Zoni's first Puppy Match

First off, I will say this was a valuable learning experience…lol.

A week or so ago, I took Zoni to the BCOSW sighthound fun match. I really enjoyed it and got to meet the majority of the breeders and basenji people in the IL, WI area and should be an active member of the club next month. Zoni's breeder was really happy with how she is turning out (she hadn't seen her in about a month). I've been practicing gaiting her and stacking her (not so much) and we even stacked her and ran her around the ring a little that morning. She behaved reasonably well and I figured we'd get by in the ring, wasn't expecting any miracles. Boy was I wrong, lol. She was determined not to behave at all in the ring. She was galloping up storm and did not want to be examined at all by the judge. I've been practicing looking at her bite but she even wouldn't let me look at it this time. So the judge told me to hold Zoni out at arm's length and just spin around really fast for a few times to make her a little dizzy and we could look at her teeth. :eek: I'm not sure if this is really a technique to look at puppies teeth or some sort of basenji club initiation ritual but I felt really silly doing it (supposedly there are pictures, haven't seen them though). Although the judge said "you didn't go fast enough" because Zoni still wouldn't let us look at her mouth. 😞 In the final go around, Zoni decided to turn around several times and stood on her hind legs attempting to initate play with the puppy behind her thereby causing a major train wreck. It was a good laugh for everyone. She got 2nd out of the 2 puppies, but I think probably more out of the judge's frustration of me not having my dog under control....I could see it on her face. It was a little frustrating at the time but I think I would have rather her act that way then really well behaved...probably would have given me a false sense of security. Now I know what I am getting myself into...lol. Plenty of time to practice and get her ready for the ring. I got a lot of compliments on her so hopefully she will do well once she is trained.

I was amazed though at several of the puppies, they were almost perfectly well behaved in the ring already. Not sure how that happens.

Ha, ha, ha…well at least it sounds like you had fun. :D:D Great description though.

You are lucky that the show season starts early where you are and that there are puppy matches local to you...you'll have some good experience by the time it really counts. Not much going on up here in the Northeast. :rolleyes:

Usually instead of "spinning" around you hold them out one hand supporting the front and one the reat and then rock them "head down, butt down" back and forth really fast… this too will make them a bit dizzy so that when you put them back on the table they would stand still for a bit... (and only a little bit).... and just keep practicing checking the teeth.
As far as trying to play with the other pup... that is pretty typical.... you just need to practice this with another dog (use Nemo) and practice gaiting with him in front and him in back...

Spinning a pup to get it dizzy..? Really weird.. And I would get really angry if a judge would be frustrated by a puppy acting like a… puppy..

You just need to practice and make it fun. Bring some nice treats etc. Tillo behaved like an angel when he was a pup.. but it became worse 😃 Maybe you will only make progress 😃

@Janneke:

Spinning a pup to get it dizzy..? Really weird.. And I would get really angry if a judge would be frustrated by a puppy acting like a… puppy..

You just need to practice and make it fun. Bring some nice treats etc. Tillo behaved like an angel when he was a pup.. but it became worse 😃 Maybe you will only make progress 😃

It was just a match, so she was just trying to get a look at her teeth. I thought it was weird too but not something I'm that familiar with. She wasn't frustrated with the puppy but more likely my inexperience handling her. She was commenting mostly on what I was doing wrong. :rolleyes:

@renaultf1:

Ha, ha, ha…well at least it sounds like you had fun. :D:D Great description though.

You are lucky that the show season starts early where you are and that there are puppy matches local to you...you'll have some good experience by the time it really counts. Not much going on up here in the Northeast. :rolleyes:

I'm glad I had a chance to do this, particularly because the majority of the people there were basenji people. There aren't any more matches in the area that I am familiar with. I'll just have conformation class from now on, which unfortunately is not that structured. It's primarily just a run-thru with not too much instruction. And unfortunately the teacher isn't familar with how basenjis are handled so I'm a little out of luck there.

@Nemo:

I'm glad I had a chance to do this, particularly because the majority of the people there were basenji people. There aren't any more matches in the area that I am familiar with. I'll just have conformation class from now on, which unfortunately is not that structured. It's primarily just a run-thru with not too much instruction. And unfortunately the teacher isn't familar with how basenjis are handled so I'm a little out of luck there.

