My First Dog Show – Whidbey Island KC!

| November 21, 2013 | 0 Comments
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Misha and Misty Mountain Chasin' The Bird - "Parker"  in the Labrador Winners class at the 2013 Whidbey Island Kennel Club Show.

Misha and Misty Mountain Chasin’ The Bird – “Parker” in the Labrador Winners class at Whidbey Island KC.

This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in my first American Kennel Club (AKC) conformation show, put on by the Whidbey Island Kennel Club. It sure was a lot of fun! It was great to apply what I am learning in my weekly classes with Tonya Struble. For the past couple of weeks I have been focusing on accurately handling the dog and learning to stack and free bait them. The classes are really paying off. They give me a good idea of what I need to do and what the dog should look like in the ring. I felt pretty confident that I could do a good job stacking the dog correctly and trot around the ring. But having said that, it was my first show and I will admit I was nervous. My mind darted from thoughts of ‘I have no idea what I am doing’ to ‘I can do it, it’ll be fun’! I’ve always had a competitive spirit though, so the latter obviously triumphed.

I showed Misty Mountain Labradors’ eleven-month old puppy, Misty Mountain Chasin’ the Bird – “Parker”. This was my first time handling her so of course she paid me no mind in the beginning! She was a good girl though and she is so well put together that all I really had to do was hang on to the end of the lead and keep her from trying to play. I tried my best to do her justice and in some moments I felt I succeeded. In other moments my inexperience shined through such as when she sat down during the judges close inspection… Oops! But we did get a second in our 9-12 month class on Saturday and a first in the same class on Sunday, which I’m going to chalk up as a success!

Aside from having a good time, another great thing that I took away from this weekend’s experience was that I was able to see where my biggest flaws are – as far as my handling is concerned. This is important because Sugar, CH Misty Mountain Some Like it Hot, already knows exactly what to do. When I take her to class she helps me build a good foundation for my handling knowledge. But in the same turn she does not expose me to situations where things do not always go as planned.

Both Parker’s exuberance and our greenness in the ring really highlighted areas in my handling in which I can improve upon. Just like Sugar, Parker is a good teacher too because she doesn’t reward my incorrect handling, she behaves in concordance to my actions. I have to admit, I felt a heart-stopping surge when the judge ran his hands over Parker and she sat down! I thought to myself, ‘nothing in my training has prepared me for this’, but I find that little hiccups like this are great learning experiences. It was a nice surprise when we ended up winning the class, thanks to Parker’s good looks no doubt. Looking back, I understood that she had sat down during judging because I was not baiting her correctly; the cookie was to far away from her to keep her interested. Lesson learned, our second time in the ring was much more successful in that I was more careful with my baiting. We didn’t take Winners’ Bitch but we did get called to the front of the line and received a very nice compliment from the judge! I am really happy and excited to have taken the first official steps towards my goal of showing my own puppy, Indie, and I look forward to participating in more dog shows in the coming months. I am so appreciative to be able to work with Misty Mountain Labradors and work with their wonderful dogs, so a big thank you to them.

Category : Blog, Conformation

Misha Abbenhouse

About the Author ()

Being surrounded by the Great Northwest for the entirety of my life I have come to really enjoy the outdoors, loving the rain almost as much as the fleeting sunshine and all the activities that come along with it. I've always loved animals especially those of the equine and canine variety. My intense interest in dogs led me to start writing about the adventures that Indy, my black lab, and I shared. Aside from animals, I love to read and write and college really fostered this love and I now find myself being able to couple my two great loves of writing and dogs.

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