The continuing adventures of Cisco, GS Dakotas Secret Mission
Cisco’s First Hunt Test
At our last training day, it was suggested that Cisco would be able to pass the junior hunt test and I was encouraged to enter by a few people. I hemmed and hawed over it knowing he’s not nearly as ready as a lot of the dogs I know. I decided to go ahead and enter him because he’s not getting any younger (he was 37 days younger than the oldest dog entered in junior) and I’d love to get a Junior Hunter on him. I’m getting a kick out of all the things my “just a pet” golden has been able to do.
Little did I know when I entered the trial how miserable the weather was going to be this weekend. It had been raining since Wednesday of last week and the temperatures were about 25 degrees below normal. Since I was running Cisco in junior on Sunday, I decided to volunteer to help on Saturday since the best way to learn sometimes is to volunteer.
Saturday was absolutely miserable. It rained and was cold all day. I spent most of the day taking the birds from the judge after they had been received by the handler. It wasn’t that bad until late in the day in the water series when the temperatures were dropping even further and my gloves were soaked from handling the wet birds. I somehow managed to stay mostly dry and mostly warm despite the dreary weather.
After making it through Saturday, it was that much more difficult to get up and do it again today. Fortunately the weather wasn’t nearly as bad and it even dried out by the end of the day. I did however wear all 5 jackets I had brought at some point throughout the weekend.
Onto Cisco’s test. Cisco was dog number 25 out of 60-something that were entered in the junior test. First was the land series that was on the same grounds as the master test was run on yesterday. I think that may have provided some confusion for some of the dogs as a lot were hunting all over for the birds.
The first bird was a live flier — which Cisco had never seen. He went right to it no problems. The second landed in low cover. We did pop up when it was thrown and the check cord stopped his forward movement. When I was allowed to send him, he seemed confused about going on his name. So I said his name again and then said “go” to get him to leave the line — I had initially started training him on go (because he knew that from agility) and only switched him to being sent on him name in the last 2 months. He went right to area of the fall of the 2nd bird and very briefly hunted before picking it up and coming back.
Cisco was one of 38 dogs called back for the water series. Because of all the rain, the condition of the roads had deteriorated throughout the weekend and because of this, we were not allowed to drive down and park near the water. This lead to a series of 8 blinds leading up to the test. Cisco is not a big fan of the blinds or waiting his turn especially when it comes to water. But as the Marshall said, it’s good blind practice.
Once we finally got to the front, Cisco was pulling pretty good on the check cord on the way to the line. He did sit down nicely for me and was fairly steady when the first bird was thrown. Our bird landed just short of the bank on the other side of the water where it was supposed to. Cisco swam out to it no problem and then took what might have been a longer swim back to shore along a different line that he took out. The judge told me I could whistle him back and encourage him not to cheat (Cisco doesn’t know what the whistles mean). He did come back with the bird, but dropped it a couple of times to shake, but eventually he did bring the bird and deliver it to hand.
Our second bird landed in a marshy area. Cisco found it after a short hunt and then proceeded to run around the gunner’s station before brining it back. He dropped it about 6 feet in front of me and started to lick it. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I stood there and watched him lick it for what seemed like forever. The judge told me to encourage him to bring it back to me, so I needed to tell him to get it about 4 times before he barely got it back and delivered to my hand.
Somehow this was good enough to earn us our first orange ribbon and his first junior hunter leg.
Not bad for a dog who had never seen a bird before March of this year. For a dog who did maybe 4 or 5 field training sessions before attending the Gaylan’s Reunion/Carol Cassity Field Seminar in August and who has only done drills and had most bumpers thrown by me in the backyard with no cover since then.
He’s come a long way since March, but we have a long way to go. We really need to work delivering water birds to hand.
Last Paulena Class
We had our last class with Paulena for the session tonight. Cisco did really, really well. The courses were really challenging, but he had awesome speed on his contacts, he had great bottoms to his contacts and even his weaves were fabulous! Overall I’m very pleased with how the class went. The courses weren’t perfect, but I think we learn more when we make mistakes. He did need a little cheering on the last course, but not much.
I’m bummed we missed two classes this session. We’re going to do a mini session with Paulena right before we head to New York for the HVGRC trial, so hopefully that’ll be good preparation for the weekend.
Today we ran some really short sequences outside and Cisco did fabulous. We even did the jump to dog walk start that we totally blew off at a trial a few weekends ago.
