Our competition obedience journey started roughly one year ago, when the obedience training director at my training club told me that Marge was advanced enough in her training to drop in to a Show-Ready Novice obedience class.
Dogs in this class were already competing or close to doing so. I had never set foot in an obedience ring, never went through the foundation classes like every one else. Yet, I was now here in this class, not knowing what to expect. Would I like it? Would Marge like it? Would we do well?
Long story short, we made the decision to press on with our competition obedience training. Two obedience matches later, we entered our first UKC obedience trial in June of this year and picked up scores of 193 and 194. Here is her first run.
Last weekend, the day that Hurricane Irene scared the pants off of all of us, I had to make the difficult choice to either go to or skip the obedience trial I had entered. I was stressed to the max with thoughts of my house being washed away by a storm surge (dramatic? maybe), but needed to free myself just a little bit from the chaos and so decided to go.
We had not practiced at all, save for one little ring rental hour shared with a few friends earlier that week. Marge was picking up on my stress and I just couldn't seem to get her where I wanted her to be in terms of performance during our warm up.
But we went in the ring and got it done. Not as pretty as our other two legs, we managed to hold on to a 191 and earned our final qualifying score.
Marge is now registered as a United Companion Dog (UCD). Her first obedience title. She also was, once again, the high scoring mixed breed in the trial.
It's hard to explain how I feel about the whole process as it's so vastly different than anything else we've ever done. I wish I could say that it was the title that took us the most work to get, but I'm not sure that's true. Sure, having Marge hold a Stand For Exam was the culmination of years of socialization work, but the rest almost came naturally. A little heeling practice here and there, some fronts and finishes, and we were really good to go.
Still, I am really proud of the both of us for earning this title. Even if it was a tiny little trial at our home training club, I never, ever thought we'd do competition obedience, let alone do it successfully.
We're done with competition obedience for the time being. Quite honestly, the possibility is there that we will not continue competition obedience at all. Real life responsibilities beckon (the same reason I've been absent from the blog world), and I'd really like to focus on agility for now. We are dabbling with the Open exercises, though I'm not sure if I'd like to start fresh in AKC or go on to Open in UKC. Only time will tell!