This spring/summer we will be working on getting into shape for some trialling at dog shows. To “trial” or trialling is the correct term to describe “competing” in Obedience or Rally at kennel club dog shows.
After I lost my Australian Shepherd Eli 3 years ago, I had no dog ready to trial. I had waited for a year to get Eli as a puppy, specifically for dog sports. I thought I would have to get another, new dog because Eli was quite advanced and we had done a lot of work.
What surprised me the most was that I learned that I didn’t necessarily have to go looking for a dog to train for a specific thing. When Tommy came to live with us at the age of four, he knew nothing, not even his name. Now, he is almost ready for Novice Obedience and Advanced Rally. I never thought I would see the day that this fearful, worried dog would ever be able to do this. Not only did I develop a close relationship with Tommy, but I refined my clicker training skills as he was so fearful that any slightly raised voice caused him to shut down. The clicker helped me not to speak.
I am not entering these trials to show off, compete or win. I have already won by learning that the dog that I ALREADY HAVE is the best obedience dog because he loves to hang out with me. I definitely don’t regret waiting for that special dog, and that was what Eli was, but my point is, that the dog that you have is the right one. Do what you can with the dog you have.
I didn’t have to go out and get a special dog to trial. He was right here all the time.