Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Bessy has had a pretty good run of luck in the competition ring of late. :) On September 20th we traveled up to Shelton, WA for the Great Dane Club of Western Washington's annual double specialty. I had been going back and forth on whether I should enter Bess in veterans or not. I was planning on going up anyhow to watch the show and socialize, but couldn't decide if I wanted to also have to worry about a dog of my own. With encouragement from Bess' breeder, I decided to enter her in veterans. And it was a good thing that I did! Bess won the veteran bitch class for both specialties!! Not only that, but in the am specialty, the judge put her up for Select Bitch!! I was ecstatic!! I will admit that I think Bess being a bit of her crazy self in the class was in our favor. I had been getting her a little amped up in the class and on the down and back she decided to get a little frisky. The judge had us redo our down and back. At the end of going back around the ring, I let her let off some steam and she got pretty sassy with me, but in a not so bad way.;) The judge jokingly commented that she acted like she should be in the 6-9 puppy class and not the veterans class. I also opted to pretty much just free stack her and not nit pick with hand stacking. She stacks quite nicely on her own and I can tend to over do it when I futz with her.
Some of you may be wondering what going Select Bitch means point wise and how that's possible. Bess is spayed. The only way that I can show her in conformation is in the veterans class. Only specialties have veteran classes. A dog or bitch winning the veteran class is eligible for any of the placings other than Winners Bitch or Winners Dog. A few years back a brindle bitch took Breed from the veterans class at this same specialty. She also happened to be a relative of Bess'. From a points perspective, it doesn't mean anything for Bess, unfortunately. She's not finished and the points for Select Bitch or Select Dog go towards a Grand Championship only. Which means, no points for Bess, but still VERY awesome for her regardless!
This past weekend, the obedience club that I belong to hosted an obedience trial. I stewarded on Saturday for part of the day. I was doing the Zombie Apocalypse Run that evening. And on Sunday, Bess and I made a more honest foray into the Novice ring. For the past while I have been focusing on finding ways to reinforce Bess in the ring and get a happier working dog, without using food inside the ring. With the fantastic help of our instructor, we have made a lot of headway. It's been a slow process, but we're getting there! We've entered the Novice ring before and each time has been quite disappointing. This time around I felt like we were actually ready. Our focus is more on accuracy than precision. Did she give me a front? Yes. Was it crooked or less than perfect? Yes, but it was technically a front. Am I okay giving up some points on crooked sits in favor of having a dog who doesn't look like she's just been beaten? You betcha! Our refocusing on what is more plausible for us as a team, while increasing the positive experience of being in the ring has made all the difference! I am getting to the point where I have a very enjoyable partner in the ring, and that's the important part right now, and may stay that way for the duration of my time in the competition ring with Bess.
Getting around to the point, Bess and I qualified for our very first Novice leg with a score of, I believe, 187!:) She also won her class!! We were in the Novice A class, which was a smaller class, but I'm thrilled all the same. I did go a bit over the top on praise and keeping her "up" in between exercises and the very end of our run. But it was such a better feeling than we've had previously, that I couldn't help but let her know how fantastic I thought she was. Overall, it was a great first leg to get and I'm looking forward to more runs that are just as positive, though maybe I'll tone the partying down a little bit. ;)
So there you have it. Miss Bess has been a sexy super star over the past few weeks and I'm very proud of her.