Posts Tagged ‘Rose City Classic’

20140120-122346.jpgOnce I decided to show both Cooper and Tooey at the 2014 National Specialty in April, I’ve been growing out and doing some judicious trimming on their short field clips, trying to sculpt them into something resembling a show dog. Cooper’s topknot is now about the right length, but his ear coat is still too short. Tooey’s topknot is a touch too short, but her ears are beautiful. Both dogs need to grow out some coat on their legs.

But grooming isn’t all that’s needed for show dogs. They have to actually go into the show ring from time to time. Just so that they remember how to gait around in a circle and trot nicely on the up-and-back.

Tooey also needs to remember to hold her head up, and Cooper needs to remember that he has to stay in the ring for the whole time, and not try to jump out. (Based on yesterday’s performance, both dogs need more practice.)

Also, there has to be one handler per dog. There’s only one of me, and two dogs. So, Russ very generously gave me an early birthday gift — he agreed to show Tooey while I showed Cooper.

So for the past several days, we’ve been bathing and grooming dogs, washing and ironing show clothes, digging out the show leads, and coordinating with friends for a little time, a critical eye, and some judicious trimming with the scissors pre-show on a grooming table. (Thank you, Colleen!)

And if you’re lucky, all that adds up to a ribbon. Which Cooper got (even though he behaved like a dweeb, always either turning to look at Russ and Tooey or trying to run out of the ring), winning a very surprising Best of Opposite Sex, beating his half-brother Riki, who got got a ribbon for winning Winner’s Dog. Yay for the Realta brothers!

Fortunately, we also had moral support ringside, and since we were lucky in more ways than one, moral support came equipped with a camera.


Stacy with Riki, then Patrice with Cooper, [skip one], and then Russ with Tooey
photo by Norm Koshkarian


Patrice with Cooper, photo by Norm Koshkarian


Julia with Bold (a Tooey puppy) and Russ with Tooey after the show
photo by Norm Koshkarian

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Or, at least, sometimes you don’t win. They’re not exactly the same thing. That’s what I’m trying to tell myself.

Take the most recent Rose City Classic dog shows. Both my dogs looked good. Stacy made Tooey look like a real show princess, and Tammy neatened up Cooper’s gundog cut. They’re both good looking dogs with nice movement.

But neither Tooey nor Cooper won Winners in the ring. Tooey came in first in her puppy class on one of the days, but then lost out to another beautiful bitch. Cooper came in 2nd and 3rd in his Open class on the two days — not enough to progress to the next level. So neither of them “lost” exactly — they just didn’t win.

And then there was last weekend’s Pineapple Express Flyball Tournament. Had Cooper been behaving himself consistently, he would have been much more likely to run more of the 64 possible heats. Instead, he got to run only 10 heats. The captain (rightly) pulled him because he was snarking at the teammate-dogs who were passing him at the start gate. And then, in a couple of the heats that he did get to run, some other dog on the team fouled — dropped the ball, ran outside a hurdle, or something.

All that led to fewer points than possible. Not exactly a loss — after all, he did get some points, and all the points count. He just didn’t do as well as I had hoped going into the tournament.

I think what went wrong was similar in both venues: a combination of handler error, overly high expectations, really good competition, and dogs who need more training and practice.

So what do we do? Get over the discouragement. Lower expectations. Maintain hope. Devise better practice. Work on it. Get support. And give it back.

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I walked back into the grooming area at the Portland Expo Center, where the Rose City Classic dog shows are being held, to pick up Tooey. When I got to Stacy’s grooming space and saw Tooey, the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh, my God!” (“Thank you SO much” came later.)

I really, really wish I had taken a picture of Tooey before I dropped her off with Stacy last evening, so I could show you the transformation. She went from looking like a raggedy Muppet to a sculpted paragon of IWS beauty.

Rosemary reminds me that winning in a dog show takes more than a beautifully groomed coat. I know that’s true. A dog also needs structure and movement and attitude. I know that.

But, wow. Tooey looks like a fairy-godmothered show princess. Let’s hope she also moves and behaves like one in the breed ring tomorrow and Saturday.

And I should add: Let’s hope I remember to breathe and don’t fall all over myself while escorting Tooey around the ring.

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I can’t say much about this show since I wasn’t at the Portland Expo Center on the one day when Cooper got points in this year’s Rose City Classic. Jayme made him beautiful (she’s got real talent) and showed him in the Open dogs class. He won Winner’s Dog, so he went on to the Best of Winners competition.

That was held in conjunction with the Best of Breed competition, in which Jayme showed her husband’s dog, Orion. I never did catch the name of the woman who showed Cooper, where he won Best of Winners. (If anyone out there knows who she was, I’d love to hear so I can thank her.) Cooper finished the day with another 2 points.

Sadly, Rose City this year wasn’t a major. To become a champion, a dog has to win 2 majors, which are competitions in which more dogs compete — how many dogs are required for a major is determined by the AKC by region. Oregon is in Division 8, which currently requires at least 8 dogs for a 3-point major for IWS.

Later in the weekend, Cooper won Reserve Winner’s Dog. Nice, but pointless (so to speak).

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Tammy and Jayme brought Cooper from the Academy of Canine Behavior, so he could be shown in the Rose City Classic. Tammy, bless her, went to all the work to take care of him during the four days of the show, groom him, and try to rein in his enthusiastically distracted behavior. The top picture shows Tammy with Mowgli, Cooper’s somewhat calmer litter mate, and Jamie showing Cooper.

Cooper’s a very handsome dog, but he just doesn’t behave himself in the ring. He spins around, jumps, looks wildly around at everything going on around him, and generally has no focus at all. Tammy comforted me by saying that they wouldn’t normally show a dog who’s had only two weeks at the Academy, but that Cooper was too good looking to resist.

The chaos of 3,500 dogs and more than 6,000 people was just too much for him. We were lucky to get this one (somewhat deceptive) picture of him being relaxed (after Tammy spoke to him) for a few minutes up on the grooming table.

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