Thursday, July 3, 2008

Breed Handling

Repeat with me, Learning is stressful.

Last night Bug and I went to the drop-in breed handling class at Masterpeace. Kerry Boyd, an all-breed handler, typically runs the class. When Bug first came home with me, Kerry and I exchanged quite a few e-mails and I had plans of immediately starting her class. The doggies had other plans - they have had chiropractor appointments on Wednesday for the last couple of months which equals no handling class. Chiropractor takes precedence. Finally, last night no one had a chiropractor appointment!

Cat started attending this class with Tessie right around the time Bug came home and it sounds like she has enjoyed it to date, which reassured me. Last night there was a substitute instructor as Kerry was getting ready for the shows this weekend in Springfield. There were also only two other dogs and handlers in the class, a GORGEOUS Viszla bitch and a male Keeshond.

Unfortunately for me, there wasn't a ton of actual instructing. The woman was very nice, but her experience is in handling Great Danes and she didn't really seem to know how to deal with a COMPLETE and UTTER novice. The other two people attending class had a little bit of experience and quite a bit of experience. She had us stack the dog (which I do not know how to do), stand for the judge's inspection, gait the dog in a triangle, do some freestacking, and more gaiting.

SO, not a rousing success. I actually thought I was going to throw up for a while I was so nervous and the lack of newbie instruction was torturous for me. We did do a little bit of play time because there were only three dogs and it was an hour class - and the dogs were getting brain fried. Bug was super! He didn't do any "I wanna play, oh maybe I don't." He was confident, happy, and adored the Viszla.

So, my goals are to work Sue Ailsby's Conformation Stacking and put "Stand" on cue. Also, turn Bug's show lead into a cue.


Holly said...

I can't believe how the instructor did not take you under her wing!! I hope this didn't turn you off completely. Maybe email Kerry and explain what happened... but I would wait until Monday.

And yes, Bug would adore the Viszla... he was raised by one!

Jules said...

It was a wee bit stressful, but Cat said that Kerry is super with Novice people (from what she has seen) so I will try again when she'll be there!

I forgot about Bug's surrogate mum - makes complete sense. They were so cute together last night.

Dawn said...

Don't give up, it can be very scary at the first shows too, but when you put those points on Bug it will be so worth it. I did quite a bit of the steps on Sues list too, and taught Grace to self stack-which is the one thing she is awesome at. Good luck and have faith-Bug will take you through it.

manymuddypaws said...

maybe once the regular instructor is back it will be better. :o)

the nice thing about conformation is once you have the basic idea, and confidence it is something that is not terribley difficult to practice.

how many more points does he need again?

Jules said...

Thank, Dawn. Bug has a MUCH better idea about what he is doing than I do! Once I started holding the leash correctly he started gaiting nicely (according to the instructor). I really don't have a clue!

Amanda, Bug need three more points. We are headed up to NY in August so that Holly can show him. Depending upon how future classes go with Kerry I will look into UKC conformation. I thnk, based on speaking to Kerry and what Cat has said, that Kerry is really good with novice people, so that should help immensely (I hope!).

Traci said...

If you're one who likes to read, I could suggest a couple of books that might help out too..... just let me know :) Hugs to my favorite Honordog :)

Jules said...

Hi Traci - I love to read. My e-mail is juliegp187 at gmail dot com.

I'd be interested to know what you recommend.

Blue said...

Learning is stressful - I completely agree! I hope your next class goes better. There are definitely some instructors who are better at training dogs than training people.

Jules said...

Thanks, Blue. It is so true!! People are much harder to instruct!

Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

Oh blarg, Kerry is SO good with the novices (better w/ them than with those of us with more experience, IMO) -- I'm sorry it worked out that way!

You know, I THOUGHT it was strange that she would come and teach class right before the Yankee Classic... go figure.

BTW, I got your CR stuff and I will drop it off ASAP. :D

Jules said...

How'd it go!?