Ykelenstam's Shimmer N Shine RA CGN
July 11, 2010: "You started out as a shy, sensitive, highly reactive young dog. We did class, after class, after class, and had some highs and we had some lows. We had to learn to work as a team, as I'd never taught such a sensitive lady before you came along. I had shed tears for you at one point, not knowing if I'd ever help you become more confident, questioning every decision I made with you.
But this weekend you made me so proud.You entered your first Rally Obedience trial, and you gave me not only two Q's this weekend, but you gave me a perfect score of 100 and a High in Class. I am stunned.
To top it all off, you achieved your Canine Good Neighbour title (more info here) this weekend as well, a feat some would never think you would have achieved (and thanks to Mom for giving me the push to do it!) A far cry from the anxious little girl I started out with, and I thank you so much for being exactly who you are meant to be, nothing more and nothing less.".
"We entered our second Rally trial together at the end October 2010, a weekend of six trials. She had two Q's from her last trial, so she only needed one more to get her Novice title, which she got in her first trial along with taking High in Class and a score of 94. At that point she moved up to Advanced. The biggest difference is that it is all off-leash, and there are several new behaviours to learn. We had been training at that level, and I was pretty confident that we would do okay. There was only one skill that we hadn't yet perfected, and I told myself that if we faced it I would take the 10-point loss rather than have her attempt to perform a semi-learned skill in the ring. Anyway, in her second trial she came out with her first Advanced Q and another High in Class with a score of 96! That ended day one, in which we were all tired and headed home to crash for a few hours.
Day Two yielded a busier day, as there was also obedience and conformation going on and there was a lot more going on in the arena than there had been on Friday. It was a much louder morning. Shimmer showed a little bit of stress-sniffing and some other calming signals, but she handled herself well and came out with two more Q's that day and a second and third place (her third place was a result of that 10-point loss that I mentioned above, that I knew I would likely run into), which I was very very grateful for considering that I knew she was showing more stress the second day.
After having gained two new titles in two days, I knew we were not fully prepared for the Excellent Class, so I decided to pull her from her last two trials. I'm sure we could have gotten through it with a Q, but I would prefer to take the time and work through the exercises to a high level of skill and get the good scores I know she can achieve, rather than just *get the Q* with a lower score.
All in all, a fabulous weekend and I could not be more proud! She did so well, continued working in the face of some stress, and came out with a great weekend and great performance. I'm excited to see what the 2011 Rally season brings, and it gives me a focus to work towards over the slower winter months!"