15 attempts!?? holy hell, that would be disheartening...
The classes for transitioning between Novice and Open, and Open to Utility seem neat. It would definitely be helpful. Thanks for the info!
Good luck with your 2009 goals!
You think 15 attempts would be disheartening? The winter I spent in Vermont ('93/'94) I had a lot of spare time so I went to a bunch of dog things that I'd never have thought about on the west coast--they were all so much closer in the New England area. I went to a fair number of herding trials--ASCA trials and AKC herding trials--I saw one woman so many times she started chatting with me while she was waiting for her classes to come up. She had a really nice looking Sheltie and I asked her if she did anything other than herding with him. Turns out he was an AKC Champion, CKC Champion and a UD in both Canada and the AKC--turns out the dog was 12 (Shelties tend to live long and active lives).
She got to telling me about training her first Utility dog--another Sheltie--said she lived out in the middle of nowhere (in Maine--so it's pretty easy to do that) and there were no classes in anything except basic household obedience anywhere within any reasonable distance from her. There also were very few matches. So she trained--with a book in one hand and worked her way through the Utility exercises.
So the dogs first experience in the Utility ring was at an AKC trial--she said he failed nearly every exercise--the judge stopped her as she left the ring and told her to hang around and he'd go over some stuff with her.
The first thing he told her was that she needed to team up with a good trainer who had the skills to lead her through utility. She explained the situation and he sighed and told her not to give up that she really had a very talented dog and it was simply going to be a long hard trip for that UD but that if she learned something about what she should be doing and how to get the dog to do it reliably she'd get there eventually.
Are you ready for this? 41 trials for his first leg!!! But she said she talked to every judge that she failed under--all 40 of them (not quite 40 since she saw some of the New England locals several times) but she and the dog did get there. It took three more trials for his second leg and he got his finishing leg the following day. She said that she's never done anything quite as rewarding as getting that first UD.
It was one of the best dog training stories I've ever heard.
Several of the clubs around here basically didn't get set up for the Graduate classes and I just realized that I could probably have put Rumor in Graduate Novice at the Rose City cluster--I think he's actually trained for all of the exercises. DANG!!! Too late now...