Perri had a fantastic debut in AKC Rally! I hope today was confidence building for her, I feel like it was. This was a good decision all around. There were two rings going at once and Perri gave a few glances into that Other Ring at the Scary Dogs (in fact, it was the Advanced group being pinned, with a whole crowd of people and dogs and commotion at the time that we were in the ring.) but refocused on me since I was able to communicate freely with her and support her. (yay, Rally!)
Our first course was with judge Michael Calhoun and he is now my absolute favorite AKC Rally judge to date! If I had to choose between if I love him or Joan Klinger (WC Rally) more, I couldn't do it - and I really love Joan. He was funny, kind, welcoming and genuinely wanted everyone to have a good time. He never stopped having fun, and was happy to give his time to anybody who had questions or any concerns. (He took the time afterwards to show me my score card when I asked after it and why Perri had lost two points, and teased me in a good hearted way for even worrying about such things!) And as you see below, he included descriptions of all of the course signs on the back of his map! Awesome! (He had a "bald" moment on sign 15 - his words - as you are supposed to Halt and not move forward, but we all had that sorted out before our ring time.)
I groaned a bit at the "Down and Stop". Perri is eternally not a fan of downs so I did have to crouch with her and signal her to down (allowable in the rules). But otherwise the course went really well, Perri is such a fun rally-o team mate. She was very focused on me and I was so proud of her. She lost a point for sniffing one time and a point for a poor sit (on the last sign, she came into finish and sat slightly behind me, not properly in heel position.) But that was a 98, her first leg, and a 4th place out of 22 dogs! I did not go into today hoping for placements when I saw how many dogs were entered, so it was a pleasant surprise!
The next ring was just about starting their walkthrough when we finished and things moved quickly from there. The next judge gave a terrifying briefing warning us against "air cookies" and the appearance of luring (NQ!) and told us to make sure our fingers were splayed and not touching one another when giving signals. I never lure my dogs in the ring but I am famous for ridiculous body language and idiotic mistakes, so I was a little nervous. I took Perri out to go potty and she had just found a perfect spot along the side of the building...squatted...and bopped her head on a pipe and decided not to go. I could not get her to go before our ringtime! Oh please oh please don't pee in the ring! She didn't. She did, in fact, get a perfect score! GO PERRI! She got 2nd place and according to the judge was "nanoseconds" behind the 1st place team. Not bad, right??
So proud of Perri girl and enjoyed playing Rally with her. You would never know by watching her today that she lacks confidence. We will get there, one day at a time.