Yesterday was the UK Toydog show - a big breed show for all the Toy breeds, but also some obedience classes, also for Toy breeds only. I took Aled along for practice, though I know he doesn't feel happy in the indoor venue, and in order to take Oliver with me, entered him in the highest class, as over the years we have been going to the show he's won out of all the other classes. I had no intention of working him, as he hasn't had any real training for over a year while I've concentrated on Aled, and meant just to scratch him when we arrived. But he was the only entry in that class (for those who know the UK obedience classes, it was a B, which is pretty difficult), and talking to the judge, she encouraged me to work Oliver just for fun, but said if his score was really astronomic she wouldn't give us the First prize (as this is the important one that contributes to winning out of that class into the next one up).
So I took Oliver into the ring. We did lots of heelwork off lead, including slow and fast paces; then a sendaway and recall to heel. Then a retrieve of an article provided by the judge (a short piece of hosepipe), and finally scent. And a 2-minute sit and 10-minute down stays, both with me out of sight. He did pretty well on all of them, tail wagging non-stop (he does enjoy working), and in all he lost 10 marks (I think the judge was kind - like everybody else, she fell for Oliver!). So we got our First prize - not bad for a dog with SM who will be 11 in June.
I was so pleased with Oliver. By next year's show, I don't think he'll be able to repeat his performance, so I really am retiring him now, though he'll continue to have fun doing the bits he enjoys, like sendaway, retrieve and scent, when we all go to our monthly training days. But it was lovely that he went out on a high, bowing out after a wonderful farewell performance. A friend took some photos of him working so when I get them I'll try posting some.
Kate, Oliver and Aled