We did it! Team Cooper, with this third qualifying score in Rally Advanced, earned Coop’s Rally Advanced title. Now, instead of the Rally Novice (“RN”) title he’s got after his name, he’ll have that very sweet “RA” instead.
We had a good time. There was the always-fun jump at station 11 and the finish right at station 5. (For some reason known only to Cooper, he likes finishing right much more than finishing left.) Plus there’s that nice little dance-like move at station 9.
But it was also a bit more difficult for Team Cooper. The pivot at station 6 and turn at station 1 require some precision from both dog and handler. Precision is not Cooper’s strong suit (he goes more for exuberant enthusiasm), but today we did well enough. The only real hiccup was station 7, where we were to do the Call Front — 1, 2, 3 Steps Backward. In this one, the dog moves from heel position to around in front, squarely facing the handler, and then, when the handler takes first one, then two, and then three steps backwards, the dog is supposed to follow, all the time squarely facing the handler, sitting each time the handler stops. Coop does that part just fine.
What almost caught us up today was that at the very end of that exercise, the handler moves forward and the dog is supposed to move smoothly out of the front position and into heel position without interfering with the handler’s forward motion. But Coop didn’t get himself out of the way, and I tripped on him. Fortunately, I didn’t fall, but I did stumble. And as I stumbled, just out of the corner of my eye, I could see the judge’s clipboard rise up. That meant she was writing on it. And the only reason for the judge to write on her clipboard is to take off points.
But even so, we got a very nice 94 and a 4th place ribbon. I was happily, delightedly ecstatic. And I’m sure the feeling will last for quite a while. Good boy Cooper!