I arrived at the trial location at 9am, just in time for the rounding up of competitors and the review of the days activities. Numbers were drawn from a hat to decide the order that the dogs would be competing in. In my catagory "Mondio Ring 1" there were seven competitors. I drew number 4. Anyone that has competed with animals knows that your're not going to "fix" anything right before a trial so what you have is what you're going to get. Cane's obedience is good. His retrieve is not perfect but solid and his bite work is also not perfect but solid. This is the result of beginning training at seven weeks old and working with him almost everyday from the day I got him until his first birthday. After that I gave him almost a full year off just to be a dog.
The trial began around 9:30am. The first three competitors did not pass. Before I entered the field I was instructed to remove my dogs leash and collar and hand it to the "Deputy Judge". This is the person that basically walks you from one exercise to another. They remind you where to stand and usually it's a big help to have a knowledgeable Deputy Judge at a trial. I handed off my gear and heeled my dog to the predetermined spot before the Judge, placed him in a down stay and introduced myself. While I was doing this another one of the Judges helpers was tossing a big piece of raw Chicken in front of my dog. Food refusal was the first exercise. Cane ignored the tossed food and was good about all of the exercises. The only one that he blew completely was the "Send Away". This exercise is when you tell your dog to "Go Out" and the dog takes off straight into the field before you. I had started that with him but never finished it and had he done it I would have been extremely surprised. It was a twelve point exercise so it's a big one to loose.
In the end my dog scored 183.5 out of 200 possible points. He lost a point here and there and the 12 big ones for no send away. On that day Cane was the best of seven dogs. It's really nice to win a trial. Even if it's a small local trial. It confirms to me that my training is on the right track. It tells me about my dogs character and it tells me a lot about myself when I do these things. I must keep my nerves in check and be a good sport win or loose. Friendly competition in any venue should only bring out the best in us.