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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Editing now that I am a a tad more together. I hope topic does not make it appear as if I am disregarding everyone who provided advice when I initially asked whether to wait on the BH or not. I considered each of your responses when making the decision to go ahead.

I am starting this thread both to document what happens, and to hopefully “talk” it out with others who have been in our shoes.

Kai and I are going for our first attempt at a BH in a week. She has the basics down yet nothing is polished. She forges ahead in the fuss, shoves herself closer to me each time she thinks she’s in the wrong position (cue me on my face), is HIGHLY vocal about everything, and still occasionally throws minor to major tantrums over other dogs (it varies each day). All this being said, I have chosen to go for the BH with the understanding that we can try again in the spring with my club if we do not pass this time.

I am a nervous wreck.

In particular, the long down concerns me. Kai has held it (albeit LOUDLY) time and time again in practice, with and without dogs around. Yet I could always see her in the corner of my eye (not completely turned around), she often had a long line on her, and I always had an ecollar on her. In the trial I will have none of these safety nets and my back will be to her.

She has given me little reason to believe she would break the down and even less reason to believe she would not run right to me and instead go to the other dog on the field. Yet I cannot help but play out the worst case scenarios. This isn’t helpful and is only increasing my nerves which I know will affect Kai.

I know I’m not the only one who has felt this way with an event, Scutzhund or anything else. How did you deal with the nerves? Did you find your dog exceeding expectations or no? I’m hoping hearing other’s stories will provide some comfort in remembering we all started somewhere. Not to mention it provides a nice distraction from over
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Snout Working animal

Photo is Kai after her CGC a couple weekends ago. And yes, that is a finger in the photo
 

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BH judging is usually pretty lenient, at least in comparison. You need 42 of 60 points. As long as your dog is under control and mostly completes the exercises, you will be fine. You can definitely peek to see what’s she’s doing. Only once have I watched a BH and felt like they were high level dogs. Two dogs of trainers that were paired together. Dogs that had been training for years. No other time have I seen a BH close to that. I lost Cion’s sit the week prior to his BH. Got an amazing stand at the trial though. The nerves will be there. It’s your first time. Once I was in the field, I just had to trust my dog would perform as trained. As long as you trust the long down, trust that she isn’t going to leave the field out of control, and trust she’ll get through the traffic safety portion, go for it.
 

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I’m sorry I’m just seeing this thread. Good luck! The only way to train for trial is to trial lol. There is no way to replicate those nerves. So breathe! One thing that can help calm the nerves is to count your paces in your head. Keeps your mind busy. I also smile the entire time. So relax as much as you can, and have fun!

As mentioned the judging for the BH is pretty lenient. When I did Terra’s BH it was ugly! Like really ugly. We passed, but barely. Honestly if I was judging I wouldn’t have passed us. So just relax and no matter what happens know your did more than most by just stepping on the field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you to everyone wishing us good luck 😁 I may not have been clear enough, the BH isn’t until next weekend (October 1 & 2) but I appreciate the vote of confidence nonetheless.

It is encouraging hearing your stories. @Bearshandler and @mycobraracr. It is hard not to want to go into this believing every dog out there is a robot and will be near perfect. Hearing they were all in such various states of training yet still passed is encouraging. The judge at this trial has a reputation for being straightforward, kind and fair. If nothing else we will receive good feedback afterwards.

@Bearshandler I can peek during the long down? I won’t be automatically failed if the judge catches it?

@mycobraracr Smiling sounds like such an easy fix to make but I think I’ll still put a sticky note reminder on my dash. Smile and trust Kai. Do you remember where you did well/lost points?
 

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Thank you to everyone wishing us good luck 😁 I may not have been clear enough, the BH isn’t until next weekend (October 1 & 2) but I appreciate the vote of confidence nonetheless.

It is encouraging hearing your stories. @Bearshandler and @mycobraracr. It is hard not to want to go into this believing every dog out there is a robot and will be near perfect. Hearing they were all in such various states of training yet still passed is encouraging. The judge at this trial has a reputation for being straightforward, kind and fair. If nothing else we will receive good feedback afterwards.

@Bearshandler I can peek during the long down? I won’t be automatically failed if the judge catches it?

@mycobraracr Smiling sounds like such an easy fix to make but I think I’ll still put a sticky note reminder on my dash. Smile and trust Kai. Do you remember where you did well/lost points?

With Terra, we were all over the place.Her head was on the ground the entire time. There was food all over the trial field. That’s no excuse, she should have still had her head up. She was basically just disconnected from me. Here are a couple pictures from Terra’s BH.
Dog Vertebrate Cargo pants Mammal Carnivore

Trousers Plant Tree Gesture Military camouflage


Kimber did really well. Her off leash was much better than her on leash (still is). Which makes sense since I almost never have her on a leash. I didn’t really lose much with Kimber, although it could always be better. Kimber was 16mo when we did it, so still young. Here are some pictures of her BH.
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Smile Plant

Dog Dog breed Water Plant Carnivore


Remember proper trial prep is important. This is how Terra and I got ready 🤣

Comfort Leg Couch Carnivore Mammal
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@mycobraracr I appreciate all of this 😂 You’ve certainly seen both ends of the spectrum. Kai happily yoddles, howls and yips her way through much of her routine. Something we’ve been working on each day with limited to no success. It is good to know this won’t necessarily be the end all, be all in what passes or fails us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That’s a good reminder on routine as well. I’ll need to make a point to figure out what routine we’ve established beyond her warm up so it isn’t disrupted too much with nerves the day of..
 

