Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Devon is now
Ch Sporting Field's Quantum Leap CDX

                             3 shows, 3 legs with all scores in the high 90's--and along the way Devon had two High in Trials

 Judge Nancy Craig
Judge Kathy Moore

Had hoped to finish his GCH this year as well, but didn't succeed.  We were actually dumped at the Shoreline/Malibu show:-(  I can't say I enjoyed the experience.

Wishing you all safe and Happy Holidays!!!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Devon's CDX in Yuma


Devon earned his CDX at the
Yuma Kennel CLub Show and Trial,
November 27, 2015
3 Trials, 3 legs, 3 placements and 1 High in Trial!

Devon did a fine job, and I'm really thrilled with his progress to date.  He placed 3rd. in the Open B class with a 198.
 He is now:

Ch. Sporting Field's Quantum Leap CDX

As you will see in the following video, Devon was not keen to relinquish his dumbbell--an issue only surfacing in the ring situation.  Still, I was thrilled with his overall attention and heeling and the promise therein:-)


I plan to keep him in Open for a few months while we iron out some wrinkles in our Utility work.  Considering his youth, there is no hurry.  When we do begin our journey for his OTCH, I want him fully confident and his Grand Championship behind us.  (He presently has all of his majors towards his GCH  and 17 points.)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Adventures with Devon: A practice session of heeling with Devon:I ...

Adventures with Devon:
A practice session of heeling with Devon:

I ...
: A practice session of heeling with Devon: I actually love to heel and will practice for a minimum of 15 minutes, more if I h...

A practice session of heeling with Devon:

I actually love to heel and will practice for a minimum of 15 minutes, more if I have the time. Play is an integral part of our sessions, which my husband did not film so our play is not included in this video. 

The vest I am wearing holds many toys which I use to keep our training alive.   I prefer my treats and toys handy so that I can whip them out at any time without having to run to a training bag or the like. Timing is of the essence:-)

Devon's desire to work is just wonderful, and his focused attention is becoming more solid as he matures. 

We're showing in Yuma Thanksgiving weekend where we hope to finish his CDX title.  Wish us luck! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Devon's latest adventure was another trip to Tucson where he showed in both conformation and obedience.  
Devon was "Select" dog both days, earning more points towards his GCH (I think we're up to 17 now.) He also earned his first two legs towards his CDX title in obedience, taking HIGH IN TRIAL the first day and a 2nd placement to his brother, Dax, the second day.  
The trip took us through a rocky mountainous area that was beautiful in its own right.  Fascinating!

Coming down was steep and took us into the Imperial Valley.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Really, Mom?  Don't you think it's time for a new toy?

Yeah, all right, so I like to tug?  What's so unusual?

Come on, Mom,  Yes, it's broken--but it still works!

If I bring it to you, will you play?

At least make it move!

Happily, Mom brought out a brand new Whabba--hip, hip, hurray!

Life is good:-)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

While driving to Tucson, we took a break and had a bit of a romp.  
(Devon is still wearing his car harness, hence the 'bib'.)

Devon simply loves to run.  In truth, he pretty much loves everything!

Go, boys, go!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Novice B at HVOC Trial in Escondido, Oct. 18, 2015.

I was absolutely delighted with Devon's attention and teamwork under Judge Cathy Dutra.  We were the first dog to perform in the class and we placed 1st in a class of 17 Novice dogs with 197.5.

I absolutely have no idea where we lost so many 1/2  points.  After awards I did ask the judge, and she told me it was halts and our front in the recall.  Okay...

Nevertheless, the promise is there and I'm over the top delighted.  We also showed in Pre-Utility.  Again, Devon did a wonderful job; however, we did not qualify:-(    During Signals I left him in a stand, but when I reached the other end of the ring and turned around, he was sitting scratching.  I simply gave him a verbal 'stand' and we continued with style.

Plan to stay in Novice all of October, for sure.  Perhaps longer.  He really needs ring time, something very short on demand here in So. Cal.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Showed Devon in Novice B at the HVOC Trials in Escondido.  Devon placed 1st out of a class of 17 Novice dogs.  Judge:  Cathy Dutra.  I was especially pleased with his attention and teamwork.  We still need to smooth our performance out a bit, but as he is still so young, I am very hopeful and  optimistic.  

