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.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Zamora - Open II

Moving across the creek

By the time Open I finished around mid-day on Saturday, the weather had cleared and there were blue skies appearing from behind the clouds. We were just about caught up time-wise from the worrisome fog delay, but changes to accomodate were still necessary. The judge, Patrick Shannahan, and trial producer, Terry Pelkey worked things out for the best possible result, and it was put to the hands and agreed by all that we would move the post to the far side of the creek, elimintate the pen, add a single, and leave the clock at 9 minutes.  This shortened the outrun to about 500 yards, but left us without having to cross the creek for anything, except to get to the post. It was the right thing to do.

Open I had been a test of suvivial. The low scores and the letters showed that in dramatic fashion, but open II was promising to be much more viable. The sheep were re-run, and some of the dogs remembered the outrun. The weather softened, and folks began to leave the shelter of their cars and mill about. Lawn chairs popped up like Spring daffodils. The dirt incline into the parking area was still muck soup, and more than 1 hapless 2-wheel-driver needed a tow, but things were looking up.


As is the case with many trials, the exhaust was a problem all along. On unfamiliar ground, the yearlings had no idea which way was out. An exhaust person was designated, and first Loren Holmes, then Elgar Hughes did a good job of moving things along. Personally, I was all too happy to release my sheep, and let the guys shepherd them off course. Just this simple plan saved precious time, and by day 2 of Open II we were caught up.

Moving the post changed the angle that the dogs took to the hill. It was steeper from our feet, and it was problematic for some. The dogs lost their sheep quicker if they started wide, and some crossed the farthest ridgeline sooner never to be seen again. Now the exhaust was in full view of the on deck area, and some dogs that watched it, started up, then circled back away from the set out, towards the exhaust and back to the post. Personally, I tried to keep my dogs below the bank of the creek, so that I was close enough to be ready, but blind to the pitfall. Likewise on the fetch line, the sheep and/or your dog would drop out of sight if wide right. Obscured by a steep hill, the tops of my sheep's ears were all I could see towards the end of Star's fetch, but a "here, here," from me tightened his flank, and brought the yearlings back into view.
                                 Photo by Larry Klingman

Star's turn at the post
Weather-wise, Sunday was our best day by far. We had morning temperatures in the 30's, but the sun was out, and no one seemed to mind. I didn't really scrutinize the scores, and the breakdowns were never posted anyway, but it seemed that there was a lot more success. I saw quite a few clean singles designating a completed course and the scores were markedly higher. Both of my dogs ran well this time around with Star running Saturday afternoon to place 2nd on a score of 77. It was a young dog's run with occasional uncertainty, improved confidence over day 1, lots of enthusiasm running out, and a solid single to finish.

Mid-day Sunday, Mirk struggled with the outrun again, this time running tight, but finishing deep enough to make a nice lift. There was no need to hurry this time around, and Mirk took every whistle using his abundant power sparingly on sheep that only needed gentle guidance. My friend, Amanda, had 13 off the outrun, so with an actual score of 74, the results would have differed significantly if his outwork were clean. The "what-if's" keep us coming back after all. No matter, the dog has never run better for me than he did last Sunday, I was really, really happy with him, hoping that after 3 years, we've turned a corner permanently. There was a 3-way tie for 6th, 7th, and 8th. The tie was broken on outwork, Mirk finished 8th, and just like that I had 2 dogs top 10. Geri Byrne turned in a stellar run with Jim, and the winning score of 81 points. She left for home before the results were in, but was deservedly excited about her dog's great run. I am so happy for her.

                                                 Photo by Larry Klingman

The re-cap with Amanda and Joella
Next up...the faces of Zamora

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