This past weekend, I traveled to Harris, MN where Lisa and Ron Geller opened their building to dog sport enthusiasts for open training. It was a good opportunity to jump start the training season, and I was fortunate to have two World MR Team members there to help walk me through the exercises. Lisa and Melissa were terrific about sharing their knowledge and helping me out.
It would have been nice to take Ridley with me, but the weather was bitterly cold and I just didn't think I would enjoy having to get a puppy in and out of a hotel once I was inside and warm!! Sam and I will work on her foundation before I take her out like that, anyway. I had offers to help post or hold my dog, but I had asked Brad, my physical therapist before I left and he said there was no damage that would be done to my shoulder by the work, only it would be sore. And it was. but I was able to do all the tug play myself. In the moment, you pretty much just do it and it isn't until later that you realize how much you ache!
There were folks from a number of schutzhund clubs in the area, as well as ringsport aficionados. Many different breeds were represented, as well: rottweiler, german shepherd, malinois, renaissance bulldog AND a long coated one, laekenois, and boxer. The funny thing is that I recall in the past having to wait for all the ring folks to finish their lengthy routines and being impatient, but now "I is one!" It was handled well by alternating ring and schutzhund at this event, and in between, folks could go inside the observation room (heated!) and eat Ron's delicious chili!! yummo!
Quinn had fun. We worked a session on Saturday afternoon and could have worked again in the evening, but for the fact that I was freezing and sore by that time so I opted for a hot shower in my hotel! On Sunday we worked one session. The thing about ringsport sessions is that they are long, so it isn't like one session offered only a couple grips. You move from obedience into the protection work. Lisa and Melissa coached me on the prep and start and the basics of the exercises. I had competed with Jinx for her MR1 before, but much of it seems to have been lost from my memory banks when it came to the details. Quinn had never done a whistle recall before and in hindsight, I would have preferred to teach that at home first but we did work on it there, using a prong collar and long line for guidance. You could just see how amped up Quinn was in the exercises. He was under control but clearly so happy with himself. I now have a list of exercises to work on with a specific goal in mind. I learned that the MR and FR titles will cross over, and that if I pass a MR1 leg with him at Melissa's spring trial and pass a FR1 leg at Lisa's trial in June, Quinn will have both a French Ring1 and a Mondioring1 title. How cool is that??
Right up to the last moment, I questioned whether I was doing the right thing by switching to ringsport with Quinn instead of remaining in schutzhund. He is 12xSchH3, though, and will never be fast enough in the judge's opinion to win a Championship, so I might was well let him have some fun. Me, too. I have to note that it is his foundation that lets us make the switch this easily. He learned to work legs on a separate command when he was young. I taught him positions, as well, and played with his obedience and transport between the legs. So while there are finesse points we need to work on, he already has the overall picture of the work.
So now, by virtue of a drive to Minnesota, I have added two new goals for Quinn this year. In addition to being crazy enough to still intend to earn his FH!! I have to be nuts to do ringsport and still want to track.....
No pics for now, but soon.....
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