Sunday, 9 September 2012

Draft Dog Test

The first day of the draft test went well.  Our equipment check went smoothly everything looked good to the judges so it was on to the obedience portion of the test.  The obedience portion is an off leash heeling pattern followed by a 1 minute stand stay.  Everything went well, though I have to admit I was a bit worried with the stand when the wind made the ring tape flap in the ring, but alas Reese stayed standing  in place for the full minute. 

Next up was the 3 minute down.  While in the down Reese shifted positions and went from laying on 1 hip to a Sphinx position at this point I was pretty sure she had sat up enough to NQ , but was holding on to a slim hope the judges would see it differently.  If Reese had not already NQ'ed , she started creeping towards me and by the time the 3 minutes were up she was about 5ft ahead of all the other dogs.

There were 13 dogs entered in the Draft Dog Test, and once all had finished the long down we each returned for the cart maneuvers.  The dog had to be harnessed and hitched in the ring while the judges watched to make sure the dog remained cooperative and in place.  Once Reese was harnessed  and hitched the main judge went over her to make sure her harness was on properly and not twisted.  At the beginning of this exercise, when the judge asked the steward to bring my cart in, Reese completely turned around.  One of the judges failed this and in speaking to him later he said that the stand stay was a main component to draft work, so he saw that as a major offence. 

 On day 2  we qualified under 2 judges and earned 2 of the legs for her Draft Dog title. Disappointed? Not on your life she did everything I asked and in 2 of the judges minds she completed everything a Draft dog needed The third judge failed her 3 minute down for fidgeting, curling a paw under and shifting from sphinx to side and back.


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Count down to the Draft Dog Test

The count down has started to the Draft Test this weekend.  When I signed up for the "Carting with your Dog" workshop this spring, my aspirations were simple.  a) hang out with my friends and have some fun b) hang out with my dog and have some fun.  Well I can honestly say that those goals have been met ten fold. You can see by Reese's face she enjoys it to. 

It is time to change gears, dig in and pull together as a team. 
These pictures were all taken at the Draft Dog Fun match about 2 weeks ago, even little 15wk old Draft Dog wannabe Nugget was on hand to cheer Reese on.

The Draft Test fun match was a chance for us to find out what the real thing will be like.  We were all put through our paces and I came away with the knowledge of what we needed to work on. 

The big thing was the ring exercises, I was to fumbly putting the harness on and the judge found a few twists in the harness...not good. I need to make the harnessing smoother. My off leash pattern was pretty good, but there is always room for improvement . On the 1 minute stand stay, Reese sat with 5 secs left. That is an automatic NQ, so practise, practise, practise  Reese did great on the 3 minute group down stay, which has been a problem, so this was great success. . Once I was harnessed and hitched, the cart manuevering went well.  The freight haul went well except for a spot where we were going up hill.  We got bogged down, because I slowed down to decide which angle I was going to approach at.   I should have had that figured out in the walk through and would not have needed to slow down and loose momentum.

I am very happy with how Reese and I have developed as a draft team and feel that we are well prepared for the test.  I am sure there will be a few anxious moments, but I  I have a wonderful partner and that is the most important thing.