Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sport of Choice

Holly, Katrin and Julie have all answered this question:

"What got you into your sport of choice...why that one, why not another type of dog sport? What else have you tried, but don't care for? What haven't you tried but would like to?"

I figured I'd chime in as well.

I guess my first sport of choice would be Obedience, as I practically grew up next to an obedience ring. My mom competed with her Golden Retrievers through most of my childhood. I got my first dog, a Labrador Retriever, just after I graduated college. Although I had long been a spectator, it soon became very evident that some things can only be learned by doing. I think I suffered every embarrassment possible in the ring at the hands of my own dog, culminating in one memorable trip to Canada: I happened to be going in the Novice ring at the same time my mom was going into the Open ring with her Golden. When we were on the Heel Free exercise, Tara saw my mom throw the dumbbell for her Retrieve. Tara apparently decided that "The Gran" was having way more fun than we were; she ran out of my ring and into mom's, and retrieved the dumbbell before mom could send her Golden to get it. Tara never did get her CD, but it was certainly a learning experience, and I've applied those lessons well since getting my first Cardi. Ian earned his CD in four trials (his one NQ was my fault, not his), with two First placements and a High In Trial along the way. We're this close to starting Open competition.

I've also come to quite enjoy Conformation. Even though politics do sometimes come into play, and I don't always understand where the judge could possibly be coming from, it is still a thrill to win, and I imagine it will be even more so the first time I do it with a dog I've bred myself.

Agility is another activity Ian has trained in, and we both enjoy it. No titles to date, but I haven't been too serious about the training yet as we've been doing so many other things. Elli will be a whirlwind in the agility ring and I can't wait until she's old enough to start training. I better improve MY skills in that arena before then, though!

I took Ian to one herding clinic and put him on ducks, and it was very exciting to watch that instinct kick in. Without any instruction or training at all he was trying to gather them up and fetch them to the instructor and me on the other end of the pen. I think he could be very good at it with some training, and don't think he would be intimidated by sheep, as he was quite interested in them. I, on the other hand, am a different story. I have no livestock knowledge or sense whatsoever, and really don't have an interest in that area, so I don't see myself doing a lot with herding.

I played at flyball back in the day with Tara, but have not tried that with the corgis. Though they might make a good "height dog," I'm not sure I want to put that kind of stress on their shoulders and long spines.

My mom also did tracking trials with her dogs, and I would like to try that at some point. I mean, the corgis noses are almost on the ground anyway! If only this working-for-a-living-thing wasn't crimping my style...

How about the rest of you?

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