We had so much fun at the Labrador Retriever Club of Greater Boston's obedience trials on 6/16 & 17. Kota earned High in Trial Lab on Thursday and finished her UDX (Utility Dog Excellent) title on Friday, earning High in Trial and High Combined to boot! I thought she might complete her OM1 (Obedience Master) title at these shows, too, but it turned out she had done that in Franklin, MA on May 7th. Love my brilliant, eager and fun partner, in and out of the ring.
Otter's first title :) - Canine Good Citizen! Passed with "Flying Colors," according to tester Karen Fischer. Otter said it was all in a day's work!
On September 11, 2015, I traveled home to VT from Mattituck, L.I. with our newest addition - 7.5 week old Otter! She had a bit of a rough start in life but, thanks to the tireless and compassionate care of her breeder, Susan Carpenter and husband Joe, Otter overcame several early obstacles, including a minute size at birth, inefficiency in her ability to nurse, "fading puppy syndrome" and a respiratory infection that infected several pups in the litter and sadly claimed litter mate "Ms. Pink." It was clear that Otter, known in her litter as "Ms. Blue", was a real fighter and wanted to live!
Under Sue and Joe's expert care and rearing (with the assistance of myriad friends, human and canine - it takes a village!), Otter and her litter mates enjoyed a wonderfully enriched baby hood. All manner of obstacles, including the famed "Adventure Box" from Avidog, toys, pools, tunnels and other items of puppy interest adorned the large puppy pen that was their early outdoor summer play area. In addition to mama Dory, several of Sue's older dogs gently showed the pups the ropes.
As the puppies got older and more mobile, Sue and family took them on little outings in the car. I was privileged to be there for a visit when the pups first went to the beach!! They spent most of their time wrestling under the dock, out of easy reach of the humans, but they did all get their first tastes of the warm, calm cove waters. Several also tried kayaking on a boat that was on the beach :).
After taking up VT residency, Otter has continued to blossom and has furthered her good doggy skills under the tutelage of her big "sisters", Pepper and Dakota and with periodic play dates with her Golden puppy cohort Phoebe. After a few rather stern lessons on how not to be a complete jerk :), she and Pepper are best buddies and spend hours jawing, snuggling and running together on our many woods walks. Now that Otter has gained some clues on doggy dos and don'ts, Kota is beginning to engage her in play together as well. All hugely heartwarming for the humans of the house. We are blessed with a very happy home with these three black Lab beauties.
Otter has also been busy on the training/learning front, beginning all the tiny pieces of skills that will later serve us well in obedience, agility and field. She very much has a mind of her own about when and how to do things LOL, but she's getting it all down pat and is a joy to train and learn with. We think she is brilliant (all biases aside, of course). She is a terrific traveler in the car, and a wonderful snuggler during down time. If fact, I feel a warm bit of puppy love asleep at my feet right now.
Stay tuned for more adventures of Otter and her big sisters!
Kota and I showed at the "Thanksgiving Cluster" of AKC shows in Springfield, MA, an environment known for it's noise and myriad distractions! On Thursday, I only entered her in Utility. That's the class she likes the best (probably because a) I spent more time training it and b) there are no group stays involved :) ). She was pretty happy but definitely more distracted than usual and apparently didn't hear me when I called "Sit" on the first go-out. A handler was throwing a DB for the retrieve on the flat in Kota's general direction, so that may just have been part of it LOL. Lacking perceived direction, Kota turned back eventually and stood there, looking bewildered. She took the jump as directed.
The second Go Out and cued sit were spot on. However, just as the judge signaled me to send her over the next jump, a handler in the ring behind her through a dumbbell over the high jump. It landed right at the go-out stanchion and that proved too tempting. She looked away right as I signaled her and missed the signal. NQ :(. The rest of the class was pretty good, but I knew we had some proofing to do!
Luckily, Nutmeg Border Collie Club was hosting a match following the show, so I called my waiting husband and told him we were going to be later than expected. He's a patient soul :). The match helped a whole lot. I mostly practiced ring entrances followed by play, and we did some general distance attention games. Friday, we were in both OB and UB and Kota was much happier and more attentive. A couple of little things NQd us in each class, but I knew I had my girl back.
Saturday, she pulled out UDX leg #5, qualifying in both classes with nice scores. There's a link to Saturday's Utility B class at the bottom of this post. Aside from a no sit (my fault) and a near anticipation on the first article (mostly not my fault lol), she had a great class. Those two hits were enough to keep us out of the ribbons in a very competitive class (4 dogs scored 198.5 and had run offs for placements), but we ended on a good note and she was happier at the end of the weekend than at the beginning, which always makes ME happy.
If you're still reading, I wish you happy training and thoughtful, fun proofing with your own dogs!
Kota and I had an outstanding day at the CDSP Obedience trials in Keene, NH. In the morning, she earned her UDX-C and CDX-CCH (Championship) titles, with 199.5 and a 200! In the afternoon, she earned 15 more OTCH points to complete her OTCH-C (Obedience Trial Champion) title, tail wagging the entire time. Just love stepping into the ring with my fun 4 year old girl!
Kota finished her AKC Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title in style at the Labrador Retriever Club of Greater Boston shows June 11th, winning the 4 classes we entered - and lots of lovely prizes, too. Best of all, her tail was wagging the entire time!
Three-year old Kota earned her CDSP Utility title (UD-C) on Feb 21, also winning HIT and High Combined at the trials in Manchester, CT. The following weekend, she finished her AKC Utility Dog title (UD) at MasterPeace Dog Training in Franklin, MA. She took High in Trial and High Combined Labrador Retriever. We did Rally the next day at MasterPeace and Kota earned another RAE leg with scores of 100 and 99. Then, we went outside and threw tons of bumpers for my good and happy girl!
Pepper and I had so much fun at the Pawcatuck River Labrador Retriever Club Specialty show in North Stonington, CT. She finished her Utility Dog title with her best score ever in the AKC regular classes, with daddy, Dakota, her natal sister and her breeder all cheering!
It only took her 8 tries to complete the title (it can take a LOT!), but we took several prolonged breaks as we worked on understanding, precision and most important, teamwork and building fun into each exercise. She actually had the entire summer off from doing obedience training of any kind before we resumed some refresher sessions in anticipation of the September show.
Pepper is a sweet, laid back Lab who loves food, had little interest in playing (although we did learn to play well with each other), and has zero interest in repeating tasks in training or otherwise. She taught me SO much on this journey and I am extremely proud to have been her teammate in this adventure. Her tail never stopped wagging during the entire class and I could tell she was genuinely having a grand time - she got happier and happier as the class went on!
I promised Pepper that, once she complete her UD, we would focus on training in the field for Senior Hunter, an idea that is very much to her liking :).