The Corgi at the National Obedience Championship -part 1

We made it!  After almost 17 hours in the car over two days we arrived in Harrisburg, PA on Friday afternoon.  It turns out Minnesota is well represented with 9 dogs entered being the the 3rd largest state entry!  126 total dogs from around the country were entered.

I had heard a few things from my fellow Minnesotans on how the event was run so everything wasn't completely new.  You do each open and utility exercise twice each day with the orders mixed up in each ring.  There were 6 rings this year and since dogs were arranged by jump height, the Corgi started in ring 1.  Two cute little Dachshunds and a Yorkie lead the 4 inchers and Lance started the 8 inchers.  I was amazed to see how friendly and supportive everyone seemed to be of each other.  I think 90% of the people there were smiling and free of compliments towards everyone else.  And I don't think any of the other 10% were in with the shorties!  Lots and lots of happy working dogs were there!

Fellow AMAZING corgi.  No the shirts weren't planned :)

I can't say I had any goals for the long weekend.  I just wanted a happy dog and anything else would be icing on the cake.  If pressed, I was shooting for finishing just above the bottom 1/3rd of dogs.  I knew that we would be woefully unprepared to compete with the high caliber of dogs.

Waiting to go in the first ring of the weekend was nerve wrecking.  I'd love to say the nerves got better after entering 12 times, but only slightly!   Lance must have needed some adjustment time as well as that ring #1 was not our greatest performance.  Of course it just had to be heeling first and Lance took about half of it to multitask heeling with me along with sightseeing the crowd and other rings.  Thankfully he started to pull it together by 2nd half and by ring #2 he was with me completely.

We still had attention issues.  Overall Lance did a fabulous job of ignoring the close crowd but his tendency to look in between exercises was of course exacerbated here.  I also discovered that if heeling was first he wasn't quite ready to handle that in this environment.  But after an exercise or two to settle him in, Lance could really turn it on!  Day 2 he seemed to be ON even more than day 1.  AND he even held his sit stay with 6 rings going on at one time!!!

This event certainly was a test of endurance.  I know I was getting exhausted so I'm sure Lance was too.  But he made me proud with how quickly he turned on and ready to work again and again.  Precision was hit and miss but for the most part his attitude was there.

Overall Lance ended up "NQ"ing on 3 exercises day 1 (signals-sat before I turned around on the stand, signals- 3/4ths of the way down, and 1 go out- got completely lost on the first send).  And on day 2 he was clean until the very last ring of the day where he again failed on 2 exercises (signals- sat on the down, and go outs-didn't move on send #2).  If I think about it optimistically, Lance was clean on 41 out 46 exercises.  Our cumulative score was 1168 out of 1420.  Ouchy NQs!  Hopefully there will be the total scores up on the website before part 2 of my posting on this event.  I'll go over all of our errors this past weekend and my plans going forward.

Here are some snippets of our good moments:

Karissa  – ( April 1, 2014 at 10:25 PM )  

So much happy bouncy corgi!! What fun! You guys looked great. I had no idea the obedience competition was that intensive. Holy ring time! Any team that can stay connected through all that is downright amazing.

mary  – ( April 2, 2014 at 2:25 PM )  

Great video, happy happy dog! What a great job you've done training Lance.
Mary M.

achieve1dream  – ( April 2, 2014 at 5:11 PM )  

Lance is such a rock star! Even my husband said he's awesome. That's the first video he's ever watched of Lance performing. :) I can't wait for part two!

Lynnda L in Mpls  – ( April 5, 2014 at 10:10 AM )  

Good Job Laura! Nothing happens if you Don’t Show Up. Click/Virtual Treat to you for Showing Up at the National Obedience Championship with your first obedience dog. [I assume Lance is your Novice A dog.] Thanks for Putting It Out There. And thanks for sharing your experience.
Based on your video montage Lance did great for his – any yours – first time at such a high pressure event. [Note: By mere existence, all national level competition is high pressure.] In dog sports, Attitude is Everything – if you don’t have Attitude, you have little to work with.
Sorry about the NQs – NQs Happen – but you can be proud of how you prepared your dog for such a multiple-day event. I have found completion obedience to be very different for my dogs than sports that have more intrinsically reinforcing activities. Flyball, agility, tracking and hunt tests have many, many fun moments for the dog. As the insightful & obedience enthusiast Denise Fenzi shares in her blog on 3/28/14 “Heeling, while much loved by many handlers, is often not the preferred obedience activity for the dog.” Obedience is like chess – all precision, waiting, and No Barking, rather than the fun of the rowdiness in checkers like King Me.
I have found my dogs need, to be successful in the One Cue Or You Fail world of obedience competition, need a lot of practice in obedience. Waay more practice than for other dog sports. [See above comment.] Oh, and the concept that Silence =Good in the obedience ring – so different than the rest of the world.
So lots of credit to you Laura for preparing you & your dog for this event. Sounds like you got lots of good stuff out of your dog at the 2014 NOC.

Dexter  – ( April 11, 2014 at 7:08 PM )  

He always looks so happy when he is working with you. Congratulations!

Mango Momma

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