My First Dog Show

Dog Show
Dog Show

Rally Course at the Dog Show

I am planning on competing in AKC Rally in the future with my dog, Loker, so I attended my first dog show to see how everything happens and the kind of environment to expect and prepare him for. Personally, I have never seen so many dogs in one place! Wow! I had a great time walking around and watching each competition (there were Rally, Obedience, and Conformation competitions).

As many of you know, Loker is reactive to other dogs when he is on leash. Not aggressive, he just likes to bark at every dog he sees. Luckily, he has turned a corner these past couple months and has been giving me exceptional attention and responses to cues. A fellow  trainer mentioned that since he had grown up in a shelter, he really never got a true puppy-hood and that he has now grown out of puppy behavior because he’s been in a steady home for more than a couple of months. I completely agree and see this reflected in his recent behavior. His recall training has advanced so much lately with lighting fast head turns when I call him. This newly found focus is very encouraging to me and I have my eye on getting him through some AKC Rally competitions!

Our Plan

Before we can even step in the ring, though, we have a lot of work to do. Right now, I need to finish working on all the cues he needs to know solidly. I’ve worked a little bit on heel, he knows sit, down, stay, and come, but I need to teach him front and walking around me to get to heel.

At the same time, I will be taking him to new places often and give him lots of treats and play so that he gets used to being in new places all the time. The other dogs will be our biggest challenge because dog shows do not occur every weekend which will limit my ability to expose Loker to these situations. I will do my best to take him to dog classes and other dog centered situations so that I can continue counter conditioning (making dogs a positive experience for him) and desensitizing him to other dogs. Be sure to stay tuned for some more posts about this process. I am hoping to add to the small presence of positive reinforcement based trainers to the AKC Rally competition arena!


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