Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rally Novice A Throwback

After I finished AKC Rally with Ein (up to his Rally Excellent title.) I made an informal decision that I was really not interested in future AKC Rally endeavors.  I like World Cynosport rally so much more.  I perfer the crowd, the atmosphere, the increased challenge*, the trial venues and their superior ribbons.  I like that they allow tripod or otherwise handicapped dogs to compete, as long as they are safe.  I like that there are no trials that only list "All AKC-Recognized Breeds" as approved dogs to enter. (Yes I am aware this is a decision that the hosting club makes.)  I like the wider range of fun titles that you can work towards.

But.  Here I am.  Perri is entered in two Rally Novice legs tomorrow.  Oops!  If Ein's confidence has soared from trialing in Rally-O, I see no reason why it can't help Perri.  And since she already knows all of the RN exercises and the trial is close with free parking, why not?

This blog did not exist last August when Ein and I hit our first AKC Rally trials, so I thought I would share my course maps and my experiences from Ein's journey to his first title, his Rally Novice.  Ein was my (Rally) Novice A dog.  The first dog that I ever did any dog show of any kind with.   And I had no idea what I was doing.

I entered a show on a Friday and a Sunday at a big farm show complex.  There were rings upon rings of confirmation shows and three little rings squirreled in the corner for Obedience and Rally.   I remember looking at Obedience and thinking, "Those poor people.  They can't even talk to their dogs."
I had to pay to park.  Eight dollars per day.  They made my husband pay ten  more dollars to even enter the show, even though he was carrying a crate!  Crate carrying should get you free entry.  It was ridiculously noisy.  If I had known anything I would never have chosen such a hectic venue for Ein's first show!  If I had known anything, I might have read the premium.  But hey, I was lucky that I even found the premium.  Or that I even knew what a premium was.  (Yes, I had to ask somebody.)

The Rally Excellent class listed that it started at 8am, so of course that was what time I showed up.  I didn't want to miss anything!  What if the walkthrough was at 8am! (it...wasn't.)  I set up my crate and chair, picked up my armband ("so early!" exclaimed the steward.) and spent the next three hours watching, waiting, and training Ein right into the ground.  He might forget something!

Ein was nervous, did some gazing out into the crowd, but pulled off a 94/100, 3rd place and our first Qualifying Score ever.   WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I couldn't believe it!  I remember being so freaking proud of us.   Me and my dog!  A qualifying score!  How innocent I was.

We returned two days later.  This time I only arrived one hour early.  (What if everything finished up super early and I missed everything?!  I had to be there.)  I still felt pity for those poor Obedience people.  I obsessed over our course map.  I trained Ein into the ground again.  Halfway through our course he refused to finish and instead stared panting at an intact male corgi ringside (I finally coaxed him to do it).  I thought we had NQ'd for sure!  We got a 92/100 and our second leg!  Third place again!  WOW!!!!!!!!!
Ein's RN, Leg 2.

Well!  I was walking on sunshine and entered a third trial as soon as possible!  This time I entered an outdoor trial in mid-September, 20 minutes from my house.  Free parking!  
The thing about outdoor trials is that there are Tents Flapping.  There is GRASS.  There are smells blowing around.   The distraction level skyrockets.  Fortunately for me, Ein wasn't terribly affected by anything except for the flappy tent.
This time I watched my friend in Obedience and felt a sort of, "Hm.  I think I'd like to do that someday with some dog.  What a beautiful dance." feeling.
Ein had some nerves, as ever.  Still, he qualified with a 93/100 and another 3rd place.  WOW!!!!!!!!!!!  Einey got his Rally Novice title!  My little red, an AKC-titled dog!  Sadly, we got no title ribbon.  I was devastated.  Our first title ever and the hosting club wasn't giving out title ribbons.   If I had scoured the premium for that information, I would have known.   But! That's how you learn.

Ein's RN, Leg 3

So.  Now here I am taking Perri to Rally Novice.  This time, I know what I'm doing.   I'm a big grown up Novice B handler.  I will still arrive an hour early, but that is so that Perri can get acclimated with the atmosphere.  I always like to arrive an hour early actually.  To get set up, to poke around, to look at my map (be it agility or rally-o.) and to make sure my dogs have pottied.  I don't like to be rushed, because I am neurotic and my stress will surely stress my dogs out.
This double trial is two rings adjacent to each other and I am sort of glad for that.  It will make Perri nervous, but since we will be performing things that Perri has long since become solid with, it should be a good experience for her.  And I am looking forwards to it.

*this is subject to opinion.  I find being penalized for double commands and the exercises themselves to be far more difficult in WC Rally - we had Ein's RE back in the Spring and are still struggling to get his RL3 in WC Rally.  No amount of rewarding after exercises sweetens the deal in Ein's mind.

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