Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's (Almost) All About Dinah

It's getting to be the time of year where we pack up the show stuff and prepare to hibernate for the winter. Dinah hasn't actually seen the inside of a show ring since the Canadian Specialty in August (though I still wish we could have gone to the Carolinas Regional). We do have two more APDT rally trials coming up on the first weekend of December, and then we'll really put 2010 to bed.

All the same, we brought home a decent small collection of memories this year...

  • BOS at the New England Regional (for the second year in a row)
  • BOS at the Supported Entry the next day
  • 10 AKC Grand Champion points
  • BOS at the Fredericton KC show to finish her Canadian CH
  • Best in Show in the MB-F Virtual Dog Show
  • AKC Rally Novice and Advanced titles
  • APDT Rally Level 1 title with an Award of Excellence (AOE) and 1 leg toward Level 2
  • 7 legs (so far) toward the APDT Rally Level 1 Championship (RL1X) title
  • 1 leg in UKC Rally Level 1 (URO1)
Although I say we're hibernating for the winter, we're really just not going out to compete. When the weather permits, we spend our time at home on the weekends, practicing. Dinah's back in agility class with Jim Gregg, who's a master at deconstructing handling and helping you build a successful process. We've been going to Wednesday-evening rally classes since school started, and will resume when the next semester resumes in January.

Oddly enough, working in rally and agility seem to complement each other — all the more so since Jim is so good at spotting inconsistencies in handling that (especially in my case) seem to be handicapping our progress. Sometimes neglecting the simplest things can make a huge difference. Jim noticed that I wasn't taking the time to catch Dinah's eye in the ring because my ring nerves had me all flustered. Keeping that in mind, I tried to keep eye contact in both agility and in rally, and Dinah did much better. She's always stellar in practice; at trials, not so much.

I'll have to remember to keep Jim's advice in mind next time we go to a trial. I've had the worst time doing APDT Level 2, although we managed to complete the AKC RA. Dinah knocked the jump bar on our first Excellent run, but that has to do with bad agility handling (mine). She was looking at me, and not at the obstacle.

The year hasn't been completely about Dinah, though. Badger Blue managed to take a 4th in his Veterans class at the BCCC National.

Dinah's image has been places, too. Two photos of her — one as a puppy, one as an adult — appeared for the Bearded Collie at the AKC's Meet the Breeds event in NYC last month.

Next month, Dinah and Badger get to be supermodels for a day! They'll be modeling couch covers for the FetchDog catalog. We'll all head to the shoot at a house somewhere in West Falmouth, and a local dog trainer we know will help coax the two stars of the show up onto the furniture, to recline in appealing poses. Somewhere, some lucky copywriter will get to struggle with the temptation to talk about all the dog hair that won't get on the furniture, and we'll end up with some lovely professional photos of the Breakseas. I'm looking forward to it!

Seamus already knows how best to model a couch!

We have to spend every Thanksgiving on the road, so we won't be home to watch the National Dog Show on TV. Have a great Thanksgiving, all, and enjoy the show for us!