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Lily and I finished the CDX in December 2012. At that time I hadn't done too much training of the utility exercises although I had started everything. I sure didn't think I would find myself still hoping to even get a leg almost two years later. Utility is very different than novice and open. Instead of depending on the dog's ability to stay at heel or to return to you, utility is all about having the dog go away or stay away from you to succeed with the principal part of the exercises. Since we all know how much poodles like to be close to their people you can understand how hard it has been to convince Lily it is ok to be away from me.

I have entered utility a few times with the expectation that we are really just having an expensive match that will let me see what needs work. Lily has shown flashes of brilliance, but we have always NQ'd at least two exercises with the go out for the jumps and the drop signal to start the signal exercise being the hardest things for her. We have worked very hard on both of those things this summer and I think we are finally really at a point where we can qualify.

We are entered for two trials this weekend (Saturday and Sunday). I am hopeful, but not as sure as I would like to be about how we will do. This trial was supposed to be at a venue that we train at occasionally and where Lily has done well before. The facility suffered roof damage during the heavy rain in the northeast last week and so the event is moved to our obedience club where we do most of our training. While I have the home court advantage so to speak, this is also a place where Lily feels perhaps a bit too comfortable about doing things like looking for dropped food on the floor. The floor will be steam cleaned tomorrow afternoon, so hopefully she won't be tempted.

Hopefully my next post here will be good news. Marguerite if you see this, thanks for your good wishes. I started here so as not to hijack your celebratory news for Neely.
 

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GO LILY!!! Me and Molly will be keeping all fingers, toes, and paws crossed, with a few prayers, and pennies in the wishing well, that you accomplish your goal!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We had our final practice today (at the site where the trial will be). I didn't do the scent discrimination since I didn't want to take a chance on messing up my articles right before the trial. Lily's scent work is really solid anyway, so I am not too concerned about that part. I made sure I wore a shirt in the style of what I will wear over the weekend to show Lily what she will be looking for on the signal exercises. Out walls are light in color so I wear a shirt with long sleeves and dark in color for contrast in trial. For proofing in training I wear light colors so she has to work harder. She did good signal work. the moving stand and gloves were good too. She was a little weak in the directed jumping in the practice routing, but I had the chance to do some more with it later and it improved. Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed! Keep your positive vibes headed our way sometime between 10:30 and noon tomorrow. We are the last entry in utility B.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well we didn't qualify today, but we came pretty darn close!

The order was directed retrieve, signals, directed jumping, moving stand for exam and scent discrimination. Lily took the correct glove but dropped it in front of me instead of holding it. This is a big point deduction but qualifies. Her heeling up to the moving stand was decent (not fabulous) she stayed where I left her, but then didn't drop all the way (didn't put her elbows down). I gave her an extra signal to try to get her to put her her elbows down and she decided to come in to me without the other parts of the exercise. This has been one of the hardest things for her to learn to do, so as long as she recovered from being worried (which she did) I am happy with it all. She did beautiful go outs and took both jumps on my orders with no problem. Her fronts were a bit crooked, but otherwise very nice. I was thrilled with the go outs (this also has been very hard for her to learn). The moving stand was very good and the scent discrimination was also very good. We NQ'd the first article because I had to give her a 2nd order to go to the pile, but she got the right article and worked the pile nicely. I had to do a bit of work to collect her to set up for the 2nd article. The steward hadn't been paying close enough attention and thought we were finished after the first article. He came in with the leash. Lily knows the man and also has a big thing about seeing her leash and wanting to take it so getting her back to do that 2nd article was a big thing.

I am most happy that she went into the ring nice and relaxed and she came out really happy. I am optimistic for tomorrow. It is the same judge.
 

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Oh yes, futility it is, although a fair amount was very good today. I was talking with the judge while I was scenting my articles and told him I was doing a UD out of B instead of A and he did say something nice about how she was doing at least as well as the UDX (really need to be in B dogs). Actually nobody qualified in utility A today and only 7 out of 15 who showed qualified in B.

I also have to say that after Bella broke her leg and Minnie wrote about just being grateful for her being able to recover instead of worrying about getting Qs my perspective has relaxed to being more about how Lily works than whether she qualifies. She was relaxed going in and happy when we came out, so it was a good entry! We will persist for the title though.
 

