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Old 12-30-2013, 05:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First Obedience Trial Questions

I just signed Jade and I up for our first trial! We will be doing beginner novice. Nervous does not even begin to describe how I feel, but everyone has to start somewhere right? I have a couple of newbie questions for y'all!

The show is Jan 18th and 19th and about 2 hours away from our house. About how long should I plan on being at the event each day? And how do I know when I need to be there?

Would you recommend getting a hotel in town or just making the drive both days?

Besides the basics (crate, leash, collar, ect) what should I plan on bringing with me, and is there anything that I should make sure to leave at home?

Any tips/advice for this VERY nervous first timer?
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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For some reason, doing obedience never really made me nervous

If you can get a hotel, it would sure cut down on your travel time.

Is this AKC? You should receive some type of confirmation on your entry, the start time of the class, the number of entries.

Depending on the amount of entries, will determine how long you'll be there. They usually do maybe 10 dogs (if there are more), do your sits and downs, at the end of each of those 10 dogs routine, then go on to the next group..Again, depends on the number of entries.

IF it's AKC when entries close, you can also go to the akc site, see the times/entries there as well.

What to bring? what you listed, poop bags for sure Treats, food if your staying over.

I seem to always hit really early entry, so I'd get there a good hour before class started, walk my dog, exercise her a little, crate her , watch the class, and get the dog about 2-3 dogs prior to me..I found hanging around the ring WITH my dog, just bored her, crating her, going to get her, amped her up and she was ripping to go

I have to say , my sister ALWAYS took Pepto bismol with her LOL,,she was a nervous nelly

Just treat it as a run thru, one you would do in class No stress, there is always someone worse than "you" (general you)

Good luck !!
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I just signed Jade and I up for our first trial! We will be doing beginner novice. Nervous does not even begin to describe how I feel, but everyone has to start somewhere right? I have a couple of newbie questions for y'all!

The show is Jan 18th and 19th and about 2 hours away from our house. About how long should I plan on being at the event each day? And how do I know when I need to be there?

The trial secretary to whom you sent your entries will send you a judging schedule that will give you the time your class starts and how many dogs are in your class.

Would you recommend getting a hotel in town or just making the drive both days?

That depends -- do you like to get up early? Does your dog like car rides? If the answer is no to either question I would get the hotel room.

Besides the basics (crate, leash, collar, ect) what should I plan on bringing with me, and is there anything that I should make sure to leave at home?

Take water and a chair. For beginner novice make sure you have a 6 foot leash. If you are taking a toy for a reward, make sure it doesn't squeak. That could bother the other novvice dogs.

Any tips/advice for this VERY nervous first timer?
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This brings back memories! The Barker Sisters taught me a lot about AKC obedience ring! I liked to get there early enough to toilet my dog before ring time. I liked to crate the dog before we went in the ring and, yes, get her out a couple before hand & I would amp my dog up with pats before going in the ring. I liked to get there the night before so I could set up my crate(s) near the ring and be familiar with where everything was.

Many of our "not passing" was due to the dogs giving me calming signals!

OK so when did we do best? (as in qualify) - when all my plans went to pot!

1. drive 4 + hours through a raging rain storm, too miserable out to set up the crates the night before.
2. on vacation, night before was hectic, raining, no way to set up a crate, outdoor ring, train going by very close to the fairgrounds
3. get to the grounds the night before but the chairman has closed the building! Can't set up the crates the night before. Talk myself out of being angry about it because that wouldn't do anything never mind that I took time off work to get there the night before...

All these were times when I decided "What the heck, I made the drive, I paid my fees, I may as well go in the ring..."

Some people advocate a stiff drink a bit before going on the field for a working dog trial.... I imagine that might be relaxing for AKC obedience, too.

On the practical side: have a plain flat leather collar with NO TAGS, have a six foot lead, have no treats or toys with you in the ring.

Remember: It is a dog trial! But one that will result in no jail time! It is NOT the end of the world if you blow it. (The world would have ended long ago in my case if that were going to happen...)
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abby142 View Post
Any tips/advice for this VERY nervous first timer?
Breathe. Breeaaaattthhe. Breathe!

Remember that Beginner Novice is supposed to be just a fun learning experience for your dog and you. Go out there and have fun. Try not to stress too much.

Also remember that everybody has been there! No one (at least no one worth caring about) is judging you; if they're watching at all, they are looking on in sympathy and maybe a little nostalgia. My first trial, I was so nervous that I had trouble sleeping for two weeks before the event. I couldn't eat breakfast that morning, and I had HUGE butterflies for five or six straight hours until our run.

