Tuesday, September 03, 2013

12 months - Doggy Vacay!

For the Labour Day weekend we decided to take a little road trip with the dogs to the nation's capital, Ottawa. What prompted this trip was the fact that there was a CKC Sighthound Specialty about an hour from Ottawa that I decided to enter Kili in. If I'm going to drive 4 hours for a conformation show you better believe I'm going to turn it into a fun trip!

We left Friday night after work. Packed the dogs and all our stuff into my truck and hit the road. We stayed at a little country inn about 15 minutes from the show grounds. In the almost 3 years that we have had Summit we have traveled with him several times, but we have never stayed at a hotel/motel so this was the first hotel for BOTH dogs.

Summit: Ahhhh... my very own bed!

They did very well. There were no concerns about Summit, of course, but I wondered how well Kili would behave. We did not have any need to leave the dogs unattended (crated) for the duration of the weekend which was good, but even so I was impressed with how Kili managed to chill when we were home. Of course, that might have had something to do with all the activity we crammed into our days!

The next morning we were off to the show. I was a little uncertain how Kili would behave since she had a meltdown at her last outdoor show. Well, lo and behold, she had another meltdown as soon as she got out of the truck. I have come to the conclusion, after this weekend, that outdoor shows are just TOO much for her. There are too many distractions and she becomes overwhelmed. When she's overwhelmed she can't focus, she can't listen, she won't let me stack her (she objects to her hind end being touched and hind feet being moved) and she won't take food. Her first go in the ring was not even filmed because she was behaving so poorly. Fortunately we got a great judge! I was so happy with him. I went into the ring with Kili and immediately told him the situation (young dog, minimal showing, very environmentally aware) and he said to me "Don't worry, this is going to be great! You and me are going to be the best team for this dog. Do you have any food with you?" Yeah, I liked him right away. Often times if a young dog isn't behaving I find the judges just sort of dismiss you and don't really pay attention to judging your dog. This judge not only actively tried to make sure my dog had a positive experience in the ring and learned something, but also made me feel like even though my dog was not acting perfectly that he was still looking at her conformation. Being the only greyhound present she won the breed and got to go into the ring again for the group.

Whatever, we all know who the REAL model in this family is!

Between turns in the ring I elected to take Kili and Summit for a walk away from all the commotion. The show was taking place on an RV campground so we walked along the roads between camp sites. As soon as I got Kili about 100 metres away from the show grounds she became much more focused, was accepting food, and was even allowing me to stack her. It is incredible what a little separation will do to get you back under threshold. I did lots of attention work and practice stacking, let her sniff and explore and by the time she went back for her second turn in the ring she was much better. You can tell by comparing this video to the ones of her at the indoor venue what a huge difference there is. She is distracted and uncooperative at this outdoor venue. However, I was very happy with the way she pulled herself together for her second turn in the ring. So much so that I decided to end on a good note and pulled her from the All Breed show that afternoon. We walked around to the vendors in order to continue to expose her to the hectic show environment but did not show again which allowed us to leave ahead of schedule and get an early start to our vacation in Ottawa.

Ottawa was a lot of fun and I was pleasantly surprised with how well Kili behaved on leash given some recent frustrations we have had at home. Ottawa LOVED the hounds. We were stopped left, right, and centre with people asking about the dogs and wanting to take photos of them. In the 2 days that we were there I think 4 or 5 people requested photos of our dogs, including one memorable pair of young boys who ran after us with very embarrassed expressions and asked, in broken English, if they could take a picture with our dogs. We said sure. Then they looked even more embarrassed and explained that they would like to take a picture crouched down like they were racing the dog. Turns out these two young men were track athletes at their school. I wish I had thought to ask if I could take THEIR picture taking a picture, one on each side of Summit, on the ground in a runner's starting crouch. Too funny and definitely the most memorable "can I take a picture of your dog" experience that we have had. I WAS mildly annoyed that they asked Jarrett if they could take a picture with the dogs. They're MY dogs!

We visited Parliament Hill since Jarrett had never been to Ottawa before. Here are some memorable photos!
Summit and Jarrett at Parliament Hill

Kili was OBSESSED with the flame!

What Kili thinks of Parliamentary debates.

Summit checks out the Queen.

"Women are persons!"

Pictures with Kili are so much fun!

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