Today was all about Ruthie (photos courtesy of Danielle)! The Pacific Northwest French Bulldog Club was putting on an AKC conformation and obedience A match today. There are three different level of matches within the AKC. The most common seems to be the C match where most anything goes. You can train in the ring, you can use food, you can use toys, you name it. Today's match was an A match, which means that it is run JUST like an actual dog show. Therefore, there's not supposed to be any training in the ring let alone food or toys. It's about as close to a real trial as you can get. The club needed to put on this final A match in order to fulfill their requirements with the AKC to become a licensed breed club.
I think they did a fabulous job! We had a very understanding judge, great ring stewards, and just a generally fun group of people throughout the day. And get this, there were entries in all three of the regular levels of obedience! (I should also mention that because it was an A match there was no Beginner Novice so Ruthie was in a straight up Novice class) The bitch entered in utility and open is my obedience instructor and her partner's dog. She was definitely the best behaved and trained frenchie entered (go figure!)! The novice dogs were absolutely the entertainment! Oh boy!
The two boys entered in Novice were having a grand ole time! Ike did really well until he got to the heel off lead portion when he first got distracted and I think figured out that he wasn't attached. At one point he went tearing out of the ring and went visiting. He's a pretty social little guy and I have to admit that it was pretty funny. Next up was Ruthie. She's just so cute! We got video of her run and I'll go through that after I plug it in here. Following Ruthie was Remi. Remi was also all about having a good time and trying to go do some visiting. All three were a freaking riot! But it gets BETTER!! And for this I really wish that we had video!!
Do you know what comes after the individual exercises? That's right! Group stays!!!lol I laughed so hard that I was crying and almost peed my pants! The three of us go into the ring in a fairly orderly fashion. Getting the dogs situated and sitting still took a few moments, but it got done. Ruthie was in the middle of the two boys. At this point I should also mention that Remi and Ike (the two boys) are best buds. They LOVE playing with each other and are like little tasmanian devils whirling around the ring when they're set loose together. They are a riot to watch. But I digress.;0) The dogs are all in position and the handlers are told to leave their dogs. We all start to leave and Jill lets me know that Ruthie got up. I turn around and walk towards her to reset her. That was apparently the boys cue that it was play time. They start ripping around the ring together, having a blast rough housing with each other after all this serious stuff. I didn't think too much of it and thought that I could just call Ruthie and she'd come to me like she has previously (this has happened during our team practice before). Nope! Ruthie had to tell those boys who was boss! She goes tearing around the ring after them! So there's three handlers trying to wrangle three tasmanian devils whirling about the ring while our poor judge is just standing there watching the melee. I was dying laughing! I honestly cannot do it justice! Everyone outside the ring was roaring! I finally just picked Ruthie up once she paused in her regulating of the boys. Needless to say, we didn't attempt the down stays.;0)
Would you like to see the video of our cute little run? I figure that this video will serve as a great baseline as to where we started so that I can look back and be awed at how fabulous Ruthie has gotten.;0)
As you can see, she's pretty super cute!:0) Her automatic sits are really reliable. Still crooked, but dude, she's more reliable than either of the danes. The stand for exam is kind of where things started to break down. Sooooooooooooo, I realized as I was trying to get her to hold a stand that we've only ever practiced the stand command when I've had a treat in my hand. While she's munching on the treat she's totally happy to stand and stay, now that we actually have a stay with distance. Hence why she just continued moving forward and didn't stop like she's been doing. But again, still comical. And I swear that she can hold a stay while I walk around her! It's just not solid yet (obviously!).
The off lead heeling wasn't awful. I see it as a definite plus that I have a dog that is generally pretty happy out there and isn't dragging way behind me. So what if she doesn't necessarily end up on the correct side of me. Details shmetails! I am pretty proud of her moments of self correction though. And did you see those automatic sits??
Then came the recall.lol Two thumbs up for her holding her stay while I walked all the way to the other end of the ring! Do you think she figured out what the judges signal was for?;0) Then again, that was a pretty happy little recall! And yes, our finishes are still very much a work in progress. Overall, super cute little dog who I'm very happy with how she is coming along in obedience. I think she is going to be a VERY fun dog to trial if things keep going the way they are.
It has also been decided that I MUST have pink sparkly shoes by the time we actually start trialing. I wore the gold ones today, but I definitely need an ensemble with Ruthie. After all, she doesn't have a kick ass competition collar for nothin'! I also plan on getting her a blinged out pink leash of some sort. I'm going to do some looking at Rose City to see if I can find what I'm thinking of amongst the vendors without spending a small fortune.
After the obedience match was done, there was some time to kill before the conformation could officially start. As further entertainment, our frenchie obedience team did a little demo. I have to say that we actually didn't do too bad! Considering how things had already gone during the stays, we opted to do only on leash work.
Once the conformation classes started, I was interested in watching how the handlers stacked the dogs. Frenchies are just a wee bit different than danes and I haven't really practiced much with Ruthie, so I didn't really have a great idea of how to do it. Jill and Danielle's Hellon and Ike free stack really well, but I was curious as to how you hand stack a frenchie. Good thing I was paying attention because I actually got to take two different frenchies into the ring! It was so fun!! The first one was a crazy little pied bitch who was absolutely hilarious and so excited! She was super fun! The second was a much calmer cream bitch.
After the conformation portion was done it was time for a yummy potluck! Once everyone's bellies were full, they started the meeting. Incidentally, I am now applying to be a member. Funny how those things happen! I even already have my sponsors!:)
To make an already long post not quite so long, it was a really fun day with really great people, and Ruthie and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! It was very neat to meet new people, chat with people I already know, and hear positive things said about Ruthie. Great way to spend a Sunday!