It always takes one meeeeellion baby steps to reach a big goal, and today was a baby step towards our goal of CH. Thanks to a heads up from Marion and Wayne we took Wally to an AKC Sanction B Fun Match down in Spanaway. We immediately made some new friends (also Border people), which definitely helped! We had no clue what we were doing since we’d never participated in a dog show or fun match, but everybody was really friendly.
At first Wally was totally obnoxious and barking at all the other dogs as an invitation to play. It’s pretty embarrassing to have the ONLY barky dog at a dog event! After getting signed in and making a quick trip to Jack in the Box for breakfast we took Wally out to a big grassy area and did long distance comes. This is usually a good way to wear him out, but we ended up having to do it again before he was really settled (not to say 100% quiet). Lesson 1: Wally needs plenty of exercise before a show in order to have an ounce of focus in him. Lesson 2: Wally needs to spend a lot more time around dogs, and also learning that being near a dog doesn’t mean playing with it.
We were the only Border there so of course we won first in Breed. :) Wally thinks he’s a superstar though, so don’t tell him it was by default! He actually did really well at gaiting and stacking on the table, the only issue was having a stranger do the exam. Wally got really antsy and obviously uncomfortable, but not as bad as expected. Lesson 3: we need to have anybody and everybody “examine” him on the table. This may mean dragging our grooming table to events and asking stranger dog people to do it, but we will.
Since we got first in Breed we were also in Best Puppy in Group up against two 9-12mo terriers (Aussie and Scottie) and a 3-6mo AmStaff. Our biggest issue here was gaiting. Wally decided he was a Husky and hauled my ass all over the ring after the dog in front of him. He stacked fine on the ground, although he did lay down a few times, and there was no table exam. This time in the individual gaiting he jumped around and bit his leash, not exactly ideal. But by then he was doing MUCH better at group gaiting. Lesson 4: we need to do a lot of practice in groups, and also work on Lesson 2.
And the results? I was shocked that we got 3rd in group! I absolutely expected last place, but apparently we did better than I thought. It’s one thing to do better than your internal expectations, but it’s another to do better than somebody else! Overall it was a great experience and a lot of fun. I definitely want to do it again, if I can just find some dang matches being held. These clubs are like ninjas!
Oh, and thanks to our new friend Doris Campbell we learned about an Earthdog event on July 9-10 that we’ll be schlepping Wally to. I expect he’ll have a great time and we’ll be talked into building him a tunnel out back. :)