The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tale of the Tape

I went to a dog trial last weekend, and while witnessing the debacle, I mean watching the competition with a friend, I began to deliberate the intricacies of this particular event. What I came up with are the following oberservations. Enjoy...

Number of dogs entered: Only 36 on day 1, fewer on day 2
Most handlers knew better.
Number of reasons I attended: Seven
It was 7 miles from my front door.
Number of miles I would travel to attend again: Zero
It would have to be held in my sheep pasture and utterly unavoidable.
Number of handlers who will return: Fewer than entered this time
Everyone was reminded...again why they stayed away in droves for so long
Number of handlers who completed the split on the first day: 10 out of 36
It's difficult to split sour sheep that are standing on your feet
Number of handlers who completed the single on the second day: 4
4 out of 33 entries
Number of brain cells used in the decision to make it harder in the second trial by asking for a single after such a high failure rate with the split in the first trial: Zero
It was an utterly ignorant decision.
Trying to keep sour sheep off my feet, I mean setting up for the split
Number of sheep that deserved to be called "farm flock:" Zero
It would be hard, (maybe impossible) to find a more haggard bunch of dog-broke, knee-knocking, crippled, worn-out school sheep. The term "cull sheep" would be a stretch.
Number of dogs that ran in the second trial before a standard was imposed: Zero
The first dog to run in the 2nd trial was called to a standard based on scores from the first, and completely separate, trial.
Number of points used for the standard: 70
The judging was as shamelessly biased as I have ever witnessed, so points really had nothing what-so-ever to do with it.
Number of times one handler with most-favored-crew-member status watched his dog ring the sheep and cross the course in front of the cross-drive panel without retiring or being called to a standard: 3 rings and 2 crosses
The handler also muffed the lift and missed the fetch panel, but finally made the cross-drive panel on the 3rd assault.
The handler's score: 70 for 4th place and prize money
Wow, Congratulations!
Number of re-directs given to a dog on the outrun that placed in the top 3 on Sunday: Lost count after 6
It also chased sheep off the lift and back to the set-out trailer, then made a fetch as far from the fetch line as you could make in the same zip code. Even the uninitiated questioned the time clock on this run, especially considering there was no scribe to witness the blatant favoritism given by the judge to yet another handler with most-favored-crew-member status.
Number of minutes trial was interrupted in the middle of it, while sheep were moved from the exhaust to the set-out trailer and re-run...again: 30
Many of us thought it was because of sex on the field between 2 turkey buzzards. No, not the crew members... actual turkey buzzards.
Number of grass blades to be found on the field that was advertised by the organizers in a trial update as "grass." Zero
The dusty field was planted to a dry-farmed cover crop of barley tall enough to make the dogs all but invisible, the ground temperature too hot for the dogs, and the dog's ability to hear whistles negligible. I saw no grass, but the dogs found quite a few burrs with their feet.
Cover crop gone to seed, I mean Price running on "grass"
Number of days in advance that entrants were notified of the running order: Zero
We were given a running order at the handler's meeting on the morning of the trial. This of course meant that even if you ran dead last, you still had to show up at first light in case you were first.
Number of handlers who knew the running order for the 2nd trial even though they attended the 1st one: Zero
The trial organizer had not released the running order for the 2nd trial when I left around 2pm on the day of the 1st trial. This meant that many had to needlessly show up first thing...again. Then the organizer started early before anybody got there.
Number of times the trial start time was changed: Three
The trial entry said "day break." The trial update said 7:30. Without any notice what-so-ever given to anyone, the 2nd trial started a little after 7.
Number of beers that each set-out crew member was allowed to imbibe: Each person was allowed 1 per day
This, my friends, is sheepdog sacrilege.

This one sure wasn't for the faint of heart, but in spite of the fact that the trial was garbage, my dogs ran well and I was pleased with them. I was gratified to see all the hard work I've been putting into Mirk in the last few months pay off. The dog never put a foot wrong, he was a pleasure to run and beautiful to watch. Price, as always ran his heart out for me, but unfortunately, heart is all he has left. Once again he ran out of gas because of his compromised lung function and the instant he became sluggish and resistant to my whistles, I knew he was too hot and too tired and I walked off. As an acquaintence once commented, the dog doesn't owe me a thing and he surely had nothing to prove at this trial.

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