At the weekend I attended a working test with Gollum and Gaia. Gollum was entering the Open Class while Gaia did the Novice. This is a very good example of how this is all about taking part and not SOOO much about winning. Of course you try and prepare and do the training, but time restricts this along with the fact that dummy training is terribly boring. When I force myself to get up and get the dogs off their dog beds to go and train dummy retrieving, they are of course super keen, but I just count the minutes. Well, not totally true, once I am out there and walk in the beautiful spring landscape, it seems like a nice relief from the office work at least when the training is going well that is.
But no matter how one prepares for the tests, there will always come a situation in the test where you feel that you hadn’t practised that particular exercise enough, if at all. Two things I didn’t feel I had done enough was fences and distractions. A classic one for the open is a “bolting rabbit”. Not a real one, but a rabbit skin on an elastic across the path. So when you send your dog for a dummy, this artificial rabbit “runs” across the path tempting the dog to pursue it. This only happened in the open class and I had left Gaia on the dog beds in the back of the car while I set Gollum up for the test. He could not resist the temptation and picked up the rabbit dummy. He looked quite funny with this fluffy pelt in his mouth, hesitating what to do now as I didn’t look like I was pleased with his catch. He just stood there looking at me. On the “LEAVE IT” command he eventually dropped it and I sent him back out to fetch the right dummy I had originally shown him. Poor boy, how was he to know?
Gaia did well especially considering that I had not practised fences much at all and the test included quite a grim fence, the sort of tall fences with a top wire that I would normally try to make sure my dogs did not jump. She is a good little dog staying on her dog beds in the car awaiting her turn and when she gets out, she is ready and happy. Gollum on the other hand is a little annoying as he barks if I don’t take him along, so I tend to not leave him in the car although he does of course like his dog beds, just doesn’t like being in when the fun goes on outside.
So in the end Gaia gained a second place in the Novice Class and Gollum took a third place in the open. It was a great day, really well organised by Phil Ross from the GSPC Highland Branch. We were blessed with sunshine, barbecue, scurry and a raffle for which I had donated two Luxury Dog Beds in order to get some money together for the GSPC’s funds.
Tempting to go to the next working test this coming weekend, but it’s too time consuming afterall.