We're into our 2nd session of trial prep classes and this weekend Scout and I went to our first correction match.* Our score was 188 1/2.* Not bad for 2 rookies - oh was I nervous!*
Scout had some fear reactions last year before her second knee surgery.* Sometimes small dogs would make her nervous and she would let them know.* It was just a bad time and she wasn't happy - it showed.* On Sunday she was quite comfortable at the community center where this correction match was held, no problems at all.* We had a long wait between registration and our turn in the ring and I kept her with me all the time.* Some people left their dogs in vehicles until it was their turn - felt they would get too antsy inside.* I wanted Scout to see that all would be fine - it was the recommendation of my trainer to take her in and let her get comfortable with everything going on.
Absolutely the right call.*
I enjoyed watching others compete and felt very well prepared.* I couldn't be happier with the lady who is training us - she knows her stuff.* She has us so familiar with how the test will be conducted, how to line up, what to do if our dog does this/that - great training and really good tips.*
I'm not sure if we were marked any easier because it's a correction match?* I didn't use any food in the ring even though they said we could because I felt Scout was fine without and I wanted to see how we'd do if we did it like the actual test.* So I hope this score is fairly accurate.*
Anyway, big case of ring nerves for me beforehand.* I guess I hid it well because Scout did fine with her nerves and by the time we got in there I was feeling good too.* So glad to know what it's like to be in the ring, and now I know what we need to train on too.* Scout got a bit distracted during the heel on lead (first thing we did) and her finish on the recall was sloppy.*
Scout didn't do any retrieving for a while - she had to catch up on that. I posted here for suggestions on getting her to pick up and hold the dumbell a while back - it's coming along nicely.* Thanks again for the* suggestions.*
I read here regularly - Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating this weekend!
That's wonderful! It sounds like your trainer did prepare you. That had to take a lot of pressure of you since you knew what to expect. Consider yourself lucky. I met a jr handler a few months ago who tried to go in the ring with tags hanging off the dog's collar. We stopped her, switched collars with another dog and sent her in but by then she was flustered (which affected their performance) and was in tears by the time they finished. :'( Her mom said "why didn't our trainer tell us that?"
It sounds like you guys are ready to compete. When do you plan your official debut or are you going to train thru Open or Utility first?
Generally scores at matches (particularly fun matches) are not reliable but they are generally in the ball park (usually within 5 pts). Even though the scores are not reliable, you will still get a good indication of areas that need work. That part will be reliable. Fun matches basically use anyone with a heartbeat to judge. These people are not usually official AKC judges (but they can be) nor do they have any judging experience (but they might). They may compete with a dog but that's about it (believe me, competing is nothing like judging. I can spot errors but I certainly couldn't tell you if it was a 1/2 pt vs 1 pt error). If you go to a sanctioned match you will get more realistic scores. These matches use certified judges or provisional judges who need this assignment to complete the requirements to become certified. I wouldn't worry about the score so much as the specific areas that need improvement. It sounds to me like you guys are right there though. Distractions are always something to work on no matter what level you are competing at.
Thanks for the info and interpretation.* I was wondering myself - the accuracy of that score. And the difference between a correction match and a sanctioned match.* If I understand correctly, a sanctioned match is to fulfill requirements for a club to then hold an actual obedience competition sanctioned under the CKC at a later date?* (I'm in Canada.)
Yes, I think I'm with a wonderful trainer.* She wants us to get ring experience now, in preparation for our first trial in early 2007.* She has us all working on CDX requirements as well in class.* Doesn't want the dogs to get bored and I think she likes to instill confidence in us, "you're all ready to start working on exercises for the level up".* She went over proper collars and leads and even talked about what to do if this happens/if that happens - all sorts of "oh no" scenarios in the ring and what would be the best way to handle it.* I found that really helpful.* We saw a guy chase his dog around the ring - it was a real melt down for both him and the dog.* I know Scout and I will have our moments, but I have these tips she gave us filed away so hopefully I can minimize the damage when Scout and I have our off days.
At the end of each class when our trainer is running us through the exercises, and she's playing the part of the judge, we joke with her "Yes, I'm ready for my figure 8 exercise and can I just say, your sweater is lovely shade of red!"* *;D* So we're having fun too.
It was a great day.* I wanted to get the first ring experience over with so I'd know what to expect in the future, and I was really stressing about Scout and would her old fears resurface.* She handled it so well - the 188 1/2 was a bonus.* I was just so proud of Scout and how far she has come.
I don't post much here - because I'm so new to obedience training at this level, I don't have anything to add - but I read regularly.* I hope you and Murray are able to sort through what's going on for him, and his "joie de vivre" in the ring returns soon.* No suggestions here - just good wishes to you both.