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when it's more about the dog and giving her the best chance to strut her stuff is when things come together. go, lily!
 

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A friend of mine who is trialing this weekend and who really struggled for 2+ years with utility reminded me just before I went in to be happy with Lily no matter what happened. Part of her problems arose from showing her dog that she was disappointed when he NQd. She worked very hard to change her own attitude and finished his UD late last year. We talked more after we finished yesterday and I told her how much I appreciated her reminder. Her reply was to keep a picture of her old self in my head to bring out when I feel myself getting frustrated. There were a couple of people who looked angry with their dogs when they came out of the ring. I really hate seeing that. I do this to make my relationships with my dogs better. I like my titles and am proud of what they represent, but the most important thing behind the titles is the trust and honesty in how my dogs look at me that the titles represent.

At the other end of the spectrum from the people who take themselves too seriously and get PO'd with their dogs for being wrong, one of the happiest people who NQ'd yesterday was a guy in beginner novice A with a labradoodle that goofed around with the judge during the sit for exam. When the judge stepped away from the dog, the man smiled and said that's ok big guy and went on with the rest of the routine with a smile on his face.
 

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<snip> Marguerite if you see this, thanks for your good wishes. I started here so as not to hijack your celebratory news for Neely.
I hope I'm not too late to send good energy for a Q today! I don't always drop into Poodle Forum but I was here today to update my avatar. :)

Now that I've posted in this thread, I'll get an email about new posts so I can keep up with the conversation.

I don't want to hijack your thread either, but here's a little update on what we're up to. Neely's next outing will be in UKC Rally in September. He has his Level 1 title (URO1) and I'm waffling about entering him in Level 1 or Level 2 to see if we can add the URO2 title--or both. But since it's usually 3-2-1 instead of 1-2-3, I can't use Level 1 for a warm-up--but it would be good for points if we Q.

That Sunday will be my judging debut for UKC Rally, and it's at one of my favorite venues (Dandy Dog in Newville, PA), so I hope everyone Qs and has a good time. The trial secretary is a phenomenal cook and the lunches are always wonderful. It's the best way to spend a weekend that I can think of. :)
 

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Hi everyone, no Q today, but the signals were great! She has never come close to Q'ing the signals, but she did it today. She only did one good go out an jump, but the articles and moving stand were good and the glove was ok. Between yesterday and today we Q'd all the exercises at least once. Once again she worked happy and was relaxed going into and coming out of the ring. Attitude is so important in this class I am very pleased with her look.
 

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Hi everyone, no Q today, but the signals were great! She has never come close to Q'ing the signals, but she did it today. She only did one good go out an jump, but the articles and moving stand were good and the glove was ok. Between yesterday and today we Q'd all the exercises at least once. Once again she worked happy and was relaxed going into and coming out of the ring. Attitude is so important in this class I am very pleased with her look.
Terrific! Better luck next time!
 

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i am pretty sure you are doing a great job in handling and refining lily's performance. some things cannot be rushed. seasoning - with a light touch - matters. no doubt about you getting there.
 

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I think the thing to do at this point is keep on refreshing her skills in class and as much as possible out in other locations. I have a place near me that I can rent ring time both indoors and outside. I can also go to school yards and some parks and set up ring gates and jumps to work on those exercises that are the hardest (go out and signals). Out next trial will be the Wine Country Cluster in the finger lakes area of NY near the end of September. It will be outside. We are very close to getting it to all pull together.
 

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I think the thing to do at this point is keep on refreshing her skills in class and as much as possible out in other locations. I have a place near me that I can rent ring time both indoors and outside. I can also go to school yards and some parks and set up ring gates and jumps to work on those exercises that are the hardest (go out and signals). Out next trial will be the Wine Country Cluster in the finger lakes area of NY near the end of September. It will be outside. We are very close to getting it to all pull together.
You are on the verge, and thank you for sharing so much of your journey! You have no idea C how your posts about state of mind help, even for the low level training we do. Thank you and this is all coming together, block by block, for you and Lily. What a celebration of a relationship for you two to work on this as a team and eventually earn the crown!
 
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