My daughter will be taking Essy into their first obedience & rally match on Sun (she's also showing a friend's Lab puppy in conformation). I asked her if she was excited or nervous. She said she was excited then said "what is there to be nervous about?" Good girl. ;D I, on the other hand, am a nervous wreck. I want this to be a positive experience for them both.
I've been talking to some jrs and parents of jrs on another forum and they have said they've had some really awful obedience ring experiences...judges yelling at them, telling them they are wasting the judges time, telling them they are unprepared, etc. One girl ran out of the ring in tears mid run. Some spectators caught her, talked to her and got her to go back in and finish. I didn't want to believe it but after reading several heartbreaking stories I know it is more than just a possibility. The jrs are the future of the sport. Why wouldn't everyone want to do everything possible to encourage them?
Murray and I will also be competing in our first Utility run. I'm nervous about that too because one of my training buddies keeps telling me I should wait until Spring when Murray has more confidence but then others are telling me we are ready or almost ready. The first show closes in 2 weeks (show is in Sept) so I won't make any final decisions until after this weekend. Excuse me now. I have to go throw up.
Forgive me for my ignorance, but if Murray doesn't do well on the competition is that counted against him over the long run in utility?
This weekend is a match, or a practice show. It isn't official so it won't count toward or against anything except practice. An actual show counts towards titles. While failing in an official show won't count against Murray, you also don't want to go into the ring with a dog that isn't really ready because the stress of the situation can cause long lasting issues with the dog (dogs that shut down or leave the ring). I'm very lucky in that Murray is a willing partner and is always very "up" in the ring. I don't usually stress in the ring (but Utility may be my first time to do so ) so he enjoys showing off and has a great time. My friends stress something awful (profusely sweat, sick to their stomach to the point of vomiting, snap at people, nervous tics, etc). Their dogs feel this stess and shut down in the ring. They mope around, barely do the exercises if at all, and even leave the ring if they can. It's not a good situation for anyone and creates really bad habits in the dogs. Putting a less than confident dog in that situation is a recipe for disaster.
Is your daughter a strong girl? Can she handle an asshat judge? If she has to stay on the judges "good side" then I would tell her to ignore any negative comments and not take them personally. But if it won't hurt her in future matches, I would coach her differently. If the judge gets nasty, then she should calmly look at him/her and say, "It's not necessary for you to speak to me like that." And stand tall and continue. teee heee.... ;D
Is your daughter a strong girl?* Can she handle an asshat judge?*
Ummm you are talking about the "little girl" who, when she was in kindergarten, decked a boy who pinched her butt as she was getting a drink from a water fountain. Yeah, I think she can handle herself. The problem is she's 11 and going thru all sorts of hormonal/emotional stuff right now. You know, laughing one minute, crying the next. The wrong thing said at the wrong time could crush her.
That's so exciting! Good luck to both of them. And it's so great for you to be instilling that love of working and playing with the dog in your daughter. I wish my parents had been dog people when I was a kid.
I can't believe those stories about obedience judges being harsh on kids. Umm, hello, it's a DOG SPORT. No one is out curing cancer, and it's not the Tchaikovsky Competition. There is no reason to get high and mighty, especially with the kids we should be grooming and nurturing.