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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all,

I'm writing a "Trial Tips" article for our club newsletter. The goal of this article is to prepare new people for their first trial experience, as well as to prevent them from making frustrating, preventable mistakes.

I would love to hear about the things you learned the "hard way". For example, the first time I ever ran agility, I learned to always wait for the mechanical voice to blandly intone "Go". Apparently, a blank stare from the stewards is not indication that they are prepared. :rolleyes:

What advice would you give to a newcomer in order to prevent them making some of your mistakes?

Thank you for your input! :)
 

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I have nothing to add, as I haven't trialed yet. However, our first trial is in July so I am very interested in reading your article! I do hope you share it here once it's complete! Thanks for taking the time!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's awesome! Welcome to the world of trialing, but beware the addictive properties of dog shows!

Not sure if I'm brave enough to post the entire thing online, but I will pm you a copy once it's done. :)
 

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Don't take it all to seriously. You can't expect to be perfect your first time out and know when your dog has had enough so they don't go ring sour.

First agility trial for me was a DOCNA trial. Four runs in one weekend. The first run, Jax decided to check the perimeter of the fence at high speed, happy as a lark, then knocked me flat on my back when I tried to stop her. Second run, she stayed with me but had to redo some obstacles (I was happy with that run). Third run, next day, checked the fence perimeter again while having a grand ole time. Fourth run, was perfect, earned a leg and won first place.

First rally trial was an ASCA. Four runs in one weekend. First day was ok and she earned two legs. Wasn't completely focused but was as good as you might expect first time out. Second day was a disaster. She didn't want to go, she was stressed and refused to do anything. She was done before she ever started. If I had to do it over again, I would have never entered her the second day.
 

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If you can go to a show n go or a fun show at a site you know you will be showing in take advantage of it, then you'll know the basic set up on show day.
Take an extra pair of hands with you for help. My mom loves to go to the shows but hates showing so she has become our groups official dog holder, comes in really handy.
I dont' know what I would of done without a friends help at my first shows, she keep me on the right track as far as where to be and when, so if you can tag along with someone that's shown before take advantage of that too, even if you dont' show at that show.
 

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1. Get there EARLY.

2. Bring a light chair to sit on.

3. Let your dog relax and potty before going in the ring.

4. Don't forget to take the collar with tags off the dog, I use a special lead and martingale for showing. I spazzed when the judge told me that I could not have the collar w/tags on the dog, rushed to the truck got another one, switched it, was showing two dogs, so I was thinking that I would have to remember to do the same for the second, and blew right by a sign. NQ. I took first with the second dog, and he was not nearly as polished as Arwen.

5. Your first time out -- one dog, one event. After a dozen titles, it still totally wacks me out when I am worried about getting this dog through Rally and that one through obedience at the same show, usually within the same time frame. Why do I continue to do it? Too many dogs, too little intelligence.

6. Breathe. You do not want to be the first person to feint doing obedience.

7. Listen to the judge. They do a walk-through and the judge will tell you what they are looking for. If you have a question, ASK. They WANT to help you succeed not fail.

8. Appreciate the stewards. They are not there to hold your dogs or lend you a pen. Most of them have little experience and are a bit overwhelmed with all they have to do. But they generally manage to do a great job all the same. Know where you are and where you need to be so they do not have to call out for you.

9. HAVE FUN. If this is not fun for you and for the dog, maybe something else is a better choice. I have done obedience and rally and have trained in agility. I KNOW agility is not my thing, even if my dogs are suited to it. I find Rally more fun then obedience.

ETA: 10. Bring a friend. A friend can be a big help, they can hold your dog for the walk through and in case you need to go to the bathroom. Some friends can tell you what you did wrong in there (though must judges will let you know too at the end.) And a friend can be awesome for people watching, dog watching, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Great tips everyone - thank you so much! :)
 

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The day of and before the trial is waaaaaaaay too late to expect to fix any problems you or your dog have been having. At that point take a deep breath and just have fun! When it's your turn to trial, behave exactly as you have been during practice regardless of what you see other handlers doing!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think that is an excellent tip!
 
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