Originally Printed in the 2010 2nd Quarter NARA Newsletter
In June of 2012 Independent Ringers sent out an open invitation for a training day and BBQ at Larry Shannon’s field in Valley Center, CA. Three groups came out to train with us, Copper State Ring Club, Extreme Ring, Steel Town and some unaffiliated individuals. The weather was warm, although not excessively so by Southern California standards. Ironically some of our Arizona guests were actually commenting on the heat. Fancy that, coming from 100+ degree weather to our measily 80ish degrees and we are the hot ones. I guess it’s true what they say, humidity can make a LOT of difference. I will say though even my S. CA boy, Ares, burnt out faster than normal, but it was good practice for the summer temperatures to come.
After everyone pitched in to help set up the field, we started with obedience, taking advantage of the number of people and dogs in attendance to work many of the dogs under distractions. Not just other teams on the field, in many cases teams that were strangers to each other, but also fully suited decoys wandering around, clattering sticks, and otherwise being attractive. Everyone was able to work on whatever they needed, from basics such as placement for the jumps, or position in heeling, to entire exercises in a trial like atmosphere, and people jumped in where needed to help out, give advice or suggestions, and otherwise just help make things run smoothly. We were a little nicer to the pups, they just had to deal with other teams on the fields and no decoy distractions. Not yet, that can come later. Brenda provided some great “treats” for the food refusal, Chicken’s feet anyone? I believe only one dog decided to taste them, my pup Ares who in his defense is still learning the exercise. Leighton tried to get it back from Ares, but he was too fast for him and sucked it right down.
Once obedience was wrapped up we took a break for lunch, and enjoyed the BBQ’d hamburgers prepared by Brenda Arao and Trish Garcia, plus salads and other sides provided by various Ind Ringers club members.
After a nice hearty lunch it was time to get back to work. Nothing like decoying on a full belly but it didn’t seem to faze the guys a bit. John Garcia, Chad Hunter, and Ruben Murietta all put on their suits and the bite work began. Every dog was worked, once again focusing on the specific areas they needed. With some it was basic technique, others practiced higher level exercises, some took advantage of a “new” field to practice blind search patterns, and with a few it was basic control work, mainly working the outs. It was nice to see a variety of breeds out there; there was the Malinois of course, but also American Bulldogs, Dutch Shepherd, and Cane Corsos.
In addition to the general camaraderie what I enjoyed the most about the day was the sharing of information between the clubs, a technique that might be normal in one club was unknown to another, or at least unfamiliar, and in some cases that technique is exactly what a handler needed to resolve an issue with their dog.
There are already plans in the works for another get together, and it sounds like it’s going to become a regular thing. Looking forward to the next one, see you there.