We got our judging schedule and number in the mail, so I guess it's official - we're trialing for the first time next weekend - Novice A obedience. We're first in the order for Friday. Saturday and Sunday we'll be mid morning or early afternoon.
I would welcome any suggestions for what to do to keep Scout relaxed and then ready for our turn in the ring. I know it depends on your dogs personality (and your own I guess, each of us handle stress differently) - just wondering what works for you and your dogs.
Well, I'm a novice too, so others with more experience will have more advice. But I can tell you what we do:
We try to get there an hour or so early, to have plenty of time to check in, get our armband, etc. I have tried leaving Angus in the car and setting up a soft crate. I think it works much better to have him in a crate beforehand.
I do not get him out until about five or ten minutes before we are to go into the ring. This is the hardest part - because my inclination is to want to drill for an hour, right up until time. But if I did this, he would become bored, tired and over it. So I have to make myself wait until there are about four dogs ahead of us until he comes out. I still have trouble jumping the gun!
Two things I almost goofed up on that someone saved me from at the last minute at our first show:
1) Armband goes on left arm (the arm with the dog) :P
2) When you check in, don't say your name. Just give your catalog number. They will ask you, "Labrador Retriever?" That's all the info that is exchanged
Oh, another mistake I made! You have the catalog with all the numbers. See if you can locate the several dogs ahead of you, especially the one right before you. Make sure they have all checked in! Sometimes people scratch, and I have been caught with my pants down (not literally, but you know) because I didn't realize the person right before me was not actually there that day!
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
Judith - Good luck to you - you are just starting a wonderful adventure and I hope you enjoy your time in the ring. It is good advice to get to the show early - eventually you will determine what works best for you and Scout, but at first give yourself extra time. That way you can be set up, get your armband, potty Scout and you and relax because all of that has been taken care of. Its been a long time since I showed in Novice but I did Steward for Novice in March. The judge was really terrific - gave a briefing for those showing in Novice A so if you have the same opportunity be sure to listen to the briefing. Tell the judge you are the first person in the ring but want to hear his briefing and I am sure he will give you a moment to then go and get your dog and get ready. If Novice B is first, watch the heeling pattern. It could be the same for Novice A and if nothing else - will give you an idea of what to expect. The judge will have someone walk the heeling patten before the class starts - watch it if you can. It will help you to know the pattern. When the judge says Are you ready? if you are not, say no, then get ready and indicate you are all set to go. Most judges I've seen really want the Novice A experience to be pleasant and most will give you a chance to do your best. Remember to put your leash on before you leave the ring. A steward will most likely walk into the ring to hand it to you but do not exit through the gate without Scout on leash. Last but not least - smile - take a deep breath and off you go. That green ribbon will be waiting for you. Betsy
Kelleygreens Couer D'Or, CGC,CD, RAE2 - Doro - Nov. 21, 1995 to Jan. 14, 2010
Kelleygreens The Shamrock Kid, CGC, OM, UDX2, RE, NA, NAJ, AXP, AJP, ASCA CDX, - Shamrock
Kelleygreens The Few, The Proud, CGC, CDX, GN, NA - Recon
Remember to breath!
Like Connie, I like to get to teh show at least an hour early to check things out, get checked in etc. I need to feel relaxed before I can expect my dogs to feel relaxed. I do practice the heeling pattern if I can before I go into the ring, mostly for my own benefit than the dogs.
I agree... get there at least an hour before. If I don't have at least an hour, I feel way too rushed.
Thanks everyone - for the advice and encouragement.
I'm feeling stressed right now, but on Friday I'll feel excited and just ready to give it a shot. I don't have a really portable crate, but since this show isn't that far from where I live I think we'll manage fine without one. My obedience instructor told us to start heeling before we go in the ring ... I think I'll do a heeling pattern with Scout just before we walk in, to get focused. She says the judge at the Friday show is very encouraging to beginners like me - that will be a nice way to start off. We've been training to the exact words the judge will use in the ring - I even repeat them in my head when we're practicing at home.
