I am officially home from a crazy, exhausting weekend. Michelle and Demo are getting home today. We had an amazing weekend. Unfortunately this is just a teaser post as Michelle has hundreds of pictures to go through before posting any, but I wanted to post up some awesome results!
Inara and I took 4th place in the Beginner Obedience Only portion (out of 5 dogs!).
Michelle took 1st place with Ruby and 2nd place with Riggs in the Beginner Obedience Only portion.
Michelle then took 1st place with Ruby in the Intermediate Obedience Only class (off-leash!).
Demo Dick and Connor had an outstanding
showing and should have taken first in the Beginner Protection, but they were robbed of it. They got the most applause out of all the Beginner Protection contestants and just looked perfect!
The DSO was unlike anything I'd ever imagined. Even though it's "obedience," it's more like an obstacle course. This year's focus was on the stay command, so I was pretty confident. Ohhh how the mighty fell!
Let's go through the tasks in the Beginner Obedience Only portion.
It's all on leash, since it's beginner. You can use a prong but you lose 5 points right off the top. You walk into the ring and approach your first obstacle. The theme this year was Carnival, so everything was based on "games" you'd see at a carnival. Obstacle number one was "Feats of Strength," where you take a sledgehammer and hit the thing to try to make the bell ring at the top of the pole. The catch is, you have to put your dog in a down or sit somewhere close by there. There were different points ranges depending on how close your dog is to where the sledgehammer actually hits. We didn't do well at this as I've never had to teach Inara to remain in a stay while I swing a sledgehammer ridiculously close to her, so she broke.
Obstacle number 2: You walk to a white flag on the field while a decoy in a bite suit (for safety only) approaches and rudely tries to make you buy a bunch of balloons. Inara was frightened of the balloons and jumped behind me. Once you reached the white flag, you put your dog in a sit beside you, and then heel maybe 10 feet to a balance beam. You step onto the balance beam and put your dog in a sit beside you. You then open up an umbrella. Inara did great as umbrellas don't phase her. You could have then dropped the umbrella, but I was feeling sassy and carried it across the balance beam with me as Inara heeled (kinda sorta) beside me. Fortunately that was the only official heeling portion.
Obstacle number 3: A shooting game. You have to place your dog somewhere in between you and a backboard that has spinning plates on it. You pull a string to start the plates spinning. Unfortunately, that action alone made a popping noise so Inara broke her stay there. I placed her back, but then you have to pick up a paintball gun and shoot 3 times at the spinning plates. Once again, I'd never taught Inara to stay while I was shooting over/beside her head, so she broke. It was very scary for most of the dogs.
Obstacle number 4: Your "carnival ride" was a ride in the back of a Ranger four wheel drive golf-cart type vehicle. You could put your dog in front or back, and you could sit wherever. I sat in the back with Inara (after struggling to get her up there for way too long!) but she wouldn't stay in her down as it was a jerky, bumpy ride around the field. And the driver was another suited decoy, talking to you the whole time as though he was a tour guide. It was pretty funny.
Finally you had to walk your dog to the judges stand, put it in a sit beside you, and shake one of the judge's hands. Inara did fantastically on that part (finally!!!) but it wasn't a scored portion.
Overall we did really really badly, but I don't care. I'm so proud of Inara - even though she got frightened by all the noises and the swinging sledgehammer, she recovered quickly each time. I'm proud of me for having the guts to do something like this. I was pretty intimidated/overwhelmed Friday night when I got there and saw all these amazingly obedient dogs, but Demo Dick talked me off my ledge and I relaxed finally. Everybody was fantastic and nobody looked down on those of us with obedience only dogs that didn't do well.
It was great for socialization as I was able to keep Inara out with me while others were competing. There were other dogs there, but for the most part everybody was an extremely competent handler and I didn't have to worry about dogs running up to Inara. And she did so well! She only snarked once the whole weekend and that was at a little dog that got too close. Other than that, she was very relaxed around all the other dogs (or exhausted, whichever!). Lots of people came up and loved on her, talking about how nice pit bulls are and how horrible BSL is, which was nice. Only 5 pit bulls competed the whole weekend - Inara, Ruby, Riggs, Connor and my friend's pit/rott mix - other than that it was mostly Mals, Dutchies and Shepherds. There were two Cane Corso's, two Neo Mastiff's and 2 Rotties as well.
I'm so looking forward to going again next year! I now officially have the DSO addiction in my system. I can't wait for Michelle to get a chance to post some pics up!!!