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  • Writer's pictureThe Cambridge Dog Lodge

First Breed Show - Puppy Diaries

This weekend saw the very first breed show for Ren and for me. In all the years of taking care of dogs, I had never taken part in a breed show. So lets just say I was feeling well out of my comfort on the lead up to Saturday.

Ren and me had been attending ring craft classes to learn what was expected, and to also make sure Ren was ok walking in a ring and being touched by a stranger/judge. Because after all it is about me and Ren doing something nice and fun together and if Ren didn’t like it, if she completely shut down and became very anxious, then we wasn’t going to continue. So, Saturday was a nice ‘little’ show as a test.

As well as Ren not being too keen but was finding it easier, but I was getting very anxious and nervous about being in front of people. This meant the more anxious I got, the more Ren did! Finally though on Thursday night at ringcraft we had a break through: both me and her just relaxed! I realised that if I lost sight of it being something nice for me and her to do, then it wasn’t going to happen at all. My attitude changed and we were all set…

Well, we were once Ren (and me!) had a shower. It wasn’t her who soaked me, I did that all on my own.

Saturday arrived, we got in the car and off we went.

I had arranged to meet Chanette, Ren’s breeder and owner of Bitz (Ren’s mum) and Kea (Ren’s grandma) there. To be honest, this comp was Chanette’s idea and booked it, had reassured me, coached me and guided me about what the day would hold. I instantly felt better when I saw her. Chanette told me that there was a Shar-pei in Ren’s class which I thought was ironic because she had met a Shar-pei (and liked her) on Thursday. Turns out, it was that Shar-pei!

We went into the centre and it was so packed! People, dogs, crates, trolleys, bags, you name it, was everywhere! It was the busiest place Ren had ever been! I really though it would be quieter but nope, loud and busy. Ren at first was nervous but she soon went in with me, Chanette and her grandma Kea.

It took her a little while to relax, helped by lots of praise and treats and it soon she was lay on the floor playing with a toy, in between begging for treats off all the very lovely people who were talking to her and being very patient with her.

Then it was our first turn in the ring. I said come on Ren and she just followed me in. She spotted her friend the Shar-pei who is very lovely and confident, giving Ren confidence too. We waited our turn and then it was Ren up on to the table. There isn’t many Kooikers at all and the judge commented that its been a while since she’d seen a young pup. Ren was anxious as expected so I kept make a huge fuss, telling her how good she was in a soft voice, giving her treats. Then Ren let the judge touch her face and mouth! Woohoo! As far as I was concerned we had won right there and then.

We came third in that class, and I was proud of us both but Ren letting her touch her the way she did was amazing.

Then we watched Kea take her turn. Kea is nearly 10 and a pro. She does like to bark and insist on being given extra treats though so was being a bit cheeky for Chanette.

We had a little wait before our next class but again Ren was really chilled out and kept pinching the toys out of Chanette's bag.

In we went again. More dogs this time, but same judge. We all went round at first together then we had to take it in turns to walk back and forth in a straight line. I had to take my turn again because the judge said I need to walk straight and not like I was drunk. So I laughed and went again! When they announced who came 1st, 2nd and 3rd I was so pleased with how it went I didn’t notice we were being called up to be 2nd! Whoop!

So, our first ever show and we got a third and a second. Kea got a third and gained warrant points. Most importantly, Ren really enjoyed it and loved sitting and watching everything going on. I know I’ll go on and on, but knowing Ren was happy there, she liked all the dogs, happily let the judge touch her, we got to spend time with Kea and Chanette was the best things about the day.

Cant wait for the next one!

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