Friday, March 20, 2015

2015 AKC Rally National Championship

After I decided to enter Taco in the AKC Rally National Championship, I had major butterflies and almost wanted to call it off.  But I had paid my money.  We had made hotel reservations and got someone to watch the cat and made plans.  I had hyped it up to my friends.  These are not good reasons to go, but they are reasons.
So we packed up our bags
And took the short drive to Purina Farms. (The dogs fell asleep, as usual.)
Upon arrival, the dogs enjoyed their hotel room bones.
We set up our crates (including the new quilt and matching crate tags!)
In the HUGE crating area
And got our first look at the rings
Wow, this was going to be quite a production!  Then on Friday, I tried to keep Taco's attention.
And despite being very stressed out, he was overall a very good boy.
Long story short, Taco was not ready and I knew that going in.  I don't think the experience negatively impacted him in the long run, after a couple of days he's back to his normal happy self and enjoys training just as much as he did.  But the trip wasn't his favorite experience in the world.  New places, strange dogs, off his routine, all caused a major down-shift in Taco's usual happy attitude.  He mainly wanted to spend time in his crate.  He was able to play with toys at the show site, so that was a good sign but in the ring he was stressed and moving in slow-mo.  He was so worried that he popped his elbows on BOTH down-walk arounds.  He just wasn't prepared for such a dramatic change in environment and to ask him to perform in these new and stressful surroundings was just too much.

Our scores were 78 and 71.  Overall we came in 64th out of 73 teams in novice.  Nothing to write home about.  But I feel like the experience was VERY educational.  I know a lot more about Taco now than I did before we went.  And hopefully that will help me create a plan to more adequately prepare him for travel and experiences he's likely to encounter throughout his life. 

On the way home, this happened.
So cute!