Obedience Insanity

March 24, 2019

That's it, all verdicts are in, I am glutton for punishment. When the dog known to the AKC as "Persephonie In Springtime" first came into my life, I thought I was looking at the least likely candidate for obedience trails on the face of the planet. It was actually a little disappointing, because I had been wanting to get back into the ring.

I was overjoyed when she started picking up basic commands so fast. So we started officially training with a local kennel club to help with Sephie's socialization. And as she did better and better, and became more and more comfortable around people, the dream was born, again. Plus, she loved to work. Her little nub never stopped wiggling when in class. I started wondering if I was wrong about this dog. She seemed to have a very good brain hidden under all of her past trauma and ridiculously goofy personality.

Visions of grandeur began to dance in my head. Who knows, if she had a better trainer than me, she might have already achieved ... dare I say it ... an obedience championship! And with a dog so bright, surely even a novice like me could do great things with her. After all, my first Rottie, Chelsea, had earned her title the first 3 times that she was in the ring. And Chelsea wasn't anywhere near as motivated as Sephie seemed to be.

Whenever our kennel club sent out their monthly newsletter, I would turn to the section in which dogs that had earned new titles were featured and would dream of the day when Sephie's picture would be there.

Our instructor encouraged us to enter pre-novice levels in some upcoming trials, i.e., the equivalent of doggie obedience little league (no matter what the dog does, everyone gets a ribbon). She blew me away and came in 2nd place for both trials. Ooooh, our time was almost near.

And then the day came to take the plunge. The real thing, a weekend of AKC Obedience Trials less than 2 hours away from home! So I filled out the entry form, made a hotel reservation, and arranged for Dingo to have a weekend of pampering at my mother's house. Picture in the kennel club newsletter here we come!

So for the first time in over 10 years, I was going to enter the obedience ring with a dog. She was entered in the Novice B class for both days. If you are unfamiliar with obedience trials, there are basically 3 levels: Novice (basic commands with some off leash work), Open (which includes jumps and retrieving), and Utility (the PhD level of obedience). To earn a title at any of these levels, a dog must earn at least 170 out of 200 points at 3 different shows, under 3 different judges. Plus, you must earn a title at one level before being allowed to advance to the next.

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