Chapter 21 
(October 2017):

We Are a Team!
About my Rally Obedience Tournaments

I’m Mummy’s little slug in Agility; at trials we make a clean run (no mistakes) and then disqualify for being over the time limit. Mummy can’t run a whole lot faster anyway, so I take my time to make her look better. People say I’m cute as I bounce along with my red barrette pinning up my fall. Mummy says she doesn’t want to have to wait for me. She would like to get out of breath. I showed her once at training last week how it feels when I am quick. I thought she would need an oxygen tent. The other members of our group applauded and Trainer Annika praised me up and down. I had done the course more quickly than ever, including the weave poles, where I even bounced a bit.

Rally Obedience is where I excel. Though I always botch up our local club’s monthly just-for-fun competition (actually they are Mummy’s mistakes), we have had five official trials this summer, where I got 90, 92, 93, 96 and 99 points out of 100 and „excellent“ each time. The 90 should have been 95 but Mummy put me from sit into lie too quickly; boom!
5 points gone! The other 5 errors were mine: sitting slightly crooked or hesitating before carrying out a command. That’s fair: five points for each of us. After this course I heard the scribe say, „I wonder which of the two is English“. We are exotic because Mummy speaks only English to me. After all, she has been a dog owner for over 50 years, since before she knew any German. And I’m Irish even if I was born in Germany. Daddy only speaks English with me, too, and the neighbor kids learn English through my commands.

The judge who gave us the 99 points asked if she hadn't seen us before. Yes, in Lohne in April, my 2nd trials. "I thought so. I love watching you working together. I get tears in my eyes. I love how you give her information." She had heard Mummy ask, "ready?" before a station where I needed to pay special attention, praise me a lot, and warn me about left and right, like in the slalom. She said the one point she took off was a borderline crooked sit; she could have let it go. We got 2nd place; first place was also 99 points but 14 seconds faster than we. Both the dog and the handler had considerably longer legs than we and Mummy wasted time digging treats out of her pants pocket. The judge said what a patient girl I am; her dog would have jumped on her if she hadn't forked over the treats right away. Don’t give me any ideas! By the new rules we are allowed to get a treat after stationary stations, where the dog is sitting, lying or standing at the end of the exercise, though Mummy only treats a few, just to humor me. My godmother Uschi gave Mummy a vest so that she can get the Leberkäse cubes out of her pocket faster in future.

We could have moved up from Beginners to Class 1 after any one of these results of 90 or more, but Mummy said she wanted to have more than one „excellent“ so that it’s clear it isn’t a fluke. Now we can’t move up because she has applied to compete in the Lower Saxony (state) Rally Obedience Championship and you can’t change classes after August 15th. Better safe in Beginners than sorry in Class 1 anyway. We get our thrills at training with exercises from Beginner to Class 3. Two weeks ago we had our local club’s Grinsekopp competition. Trainer Ela had just said, „Looks like a 100-pointer!“ when at the very last station Mummy turned right instead of left and left instead of right. Bummer! That convinced her that we don’t want to drive to Wesel for the DSV nationals. One wrong turn and it was all for nothing.

Today we had trials in Oldenburg, less than an hour’s drive. I was so good when we practised that Mummy went to the start with a good feeling. It couldn’t be worse than 90. She was careful with left and right this time and remembered to wait 2 seconds between sit and lie, etc. We came off the course for the discussion with the judge, who said, „100 points! Congratulations!“   Mummy asked if she was allowed to hug the judge, who said, „gladly!“ Now we’re off to Hannover for the state championships and then we’re moving up to class 1. Enough of this beginner stuff. I need a challenge.

I’m glad I bragged about our 100 points 2 weeks ago.Today didn’t go so well in Hannover at NIROC  (Niedersächsisches Rally Obedience Championat = Rally championships for the states of Lower Saxony and Bremen). In front of the preparation area there were slippery tiles covered with slippery wet leaves and Mummy nearly lost her footing. I got bored waiting and sat down. In the preparation area I made Mummy feel safe, doing all she asked of me enthusiastically. When it was our turn, we went onto the course and at the first sign I whipped around in circles. Mummy couldn’t imagine why I was spinning like a top. Two signs later I was wiggling again. One of those pesky leaves had stuck to my butt and was pricking me when I had to sit on it. Here I finally shook it off. Then everything was OK and we finished the course in peace. But we lost 6 points for my dance steps, one for a crooked sit and one for hesitating to sit. 92 is still
„excellent“ but only 6th place. Mummy will check my butt next time. Then I’ll have a hair in my eye or my beard in my mouth ;-)

My partner Jo-Jo (Yo-Yo) from chapter 14’s exam and my friend Buddy were there, too, and with the only day of perfect fall weather between cold rainy days, we had a good day together in our tents. Next year we’ll all be in Class 1.

Season over. Now we just have a weekend at the pet fair representing my breed (chapter 16 last year) and we don’t have to be good at anything for a change!


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