring and has a lovely shiny yellow ribbon :) Well done!
Coming up this week: some cute puppy pictures from the day we got the monkeys :)