Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Grayhart Girls Great Southern Adventure - Part 3 - Wilmington fun!

 After the Tarheel Weimaraner Club Agility trial in Sanford, NC, blogged about in a previous post, we followed Jessica and Mia-belle, Grayhart's Special Request, CD,RA,NSD, home for a couple of days of fun in Wilmington, NC.  I've never been to Wilmington and enjoyed touring the downtown with Jess and going in all the little shops.  The main part of trip was to do dog stuff - no surprise there.  Jess is fortunate to train with Diane Gallagher of Dogtrain, who runs one of the premier dog training schools in Wilmington and also specializes in retriever training.  We spent our first morning watching Diane work many talented retrievers, from beginner to master hunter levels dogs, retrieve bumpers from launchers and do blind duck retrieves.  Then it was Savi's turn to work on her duck retrieves as this is one area she needed some help in. 
 Savi has had limited exposure to ducks and when she first met one at the retrieving ratings test last fall, that was a surprise and she did not want to retrieve it during the test.  Once introduced, she was happy to retrieve the duck and as you can see, although the duck is quite large for her, she does what it takes to bring it to me!
 Savi had no problem retrieving the duck from different distances and was happy to finally get her turn in the water.

Jam's training was focused on getting her to swim with confidence.  Unlike her sister Savi, who is a fish in the water, Jam would rather watch from the sidelines.  To help instill confidence, we put a long line on Jam and used a technique called a restrained recall to get her to swim across the water to me.
 The trainer held Jam while I walked to the other side of the pond.  I then called Jam to me and she had no choice but to swim across the water to me.  She was not pulled across but the long line helped guarantee a water entry.  Jam did well swimming across the pond and we practiced this several times and then did it again the next day.
 Jam was happy to be near the water and seemed more comfortable.  Hopefully, we can practice this more over the summer and get her to enter the water independently and work towards water retrieves.

We were quite impressed watching Mia-belle during her water and land retrieves and know that not only will she be ready for her NRD (Novice Retrieving Dog) this fall , but on her way to getting her RD (Retrieving Dog) title as well.

The next day was obedience Tuesday, with Trixie being our main focus.  Since she was entered in obedience in Greenville, I wanted to do open obedience exercises and run throughs in a new environment and have Diane, who is an accomplished obedience competitor, watch and give us feedback.  We had a great lesson and Trixie did well.  I was then able to work Savi and Jam in Diane's group classes, which Jess assists, and enjoyed Diane's philosophy and teaching style.  What a treat to see where Mia-belle trains and meet Jess' mentor and friend, Diane.

Our whirlwind trip to Wilmington was over and on Wednesday the 27th, we packed up and drove across the beautiful state of North Carolina to Debbie and Sky's house.  More on that later...

No comments: