It's dog show time again, and what a rollercoaster of a weekend we had. On Thursday I was all ready to go when the truck battery died. By the time we got things fixed up we'd missed our ring time, so that was that for the day. Friday we competed in conformation, and came third out of three in our class. That was fine with me, because I felt like I showed her better than I've been doing and she behaved really well in the ring. On Saturday and Sunday, I'd enrolled us for our first two tries ever (for either of us) in the Rally ring. We've never taken a class, I studied the signs really hard and Raodi's breeder has been helping us lots (mostly by email) since she has a dog with her RAE (the highest Rally title).
Rally is scored as a percentage -- each team starts with 100, and the judge deducts as necessary as you go through the course to come up with your final score. Different types of mistakes mean different amounts of points off, and to qualify you need a minimum of 70%. To get a title, you need 3 qualifying scores. Rally itself is a course of obedience exercises that each dog and handler go through, novices on a leash and more advanced dogs loose. Unlike traditional obedience you're allowed to praise and pet the dog as you go, and repeating commands is okay too, so some people and dogs find it easier but I think it may be more of a learning style thing than truly easier or harder. Each course is different, the novice course has to be between 10 and 15 exercises long, and the judges have more than that to choose from when they're designing the course and they can put them in any order. More advanced courses are longer, and the Excellent dogs also have to honour, which means holding a stay at the side of the ring (in the ring) while the next dog is performing) The exercises are a bit different from traditional obedience, too, with things like sprials and pivots and serpentines as well as the usual sit, stand, down, stay and heeling forward.
Ladies and gentlemen I am stunned and proud to announce that we got our first TWO qualifiying scores, and only have one left to get her novice title!!! I'm so proud of my dog I'm about to burst, and we had a great time. I like this sport!