Hey, it is still sounds like it was good experience and you have some training options. Also, I'm not sure it makes a difference about whether the instructor has basenji experience…but hey - I know nothing. 🙂

There are no beginner handling classes to be found locally for me - even within an hour's drive. So for me, I am taking Liyah to the Harrisburg PA shows Thurs - Sunday this week (leaving tomorrow) and a few of the basenji breeders have offered to give me some training so I'll at least have some idea what is going on before I go to a beginner handling clinic in 2 weeks in NY. That clinic is a George Alston handling seminar which I've heard really good things about from others who have taken the beginner class (requires a dog over 1 year old and well behaved - so Ruby will be my subject :D). I'm also bringing Liyah so I can practice a little on her after the class each day :eek::D.

I finally got the pictures from the puppy match. Here are two descriptive ones:

Zoni dragging me around the ring at warp speed.

It's hard to tell but I'm actually in mid-"spin the puppy". Note the dazed expression on my face as I'm getting dizzy. :p

Ha, ha, ha…GREAT pics!! Holy cow does Zoni look like she was moving fast in that first pic :D:D:D. Too cute!

I am pretty sure the spinning was an initiation rite 😉 I have never heard of that before…but I can just imagine you saying 'well, ooookay' 🙂 Hang in there, it is always hardest with your first show dog...try to have fun!

Not to scare anyone…but I did have a judge begrudingly give Querk a point one time, and then during the picture taking she said "this is a very nice dog, you either need to learn to show him properly, or find someone else to do it" ....she didn't really say it 'kindly' either. Nice way to help novices....ugh. Funnily enough, I was so thrilled to get a point that it didn't really phase me.

I guess the moral of this story is that you will meet some jerky judges while you do this, and you may feel embarrassment and shame in their rings...but you will live through it, and be able to laugh later. The behavior of people who wish to shame you says more about them, than it does about you 🙂 my inspirational message of the day.

Andrea is right and there are some jerky judges out there. I was lucky and the few I ran into when I was starting were mostly rude, not giving me my time, and didn't really say anything to me. My mom wasn't so lucky and had some pretty hurtful things said to her in the ring with Cole. I must say though that I really appreciate how supportive the basenji community is though because it was their supportive comments that kept her going back after a bad day.

Thank you both Andrea & Lisa…really great posts for us beginners. I'm sure it will feel differently though the first time I'm actually on the receiving end, so I'll try to keep these posts in mind. I'm sure I'll have some funny stories after the fact.

I do have a good story from the George Alston clinic I went to. I had been forewarned (by Mike Work amongst others) that he can be a bear and that he makes people cry...but I thought, hey I do creative for a job and get rough criticism nearly everyday :D...it will be fine...how bad can it be.

Well, I think I posted that the clinic was not for the thin skinned...wanna know why I said that? The first day of the clinic wasn't bad, I think I got briefly yelled at once...otherwise, nothing was really said to me so I figured, ok, I must not be doing too bad. The next morning we started on the "L" pattern. I went second. Let's just say, I didn't do so well my first pass thru it...everything was wrong, the lead, the changing of the hands, the turn once the judge had examined the dog...everything. In front of 30 people I was pretty much made the example of for how not to show a dog for about 15 - 20 minutes...but at least I didn't cry :). He is a stickler for the lead to be held neatly and EXACTLY as he teaches it...I had it wrong. The piece de resistance was when he said "if you can't learn to hold the lead correctly, you should show cats as you don't need to use a lead on them." :eek: :D:D:D

I can laugh about it now (I had Pam & Sheila rolling when I told them the whole story - this was just a snippet). I'm sure it helps that at the end of the day there was a dog show with the 2 classes - beginner and advanced both doing the "L" pattern. The beginner class was 9 people - I took second. And when he gave me my ribbon, he said, "you really earned it" and he told me that he could tell I had really listened and paid attention. So I pretty much think, even though it was a rough way to learn, I definitely got a lot out of it...and a funny quote to tell. 🙂

@renaultf1:

Thank you both Andrea & Lisa…really great posts for us beginners. I'm sure it will feel differently though the first time I'm actually on the receiving end, so I'll try to keep these posts in mind. I'm sure I'll have some funny stories after the fact.

I do have a good story from the George Alston clinic I went to. I had been forewarned (by Mike Work amongst others) that he can be a bear and that he makes people cry...but I thought, hey I do creative for a job and get rough criticism nearly everyday :D...it will be fine...how bad can it be.