I concentrated on rewarding him after a few obstacles. After talking with people about his sometimes pokiness, we decided that maybe a higher schedule of variable rewards would help. Cisco was definitely motivated in out short training sessions today.
His contacts looked great.
Have I mentioned how much Cisco loves field training?
He did three land singles, and two water singles today and did a really really good job.
He wasn’t crazy about the pheasants — this was this first time he had seen them. So I threw one for him a few times after we were all done. He was trying to carry them by a feather and he kept dropping them. After a few repetitions, he was doing much better.
I was convinced that were he is now is good enough for a junior pass. Since I don’t have great expectations for my nearly a senior, almost a pet dog, I’m going to go with good enough for junior. They convinced me to enter the PVGRC trial in a couple weeks. Eeeks. It’ll be nice for me to get experience actually running a dog at a test. Since I chickened out for the WC, I should probably enter him.
Performance I Snooker - 22 Inch - Judge: Greg Fontaine
Score: 51 (Q) Time: 46.70 seconds 1st Place
Performance I Standard - 22 Inch - Judge: Greg Fontaine
Distance: 149 yards SCT: 71 seconds
Eliminated Time: No Time
Performance I Jumpers - 22 Inch - Judge: Greg Fontaine
Distance: 118 yards SCT: 35 seconds
Score: 20.00 (NQ) Time: 31.58 seconds 3rd Place
We had an okay day at MADness. This was the first time Cisco has trialed outdoors in nearly a year (GRCA National last year). And well, I think it showed today.
We started the day with the ask your instructor to tape your run curse. It was jump to dog walk (he missed the dog walk and we had to go back around to get it), tunnel, tire, teeter (he bailed on the teeter), jump, jump, table (he came off the table), weaves (he didn’t want to do them either). At this point I told the just we were done. Wow…. that was bad. I definitely need to work him more outside.
Next was snooker and we rocked it. We got three sevens and the closing sequence for 51 points.
Finally we had jumpers (which USDAA jumpers is usually Cisco’s favorite course). I was having a hard time motivating him for his run — which I should have taken as a sign to run with him instead of attempting a lead out. Instead he was pokey for about the first 7 jumps. Then he kicked things into high gear and had a beautiful second half of the run. We missed a jump in the first part, but he still managed to come in under time despite his pokiness.
I really can’t complain. We ended up taking most of the summer off between field work, vacation, and Riot’s illness. He’s had one week of class since May (and as stated previously, it’s been a year since we ran outside).
Paulena 1: Week 2
Cisco had class tonight and did fairly well. The first course we had issues with an a-frame/tunnel discrimination. The tunnel was between the a-frame and the wall and pretty much straight so the only way to handle it was from the other side of the a-frame. The table was the obstacle before the discrimination. Cisco was determined no matter what I did that he was going to take the a-frame. I think it took 5 or 6 tries to get it right. What I had to do was call him to me and re-direct to the tunnel — which even then was dicey. Paulena again complimented his jumping after his run.
The second and third runs were much more pokey. I’m wondering if it was the stress of doing the a-frame multiple times in that first run that made him pokey. I also tried a pretty difficult two jump lead out for the send run and I know sometimes, he’s more pokey when I do a lead out (which sucks, because in some cases I can get a three to four jump lead out on him). I really wish I knew what caused him to be pokey. I’m pretty sure it’s stress related, but what the stressors are, I don’t know.
Cisco is back in Paulena’s level 1 class for the fall. I’m torn on paying for classes for Cisco, but then we have a night like tonight an it’s so worth it. Cisco had three awesome runs.
I think he likes running for Paulena because he always has such great enthusiasm in her classes. And he get compliments. Tonight she said what a good jumper he was (he really is) and how great he’s doing for his age (I totally lucked out with him).
He’s so happy running. I love running him.
Cisco nailed the memory “bird” tonight. I’m planning on repeating tonight at a longer distance. If he nails it, I’m signing him up for the WC on the 19th.
Obedience and Rally Match
I took Cisco and Riot to the PVGRC match today. Cisco was entered in pre-novice obedience and novice rally.
Cisco was not to enthused about obedience. He wouldn’t sit pretty much at all. And he got up from the 3 minute down at 2:58. whoops.
Rally was a bit more fun for him. His heeling was tons better, he even sat each and every time he was asked. He scored a 97 and got second place! I think he’ll eventually do rally, but probably not for a few more years.