This morning was quite an experience for us. We decided yesterday at the last minute that we were going to attend a fun match in Fort Lauderdale to see how well Orso does in the Rally ring, as compared to how he behaves in class.
Dee had informed us about this event and one of the event organizers told us that it was OK for Orso to participate, despite being only 5 months old. The event was called Rally-O and Competition Obedience Fun Match and was hosted by American Idogs and Petropolis Park at Sunview Park in Fort Lauderdale. The fun match was put on to serve as practice for an upcoming AKC show in Miami that will take place next weekend, which Orso will still be too young to participate in. There were two rings – obedience and rally. Obedience was judged by AKC Judge Mrs. Rose Doan and Rally was judged by AKC Judge Mr. Harold Doan.
We entered Orso in Rally Novice and were pleased to see that the course that was set up was very similar to the courses we have been doing in class with Dee. The only differences were that I had to keep Orso on a leash and I could not use any food bait in the ring to encourage Orso. WHAT???!!! NO FOOD???!!! I cringed when this information was delivered to me. First of all, Orso and I hardly ever work with a lead because I am too clumsy to keep it organized and not trip over it. We basically only work off-lead AND we always work with food. He’s only 5 months old, so keeping his attention is very challenging. We generally need food to keep him engaged. Today was no different.
Here was the other challenge that we, as inexperienced dog show participants, quickly learned – there is NO SHADE, it is HOT and nothing happens expeditiously at these events. We arrived at 9:15am and didn’t go into the ring until noon. 3 hours is a long time to keep a puppy entertained and above all, cool and comfortable. Everyone else had tents and canopies and crates and pens! By the time we got into the ring, Orso was over it. He was tired, thirsty and grumpy. He had absolutely no desire to work AND WE COULDN’T USE FOOD BAIT!!!!!! AHHHHH!
As the true good team that we are, Orso and I went into the ring and gave it our best. I tried tricking him into thinking I had food, which worked OK except that he kept dragging behind. Everyone was cheering for him since he was the only puppy at the entire event. I think everyone liked us because we had the courage to show up with such a young dog and give it a go. All the dogs there were pretty seasoned adults. We finished our course and I praised him for being such a trooper. In the end, we got a “no score” that is pretty much the same as a disqualification because I was trying too hard to keep him with me and therefore tugged on the leash too many times. The judge was very kind and helpful and gave us a ton of pointers. Oh well. I laughed and had a great time with the experience. Orso was thrilled to finally get a treat and a huge bowl of cold water when he was done. Below is a photo of the Rally Novice course we went through and two video clips of Orso and me struggling in the ring. Enjoy!
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