One of our activities last weekend was judging a rally trial in MN for the Minnesota Mixed Breed Club. This club is great- they hold different kinds of trials and events open to all dogs. This may seem unusual for people who are newer to dog activities – but many years ago, AKC events were only open to purebred dogs and a group like this brought together competition events that are available for all dogs. Many people involved in the club do have dogs of specific breeds – but they enjoy the club and activities. Our friend we visited has been a member for a very long time and so we’ve heard great things about this group for many years.
On Friday I arrived early enough to help the group set up the rings and then we came back early on Saturday to start. This was my second judging away from ‘home’ and my first out of state judging opportunity. The club is very experienced at holding trials and at a point where they have systems for doing things but are also flexible and not stressed by any slight changes. It was a very good environment for judging and hopefully a good environment for exhibitors
It was interesting to see a very different group of dogs and handlers than the “usual” here. A few observations:
- Even though the obedience trial was going on nearby (as in on the other side of a wall), not very many dogs were doing both.
- MANY fewer teams working towards multi-level titles. I’m not sure what this means, but it felt like a good thing. I didn’t see the sadness about not getting the qualifications that I often see elsewhere.
- Lots of A dogs! Lots of level 1 teams!
- Several people who are experienced at trials but new to WCRL rally.
- Several people who calmly and politely left the ring when it was in the best interest of their dogs. While it’s unfortunate the dogs weren’t ready in the moment to be trialing, it wasn’t a bad choice and likely a great choice. Use the information to modify training but not create additional stressful/incorrect experiences in the ring. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this in Ohio – I’ve seen some teams NQ and pull out treats to reward a lot through the rest or teams get sad/unhappy and leave the ring.
- A new exhibitor was working with her 3-legged dog. We see a number of these dogs in regular manners training or behavior classes at home, but haven’t persuaded them that there are all kinds of other fun activities to do too.
- They thought I was very fast. I did not think that I was!
- Many more teams who attempted the retrieve bonus exercise – and very, very well.
I had a great time seeing so many teams!