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I was procrastinating and finally decided it was time to get our BH in January, LOL. We missed the down-in-motion (my handling error) and still passed. My dog did pretty much exactly what I expected her to do.

I wasn't really nervous going on the field, had many people told me that most people pass their BH so I was hopeful :LOL::LOL::LOL: I was told that for the most part, a judge just wants to make sure the handler has control over his/her dog.

Would you be able to pair your routine with someone who is familiar with your dog? So in the event your dog breaks her long down, it won't surprise the other handler as much.
 

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I've missed minimal points in the obedience portion. I was as hot mess the night before all of Faren's trials and she kicked out high scores. I'm never sure if she's going to pick the dumbbell up or go sniff the judge. The week before her BH, she decided a club member was the helper and went for a long bite. I've only ever seen two people fail - and they were of the attitude of "it's just a BH. It's like a walk in the park". They literally did not get to their spots to start before they were tossed. But the judge had them pegged when they scanned for chips and they had no control.

Breathe and smile at your dog. You'll be fine :) Make sure you have engagement before taking the field. Have a routine that starts at getting her out of the car so you are telling her "we're going to work now". I always play with them a little, fuss them out, do a sit out of motion and reward, then put them in a down and wait. I practice that before training. Every time you stop in basic position, look at the judge. It gives you time to breathe. I literally practice that too.

Walk the routine without your dog. I count. I can't be all freaked out if I'm counting my steps in my head. Counting is my lifesaver. it gives me focus.
 

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I love the BH. It is pass or fail, but even if you fail there is so much to learn! And of course there is often another trial 6 months away to try again. When we were training in Schutzhund one of the new members with us had a lab. She did the BH with her and it was wonderful, up until the mid field Down while the handler walks away. The lab decided it was a good time to roll in the grass. We all had a good laugh watching the lab go belly up. She passed. Of course now the woman works more serious GSDs, but that was a good day and helped break that nervous block.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Would you be able to pair your routine with someone who is familiar with your dog? So in the event your dog breaks her long down, it won't surprise the other handler as much.
Unfortunately not this time. I’m the only one in my “dog-age” group ready to attempt it now, and the others who needed a BH passed earlier in the year when my club hosted a trial.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I appreciate all these stories and the advice/reminders. Just reading through them is already helping to calm my nervous wondering 😌
For those who missed a spot, or whose dog didn’t perform it (down-in-motion, sit-in-motion, etc) did you continue on or stop and wait to see what the judge said to do next?
 

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No, you aren’t going to get DQ for peeking. Just don’t spend the whole routine staring. I’ve seen that and the judge didn’t say anything. As for missing a command, it depends. I gave the sit command he stopped and did a stand. I just went out and came back as normal. The next exercise has to start in the basic so I told him to sit when I got back and continued on.
 

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A couple more tips:
I always walk the routine without my dog before the trial starts. I want to make sure I have my mental notes of where I should be on THAT field. I almost never trial on my home field, so since it’s a strange place I want to have it down pat, especially the group. Which directions am I going to go and so on. Where will the judge be? How can I finish to face the judge? Things like that.

If you’re worried about the long down (I was with Terra), have a friend watch the dog and you casually look at your friend in the crowd. They can give you a subtle signal that your dog is up lol.
 

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I appreciate all these stories and the advice/reminders. Just reading through them is already helping to calm my nervous wondering 😌
For those who missed a spot, or whose dog didn’t perform it (down-in-motion, sit-in-motion, etc) did you continue on or stop and wait to see what the judge said to do next?
I uploaded my routine so you could see it. You are smart to be asking these questions now, I realized I should've after my BH, LOL.

Our BH was kind of funny.

We went out-of-state to trial. There were 3 BHs that day. A handler was kind enough to use his titled dog to run through the BH routine with me (so the 3 BHs wouldn't have to do a round robin).

When I missed the down-in-motion, I tried to go back, which was a mistake, the handler who was doing a long down with his dog tried to help and yelled out, "Down her again, keep going, don't go back" :LOL: I must've looked confused, 'cuz then the judge stepped in and told me again not to go back :ROFLMAO: I still laugh whenever I think about it.

It was my first IGP trial and we put most of the routine together on our own (long story short, we left our first IGP club in April, went to second IGP in June, the training director in the second club moved away in October, there was no experienced handler in the club to help guide us). We didn't get to practice "checking-in" with another handler/dog team until 3 days before the trial.

It was quite a learning experience and we had a great time. Everyone was super helpful.

So just relax and have fun, that's what dog sport is all about :D

BH January 2022
 

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Following and reading this thread because I’m going to trial for a BH in a month. I’m already nervous. Her OB is great, I’m not worried about that. I’m mostly worried about the down stay (she’s usually good but sometimes she sits and might get distracted by a dog she doesn’t know doing the routine) and the dog neutrality portion of the traffic test. Her reactivity is a lot better but she could still have a minor reaction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Following and reading this thread because I’m going to trial for a BH in a month. I’m already nervous. Her OB is great, I’m not worried about that. I’m mostly worried about the down stay (she’s usually good but sometimes she sits and might get distracted by a dog she doesn’t know doing the routine) and the dog neutrality portion of the traffic test. Her reactivity is a lot better but she could still have a minor reaction.
Good I’ll focus on waiting for your BH instead of worrying about mine 😉
 
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