Sunday, July 25, 2010

Playing catch-up

I haven't updated in awhile, and for that I apologize! We've been busy, and lazy. Summer is now in full-swing, and in between real life stuff we were busy gearing up for UKC Premier...But more on that later!

After our hard-hitting blow at the obedience trial in May, it took me a bit to bounce back and get comfortable again. I got sick, both physically and with an eye infection, so major training was postponed until I could see right again and feel well. We focused mostly on weight pulling and earning the last few points for his weight pull champion title, which seemed to take forever to complete.

Because of being sick, I slacked on record keeping, too. Which means I don't have all the weights and locations we pulled at. But I'm going to do my best to update anyway.

"Old Premier Weekend" June 18th-20th (after UKC's fateful move to Richmond, IN) still saw a show/pull in Kalamazoo, MI. The All American Bulldog Club hosted a weight pull, K9 Fanciers hosted a show, Grand Rapids Area K9's hosted obedience and rally trials, and the United Greyhound Club hosted one of the first all-breed lure coursing trials. It was a fun weekend, even if Howie only pulled one day for me and poo-poo'd on the rest. We got 2 qualifying scores in both of the rally classes we entered, placing 3rd on Friday and 2nd on Saturday; our Saturday score was a 96, and we were beaten by a very beautiful run done by a Border Collie and her handler who scored a 97.

Howie also thoroughly enjoyed lure coursing, and thinks this new sport is the best thing ever. That weekend, he became the first (LP-registered) American Pit Bull Terrier to earn UKC's CA (coursing aptitude) title.

After the Kalamazoo weekend, we took time off to train and get ready for Premier. My "ultimate plan" was to finish both his weight pull champion title and his URO1 (rally 1) titles at Premier. This show is UKC's biggest of the year, so if we were going to finish titles, we were gonna do it in style! At least, that was the plan...

It was a busy weekend. We didn't get down to the show grounds until 2am Thursday morning, and we all had to be up early for weigh-ins and check-ins. After weigh-ins for weight pull, Howie broke out in hives, and I had originally told the Pride & Prejudice American Pit Bull Terrier Association (the club hosting the pull) that I was withdrawing his entry. We went back to our camper, where I loaded him with the prednisone and benadryl, and we took a nap. A few hours later he seemed fine, his hives were going down, and he seemed more perky; P&P was nice enough to let me re-enter him, and he pulled a 10-point pull (approximately 995 pounds, 15x his body weight) for me that day. I withdrew him after that pull, and hoped he would give me one more 10-point pull over the weekend.

Howie has been kind of blah about pulling, and I wasn't sure if he would pull or tell me he just wasn't feeling it and would refuse.

Friday was Top Ten/Premier day, so many of the activities were reserved for Top Ten and All-Star dogs - these are dogs and junior handlers who showed excellent performance last year and were invited to compete. This is an invitation-only show. But after all of those shows were done, we had a rally class. We qualified with a score of 81 and placed 5th in our class of about 20 dogs, but it wasn't pretty. But this qualifying score earned us our 3rd leg and our URO1 title!

Saturday was another weight pull day, and he did good by me and pulled another 10-point pull. Sunday he was tired, and told me no. But his pull on Saturday earned his UWPCH title, and made me happy.

He also lure coursed all weekend, which he found enjoyable. And we did what we went there to do.

We're now taking a break from showing and pulling. On August 7th there is a weight pull with another club, but it is right in our back yard, so we plan on going - which means no hotel or expensive traveling costs. We're also looking at another weight pull near Ann Arbor, MI...but I haven't decided on this yet. Most everything is up in the air.

On a totally different note, we're in talks with the Ferndale Public Library to start a "Reading to Dogs" program. I am most excited about this, and can't wait to get it in full swing. Keep watching for more information on these developments as Howie, Therepy Dog Extraordinaire!