Monday, September 30, 2013

Home Again, Home Again

Back-to-back show weekends are grueling. What was I thinking when I signed up for that?! I don't think I'll do it again. (If I do, you may certainly call me on it!) I'm exhausted both mentally and physically, and so glad to be home. It was a tough weekend for all of us and I am thrilled to walk away with two second place ribbons. I met a bunch of nice people this weekend. Because this venue was so spread out I think people were more comfortable walking around and socializing. Two professional handlers and a judge said Jedi was a good looking dog and should do well. I hope they were being sincere. Or maybe it was code for "You really need to get your shit together." (Let's go with option number one.) I'm getting better at spotting and avoiding the jerks too. Surprisingly, I see the same group jerks at nearly every show. Small world, hunh? I recognized one woman from the West Palm Beach shows who bitched for six hours about the judge not picking her beauceron. I noticed other people avoiding her too.

I learned a lot this weekend as well. For example:
  • Think ahead. We were at an outdoor venue and subject to the elements. Saturday was overcast and it sprinkled off and on, with the sky opening up just as we were leaving. We didn't have any rain gear so we're fortunate the weather held out. Sunday was sunny and humid -- not pleasant for any of us. I'm glad we packed plenty of water, but a beach blanket would have been nice to keep Jedi off the grass (or rather, keep the grass off Jedi).
  • Stock the tack bag. Jedi was limping and I didn't pack his Rimadyl. We found a Petsmart and bought some overpriced canine aspirin, but it didn't do much. We were in a bind too. One dog didn't show up, leaving seven dogs -- the minimum number of dogs to make a major. If Jedi didn't show then we would have broken the major (a Cardinal Sin in the dog show world). I had a more experienced handler share some Rimadyl and show me a way to present Jedi that reduced him limping. One of his dogs won on Sunday, so I guess it helped him out too.
  • I need to run more. Seriously. The Saturday judge had us run around the ring twice before looking at the dogs. I thought I was going to die.
  • Keep track of judges. I need to write down the judges I show to and what I think of them. For example, I didn't care for one of the judges in Deland (even Jedi shied away from her) and would rather not show to her again. But two judges have told me that Jedi was "typey" and "will do well when he fills out." Those judges would be worth showing to again. See, I'm getting it!
  • I need to pack food. We ate the stuff sold at the concession stands -- overpriced and underwhelming. And then we ate out in the evenings. My doctor would cringe if he saw all the crap I put into my body over the weekend. And it significantly added to the cost of the weekend.
  • And on that note, I need to put Kaopectate in the tack bag. Jedi and I could have both used it this weekend.
  • Practice! Jedi and I really need to work on stacking. The bitch that won on Saturday just walked into the most beautiful stack. It was impressive. And I need to lean forward and take long strides to show Jedi's best gait. Easier said than done. Hubby broke out the video camera so I can see what I'm doing.
  • Find ways to keep Jedi entertained. Jedi gets bored in the hotel. I need to pack the 20' long line so he can run more outside without wearing me out. And maybe a few more puzzle toys.
  • Get better sleep. I should get a room with one king-sized bed instead of two double beds. Jedi doesn't want a bed of his own, he wants to share ours. And maybe if I was better able to wear him out beforehand he wouldn't be up and down all night. But then again, who sleeps great in a hotel room?

Jedi approved of the beds.

So we have a lot to work on before our next shows. I don't know when that'll be, but apparently there are LOTS of shows between now and May. And there are two handling classes weekly that we can go to as well. In addition to the Creekside Obedience and Handling Group on the other side of town on Tuesdays, K-9 Obedience Club now offers one on Wednesdays. I think it would behoove us to take advantage of them before entering another show. My biggest problem: follow through. I make a hundred plans and they always sound great. Then life happens and my plans go by the wayside. If I had done what I planned 6 months ago we'd be doing so much better right now. UGH. Any thoughts? Suggestions? -- K

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