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Everything A Newbie Needs To Know About Trials
Okay, so in March there will be some AKC obedience trials coming pretty locally to us. I'm interested in starting to trial some with AKC, but I am COMPLETELY new to the whole showing thing. Anything a newbie might need to know about AKC obedience trialing would be great. Any tips, etc that you can offer would be great.
What class are you entering? Novice Obedience? Pre-novice? Have you taken any classes geared towards a trial?
Definitely find a fun match or Show 'n Go to get a critique before you go to the real trial. I learned about "Handler Error" at a special training class for AKC obedience. There is so much to the details. Definitely read and understand every word in the AKC Obedience regulations about the class you are entering. It explains what judges are looking for and scoring.
Read the rule book.... then read it again:)
I'll be entering the Beginner Novice A, since neither me or my dog has earned a title in any AKC sport before. Any other special tips like for on show day and at the show? Or special tips in preparation?
I'm always happy to see someone interested in competing! Obedience numbers have declined over the years and getting people to participate in the sport is what keeps it going. I'm excited for you!
Others have already given you some good info.
Anyway, please read AKC's "Getting Started in Obedience" and the rules and regulations.
I also found some helpful advice here:
How to prepare your dog for obedience trials | Fanny's Clicker Dog Blog
I hope you can find someone to show you the ropes. You will need to fill out the entry form correctly and make sure it's in by the closing date.
Find a good training group that's geared to AKC obedience. If you're able to go watch a show, go for it!
You'll need a crate to put your dog in at the show and bring a chair. You want to get there early to get your dog acclimated to the environment.
Train in all kinds of locations with distractions.
As a newbie, I started with the AKC Canine Good Citizen test. I then took a rally obedience class and a friend suggested I go to a trial. Took 1st place first time in the ring and was hooked.
I'm glad I started in rally because it was a lot less pressure on me and fun for my dog. I got to get a feel for the show environment and saw how things worked.
Then there's ring nerves. That's the stressful, anxious feeling that happens to people at trials. Dogs pick up on this nervous energy and it effects their performance. I'm on my 4th RAE leg and finished the CDX title this summer and have done well, but I still have trouble keeping myself calm and relaxed for my dogs sake.
Best of luck to you!
One thing I learned... take a cover for your crate. My first dog barked.... a LOT.... when not covered.
I really thought you would get a lot of feedback on this topic. But since only a few of us have commented here you go!
I don't think you have a lot of competition training experience?
As the other poster mentioned, starting with a CGC is often a good way.
AKC's Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program - Searchable Calendar
Attending a show to watch is very helpful. At least view some videos on Youtube of the level you are going for. CGC, Rally, Obedience BN or CD.
AKC.org has a ton of good information. I wasn't kidding about reading the rule book. Used to be, one could be ordered for around $8. Highly recommend.
What other specific issues are you looking for? How is training going so far?
I found that working in Petco or Petsmart was a super way to prepare for the AKC trial ring.
Thank you guys for all of the advice. Since my adopting out Grace (the rescued breeding female) I've been able to get a really nice black AKC registered female named Nyx. She will be turning a year old on the 20th of November (this month) and the people that had her before us were only hobby breeders and didn't really do any training with her. She'll be the one that I go after any obedience titles with. So far in the two weeks that I've had her she's learned sit really well and now we are working on the "down" command. She was pretty shy when she first got here and I'm thinking it's probably just a fear period that she may have been going through because now she's coming out of her shell and is really getting confident. The only problem I have with finding a training club that's geared toward AKC obedience are the ones that are putting on the trials in March. They are within driving distance for a trial, but for training every week and gas the way it is here, I don't think I could make it worth the drive just going maybe once a month. Although, if it's something that may benefit Nyx and I, it is something I would consider. Do most training clubs have specific membership fees? I've also put in my membership application and paid the membership fee for joining the GSDCA, but have yet to hear anything back from them.
What area are you in?
I go to a place to train in a group, we all support each other and watch each other in the ring.
There are people in our group that have OTCH's on their dogs and their helpful hints are worth their weight in gold.
So if you can get into a good group to train with it would be really helpful
She may just be settling in, or she may not have a very bold temperament. It is good that she is becoming more comfortable.
I have found that walks at the park are a wonderful way to build your relationship and start to develop training skills. I keep my clicker and treats with me. Every-time she looks at you, click, then give a reward. If she is uncomfortable with strangers, cars, dogs, whatever.... move off of the path a bit and give treats. She will start to look to you when someone approaches, then you can click/reward for her attention to you.
You can also practice recalls. As she walks out, call her name, when she responds, click/reward.
This teaches her to be comfortable when out, to always look to you, and that good things happen when her focus is you.
Training clubs vary greatly in cost and quality, and the two are not always correlated:).
I trained my first dog up to RA, and his BH without being a member of an official club. However I did have dog-friends that trained and we met and helped each other.
And if you are in south Kentucky, Nashville has a good club.
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