Sure hope this video comes through.  Have been having fits and fiddles.  Why is it never the same?  Each time I do this, the process seems different!  Very frustrating....

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thank goodness I haven't entered Devon in any Utility classes yet, as things have taken a bit of a dive .  A few days ago he just couldn't do a Signal stand no matter what.  Kept sitting.  Last week it was Utility articles: kept grabbing the one next to the scented article.

Amazing how at one point in the learning curve most dogs will have a melt down, especially in Utility where the dog must work away from you for many of the exercises.  They become confused and make mistakes. Their confidence is shot. It's really critical at this point that you help them build back that confidence before ever subjecting them to competition.  And of course I do no proofing during this stage.  Train, help, succeed.  That's how we proceed.

This is where Devon and I are now.  Yesterday in our training session Devon did wonderfully, but today?  Who knows what surprises lie  in store?

In the following video Devon and I are practicing the Utility Moving Stand for Exam. This is basically my training approach for this exercise.  (Training, not teaching!) I am not doing anything special for Devon in the video.   As yet, he's fairly stable on this exercise.  Fingers crossed!

Sunday, October 4, 2015


Devon earned his Companion Dog Title 
under Judge Kathy Moore
at the Shetland Sheepdog Obedience Trial!
Escondido, Ca.  Oct. 3, 2015

Not only did Devon earn his title, he WON the class with a 198.

And if that wasn't enough, his performance also earned him


I was so proud of my baby.  

The grounds were extremely uneven, making smooth sailing impossible.  Kathy Moore did her best, even changing her regular heeling pattern to best accommodate the uneven ground in the ring and make heeling as easy as was possible, all things considered.  

Then to top things off (as evidenced in the video), the wind was blowing the ring tape right into us, forcing us to veer away on the first leg of heeling.  Hardly smooth!

Sadly, something went wrong with the video camera and only the heel on leash was taped.  ah, well, that's life in the fast lane as they say...

Monday, September 28, 2015

I love going for titles!  First of all, it means I believe my dog is ready to trial, that he understands the exercises  and has the confidence to perform them under pressure.  And let's face it: competition by its very nature means there is a certain amount of pressure.

It's my job to make sure that pressure does not undermine my dog's confidence and that during the competition we remain a team working together, playing together, and performing together. 

Nevertheless, I've come to 'expect the unexpected' when showing.   It goes with the territory.  Ya never know what's going to happen--and that's also part of what 'competing' is all about and what makes it challenging.  Not knowing is what gives it an edge, a kick.  Having a measure of victory over the unknown is part of the thrill.

Devon has been taught all of the exercises in Open and Utility. However, I train alone.  Distractions are few.  Furthermore, Devon has had very little ring experience (opportunities are very limited here)  which rather concerns me, especially as he is very inquisitive as well as super friendly.  That he might stop to check something out or 'greet' the judge is not beyond his reach, that's for sure.

Under the circumstances the best I can do to help Devon become more confident and have a stronger understanding of his job is to take advantage of any distraction that might come our way during training--and proof. 

Our proofing generally is with inanimate objects, such as toys, balls, squeakers, etc.  Having another human present is a rarity, but when opportunity knocks, I listen! 

My son and daughter-in-law came for a visit a few weeks ago and I enlisted Christina to help me proof.  (She was VERY willing, so no arm twisting was required:-) Thank you, Christina!

What I noticed most was a slight reticence on his part.  It was very obvious to me that he was somewhat concerned.  And he did on occasion make mistakes.  The best part , however, was that he could quickly regroup and rise to the occasion. 

He is such a trooper.  Love this boy!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Devon studies things.  There are occasions when he 'reacts first', but most times he will take things in, evaluate, then make his move.  He is a very sensible boy.

 Here Devon is watching some shorebirds, deciding whether or not they need some herding.
                                                      (Alas, an interloper scared them away.)

