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4th of July Trial - ASCA Stockdog and Conformation - Cayucos, CA

This is one of those “must attend” trials that are on my short list. I LOVE this trial – it is very low key (most of the time) and Kali gets to play in conformation. I decided that this year, I would come home on Wednesday night (after my Stockdog camp) and REALLY bathe Kali and Kane and head back up Friday afternoon. Well…that may have not been the best idea I have ever had.

I woke up early (5am) Thursday morning and let all the dogs out into the yard thinking “How nice it is not to have to put them all on leash to poddy them” and I shut the door and went for my first, relaxing cup of coffee of the day. As I headed back to the door to got sit outside and enjoy the quiet morning, I saw Kali and Cinder desperately trying to get back into the house. Huh, that’s funny – they NEVER try to get back in the house first thing in the morning.

Then I looked across the yard and saw Kane frantically rolling on the ground. Mind you, I have glass doors, I haven’t opened them yet and it’s quite early so the brain hasn’t engaged yet. As I watch Kane rolling, my eyes catch movement in a different part of the yard – hmmm…why is Oso shaking his head and WHAT DOES HE HAVE IN HIS MOUTH? Yes folks, Oso was killing a skunk. Oh joy. The checker at Vons was pretty surprised to see me at 6am buying all the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda I could get my hands on. The entire day was spent bathing dogs…Kane was green from the skunk oil. Needless to say, it would have been a lot less effort to just stay at the ranch

The worst part about the whole skunk episode was that Kane was showing in Altered Conformation. I washed him 3 times in the de-skunking solution and twice after that and could not get rid of the aroma. I felt very sorry for his handler (Kristin McNanamara) and the judge that had to put her hands all over him. They actually needed baby wipes after judging Kane. I felt terrible. But, despite the skunk smell, Kane went Altered Reserve Winners Dog – yay Kane!

The real star of the conformation trial was Kali however. Kali finally got another major with Kristin (only one more to go!) and then Kathy Bryan handled her to Altered Best of Breed over several specials! Way to go Kali! The judge really liked this other black bitch and kept asking the handler how old she was – and the handler would reply “8.” I kept wanting to yell “My girl is over 8 too!!!) but I restrained myself. After the trial, the judge asked me Kali’s age and was amazed when I told her she was over 8. She kept commenting on how young she looked and what great shape she was in. That was cool.

The Stockdog trial was not near as exciting. Cinder was pissed at me because I had not worked her in camp at all (only one abysmal lesson) and she decided that she didn’t have to listen to me much. That being said, we placed in all 6 six classes except for one. This trial only had ducks and sheep - there were two sheep runs per day and 1 duck run per day. Our first sheep run was AWFUL – this is the run we didn’t place in. Cin just blew me off for the first drive and I was NOT happy. She slam-dunked the rest of the course but still… We then went into ducks and, once again, she was horrible for the first drive. It was like a repeat of our sheep run – she was amazing once we got them through the first panel but man…she ended up 2nd on that run. The judge was kind. Our second sheep run of the day was fairly decent – Cin listened and had a great center but we got beaten by a really nice dog.

I was proud of her 3rd place finish. Sunday was a better day for us – Cin was on track on our first sheep run (she ended up 2nd) but we got a horrible draw on ducks. We got one duck that had been trained by the started dogs to stand by the gate and not move. After we finally got it around the 1st two panels, it bailed. After Cin and I tried to bring it back to the center, I did something I have never done before: I left it behind. Cin was trying her heart out and I could see she was getting frustrated. We penned that last 4 ducks easily and put them away and I was very surprised to find at the end of the day that the judge totally agreed with my decision and we ended up with a 4th place finish! I thought we had totally blown it when I had to leave that duck behind. Shows you what I know Our last sheep run of the day was PERFECT – we were in tune and Cinder was extraordinary. The judge thought so too and gave her 1st place on sheep and she won HIT on Sheep. Yay Bin-bin!
Other than the pervasive odor of skunk, it was a lovely trial!

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