Sunday, April 11, 2010

On Cloud Nine!

The boys and I just got back from a CARO Rally-O trial and seminar in Regina, hosted by KAOS Dogsports, and judged by Laurie Albright.

As always, KAOS did a wonderful job in organizing the event and Laurie is a blast to work with. The seminar on Saturday covered the basics of all 4 CARO levels (Novice, Advanced, Excellent, and Versatility). I like to take in seminars like this to learn new ways of training certain obstacles so that I can pass them along in my classes. It's also nice to get an inside opinion on how certain performances are judged.

Sunday included two CARO Rally-O trials, one round of each level. I had the boys entered, of course!

After a significant stagnant period, Gio finally broke his streak of NQ's and earned his 2nd Excellent level leg! Only one more leg needed for that elusive RX title! Not only did he qualify one of his Excellent rounds, but he also took High in Class, bringing home a snazzy rosette and a big bag of toys and goodies. The second Excellent round was beautifully done, except for one measly little sign. As is the case with Excellent, one false move and you are done for. In Gio's defense, though, this was honestly the HARDEST Excellent course I have EVER seen. EVER! Head's up students ... guess what is going to be making an appearance in class one of these days!

Romeo was a little show-off, as usual. I had him entered in 4 rounds, 2 Excellent C and 2 Versatility. He qualified his first Excellent C round with a score of 199/200, successfully finishing off his CARO Rally Silver (CRS) title. Two the best of my knowledge, Romeo is now the FIRST dog from Saskatchewan to have earned his CRS title!

His second Excellent C round was qualified with a score of 195/200 and High in Class! This leg goes towards his CARO Rally Gold (CRG) title.

The C Stream titles are CARO Rally Bronze (CRB), CARO Rally Silver (CRS), CARO Rally Gold (CRG), and CARO Rally Master (CRMCh). Each level requires a dog to earn a certain number of Advanced, Excellent, and Versatility legs with scores of 190/200 or higher. No re-dos are allowed and the handlers are only allowed 3 minutes to walk the course prior to their run. Romeo was the first dog from Saskatchewan to earn his CRB back in October of 2009. There are currently (as of the date of his post) 2 dogs from Saskatchewan with C stream titles, Romeo being one, and the other a crazy cute little Schipperke named Taz.

Versatility is a level in CARO Rally-O that requires a dog to work both on the left and right side of their handler. They perform an altered Novice level course, switching from left to right and back again in a variety of ways, at least 5 times. Romeo and I have been doodling with Versatility stuff for a while now, but certainly not what I would call "serious training". I had entered him in these two Versatility rounds just to get a bench point mark of where he is at and where we need to go. Essentially "just for shits and giggles". Well let me tell you, I was certainly giggling after that was over! Not only did Romeo do VERY well in his Versatility rounds, he qualified BOTH legs with High in Class! Scores of 198/200 and 196/200. I am THRILLED! He only needs one more qualifying leg for his Versatility title. This was VERY unexpected this weekend!

I will say, though, that Versatility is a serious challenge! I found myself questioning my ability to count, my knowledge of left versus right, and, at times, my own existence. This is not for the faint of heart. But, despite my confusion and aimless wandering around the course, I found myself really enjoying the challenge. I look forward to our next attempt at the chaos and confusion that is Versatility!

Romeo after completing his CARO Rally Silver (CRS) title.

In addition to a literal stack of rosettes and qualifying flats, the boys also brought home 4 big bags of toys and treats, prizes for High in Class wins.

Gio's winnings. A High in Class rosette from Excellent B.

Romeo's winnings. A High in Class from Excellent C, two High in Class from Versatility, and a New Title rosette.

We had a fabulous time. The boys have, yet again, inflated my ego. I am not only floating, but bouncing up and down on Cloud Nine!

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