Obedience/Rally: How Often Do You Compete?
My name is Emily. I've been a member of this forum for a while, but don't post much. I'm hoping that will change soon when we get our puppy in a few weeks.
While I'm waiting for the puppy to come home, I've been doing some research on Rally & Obedience competitions. I think it's something I'd like to get involved in. I'm curious about how much everyone shows.
So, my questions for you are:
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I compete with my dogs Tally and Copley in Rally O, and did a CD with Tally when he was two. I love doing Rally instead of hanging around the conformation ring all day bc I get nervous. Tally and I did our RAE last summer, which is 20 legs in sets of 2, so that was quite a bit. I also wanted to qualify Copley for the Rally National so if we went( it is too far, so we arent) he would have something to do with his time, lol. He did do that just with his RN. I would say I did Rally at a show at least one weekend a month on average last year. I did travel far from home, but it was more for the show side of my dog life. I would travel happily 3 hours for Rally and Obedience, but not the crazy 12 hour drives I have done for the conformation ring bc of the Major Win system. I could see driving from Maine to central NY.
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Emily - this is cool! Kudos and good luck with your new puppy<:
One thing that I LOVE about obedience training isn't necessarily the showing, but it's all that bonding time you spend with your dog. It it ultimately rewarding in that all that obedience comp stuff DOES show when you are just home with your dog or out and about.
One thing I still remember warmly from my Danny is the fact that my coworkers from back then still remember him and still remember how obedient and attentive he was. It was a miraculous thing for them. That's the benefit of dog training well beyond puppy class.
1. How often do you compete?
- Not often. We are starting to get into that season where there is at least 1 trial a month that is worth entering a dog. But I somewhat enjoy training more than I do shows. I do and will enter at least 5-6 shows a year. And keep in mind some of those shows have two trials the same day (which are AWESOME!). For ever trial, I'm hoping to do at least 2 fun matches.
2. How far from home do you travel when competing?
The furthest I've ever driven from home for a dog show was about 2 hours. There hasn't been any need to drive further than that since we have a lot of dog training clubs in our area who have set show schedules. You can tell the time of the year by them. Or something like that.
The furthest I've contemplated entering a trial and ALMOST did so was a big show up in Traverse City last summer. That's about 4 hours away. That's one of those shows I'd LOVE to enter simply because it's indulging in my hobby and going on vacay with my dog all at once.
I've given a thought to driving into OH, IN and/or IL for trials, but that would be for the experience of competing against a different crowd for once. And of course showing off your dog to a different crowd.
Good thread, this is something I have wondered and in fact was sort of thinking about this morning. I am trying to figure out how to balance my dog activities with my family. I am blessed to be a stay at home mom, but my daughters are 6, 10 and 15 and my husband travels almost every week, so I'm not eating bonbons I see in your avatar that it looks like you might be a mom ? Don't get me wrong, I am not big into self sacrifice, but on the other hand, I do have guilt about doing anything on weekends that takes me away from my family. I take classes only one night a week, any training time needs to be during school hours. My kids are not bitten by the dog bug, so it will be a balancing act to figure out how I make myself happy with this and still feel like I am doing my mom job.
It is very heartening to see the responses that it doesn't have to be about the competition all the time if you put effort in to training, that can be enough. Ultimately I would like to have the satisfaction of competition but Kate, I appreciate the timely reminder that it's not about the title for the titles sake, it's about bonding and getting the most out of the relationship for the dog. The breeder of my puppy is an absolutely awesome lady and I think she would be perfectly satisfied if I send her training videos showing the fact that I spend time teaching and loving my dog and yearly Christmas cards of my dogs with my kids and if I never do more than CGC ok. It's the time invested every day that counts.
Thanks for this thread Emily and for the responses given so far. This has been a little mental breakthrough for me. THank you
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I like to show about one weekend a month, but sometimes I show more than that, and some months I don't show at all. Most trials I go to are under four hours away, although I've been to a few that were 7 1/2 hours away.
Dog shows are a huge part of my life, and the people that attend have become close friends. I've shown in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Forida, and Arkansas. Even when I'm in an area I've never shown in before, I still already know the majority of the people there. For instance, this past weekend was my first time to ever show in Arkansas, 5 1/2 hours from home, and there was only one person in my class I did not know.
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In Florida you should expect to drive 2-3 hours for trials. Things are pretty spread out, and training centers that hold trials are few and far between. We have the main obedience trials in Orlando, Lakeland, St. Pete, Daytona, Ft. Pierce, Miami, Jacksonville, and some in the panhandle. What area are you from?
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You pretty much pin-pointed the reason I started this thread. I have an almost four year old (the one in my avatar) and a 13 month old. I used to show horses in my pre-kid days and I really miss that feeling of competing with my animals. Showmanship was one of my favorite classes when I showed horses and Obedience seems like the dog equivalent of that And, as others have mentioned, training for Obedience translates into having a well trained pet at home which is a must for us. I figure I can do much of the training when my boys are napping during the day and I can take a class once night a week without feeling like I'm not fulfilling my mom duties. But, like you, I feel extremely guilty about even thinking of competing. I don't like the idea of being away from my family. So, I kinda wanted to put a feeler out there to see how others are able do it and to see what kind of dedication people put into competing with their dogs.
Thank you for your post. You worded it much more eloquently than I could have. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who feels the same conflict. Thank you for writing!
Where are you from? Are there any dog clubs you could recommend that I check out that are fairly close to me? I'm interested in the Indian River Dog Training Club, but I'm definitely willing to check out other organizations.
I tend to train my dogs, then aim for some shows fairly close together timewise - 3 or 4 shows and done So I might show obedience/rally 2 or 3 weekends in a row then not show for several months or even years. I also show in agility and try to limit my trials to 2 Sundays a month, which further cuts down on obedience/rally opportunities. I started showing every available opportunity years ago, but found I need a weekend day for errands and caring for my home & dogs.
The dedication part, to me, is in the training unless you are actively campaigning for an OTCh. Then it is training & campaigning LOL
Where I live there are not many training centers within a 2 hours drive that have obedience & rally trials, so I prefer outdoor shows over showing in Expo centers with that thin matting over cement floors and with conformation rings surrounding the obedience rings. I do envy some of the videos I see posted LOL Clean, well matted environments without hair dryers and talcum powder everywhere. Many of our agility trials are held in nice facilities but not so many of the obedience or rally trials.
There is one very, very nice training facility in NH that sometimes has an obedience cluster. Although almost 5 hours from me, this is a drive I will make if I am confident my dog is ready, otherwise trials need to be within a 2 hour radius so I can go & be back on the same day - especially if I have multiple dogs showing at the same time.
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Thanks for your question. It's a topic I've wondered about too. I've gathered from posts here that it depends on where you are geographically and how serious you are about competing and what your goals are. Another factor is whether you and your dog are comfortable competing both indoors and outdoors. It also depends on what level you train your dog to before you take them out to compete. At the beginner level this seems to vary a lot with some people not competing until their dog is rock solid and trained up to higher levels and others taking their dog out with minimal training.
We're in Connecticut, north of New York City. Here the competition in the colder months is all indoors. Then from late spring into the fall a lot of it is outdoors. We're lucky in that there is a weekend in early June with 3 shows within an hrs. drive. Also within an hrs. drive is a training center that has events from time to time with 2 trials on one day. There are lots of shows north of here in Springfield, MA but I just haven't done that yet . . . it's probably 2.5 - 3 hrs. away. There's also shows in Long Island which as the crow flies isn't that far but you have to "cross the water" of Long Island Sound which is a hassle.
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