Archive for April, 2012

First Show

My husband will tell you that way back at the dawn of time when I was in college I’d return from each exam dishearten and downtrodden, convinced I’d failed only to learn days later I’d earned an A. Having recently gotten a copy of my transcript, transferred to paper from the stone etching, I can tell you that wasn’t always true, but it wasn’t ever the F I was sure it was either.

This weekend I got to experience that phenomena all over again. On Saturday the Labrador and I competed in our first Rally Obedience A class. Sleep the night before was fretful. Overnight a family of elephant sized butterflies hatched in my stomach. We arrived early, checked in and paced and panicked. Then we went into the ring. The judge was very nice, asked if we were ready and ordered us forward. I took stock, looked down at the labrador, told her to heel and…her nose went right to the mat. Ack!

We made it through the course, left the ring and I dropped to my knees to hug the labrador. I loved her any way. Then a friend came up to tell me we did well. I did not believe her. Not only did we do well, we came in second, getting our first qualifying score with a 95/100! At some point that day I finally came down out of the clouds, managed to eat and finally collapsed as I realized we were about to do it all over again today.

The nerves were a little less this morning. I managed to eat a little breakfast, only to decide later it was a mistake as the butterflies with trunks and tails woke up from their nap and began to parade around my insides. I arrived, checked in and was handed a copy of the course for today. One look had me panicked as it looked far, far more complicated than yesterday! And then I noticed a “Send over jump.” “This can’t be my course,” my voice squeaked, but the paper read “Rally Novice.” “But, send over jump isn’t a novice sign!” The judge came over, said he’d fix it while I managed to figure out how to breathe again. I don’t think that really happened for a few more hours.

This time the labrador was just fascinated with the judge. She kept looking back at him with a happy, “Hi! How are you? Don’t you just want to pet me? Do you have treats cause my mommy isn’t giving me any even though she’s giving me commands.” By half way through the course I was laughing, again just figuring we’d get through it and have a good idea of things to work on in training for the next show. I had a larger cheering fan group this time, who were laughing and applauding as we came out, chuckling over her antics. To my surprise not only did we qualify, we got the highest score, earning a blue first place ribbon this time, and another of the all important green qualifying ribbons!

So whether it’s a case of nerves, or my expectations verses the person’s scoring me being vastly different I don’t know. What I do know is we have things to work on, more to learn and practice, especially if we in tend to move forward and earn other titles. But for now, I’m very proud of the ribbons we brought home.


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The Labrador won her second prize today (the first being her STAR Puppy Certificate). Today she won third place in an Obstacle Course competition! This was over obstacles she’d never seen before like a A-frame, see-saw, and weave poles! I am so very proud of her, and amazed at what this dog is willing to do when I ask her. There were also several jumps involved which she flew over.

Though we did not win, she excelled in the Obedience Class as well, doing everything I asked of her with a wag of her tail. I will admit we were outclassed in the Trick Competition. Our hoola-hoop jump just couldn’t stand up to a back flipping dog, and a dog that could read. But, that she did it in public, in a new location without hesitation when I asked — well that’s a win in my book!

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