I hope we do well but I'm really proud of Scout and how much she has accomplished. Training had to be done around knee surgeries. It's only this year that we've had no layoffs because of surgery, the knees are fixed and good to go. We'll get a CD title soon, if not this weekend. Thanks again everyone for the suggestions and good wishes, and good luck to all of you with your training and competitions.
Good luck this weekend.
Remember that to go into the ring for the briefing with your judge you cannot take your dog in with you.
I find that I go to the shows at least an hour before my class starts. That gives Kona time to get used to the site and the smells. I don't work him the whole time but potty breaks and being in his crate seem to be enough.
I start warming up my dog, the dog before me in the ring. When called into the ring I have Kona heel in with attention.
Take mints (peppermint) with you ........... helps with the change in breath we get when we are nervous.
Remember to breath and most of all have fun!!!! ;D
"In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden
Linda, Kona and Bo
I, too, try to get to the ring about an hour before my class begins. Helps both of us!
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
How did it go Judith? I am anxious to hear.
Ah Molly, well - it was a learning experience.
First, Scout and I. We almost had a leg on Friday, but she got up from the long down. My instructor says she's always nervous about the long sit and down, even with those dogs that seem to be 100% consistent with that in training. Novice A was first thing Friday morning, and they were still doing set up for the show. Someone hit a metal door that was right next to Scout - big boom. First time she just flinched, second time she got up, her and the dog next to her. The judge said "we lost 2 at the end" when she was announcing the results. Saturday and Sunday - we were later in the day and to do it over again, I would leave Scout outside or at home - go back and pick her up - if possible. She was hot and tired when it came time for us to trial. I thought it would be good for her to be with me so she'd get really comfortable with all that was going on. New experience and environment. But instead she was tired, physically and mentally. She was just laying at my feet most of the time, but it was too much. Wrong call on my part. On Saturday the judge said "you have a nice girl there, but she looks kind of tired". She lagged too much on the off lead heel. Sunday - handler error. I forgot to tell her to wait on the recall, and she followed me!
So we didn't get any legs, but it was a great learning experience. We'll train some more, get some help from our instructor, and pick a show in late summer early fall to try again! And next time we'll do one day, not 3. Take it slower.
I loved the show! I watched hours of the obedience trials and I'm so pumped to keep training and go further. A friend from training, she and her lab got their 3rd leg of her CDX, and they got a first place ribbon! I took pictures and it was such a thrill to watch them finish up this title - they were almost flawless. It was a little bittersweet because now we won't be training together, but I was so happy for them. I also saw a Rottie and his owner get a HIT - they were competing in Novice B - 198! And the Utility trials - wow. I've never seen any trials before and rarely seen dogs and handlers training for utility, it was so interesting to watch this level of obedience. And I saw Scout's breeder get some wins in the conformation ring, so all in all it was a great weekend.
The positives for Scout. Last year, after Scout's last knee surgery (knees are 100% now), Scout was not comfortable at times, fear reactions. She had long periods of down time rehabbing after surgeries, and pain before them. She wasn't comfortable sometimes with younger kids - especially when they ran near her, those unpredictable fast movements. New situations just seemed to spook her. And she was bitten by a small dog a year ago, had to be hospitalized for an abscess that developed where she was bitten. This weekend Scout was back to her old happy self, she didn't seem one bit concerned with all the little dogs around us. She was nose to nose with a little girl at one point, giving her kisses. That moment was worth more than a HIT for me. Don't get me wrong, I want to continue and getting a HIT one day would be wonderful, but to see Scout happy and comforable again - oh it was wonderful!
Thanks everyone for the advice, and Connie - your hints were very good! I was my most stressed the first day - I remembered what you said about dogs ahead of me. Some people got caught off guard, not ready because the dogs ahead of them didn't show that day. That was a very good heads up!