I had the day off from work today and took the time to go support a friend of mine at the local dog show. It was her first ever time competing in Novice Obedience with her dog Maverick, who is an 11 year old Belgian Tervuren and was retired last fall from our flyball team.
We spent a LONG time waiting around, but took the opportunity to walk around to see all the booths. I watched the Ibizans show and saw Wilbur again. (He was the adorable wire Ibizan puppy I spent so much time taking pictures of last month at the show.)
Koira thought the dog show was boring. But, I enjoyed the shopping around at the booths. Finally, after hours of waiting and a lunch break for the judge, Mav got his turn in the ring. And together they pulled off a Q and third place for the day. I was very impressed and very proud. We have been practicing a ton after flyball class every week for just this day. Very proud of the Mavvy boy.
I also decided I should go ahead and finally enter Koira for her CGC. They offered it in the afternoon after Best of Show (won by the little Maltese). Koira was on her super best behavior, right up until we entered the ring. Unfortunately the ring chosen for the CGC testing was the same one all the groups had shown in as well as Best of Show, which meant that there was bait (treats, cookies, awesome bits of food) all over. Not in the ring, they swept it before we went in, but all along the edges. And Koira wanted every single little bit of it.
In the end, we did pass. The greeting from the evaluator went just fine, as did the brushing, ear touch, and foot pick up.Then the disaster started when we did the "out for a walk" part of the exercise, because Koira had spotted the cookies galore on just the other side of the ring gates, and she WANTED THEM. When I say cookies, I mean there were pieces over there from thumbnail size on up to the size of my thumb. I redirected Koira about three times and managed to complete the exercise, though certainly not in the best graces. The through the crowd was just as bad, done in the same location, and Koira wanted nothing more than to go snag those treats over there.
The sit, down, stay, and recall all went well. The recall wasn't as nice as I normally see, I think the long line attached to her made her hesitate a little. The walk by greet a stranger with a dog went smoothly, mostly because Koira had spotted a huge (as in the size of my cell phone) piece of what looked like dried lamb lung on the other side of the ring, straight past the person and dog. So she zeroed in on that, waited for me to greet the person without breaking concentration on that treat, then made a beeline for it straight past the distraction person who had a walker and was banging metal bowls together. Not even an eye flicker.
When I left her with a stranger (the strangest part of the test to me, because seriously, when am I ever going to leave my dog with someone we don't know?), she spent the time cleaning up the ample supply of treats fallen below the table they stood next to, and only noticed I was gone when I was within about three feet of returning to her.
The evaluator passed us. She saw the huge pieces of bait that Koira was going for, and while she said we technically had a tight leash too often, she thought the distraction of the bait left over from conformation was more than should be expected for the CGC, especially since we did really well on the other parts of it. I think she also had seen Koira doing perfect heeling up and down outside of the ring while we waited for our turn.
So, we passed. Not the way I wanted to do it, really, but we passed. I'm a good bit more worried about what will happen when we enter the obedience or rally ring for the first time. But, hopefully there won't be treats scattered all over the floor in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. And we will now be working on walking past such distractions.