That trial we scraped out an un-pretty Q.

The next time, I was even more stressed (we had done juuuust well enough the first time to be in the running for an Award of Excellence for three consecutive high scores, which I really wanted and was super nervous about, whereas the first time I just was kinda-sorta hoping for a Q and had nothing to lose), and we BOMBED. Total disaster. Not my dog's fault, it was 100% on me for being tense and stressed out and making him wonder what strange space alien had taken over the person at the other end of his leash.

So I learned a painful lesson that I think everybody has to learn at some point, namely: if you get nervous, your dog will get nervous, and then nothing good happens. And this is supposed to be fun!

Anyway, after blowing through a bazillion NQs over the course of the past year-and-change, I'm pretty much over the stress. You fail enough, it loses its sting. And now we do much better. So, if nothing else, maybe it would help to go out there expecting nothing other than "this is gonna help build up our failure calluses so we can get that out of the way and be awesome later." It helps me sometimes to think that, so I'll throw it out there. YMMV, of course!

I think Jakoda and Andaka covered most of your questions, so I'll just add:

My personal preference is to drive to the trial facility every morning even when I'm doing back-to-back trials on a weekend, because my dog can't relax in a hotel so he would get no rest at all if we didn't go home in between. Your dog may be different. The only way to find out is to do it and, whatever the result, treat it as a learning experience.

Good luck! Have fun! Breathe!
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Chair, water for the both of you, poo bags, treats/toy, crate, 6 f leash and flat buckle collar, minty gum (chew a piece while waiting, spit it out before you go into the ring, helps with nerves) I drive back and forth unless I have early ring time and/or the site is further than 3 hours away.

I learned that doing at least one thing with my dog that makes me laugh before I enter the ring really helps. I have terrible ring nerves, like noticeably bad, like David Maurer noticed and talked to me after a trial and gave me the laughing tip bad. It worked

BTW, he's super nice. If you ever have the chance to trial under him, do it!
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Good luck; your post brought back great memories! I was 16 and super nervous! First time showing a.k.c .on. took third was so happy good luck" like mercel said breath Bill

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Old 12-30-2013, 07:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Lots of great advice so far - here are a few things that help me at trials. If I'm feeling nervous, I do a short breathing exercise. Breathe in while slowly counting to five then breathe out while slowly counting to five. This helps slow your breathing and calms the nerves. You can also listen to music on your iPod or think positive, empowering thoughts like, "I got this!" Thinking negative stuff like "I'm so nervous" only makes things worse.

I ask my ring prep students to watch the following video:

http://youtu.be/B8vG8izORnk

Mentally practice each of the exercises. What will the judge say, what is your response, what command will you give.

One small tip for BN, watch which way the judge wants you to walk on the sit stay and mentally practice that too.

Good luck and welcome to dog obedience! I just love to see more sheps at the trials!
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Old 12-30-2013, 10:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I make a list of things to take, and put the dog at the top. Yeah, I'm the type that can load the car, and forget the dog. Other things on the list include crate, water bowl or bucket, water from home or bottled water, pick-up baggies, training treats, snack for you, a chair, and an extra leash and collar. If you do decide to stay at a motel, don't forget dog food.

Don't forget, BN is supposed to be performed on a 6' leash.

Most importantly, breathe!

Where are you showing, by the way? I just saw that you are in Houston. Will it be in Groves? If so, I can tell you now that it is a very small venue, and tight quarters in the crating area.


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Old 12-31-2013, 10:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Alright breathing seems to be important so I will try to remember that Its funny actually when I use to do horseback riding my instructor was always yelling at me to keep breathing. Apparently when nervous I hold my breath without realizing it

Water is a good idea! I didn't think of that

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammaD View Post
I learned that doing at least one thing with my dog that makes me laugh before I enter the ring really helps. I have terrible ring nerves, like noticeably bad, like David Maurer noticed and talked to me after a trial and gave me the laughing tip bad. It worked
That's a great tip! I will have to give that a try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardyan View Post
I ask my ring prep students to watch the following video:
Great video, thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoRose View Post
Where are you showing, by the way? I just saw that you are in Houston. Will it be in Groves? If so, I can tell you now that it is a very small venue, and tight quarters in the crating area.
Yes it is in Groves so thank you for the heads up. I've never been there but the club we train at is pretty small too so hopefully it won't be too bad. I'm guessing there will be people there directing when to set up our crate and stuff?
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