Casper is continuing his success in 2017 by beginning to compete in new performance events.
At the end of January, we entered two UKC rally trials, despite knowing nothing about UKC rally – and after I had taken two rally classes with Braam, not Casper. We practiced a bit at home and once in the park, but it was a big ask to toss both of us in the ring together for our first-ever rally runs! Casper was very amped up by the early morning drive and no-exercise, and had no focus. We got a 72 on his first run and 75 on his second – but hey, those are qualifying scores! He definitely got better on his second run, and while he was still distracted, he realized a little better what we were supposed to be doing. So now he is 2/3 of the way towards his URO1 title!
Also in January, I observed a UKC nosework trial for Handler Discrimination. I had really no idea what this was, but it looked easy enough that I entered the next trial in February. Then… we barely practiced (cringe) but we sniffed a few boxes at home on a couple different occasions. I was severely tempted to not show up at the trial, thinking there’s no way that Casper would be able to do it, especially in a new environment. Well… amazing little C exceeded my expectations! He was quite distracted on our run and I had to point out each box to get him to sniff it instead of run off to say hi to the judges. We were in the arena for about 30 seconds (you get 3 minutes to find the box) and I was getting ready to give up when he barely even sniffed one box and BAM sank into a down-alert. I considered not believing him and forcing him to sniff every box (we hadn’t even gotten that far yet) but I decided to trust what he was telling me, and I called “alert” and waited a tense split-second until the judge said “yes!” and we qualified! With a time of 32 seconds, we didn’t make it into the rankings (they award 1-4, and the winner alerted within 5 seconds!) but I was definitely happy with our qualifying run, as I honestly did not expect him to succeed.
As a fun reward this morning, I strung up a small chicken on an old climbing rope outside. Casper thought it was all sorts of entertainment trying to munch it!