Thursday, August 9, 2018

And It Begins

The view from our hotel room -- just had to share!
We have officially started Trooper's dog show training. Last weekend RK and I took our dogs to Fort Myers for a 2-day handling seminar. That was incredible! The instructor, Norma Smith, has 45 years of experience. As a professional handler she won 300+ Best in Shows and has been to the Westminster Dog Show a bajillion times. I learned a lot, and realize that we have a lot to work on.
  • Trooper has beautiful movement, and really likes to trot around the ring. To get the right form, I need to lengthen my strides instead of just moving faster. At the same time I need to keep my back straight, left arm bent and tucked and the right arm loose but not floppy. This is easier said than done. It feels awkward right now. My hips, knees and glutes have been protesting for days.
  • Trooper will stack beautifully when I'm not asking for it. But we're having problems getting him to stack on command.
  • Standing in the ring is a must. Trooper doesn't like to stand for longer periods of time. When he gets nervous or bored, his default is to sit down.
  • Trooper is unsure of the exam. He'll let me show his teeth with no problem, but is not fond of strangers touching him and he keeps backing up. This is not good, and definitely something we need to work on.
  • Trooper travelled very well. It was a 7 hour drive each way (including potty breaks). Trooper didn't bark or throw up.
  • There were 19 dogs at the seminar, all crated in the same location. Trooper was awesome! The noise and close quarters didn't bother him at all. He would sit quietly in his crate until it was his turn to work and happily go back in when we were done.
  • Trooper didn't have any problems with the hotel. He would let me know when needed to go out, and didn't balk about relieving himself while on the leash.
  • Trooper is still a puppy and has his limits. He did great on the first day, but on day two he told me he was done. We tried not to overwork him, giving him plenty of happy breaks. However, I think a two-day seminar was just a little much for him.
My pooped pup. BTW, it's a large crate -- he just likes
to cram himself into the corner.
We got home Sunday near midnight. I had court the following day, so I couldn't call out. (I was exhausted and really, really wanted to call out.) I don't know how I made it through the day. BTW, despite the fatigue, I won my case.

Monday night Trooper and I had S.T.A.R. Puppy class. We're trying to teach Trooper basic doggie manners like walking on a leash, coming when called and keeping four on the floor even when excited. These are tough concepts for a puppy!

On Tuesday night trooper and I drove out to the west side for his first conformation class. Again, stacking and standing for exam were the big challenges. On a happy note, we got to see his breeder again. She says he looks good. Trooper remembered her and was very happy to see her too. How sweet is that?

Wednesday night I slept. A lot. 

Now it's Thursday and the freaking out begins. The West Volusia Kennel Club shows are next month (September 21 & 22). The shows will be inside with flushing toilets (always a plus in my book). The venue is close enough to drive there and back each day. And this was the location of Jedi's first shows. How sweet is that? I'd love these to be Trooper's first shows too, but I don't know if we'll be ready by then. I've got three weeks to make up my mind before I have to send in the entry. ACK! I guess I'd better get off the computer and go practice some stacking with the pup. Catch you later, -- K

P.S. I've been rereading blog posts from Jedi's show days. You would think I'd be less neurotic about it this time around. You would be wrong. Hubby is already looking for some "ring water."