Devon practicing the Group 'Sit' with a few other Border Collies.  From left to right:
                                    Kaffee        Devon            Myst             Shooter      Dax

                      My four boys after a run.  I love to see them in their 'play clothes':-)

Kyle is standing in the back,    then    Kellan               Devon                Dax

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Well, the ring conditions in Prescott for obedience were abominable.  Seriously.  They were the worst I have ever experienced.  My poor Dax had to do go-outs into the sun, and I was squinting so badly, I was afraid he would think I was not happy with him. ( When we set up for go-outs, I actually told Dax that he was on his own.  Tragic.) 

Then to top it off, hot air balloons were inflated maybe 100 feet away, then lifted and were above us more than once.  Talk about distractions!

Additionally, there was what was called a 'mud fest', which was basically a run through various mud pits and other obstacles.  These runners ran right past our rings.  Lovely.

Devon, however, was in Novice, so his ring wasn't quite as dramatic as the Utility ring.  Never the less, the conditions for obedience were pitiful.  (Conformation was held inside the event center.)   
On Friday ( Sept 18,  2015 ) Devon earned his 2nd Novice B leg under Judge Nancy Craig with a 198.5--and High in Trial!
(A video was supposed to have been made, but unfortunately the person taking it hit the wrong button.  So no video...)

I pulled Devon on Saturday.  We had a ring change for our class and I preferred NOT to subject him to what was Dax's  Utility ring and it's worse conditions.  We are in no rush.  Instead, we showed in conformation where Devon was given a 'Select'.   We have all of our majors towards his Grand Championship, so are now simply working at pointing him out.

                                                   Devon being awarded his High in Trial

                                          A few of the balloons hovering over our rings.

                                          Devon's Novice ring---pathetic.  The indoor/outdoor carpeting
was rippled and wavy and uneven.  Worse, it was laid over decomposed granite that had NOT been leveled, so there were the additional less visible hills and dales and potholes from that.

                                           A little romp during the 7 hour drive to Prescott.

                                             My boys running towards me!

                                                  (Devon is wearing his harness;-)
                                                                   Happy Devon!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Devon earned his first Novice Leg!!!!   I am so, so proud of my little 'monkey'.  

On Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 Devon and I showed at the Greater Agility Club of Las Vegas obedience trials in Las Vegas under Judge Curt Curtis.
We didn't go into the ring until 6:30 PM, which made for a very long day.

I have to say that it was wonderful to be indoors where footing is so stable.  We here in the Southwest rarely have such luxurious conditions.  All too often our go-outs are towards open fields,  lakes, horse arenas, or infinity.  The ground is uneven, at best, making heeling a trek over hill and dale with various obstacles such as gopher holes to avoid along the way. We can have rings of re-bar and ropes, white poles with fluttering ribbon, and sometimes even baby-gates.  So showing at this trial was a true luxury!

Devon and I came in 2nd with a 197.5.  On Saturday as I arrived Curt Curtis seemed to be waiting for me.  I thought he was going to chastise me for leaving without getting my High Combined award for Devon's brother, Dax, the day before.  I was all set to tell him I had left because  it was past 7PM and I had a 7:30 dinner date, that I was obviously going to be late for.  But no, that was not the case.

Mr. Curtis wanted to reassure me that Devon was a great heeler with wonderful potential and that it was I who had lost him the most points, as I had rounded my left turns.  Live and learn!

Amy Balchum kindly videoed us on her phone.  Thank you so much!

Because Devon is so young and we have had so few matches, I only entered him in the one show.  But...

Devon, Dax and I are going to Prescott this upcoming weekend.  Wish us luck!

Monday, September 7, 2015

 We tried to introduce Devon to as many different sights, sounds, and smells as was possible.  Here Devon is meeting some Llamas at a petting zoo.  The smells were outstanding.  He also met some turkey, a pig, goats, and ponies.  Fun day!
 Devon also went to all the dog shows with me so that he could absorb the ambiance and be comfortable working at shows.  Training on the grounds was definitely a part of the adventure.
 Hiking in the mountains was another experience Devon was introduced to.
 And of course, training in my small, converted 'training' room was absolutely a part in Devon's development:-)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

My wonderful daughter-in-law, Christina, is visiting from Ohio and volunteered (!) to help me proof Devon.  What a stupendous, progressive lesson Devon and I had!  Here is one from his signals:

Devon missed my first signal.  No big deal.  I simply let him know he had made a mistake, helped him succeed (showed him that he could perform despite the major distraction)  , then repeated the signal.  Devon came through with flying colors.

