Well, WE DID IT!! We made it through our very first run of rally obedience and even had a qualifying score to boot! We ended up with a 92, but out of the ribbons. I really can't believe how nervous I was leading up to our run.
The started out not terribly bad. The runs were scheduled later than I had remembered, but thankfully I double checked the judging program before leaving the house. The weather however, was AWFUL! The combination of wind and rain while I was driving was incredibly annoying. It was like my truck was getting constantly pummelled by the wind or pelleted by the rain. It also hailed a few times while we were down in Albany. Yes, spring is in like a lion all right. Albeit a rather bitchy and pissed off lion!
We got to the show grounds about two hours before ring time. And that was on purpose. Normally I show up to dog shows and agility trials an hour before ring time. However, I knew that I was going to be nervous and I wanted to take full advantage of the lesser people around to work Heffner. I was also going to crate him in his soft crate, which he's not used to. Because I got there so early, I was able to pick out a spot to put his crate that wasn't too high traffic. I couldn't avoid a certain amount of traffic with the number of doors in the area, but it worked. I then walked him around the grounds for a good long while and then it was time to go sniff around the ring area. He was really pretty calm and happy about the whole thing. I put him in his crate and he was pretty good about that too.
When more people started filing in and setting up their crates, he got a little more edgy and made some noise. After that I just had to stay on top of it and make sure that I had him paying attention to me instead when there was either a dog passing close to his crate or a dog that he was looking interested in. So the crating was actually a lot of work, but definitely more worthwhile than running back and forth to the truck. The best part was that he was sooooo well behaved when I left him sitting in his crate while I checked in and walked the course. He could see me, but he wasn't whining and carrying on. AND he didn't snark at ANY of the dogs that passed by his crate during that time (I had one eye on the course I was walking and one eye on the crate). That was pretty huge in and of itself.
Once the runs started, everything went really quickly. Pretty soon it was our turn! There were a couple of really nice ladies that had set themselves up in front of us and we had been chatting a bit. I was quite obviously the newbie and they were being really great about helping me with any of my questions. So, I convinced one of them to video tape our run. Things didn't quite work out for the beginning of the run to be caught, but about the second half is there. At the time, I thought our run was horrible and that we were going to score somewhere in the 70's. Heffner was a bit distracted and not as with me as I like. Oh yeah, and I was such a butterfingers with the leash! For the past few weeks I've been practicing with the leash looped around my neck so that I can coordinate my hands better and wean myself off using the leash as a crutch. I love it that way! The down side is that I have to know what the heck to do with a leash during on leash exercises!
Here is the clip of our run that was captured.
Things are still a little rough, but seriously, to me it looks a lot better than I felt like it looked while we were doing it!!
And with that little update, I'm off to bed. I have to get up ridiculously early for conformation because danes are in at 8am. Should also be interesting juggling the two dogs. Wish all three of us luck!!