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:happyboogie: Woohoo! Just got my armband number in the mail yesterday for Piper and my first Rally competition. We're going Novice A since I've never done this before either... in fact she's my first dog too! I'm super excited and we've been working on our signs over the past few weeks to brush up on things.

Since this is our first trial we're doing it at our home training school but I know the environment will be very different than class days. Any recommendations on helping her deal with the busy-ness of so many dogs around? Any suggestions on anything else for a newbie? I learned early on that I have to keep my adrenaline down around her, so I'll be working hard to not be nervous ;)

Thanks!
 

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Don't do what a lot of people do......drag their dogs around for HOURS before they go in the ring. By the time they get into the ring they have no dog left!

When you first get to the show, leave your dog in the car and bring your crate and chair in. You need the crate so you have some place to leave your dog during the walk-thru! Bring a water dish, a favorite toy, and whatever is part of your normal training day. Find a space and set up, then take a walk around to get the lay of the land. Find your ring, and if they're giving out numbers pick yours up.

Get your dog out of the car, give her a pee break, and take her into the show and take a nice walk around. Not serious training, just a nice walk. Maybe do a couple of puppy pushups. Give her a nice rub down. Come up with some kind of game that you can play with her that doesn't disrupt the other dogs. Put her in her crate and let her chill for a while. If she's not used to being crated at class, sit in your chair for a while so she doesn't worry that you're leaving her. But DO walk away after a while, briefly at first, to give her a chance to get used to that.

Depending on how long it is until you show, take her out again and have her do a few quick puppy push-ups, a little bit of heeling, a quick game, then back into her crate. You can probably do this sequence a couple of times....use your judgement. You want your dog enthusiastic but not over the top! But you also don't want to leave your best performance outside the ring. Since you have one of Christine's dogs I don't think you have to worry about not having enough dog <G>

Good luck, have fun! Go show off your dog!
 

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Thanks! There are definitely no worries about not having enough dog... still haven't found the bottom even if she did sleep a lot after hiking this weekend. Thanks for the advice on how to approach crating at the show. She's used to it at home but we've never done it at class. Tug won't be too disruptive, will it? Other than chasing her favorite ball that's her favorite thing to do.
 

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Make sure to watch some other classes go before you. Take your time with the walk thru and ask questions. I found the judge and fellow exhibitors to be very fun and helpful. Oh, and take flash cards with the sign descriptions or have it loaded on your I-phone. Very important!

PLan on having lots of fun..if you have a happy dog..keep the speed up to keep her attention up.

We did our first Novice A..had only trained at home ( in rally anyway)...and
we placed first with the fastest time!

Good luck..rally is fun and low stress!!
 

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Well, we had a great time and two qualifying scores! Piper was very cool about the whole experience... only thing is that she isn't used to being left in a crate anywhere other than home. So I stuck her back in the car when it was time for the walk though. We're going to show again at the end of this month and hopefully finish the Novice title! Thanks for the advice and input!
 

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Wonderful news and congrats to the both of you!!

:)
 

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Update: We did the Langley Kennel Club Memorial Day Cluster last weekend. Whew!! That's a huge show!! Saturday, the day Piper went had over 1100 dogs entered between the breed show and obedience/rally trials. Even though we only needed one more leg I entered two classes and she sailed through both! I was a little concerned how she would react to such an odd place - tons of dogs, spectators, vendors, barking, grooming (blow dryers), loud PA system, and so many new distractions. She didn't bat an eye though... walked in with crate and stuff in tow on a dolly like she'd been doing this all along. Went in the ring and other than an itchy moment and a "oh, I'm still working" space cadet moment she was perfect. So Piper is now a Rally Novice dog with all her scores being in the 90s. Next step: Advanced :)
 

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Congratulations!! :D
 
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