Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rally Fun Match

The Newfoundland Club of Seattle ran a Fun Match in Maple Valley this weekend. My goal was not have to use the gentle leader on or off the rally obedience course (goal accomplished). We had entered for three runs.

Every dog is different. I assume some are ambivalent to the indoor/outdoor differences but Nim notoriously does better on outdoor courses. I have met dogs that are the absolute opposite.

In the above photo the rally course is to the right (poodle is inside). If you have never tried any obedience competitions - the courses are all up against each other and usually there is a dog active in each one at the same time.
Nim amazed me. He was over-stimulated but he really stepped up both on and off course.

Here we are at the start line.

You can see we start on the common fence with another obedience course. The dogs may often be right next to each other with just the fencing in-between. One dog may be in motion while the other is in a stay. Tough stuff for the dogs.

The first time we ran our course there was a boxer on the other side and the handler had just stopped their run to pull the dog together. Boy have I been there.

In the above photo we are in the middle of a "serpentine weave." You can see I have cued him early enough, so our lead change is happening at the same time and we aren't crashing into each other.
Now this photo is going around the exit cone and I can almost guarantee the reason we are colliding is because I didn't set him up soon enough and I had probably sped up to get us on to the next sign.
He has just got up from a "sit - down" and his happy ears are flapping.
Nim got a treat for this "drop" (ultimately no treats, no toys when competing) because he nailed it. When he wants to he has a really fast drop...but only when he wants to.

For a drop the ideal is an "accordion" fold to drop to the ground (not a sit first and then a down - that was the earlier sign) which he is demonstrating nicely.

This was our last run of the day and he got his toy at the end of it.

The gal in the ring with me was great to have. She was acting in the ring steward/judge role which was a really good part of the experience.

She has a young newfie (about 8 months) and we met during a rally practice a couple of months ago.

Nim was so naughty at that practice (one of those meltdowns in which he drops to the ground, rolls over, and starts kicking) that she watched me march him off the course, recollect, and start over again. He had to wear the gentle leader almost the entire time.

So it was fun to have someone who knows him see his progress. Her boy was so naughty at this event that he was already home for the day. :)

After rally we had to run to Mercer Island and meet up with another dog handler and then it was off to my mom's house for a bath.

Digging through her cabinets I found this dehydrated dog food packet. It is from The Honest Kitchen and Nim was about to have a meltdown waiting 5 minutes for it. He was actually probably pretty hungry after his hard working day.
It totally stunk and he loved it. I may have to go find some more small packets for the car. It was a nice food reward for him and easy to take anywhere.


  1. It sounds like you and Nim had a nice day together. Glad to hear he did well in the ring.


    1. Thank you! We did. He has just turned 2 and while he has a long way to go in the maturity department it is nice to see a TON of hard training work starting to come together.