Well, I think I posted that the clinic was not for the thin skinned...wanna know why I said that? The first day of the clinic wasn't bad, I think I got briefly yelled at once...otherwise, nothing was really said to me so I figured, ok, I must not be doing too bad. The next morning we started on the "L" pattern. I went second. Let's just say, I didn't do so well my first pass thru it...everything was wrong, the lead, the changing of the hands, the turn once the judge had examined the dog...everything. In front of 30 people I was pretty much made the example of for how not to show a dog for about 15 - 20 minutes...but at least I didn't cry :). He is a stickler for the lead to be held neatly and EXACTLY as he teaches it...I had it wrong. The piece de resistance was when he said "if you can't learn to hold the lead correctly, you should show cats as you don't need to use a lead on them." :eek: :D:D:D

I can laugh about it now (I had Pam & Sheila rolling when I told them the whole story - this was just a snippet). I'm sure it helps that at the end of the day there was a dog show with the 2 classes - beginner and advanced both doing the "L" pattern. The beginner class was 9 people - I took second. And when he gave me my ribbon, he said, "you really earned it" and he told me that he could tell I had really listened and paid attention. So I pretty much think, even though it was a rough way to learn, I definitely got a lot out of it...and a funny quote to tell. 🙂

A good friend of mine took that seminar, and she said the same thing…he is tough, and he makes you work to learn. I am glad you had a good experience. I would imagine Basenji people would do okay, since we kind of have to be able to laugh at ourselves 😉

I love the showing cats comment....have you ever seen that? It is strange...they stretch them all out....kind of handle them like a hand bag... It doesn't matter if the cat tries to bite or scratch.... wierd...

@Quercus:

A good friend of mine took that seminar, and she said the same thing…he is tough, and he makes you work to learn. I am glad you had a good experience. I would imagine Basenji people would do okay, since we kind of have to be able to laugh at ourselves 😉

I love the showing cats comment....have you ever seen that? It is strange...they stretch them all out....kind of handle them like a hand bag... It doesn't matter if the cat tries to bite or scratch.... wierd...

Yeah, the cat quote was a classic…my first insult in the show ring! :D:D No, I never have seen a cat show...but based on your description and how he used the reference, I can just imagine. :D:D

Regarding the seminar...yes I learned so much that I'm going to do it again next year! I found something online after the fact where they actually recommend if you've never shown a dog before that you should audit the class and just observe because he doesn't mince words...understatement :D. I did think it was weird that I was the only person in the beginner class that had never shown a dog before...that is probably why. The standing joke with the other beginners was that they couldn't believe that my dog's breeder would throw me to the wolves and suggest I take the class with no handling experience. 🙂

Oh, and regarding basenjis - his first wife used to breed basenjis in Florida...that was over 30 years ago!

Oh man, these bring back memories. lol I am looking forward to taking a George Alston seminar one of these days. When job and money allows. I am really looking forward to the torture because I really want to learn the finer points.

Yes, there are certainly judges who's words or looks were definitely sharp. But most of the time the judges realize you're new and do try to help. lol I did have one really scary day though. This was with my first dog, and we had a big show coming up where the sweeps judge was a good friend of his breeder. I was actually excited and hoped that she would like his type, as he was definitely different than what was around here. Well the sweeps class was a bust and the judge made a point to catch me right after and proceed to tell me I didn't know how to show my dog and I need to go to a class. And of course I had been taking classes every other week with nothing but great comments, and this was after almost a year of showing with my boy just needing majors and having a breed over specials in the past. That definitely was a little weird. I know I have a LOT to learn, but what a weird way to encourage someone. I don't know that I would consider that positive reinforcement? lol And she also said she would be reporting back to his breeder so I was starting to freak out. So we go back in for the regular classes and there is this judge, sitting right outside the ring at the down & back, staring at me, ON THE PHONE!!! Holy crap, can you imagine what was going through my head the whole time I was in the ring. lol I think from what little I could hear I could tell who it was with. And she had no problems grabbing me to onfirm this after I leave the ring again. EEK!

Well everything ended up all good later. lol I have since spent some time with said judge and been out to dinner with them, etc. at the nationals. And turns out the jist of the conversation was just to explain she couldn't place him because he was so immature still. lol

LOL…Kelli, great story! I would have been thinking the EXACT same thing. I love how you got to hear the whole story later on, but what a thing to say to someone new!

@Quercus:

I am pretty sure the spinning was an initiation rite 😉 I have never heard of that before…but I can just imagine you saying 'well, ooookay' 🙂 Hang in there, it is always hardest with your first show dog...try to have fun!

That's exactly what I said but it was right after I said "Seriously, you want me to do what?" 😃 The judge was a long-time basenji breeder so I figured she knew what she was talking about.

@Quercus:

I guess the moral of this story is that you will meet some jerky judges while you do this, and you may feel embarrassment and shame in their rings…but you will live through it, and be able to laugh later. The behavior of people who wish to shame you says more about them, than it does about you 🙂 my inspirational message of the day.

Thanks, I like that inspirational message. It's a good mantra for when I get a jerky judge. 🙂

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