When Griffin was about a year old we (re)met a group of people that became dog training friends. I was interested in obedience (AKC) and agility (CPE, USDAA). Their interest was in an obscure sport called MondioRing. Seven years later, they’re competing/preparing to compete and 2 weekends ago they hosted their very first trial. I had planned on coming to help but then decided to enter Griffin in part of it (which also helps support events!)
MondioRing is like schutzhund in that it’s designed as a bitework things (think a choreographed/sport version of some police work) and has different sections. But unlike schutzhund, it’s not as scored on perfection and there is huge range in variation based of on what the hosts provide and the judge’s creativity.
The theme of this trial was ocean – so there were ocean -related helium balloon animals, a beach scene (chairs, beach balls), coral reef things, a curtain of jellyfish decorations and other things like that.
Dogs are required to have some sort of specific socialization test. Griffin has not done the Canine Good Citizen test so we took a temperament test part on Friday night which he easily passed (including a 1 min out of sight stay!). We were able to do training on the field and around the decorations. Griffin had not trained with the jumps – this would be optional in the trial but we decided to test and see. The long jump is like AKC but 3x as long and the handler stands at a close corner instead of the far corner. On first try he did it with me running but on stationary repetitions he didn’t. We tried the hurdle – 1 meter – which we were able to work up to in a few repetitions (1/3+ higher than his agility jump height). The jump has displacable bars but they look like solid panels. Once we added the lower panel he tried to bash through it with his head – not that he was tired, but that he thought that was the exercise. After two tries we gave up for the immediate future. It was fun to see that he’s such a decent jumper and could handle the added height!
On Saturday we ended up with huge errors on almost every exercise. On some he did not do well and on some I made handler errors. I think the only part that went well was a retrieve (a fake shark, tossed through the jellyfish curtain.
Saturday night we did training and did decide to retry on Sunday. I was more prepared as a handler, the test was better suited for us, and I did play/movement between exercises rather than heeling. Here’s the order of exercises for Sunday:
– Introduction – dog on informal down stay while confirming the judge has the right score book, etc (so different from AKC/etc where you are supposed to be semi-anonymous!).
– 20 meter go out – Once the dog passes the markers he can be called right back. This is the one I trained the most in the few days before the event. He used to be able to do it very far but we had only worked up to 14 meters before the trial! But he did it!
– Heeling – Around some decorations. It was long. He wandered but came back and the rest was great.
– 1 min out of sight stay- The time starts when the handler is out of sight, not when walking away. The blind was 3x (or more?) further away than the previous day and the dogs were placed behind an object – all but one level 1 dog sat up to watch the handler. Griffin got up right when he went down – I forgot and said “STAY” instead of “Wait!” and on the”S” in stay he sat up (thinking sit!). They let us retry – but no success.
– Food refusal – Someone behind a tree tossed food out while Griffin was on a down stay and I walked away. The food was about 12″ from his feet. When cued, I returned to him and heeled him away. This was much easier than the previous day when someone walked up to him to set the food down (the approach made him get up, not the food – he’s a friendly retriever!).
– Position changes – somehow this was really good. He is NOT normally good at this! 5 meters away.
– Retrieve – the object is almost anything safe. This time it was a plastic kid sand pail. Easy.
The judge and judge-in-training made nice comments about our position changes and retrieve. They tried to make nice jokes about him being a retriever – but I promise many (most) still need to be trained to retrieve. Mine are all in that category!
Even without the stay we got enough points to pass and earn the level 1 obedience title. That was a fun accomplishment and it’s a great thing to be able to share.
Here’s a video at some of our best parts (positions and retrieve!)