Dogs never fail to amaze me. Especially my own. I blogged a short time ago about Jubilee’s success in the field despite not having been trained to do the task at hand. Now I have more on that topic.
Last weekend I entered a three day show in Rally obedience. Jubilee had previously earned a Rally Advanced title and Orchid had earned her Rally Novice title. They were competing for the next level up. Rally, for me, is a fun class. You are not allowed to touch your dog, but you can talk to your dog and keep the communication going through praise and body language. I still get nervous. It seems I can’t help it. My nerves don’t help my dogs one bit.
Orchid blew through her class each day. She was well prepared and knew all the exercises and I was able to give her clear instructions. Jubilee was at a bit of a disadvantage. You see, a few days before the show, I reviewed the exercises that Jubilee might be asked to perform. I was in for a shock. There were a number of recently added exercises that Jubilee and I had not practiced. At all. Each dog is required to perform a series of exercises at specific stations in the ring. I figured that we could still get through the stations, even not knowing one exercise, and get enough points to qualify for the title.
The first day, I checked out the course and found that it was difficult. And one of the exercises Jubilee had no clue about was included. You have to at least try it and I planned on doing just that. This particular exercise had Jubilee walking up to a sign in heel, I pause and tell her stand/stay and walk six feet away. Then I turn around and instruct Jubilee to lay down from a distance. I figured she would look at me like I was crazy and stand there until I called her. Well, to my surprise, she went down on command. I was absolutely floored. I have no idea how she figured out to do that especially under stress in the ring. But she did. And we won our class.
Both dogs did well each of the three days and earned their new titles. I learned more about my dogs each day. I learned that they come through for me despite my “ring nerves”. I know my friends think I am crazy for getting up early and driving to the dog shows. Some days, I have no idea myself why I do it. But, on days like that, I have no doubt.