Judge: Sheila Verhulst (Canada)

After 145 English Bulldogs (yes, really), it was the Dobermanns. We arrived at 11am, to find out our turn would be closer to 2.30pm and that all the catalogues were sold out (?!), so we just have to estimate the time and turn up tomorrow. The guys at the desk told me that it should be more or less at the same time, so we'll be arriving closer to 1pm. And definitely not forgetting to bring my fold up stool this time!

There were only 3 other females in competition in the youth class (9-18 months), surprisingly (at the last show in Guadalajara, which was just a regular CAC, there were 7 or 8 other competing), and you guessed it: midget bitches again. I wasn't focusing much on them as I was busy handling Ashra, but I honestly was standing around looking for her competitors while we were waiting for our turn, because I thought those females were in the Puppy B class (6-9 months). And my pet peeve was there: another floppy crop (a black one, this time).

I was definitely glad that the judge was English speaking, because she seemed to vary the run a bit for each dog. Ashra was definitely not herself and hasn't been since we moved out, but I'm hoping that will change over the coming days. She was extremely distracted and couldn't focus. Worse than even the first day of her first ever show.

At first I thought we were going to do fine, and we stacked well before the examination. However during the hands on she decided to try to sit, and I had to try to stack her again... the judge even helped me with the other foot . Then during the run she decided that we were playing and tried to jump on me... she went back to a nice stride when I slowed down, but we had already wasted half the down and back, the judge sent us around in a circle to the end of the line and it went a little better. The worst part was when we were stacking in a line at the end, because just as I had her stacked perfectly the handler behind me started going nuts with a squeaky toy. And let me put it this way: Ashra goes CRAZY with squeaky toys (which is why I opted for the food and not the toy as bait), and she turned around and tried to take the toy off the handler (I quickly pulled her back in place, but she kept turning around and basically did not stand still for the end stack). I moved her forward to put some distance between us but then the handler in front of me swore at me, telling me to keep my damn distance from his dog.

The result: fourth place, graded excellent.

The grading was really encouraging and I learned a lot (even though Ashra took a step back), so I think going by the competition we might have a chance, if we can just remedy the attention span/squeaky reaction. I'm unsure of what to do re: the squeaky toy. If I desensitize her to it, it may effect her performance in a European style show. But at the same time, I've got to find a way to get her to keep focused.
 





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    I originally hail from Australia, although I can be found in different parts of the world.  I stumbled upon my first accidental show dog (Ashra) and pedigree Dobermann this year and I am currently in the process of looking for the second addition to our team.  I'm a lostie trying to make it in the show/sport world without a clue. Learning as I go, as newbies do. I aim to document my experiences as accurately, and truthfully as I can, because I myself have found that such information (from the point of view of the "nobody"), is lacking and elusive.

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