Someone should really ban me from bringing hot dogs to obedience trials.
Well, as I hoped and prayed, today was MUCH less eventful than yesterday! It was easy to see on the car ride out there that Good Simon was back. ;D Maybe he will do well!
I changed up a few things from yesterday. First, I didn't knock my ass off to get there an hour early, only to find out everything is two hours late. I timed it so I would be there 20 minutes before our start time. As I predicted, the judge went to lunch again between classes, so we had about 45 minutes before we would go in the ring. Just about right!
Secondly, I decided not to bring him all the way in through the building and just come in the back door, which was only five steps from where our crate was. Should have thought of this yesterday. : I also made a pact with myself to NOT bring him out of the crate until I had walked the ring. That would give us about 15 minutes to warm up. Plenty of time. Yesterday was too much stimulation. I think by the time he was in the ring, he was just like a tired little baby. Today I took him out twice to potty while we were waiting. Otherwise, he was in the crate and I was studying the map.
Oh, I also ate lunch before I went. HIGHLY recommend this!
So. Things are seeming infinitely more calm than yesterday. I put him in his crate and go to the ring to check in. Advanced is still going on, and my friend/mentor/Rally instructor is there. I look at the Advanced board, and notice that somewhere around 1/3 of them have "NQ" written above their numbers.
Oh. That cannot be good.
I ask my friend, "So, what's up with all the NQ's? Is this judge really tough?"
She says he is. :-\ She tells me he is quite lavish with his penciling. :-[ She tells me a story of a girl who got so many deductions, she NQ'd. That would be over 30 deductions.
She goes on to say that she has only ever seen NQ's for a) pottying in the ring or b) missing a sign. NEVER has she seen anyone who scores as tough as this guy.
Ooooooh-Kay. We are toast. :
I resign myself to this being a good practice session for Simon and think, "Well, at least when we NQ, we will certainly not be alone." I actually feel a lot less pressure knowing going in that we are going to NQ.
So. I get him out as planned, after I have walked the ring until they threw me out. We have about 15 minutes. He is being a bit of a monkey - not as bad as yesterday, but still a little too investigative with all the sniffing every butt he sees. I decide to make a point. I correct him with the leash. What I had momentarily forgotten is that in the same hand as the leash is an open bag of hot dogs.
Hot dogs, flying everywhere, scattering from one side of the aisle to the other. :-[ A few passers-by give me the "Oh, look at the green handler" tense face, and steer their dogs around while I am on hands and knees picking up fur-covered hot dogs. Simon helped. Very nice of him.
So anyway, after the hot dog fiasco, things start to smooth out. Simon is actually watching and seems to be paying attention. We do a few of the exercises he will have to do, and by golly, he is doing great! His left 270s and 360s are looking so smart! I tell him that no matter what happens in there, I am so proud of him for doing as well as he is doing right now. ;D
We edge up to the ring, and we are called. I rub Simon's head for good luck. Off we go.
Wow. Simon! THAT'S MY BOY!!! We have a 1-2-3 sit, and while he is a bit hesitant on his sits, he's doing it. Then there is the dreaded Left 360. Nails it! OMG!
The course is very complicated, snaking every which direction. I am really sweating, hoping not to get lost. Then we get to the serpentine...again, not our favorite. He manages to go through the pylons correctly, but it had absolutely no resemblance of a handler and owner working TOGETHER. Oh, we both went through, but not really "together" so much. :-\ Then we are back to the front of the ring, and something very interesting was apparently going on out there, because Simon has now lost all interest in me. I get him back after a brief few moments and he does a really beautiful Left 270. ;D
Then, Simon decides he DOES like me after all. So much that he wants to shout it to the world! He starts barking. :-[ Ohhhh no! What does this do to a Rally score?? I have no idea. I remember reading somewhere that barking in the ring was not cool. Simon, please shut up! He goes a few exercises, does a call to front, and barks again! "WOW, I LOVE YOU MOM!" Yeeeee! SIMON SHUT UP!
We leave the ring and I heartily congratulate him on what was overall a much better performance than yesterday. He ignores me to sniff a dog butt. :-\ I forego the race to the crate to get his peanut butter because I am just dying of curiousity. I wait to see our NQ go up.
Instead, I see: 94!!!!
You could have knocked me over with a feather! I could NOT believe it! There were several NQ's in our class, and two or three scores in the 70s. Wow!!! Just amazing! I was so proud. I knew he was doing pretty well, but I was just so nervous about that barking. We didn't lose any points for it, unbelievably. We had six one-point deductions for things like failure to respond to the first command, bumping into each other through the serpentine, stuff like that.
Oh, one small brag for me too: The next-to-last exercise was a sit/down. I stopped, Simon didn't. He was out in front of me, looking outside the ring. Instead of a retry, making another approach, I kept my feet planted firmly and said, "Simon, GET IN!" He did it. ;D I felt pretty smart for thinking of that under stress! :P
Connie and "The Boys":
Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD
Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever
CONGRATULATIONS! Another great report. Laughing at the thought of the hot dogs scattering everywhere, and the owners with the slow-motion "NOOOOOO!!!" faces.
Do I see a nurse in your VERY NEAR future? I think I do!
Yeah Connie - Yeah Simon
What a team - way to go!!!!
Keep writing, Connie! I don't amuse easily and you just do me in.
Seamus and Flynn
Congrats on the Q! Your Simon show stories are always fun to read
BTW, I generally leave Ruger in the crate as well. We go out for potty break now and then, and then when two dogs in front of me are in the ring, I get him and and warm him up. But I never ask too much of him. Frankly, if he doesn't know it by show time, he ain't gonna learn it then
That timing thing -- when to bring the dog in, when is too early/late -- was the TOUGHEST part of competing w/Wesley. Good for you for NAILING it!!
Hot dogs -- Hee-hee-hee! Your pair is angling to be the spokesdogs for Hebrew National!!!
One more to go! C'mon PLACEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OH man, Connie, you did it again.
Way to go, both you and Simon. Congratulations.
Yesterday I commented about you being a one-person party; I've since changed my mind. You & Simon are a two-act party. I love you guys.
Good luck tomorrow.
Linda and Zoë, the Umlaut
Thanks for sharing! I love Simon stories.
I saw the title of this thread and immediately thought "NO! She didn't spit hot dogs into an innocent by standers hand AGAIN?! She'll never live this down." ;D
The first day of a show is usually the most hectic (trying to get the lay of the land, setting up all the gear, working out timing, etc). It sounds like today was a much better day for you both. You are on a roll now so we will be expecting great things tomorrow. Good luck!
I LOVED your story!
Congratulations to you both . . . keep up the good work (obedience AND writing, that is . . . )