Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bricklin's First Time in the Ring!

I've been looking forward to this day for a long time. I think with any endeavor you take on, you hope to do better next time. By the time I realized I wanted to show bulldogs, Hudson was already several months old with his own habits I'd taught him. Bricklin was my fresh slate.

Bricklin was my fresh slate, alright. My fresh slate that wiggled on the table, was suddenly and inexplicably afraid of heights, sat down when she decided she didn't like her leash, and barked at everything.

I was thankful our first time in the ring was a match. Matches are very laid back events to practice. There's just something about coming into a show, even with a puppy, that intimidates me. All those people have more experience than me!

We arrived around 2:15, and the match wasn't slated to start until 4. The regular show was already over, so it was like a ghost town in the ring. I signed Bricklin up and took her over to the crate room to put a little cornstarch in her wrinkles. I kept giving her ice cubes to keep her cool. I'm so thankful I picked up on that at Nationals in 2011. Sadly, I forgot about the spray bottle until I got there. Next time!

People started to come in and Bricklin was excited to meet anyone that would approach her. She loves attention, which is why I was hoping she'd love to strut her stuff in the ring.

We took a little lap in the ring quickly before more people showed up. She walked really well on her lead. I was shocked, but thankful. I was just hoping it would last.

When the match started, the boys went first. I had fun watching and started to feel a lot better when I saw that all the other pups were also wiggling around the table, refusing to stand still, and putting the brakes on when it was time to walk. There were some good looking dogs, too. It is hard to see the potential in puppies because anything is possible, but it's fun to see round heads, big paws, and stocky chests.

As it turned out, there were 5 puppies in the 3-4 month category, but since Bricklin had already passed 4 months, she was in 4-6. She was the only one, so the judge just took us through the routine - around the ring, up on the ramp for exam, down and back. Bricklin stood for exam. She gave just one little wiggle as the judge ran her hands down her body. I think she may have been making sure she wasn't getting a shot. Her first vaccination with me was received with a big stink eye to the vet. The judge was super sweet and told her, "I'm just going to tickle you a little bit." As though she understood perfectly, Bricklin faced forward and stood still for the rest of exam.

We got a pretty pink ribbon for our "first place." Hudson has a few of these. I was a little disappointed not to have the chance to "beat" someone else for that spot, but it did guarantee that we would get another chance to get in the ring for best of puppy.

Right before best of puppy, Bricklin decided the she finally realized she was tired. Great. She'd been up and running since 9:30 that morning and it was quarter to five. I wasn't surprised; I knew she was exhausted. But I needed her to be awake a little longer. She was a trooper, but she wasn't feeling the standing still for so long while the judge surveyed everyone. But overall she did really well. I was so proud of her.

Probably the best part for me was the end of the puppy match. We were circling off to leave the ring, and Bricklin saw the edge of the ramp. She started to walk up it. She wanted to stand for exam again! I was so happy that she enjoyed it and wanted to go again. I promised her we'd do that again soon. I think she really liked the attention. That's my girl! THAT'S what I wanted to see!

Thankfully, we were able to go, and it wasn't long before she was OUT sleeping on the floor of the car.

Now I know what I want to work on a little more clearly. Our first hurdle is definitely her back feet. She has great rear angles, but she likes to put her rear feet back behind her. I keep trying to tell her she's not a German Shepherd, and I even said that to the judge. Sure enough, she put one foot back during exam, so the judge replaced it and said, "You're a bulldog."

The second thing that needs work is the length of time I require her to stand. I have been slacking on it. There was a three month old bitch that couldn't walk on a lead, but she would stand still for hours if her owner asked. I'd like to see Bricklin have that resolve, and I hope she remembers why, my little show off!

Third, we're gonna work on walking on the lead. She did well as far as not stopping while she was walking, but she moved very quickly. That was more than likely my nervousness about how she would walk traveling down the lead to her. But if she can slow down her movement, I think the judges will be able to better see her gait, which I think is fabulous.

We get a little bit of a break from the ring, which is good. It'll give her time to grow and learn and more time for us to work on these things that need tweaking. We'll re-enter the ring on my birthday, March 13th for two days of shows near my house. If money is available, we'll head down to at least one Bel Alton show, but I'm not certain yet.

I'm definitely planning to get some more pictures up here of my little cutie! She's grown so much! I'm so proud!!