Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

His New Sport?

This weekend was the end of Rugby's introduction to Agility. In the four trials Rugby participated in over the last week and a half, he improved for each one. He got a little faster, a little more confident, and little more excited about being at the show. I think we started working better as a team and it is safe to say that Rugby thinks agility is a blast. We tried to get videos of all of our runs, but only ended up with two of each. I think you can see improvement between the two sets of videos.

First Trial

Second Trial

He finished his standard title on Saturday, and his jumpers title on Sunday. We tried our hand at Open Standard on Sunday and while the course intimidated me, Rugby did surprisingly well! We had to re-try the weaves when he did 11 of them and popped out at the end, then I forgot to tell him to take the A-frame and he walk around it and had to re-try that too. With a little luck, I think Open is also an obtainable goal.

He is entered in one more two-day Agility trial this year, but we are going to pull our entry and continue our agility trialing next year. Our goals for this year have been met, and we need to focus on preparing for the invitational now. This has been a nice change of pace and I see that there is a certain appeal to Agility, that is much different than Obedience. Rugby, the Agility dog? ...Yes! It is in his future!

OTCH Mister Rugby Sevens UDX OM2 RN NA NAJ

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Second Chances

Later this year, Rugby will have to do a combination of Open and Utility exercises in each ring at the National Obedience Invitational. It won't be new to him, but it will be something he hasn't been able to practice in a formal setting often. 

DSC_0218Versatility consists of two exercises from each class (Novice, Open, Utility) and is as close as we can get to our invitational experience. Showing in this class allows Rugby to practice his obedience in a different format, and to work on his endurance. I was surprised to find that what I like the most about this class is having a second chance when it is "game day."

While we have been unfortunate enough to NQ an exercise in either Open or Utility on two of the days we have shown in Versatility, we have been lucky enough to have that same exercise chosen for Versatility. It was perfect to reinforce the *proper* way to do the exercise in the same trial environment that he had previously failed in. Like directed jumping, the day Rugby decided he only took high jumps, or the drop on recall when he decided a sit was a better option. I am so happy we had second chances on those days! We will be using this resource in the future, even after Rugby has earned the Versatility title.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Thursday's Loot

Rugby made his agility debut this week and showed in Standard and Jumpers with Weaves both Thursday and Friday. He qualified in Standard both days and in Jumpers on Thursday (knocked a bar on Friday). He also had perfect scores for all three Q's. Still plenty to work on, but I am considering this a successful first time out!

After the show on Thursday, I realized that three years ago, Rugby debuted in Obedience at the same club's Obedience trial! We are very grateful to the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Greater Baltimore for putting on great Obedience and Agility trials, and for being Rugby's "firsts!"

Rugby's first Obedience ribbon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

His Tail


Rugby thinks having a tail flipped over his back can slow him down when he runs. The big open field at the end of our walk was the perfect place for Rugby to show just how aerodynamic he can be.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cutest Tailgater

Rugby at the Football Field This photo of Rugby is up on People.com's People Pets photo gallery. Go check it out! 

Talbot Kennel Club

The five day cluster of dog shows in Salisbury, MD next month is one we are entering to prepare for the NOI. Same as last year, we will not be attending the first two days of this cluster.

Below is a re-posting of "Why we did not enter."
Originally posted on October 11, 2011

In March of this year, Maryland passed House Bill 940.

This bill introduced a new licensing fee for dog breeders, and requires them to submit personal information to the Maryland Department of Labor and Licensing. The proponents of the bill (H$U$) claim the data is used solely to identify puppy mills and further regulate commercial breeding. The problem is that they define a commercial breeder as anyone that owns or keeps 15 unspayed female dogs and has six litters a year. This count includes co-owned show dogs that are living off-site with other owner(s). This bill (now law) is unnecessary and detrimental to all responsible breeders that maintain a decent size breeding stock to pull from.

The bill was finalized and amended with the help of two breeders who represented Talbot Kennel Club. Both of these breeders are on the show committee for this club.

Talbot Kennel Club has two shows coming up in November (11/9 - 11/10). These shows are the first in a cluster of five total shows. While I have entered Rugby in the Obedience Trials held on the three remaining days of the cluster, I will not support Talbot Kennel Club with my entries.

I refuse to enter a show hosted by a club that so closely associates with H$U$ and one that supports any bill that is detrimental to the local dog fancy.

Monday, October 8, 2012


It is the challenge of each competitor to minimize, prepare for and work around all the variables that will effect your dog's performance. That is why how you handle your dog outside of ring can be more important than what you do inside of the ring. As Rugby went from Novice, to Open, to Utility, the variables have changed and we have had to adjust. Age, maturity, training level, training schedule, mental and physical stamina, warm up, down time, acclimation to the trial environment, stress of travel, etc. are some of the things I take into consideration when entering Obedience trials.

Since Rugby earned his Novice, Open and Utility titles at a young age, it seemed that each time I took him out for a new title, I had a new dog. Our OTCH/UDX journey earlier this year was the first time that Rugby was showing consistently enough to reduce the number of variables we were working with. His age was the same, his stamina was the same, and his training level didn't change much in the week or two between trials.

I know that Rugby does better on the second day of trials, like three weeks ago at the Hyattsville Dog Training Club trial where Rugby had a horrible first day, and came back the next to earn a 199 in Open and a 196.5 in Utility. I know he doesn't do well if he is not worked the day before a trial. I know that he needs to spend the time during and after a trial resting so that he has plenty of energy for his 15 minutes in the ring.

Still, there is a lot I don't know about Rugby. Now that he has the OTCH and UDX experience as a foundation, I think it is time to start narrowing down even further what variables will lead to Rugby's best performances. What has he learned from showing this year? Can he do three classes in a day instead of two? Can he show three days in a row (he has had trouble with this in the past)? Can I change his response to some of those variables to make him more confident and successful?

I started to ask some of those questions when I entered him in Versatility this weekend, in addition to Open and Utility B. We had mixed results. We had a fair number of NQ's, but he did place in the class the times he  qualified. He only came away from the weekend with one Versatility leg, but it was very valuable in helping to fix his all-of-a-sudden directed jumping problem (only taking the high jump). We have a few more trials left this year and we will keep trying new things in an attempt to keep Rugby's Obedience fresh.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I was lucky to have the help of one very talented Maltese while I made a tire jump yesterday. Since it is an essential part of his agility work, he was eager to help. Rugby went to the hardware store, assisted in the assembly process and put the jump to good use once it was finished.

The picture at left shows Rugby pre-tire jump. And I know what you are thinking. Yes. That is a lot of duct tape. If you make your own at home, you can get away with only one roll, or two or three if you want a multi-colored jump.

We got some help from the internet for dimensions and did some improvising to avoid using power tools. I won't be opening up an equipment making shop any time soon. Parachute cord, a carabiner and some strategically placed knots make the jump adjustable to regulation heights. Bungee cords that attach the tire to the frame keep it secured in place. Rugby tried it out, and says it works just fine.

This 5' 4" tall tire jump is proving to be a nice addition to our living room furniture.DSC_0293

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

JWW Run Through

We couldn't pass up an opportunity to practice agility at a new location, so Rugby and I went to our third agility run through last night. This time it was a jumpers with weaves course, a first for us. I was happy to see him running for this course since the contact obstacles are usually the ones that motivate him to go fast. He did two runs, they are both in the video below.