Today went a lot better than yesterday, although there were a few slip ups on the gaiting that could have been prevented. I was talking to some of the groomers and one of the handlers I spoke to the other day gave me some liver for Ashra. While it was a nice gesture, I think that it's better if I stick to the Lucky Charms. With the liver Ashra's eyes were WIDE OPEN the whole time, and she was just waiting for me to stop paying attention so that she could steal the liver from my hand. When we were doing the down and back, she jumped on me and tried to whack her paws on my hand to knock out the piece of liver, so I hid it away (but by then we had already wasted the down and back). She also tried lunging once during a stack.
The two bitches from the second day were there (the tiny one, plus the really ugly one). And I just cannot understand how the ugly one keeps beating us, it must have something to do with either 1) my so-bad-you-can-barely-stand-to-look handling or 2) Ashra's natural ears. I can understand that judges like a certain type would go for the small one (and she's won a couple of times), but the fact that the ugly one never wins but places just before us is ... insulting.
The result: third place, graded excellent.
After the show by chance I met an ex-handler/Chihuahua breeder.
He took one look at Ashra and said: so, I guess she's won a couple of times by now?
Him: Why not?
Me: Maybe because I'm handling her... badly.
He: (starts laughing) you're handling her yourself at EXPOCAN?! Well, I did the same thing, started off knowing absolutely nothing. It took me 5 years to get to the world championships. I wish you both lots of luck, there are lots of tricks to learn that's for sure. But just my opinion: she would probably be doing very well if she had a professional handler.
He also told me about how he had one really nice dog that was terrible in the show ring for almost three years, but then one day it just suddenly clicked in his head and he started performing really well and won all his titles all in one go, in a very short amount of time. He said not to worry if Ashra is a bit crazy since she is still a young puppy. I guess that's kind of encouraging? He said he'll be coming to the show over the week and he'll watch our turn. I'm hoping he'll be able to give us some pointers on how to improve. We're ready for tomorrow, I guess.