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Just over a week ago, I went to my first dog show! It was a long but fun day. And it was successful, too!

As you know, my mom and I play training games every day. Some that work on my service dog skills. And others that work on foundation skills for Rally and Obedience. Oh, and we work on tricks, too!

On the day of the show, my mom finished getting our things together. And soon we were on our way. It felt exciting. Even though my mom was nervous. But I told her we would have lots of fun and do just fine. Because Buffy reassured me that shows were exciting and fun.

When we got to the show there were lots of new smells. People and dogs were everywhere! My mom even saw some people she hadn’t seen for many years! 

Our class was Rally Novice B. It is the first level of Rally. Which is all on a leash. In the more advanced levels, it is off-leash. And the signs become more challenging.

Our Rally Novice B course!

In Rally, there is a course set up by the judge with a group of signs that must be followed in a specified order. And each of the signs needs to be executed correctly. 

In the Novice class, there are 42 signs that the judge can choose from to use for their course. They use ten to fifteen signs in a course, not counting the “start” and “finish” signs. 

Before judging begins for each level of Rally, a walk-through is done so handlers can become familiar with the course. And ask the judge any questions they may have. This is especially important for my mom. This is to make sure there is enough room by the signs. Since the wheelchair needs extra room for maneuvering.

When my mom did her walk-through, I waited with Deb, my mom’s friend. I watched my mom closely. And waited patiently for my mom to come back. 

Waiting for our turn!

It was soon our turn to go in the ring. I was excited and ready! As soon as we entered the ring my mom’s nervousness disappeared. She was focusing on me. As I was on her. It was our turn to shine!

Getting ready to start our run!

We were the third team of eleven to perform our course. After our run, we could relax and watch the other teams. My mom loves watching the performances of others. Although I missed seeing most of them because I took a nap. 

Soon the class was over and the qualifying exhibitors were called back into the ring. This is when the judge announces the placements and scores. And do you know what? The judge called out my mom’s armband number. We got second place, with 99 points out of a possible 100!

2nd place!

Since our class was nearly the last one, we packed up our stuff and headed home. I was tired and ready for a long nap! 

My mom was grateful that Deb videoed our run. My mom likes to watch her handling and the ways she maneuvered her chair for the signs. This is so she can learn to become more proficient and smooth with her handling. Although she has to be careful to not be too hard on herself.

She told me that she saw a few ways she can do things differently. Both so she can increase the run’s fluidity, and help me with my focus and engagement. 

I did get a little sniffy which my mom feels she could have helped me with before it started. Sometimes she disengages from me to maneuver her chair in tighter spots. So we will find ways to practice this more. An excellent learning opportunity for both of us!

 My mom and I had a great day! She was very pleased with how happy and engaged I was in the ring. And how comfortable I was with the busy show environment. We both are looking forward to entering more shows!