I have entered Mufaasa in his first show.
Come the end of next month we’ll be taking the plunge. I’ve signed up for a steplechase course and a jumpers course and I must say I am cautiously excited. I spent all day yesterday hanging out at a local trial, partly to get Mufaasa measured (he’ll need to get measured by a judge twice before he can show), and partly to allow Mufaasa to hang out and get used to the busy environment at a show.
Basically, aside from having to drive an hour and a half to be at the show for 7:30am on a Sunday (which should be illegal), it went really well. I volunteered a bit (helping to set jumps and build courses, also did a brief stint of announcing where I proved that I can still bellow with the best of them), but after the first few classes I pulled Mufaasa out and worked on the warm-up jumps a bit. He was a bit hesitant until I pulled out his new favourite thing, his angry bird squeaky toy (that no longer squeaks, but still looks plenty angry and bird-like).
After that we pretty much just hung out and watched all our friends run. We got to see our classmate run for the first time with her awesome dog Shiva. She was pretty nervous but she held it together. Poor Shiva seemed very, very determined to take a detour outside the ring but her owner managed to stay calm and meet her goal for the day, which is huge. I think she should also be proud of the fact that at no time did her dog look nervous or overwhelmed–something I’m a bit nervous about when our time comes. Mufaasa does great once he’s been to a place a few times but usually our first time he gets a serious case of the sniffies. I’ve got a few idea to work on to get us ready, but I’m trying to keep from letting my expectations get too high. Seeing the sort of courses we would be expected to run has made me a bit more confident–on a good day I know Mufaasa and I could do them. If I can just stay connected, we’ll do ok, but really I’m just hoping to make it over a jump or two.
In the meantime I finally got a proper contact trainer. The great news is that it works fantastic, it’s easy to set up and so far I’ve been using it behind my building and no one’s yelled at me for having a dog off-leash on the condo property. The bad news is that I found out the hard way that it’s about an inch too wide for every freaking door in my building. Which means I can’t use my fancy new dolly to take it out in one trip; I’ve got to carry it out one piece at a time, and then come back for the rest of our equipment and, well, the dog (sort of the key element). I am currently plotting to build some sort of elaborate pulley system for lowering it off of my deck. I’ll let you know how that goes. Possibly in a pile of expensive kindling…
4 Replies to “This shiznit is getting REAL”
Yay! I don't think I'll be able to get out to watch you and Mufaasa at your first trial. *sad face* But! I will be holding my breath for you the whole day and waiting with excitement to hear all about how he Q'd his first run. You know he will.
Thanks for all of your kind thoughts and well wishes! I think I need to do some hardcore reading on trial prep before we try again, maybe later in the fall or maybe next year. We shall see.
Well, I don't know about Qing, but we'll find out the hard way soon enough ;p
I'd really suggest getting her in another show sooner rather than later so her final thought isn't "I get to run out of the ring and then not do this again for a long time." The Kingston trial might be a good one—it's outside and fenced, so no worries about her going on a journey. I might also suggest trying to do a two day show. That's what I was originally hoping to do with Mufaasa but the timing isn't right. But if there's something later in the season I'd look into that. Lots of repetition in a short period of time (kept super positive of course) might just be the confidence boost she needs to get the hang of this. Also, I don't know how much time you spent letting her wander around and see the different parts of the grounds but I'd try that. Let her inspect at her own pace so she's got a lot of the sniffing out of her system before she goes in (I know I didn't have Mufaasa in the interior space that much and I probably should have if I was running since that's where all the other dogs are hanging out). I also found this website <a href="http:// (http://denisefenzi.com/2012/08/14/lyra-beginning-ring-prep/)” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://(http://denisefenzi.com/2012/08/14/lyra-beginning-ring-prep/)” target=”_blank”>(http://denisefenzi.com/2012/08/14/lyra-beginning-ring-prep/) recently, I think that trainer has some good tips for training for the ring, not just training the stuff you expect them to do in the ring.
Kingston is a little far for us to travel in a day and back – that and my parents will be visiting during that time so it won't be possible for us this year anyway. I know there are always a few at the Agridome in October/November so I will be thinking about those. It's so hard because there are always things going on and it's hard to fit everything in!
I would have loved to have let Shiva wander around but I don't know if the other dogs/handlers would have enjoyed it as much. Shiva's version of inspection usually revolves around eating everything in sight and getting in other dogs' faces, especially when they are in crates. Not so much fun. As it was it was like we took her through Disneyland, didn't let her see anything, and then expected her to work in the kitchen. As much as she loves cooking, she couldn't help but think about the cool stuff outside.
Ah well. Anyway, Mufaasa has come very far in a very short period of time. You have worked so hard together and it shows. He is going to be great out there. He may not be the fastest but I have a feeling he is going to impress everyone and beat all your expectations.
Oh, I know all about the fitting in. Also, I usually do all my cleaning on the weekends and my condo is started to look pretty sad/gross. Hygienically, it will be a lot better for me when trialling season is over!
Maybe try showing up at some trials and not enter like I did last weekend, that way all the extra stuff becomes old hat (how many times can you go to Disney Land, really?). And take her near other peoples crates but treat them like you would a dog she might react to, have her sit near them and treat every time she looks towards them. That way she gets tons of reinforcement for sitting in a busy environment and looking around but not leaving you. And that way you can just show up and leave before the day gets too long so it stays short and sweet. I'm sure Adina has more ideas but that would be my next tactic. I'm sure most people at the trial won't mind if you're just hanging out nearby–I'm sure they've all gone through it too! I bet if you do that a few times, even if you just hang around for an hour or two (I realize just the gas expense might make this difficult…there's many reasons I'm happy to just hitch a ride!) it will have a big impact.