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Rottzenith Perdita CCD CDX RE UD - "Dita"

DitaI've been involved in Dog Obedience for some time, mainly with Shelties and various Gundog breeds, however my sister Irene Burns breeds Rottweiler, and for years I'd threatened to get one of her dogs and put some Obedience titles on it!

This didn't happen until 2007 when Rottzenith Perdita became part of our family.  Well,  I must have been boasting a bit about Ditas' progress, because Irene rang and suggested entering the Obedience at the 2008 Rottweiler National in Qld.  Dita was still a puppy, but CCD seemed fairly basic and mostly on lead.  They didn't have this class when I trialled my older dogs, so I entered  a Toowoomba trial to see what it was all about, and at 11 months old, Dita came 1st with 94/100.

Unfortunately, when the Schedule for the National came out, it didn't have a CCD Class and this posed all sorts of problems.  We'd have to enter Novice, so all exercises would be off-lead, and back then, Qld dogs had to pass a Novice Sweepstake Trial before competing in an actual Novice trial. Also, if we 'fluked' a pass in Novice, we'd no longer be eligible for CCD trials and we needed two more passes for the title.

DitaI entered two more CCD trials and a Sweepstake Trial.  Dita got her other two CCD passes with 1st places and scores in the 90s' each time. She also got her Sweepstake pass on Soccer grounds with several matches in progress nearby and balls landing in the ring while we were working. Next up, the Nationals!

The Rottie National trial was quite an experience.  A nervous competitor at the best of times, I tried to blank out the spectators almost right on the ropes as Dita got off to a sloppy start before settling and working quite well.  In the last exercise, the 3 minute Down Stay, she started fidgeting, having spotted something edible on the grass nearby.  This cost her 5 points, so she ended up with 186 points, 1st Place and at just 13 months, the only dog to get a qualifying score at the 2008 Rottweiler National!

Dita got her CD title in October 2008, but problems associated with my Mothers' failing health meant it was twelve months before she was in the ring again. 

DitaIn October 2009, Dita was in her first Open trial and qualified with 181 points.  To avoid the Qld heat, our next trial wasn't until March the following year, but Dita seemed unwell, so I withdrew her.  I later found multiple lumps in her neck...swollen lymph glands. 

Her next trial was in May and while we were working in the ring, Fireworks started exploding at a nearby Sports Venue.  This kept up for over 20 minutes, and although judging was stopped, Dita was so upset  I withdrew her.  Over the next few months, we competed in several more trials but any loud noise and Dita would panic. 

We had a long break until May 2011, when we started trialling again.  I entered just five trials between May and September, and  Dita placed at every one of these trials....2 x 1sts  2 x 2nds  and 1 x 3rd.  She also managed to get the two other  passes needed for  her CDX title.

GETTING DITA'S UD TITLE

The next level of Obedience is Utility which involves scent work, signals and directional exercises, all requiring a high standard of confidence and concentration from the dog. Despite Dita's problems in Open, we started UD training earily in 2012, but this came to an abrupt end when Dita yelped one day as I touched her neck then wouldn't leave her bed the next morning. I took her for x-rays and was told Dita has OCD, a bone disease, and to forget all about Obedience. Dita responded well to the medication and rest so I started her in Rally instead and she soon got her RN title, but by the end of the year she was limping again. More x-rays at the same clinic by a different vet who said Dita never had OCD. We were referred to a chiropractor who diagnosed a ruptured disc in her neck. He said none of the previous treatment had been of any use, that this could be a recurring problem, and the only thing that had helped was the crate rest. The huge relief hearing Dita didn't have OCD was somewhat clouded by the realisation we'd lost nearly 12 months UD training unnecessarily, and neither of us was getting any younger!

DitaDita's first UD trial was in March 2013. She didn't bomb any of the exercises and placed 2nd in the ring, but lost so many points for poor sits and finishes that she didn't qualify. Dogs are penalised for slowness, and this became quite a problem in the months ahead because working briskly is not Dita's style at all. We kept competing until September, when Dita fell heavily trying to jump into the car, not realising that the crate door was shut. More x-rays, pain killers and crate rest. By the time she recovered it was too hot to trial and we didn't compete again until April 2014, 7 months later.

By May 2014, after nine NQ's, I decided the National would be our last UD trial. I entered Open as well, planning to withdraw from UD unless things improved at our last 5 trials beforehand.

First up was a very wet double trial on May 31st. In the first trial, Dita missed two sits in the heeling part of Signals, coming 3rd with 167NQ. Even the rain couldn't dampen our spirits after the second trial when she left the ring in 2nd place with a score of 180 points and her first UD pass!

Dita got her 2nd pass the very next week on the first day of a weekend trial. The next day she placed 2nd but bombed one exercise so another NQ. Two weeks later in her last trial before the National, another 2nd place, another NQ and again, just one exercise bombed.

Tuesday July 15th, the Rottweiler National. Dita performed each exercise in her usual methodical way, but I had no idea of her scores until the end of the Groups, when the judge shook my hand and said "Congratulations, you've scored 193 points" This gave us her UD title! She then scored 192 and 2nd place in Open. What a treasure!

While it was 16 months since her first UD trial, Dita only actively competed for some nine months in a total of 15 trials, getting her three passes from five trials in just six weeks. Along the way she was awarded 2 x 1st, 5 x 2nd and 2 x 3rd Place Trophies, and won the Ipswich Obedience Clubs Trophy for Highest Average in UD in 2014.

During this time Dita also got her RN, RA and RE titles in Rally from nine straight trials, without once bombing, and with 7 x 1st and 2 x 2nd places. She was awarded Ipswich Obedience Club Trophies for Highest Average in Rally Advanced in 2013 and Rally Excellent in 2014, missing out on the Highest Score Novice in 2012 only because the club didn't award a Rally trophy that year.

All this with a dog I'd decided to retire because I didn't think she was UD material!

While it hasn't been an easy path with Dita, my one real regret is waiting so long to trial a Rottie.  Despite being  in my 60s' , Dita has been an absolute joy to train...the harshest correction she's ever needed was a calm, "No", or "Uh-Uh, try again!"    She is just a pleasure to have around, getting on famously with our other dogs and our grandkids and is always on her best behaviour, be it out and about at training or walks in the park, or curled up beside us watching  the telly at home.  As I've been told on more than one occasion...Dita is a great Ambassador for the breed!

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