Proofing is meant to build confidence and stabilize my dog's understanding.  That's what it's all about!


Monday, August 31, 2015

I am more than delighted with Devon's drive to work and play.  He is not over the top crazy where he hits the dumbbell so hard he breaks teeth or  takes out jumps trying to get to the dumbbell faster (shades of Kellan.  Save me...), nor is he a slug.  

He does sometimes anticipate, but at this point in his training I consider that a good thing: it means he understands the exercise and is eager to do it.  We simply need to work a bit on self-control.  Because Devon is sensible, I think he will grasp this quickly.  I certainly hope so!

Right now we are working on a 'moderate' level of proofing of his obedience skills.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to do as much distraction work as I would like (this is difficult when you train alone), and now it seems his distraction proofing is going to be live--as in 'while performing in the ring.'  I'm sure there are a lot of surprises in store for us!

This short video is of Devon and me  horsing around with his dumbbell.  I depend heavily on my body language to let him know if he is to 'front' or to jump up on me upon delivery.  Body language counts!!  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Devon has been training for obedience competition from the first day he entered our home.  As with all learning, we have had our share of ups and downs, but I would have to admit that overall Devon has had mostly 'ups'.  He began his scent discrimination at 6 months, and by the time he was 9 months old we were adding the turn and send.  Playing with go-outs helped enormously in keeping up his drive, while interjecting random interactive play during our heeling has made our teamwork blossom.  It's not quite as smooth as I would like yet, but Devon has a solid foundation and just needs maturity and experience.  People often ask how long I work heeling during a training session.  I actually allot a minimum of 15 minutes to heeling, 20-25 if time permits.  And yes, I time it.   If we do little else, I don't care.  Heeling comes first.

One of the 'interactive' games we do is 'twist' and 'spin' with a 'touch' or two as a flourish.  Even for their reward (and I am the primary reward!), they must work for it.  I do not dole out praise offhandedly.  Ha--just ask my dear husband!

Here's a sampling of how I keep Devon engaged:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Because I train alone, I depend heavily on my husband videoing me so that I can see the 'bigger' picture.  John took this last month.  I just love to heel!  To me, heeling is the essence of obedience and true teamwork.  Obviously we still have a few kinks to work out, but overall I am very pleased in the direction we are going.  Devon will probably make his Novice debut in a month or so.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Right from the git-go Devon had enormous curiosity, yet wasn't rash.  He would look, absorb, then leap!  I just love this boy's temperament:-))

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Right from day one it was evident that Devon had great play and prey drive.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

 (Photos taken on Day 1)

Devon came into our family on October 15, 2013.  Never once did he show any concerns about his new environment.  On the contrary, he explored every nook and cranny and the entire perimeter of the property, which is fairly extensive.  I had never had a puppy so willing to leave the safety of his family to explore like this. Enormous confidence, great curiosity.  However, when I called, Devon came flying towards me---and still does!

This was the beginning of our relationship...

Friday, August 14, 2015

Introducing Ch. Sporting Field's Quantum Leap, aka. "DEVON".  He is on the verge of starting his obedience career, which I hope will be long and prosperous.  Having never done a blog, this endeavor is going to be an enormous learning experience, so please be patient with me.

My goal is to share Devon's travels, trials, titles, and tribulations as we compete in AKC.

So let me introduce my boy properly:

Devon was bred by Debbie Butt of Sporting Field Kennels and is the son of:
GCH Ch Filly's Run Raisin' Cane
and the amazing, incomparable
PCH CH Sporting Field's Heiress, HSAS, HIAS

Devon finished his Championship at 1 year of age and was owner/handled.  He presently has all three required majors towards his Grand Championship, so simply needs to be pointed out.

I am hoping to add videos to this blog so that I can share Devon's true beauty: his personality.  Devon has lovely drive, great confidence, and an enormous desire to please.  He is just as comfortable at a dog show as he is at home.

So welcome to Devon's adventures.  I'm sure he will keep us all amused!