Showmanship Judging & Fun Match-ing

I judged showmanship for the 4-H today. It was a lot harder than I'd expected. I would be a lot more comfortable judging kids that I didn't know, but I think it still went well. The beginner class was definitely the best beginner class I'd ever seen. They were all in control of their dogs, and had more than a basic understanding of showmanship. I was quite pleased. All of the classes were hard to place. I'm trying to think of general "work on" things for the kids, but I really am stumped. A few kids need work on their patterns (when to switch hands, correct pace for their individual dog, spacing between dogs, eye contact, confidence in their performance) but really, it went a lot better than I expected.

Buzz really had a test of his focus abilities. We were chosen to do sit and down stays with a bitch in heat. I was REALLY proud of him. She was in STANDING heat and it was just bad. She broke her stay and came to hump MY dog and he just looked at me. He also found a spot she had sat, shoved his nose in it... but then looked back UP. I was rewarding for maintaining eye contact with me and he got more than one treat for looking UP from that spot. GOOD BOY!

As expected... both of my dogs need work on the honor. They were sure I wanted them to offer behaviors if I was just standing around in close proximity to them. I anticipated that problem but wasn't paying close enough attention. I had to reset both dogs. Other than that though, they worked SO well! Good attention, no stress behaviors, I was super pleased!

Open... reminder to self: really work on teaching dogs that they NEED to return over the jump with the dumbell. I had to cue it as they were both going to go around the side (because my throw was bad). BUT--both of them heeled REALLY nicely. It was just beautiful (ok, well Buzz was wide on a few turns but otherwise it was SO nice). Good good dogs. Oh, yeah... Buzz's brain was gone but I wanted to try the broad jump, he did a nice contact behavior on one of the boards. AND he was talented enough to step on EACH board before returning to the middle board with a really nice 4 on behavior. I was laughing so hard.
-Buzz had a really nice front with the dumbell to go with his retrieve on flat but a non-existant front after the drop on recall as well as retrieve over high. I know we need work, but it's nice to see exactly where we need work.
-Bailey had a BEAUTIFUL broad jump, with a non-existant front... hah. I hadn't practiced putting it all together very much when we were working the broad jump a few weeks ago... and we haven't worked it in a few weeks.

Overall, it was a nice relaxing day. The dogs both worked really well. We had positive ring experiences and they were both HAPPY! I wish I'd have thought to bring the camera, but oh well. Next time... if there is a next time!

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