|Barked: Mon Jan 30, '12 7:21am PST |
|Well, I am an APDT Rally exhibitor, judge and a member of the APDT Rules and Regulations committee, so I can answer from the APDT perspective.
1. How do you know for sure when you are ready? How do you train for the ring?
I don't think you CAN know for sure you are ready. You just take a deep breathe and take the plunge. Things that can help include taking classes and attending "fun" matches, run thrus or practice trials. We hold them about once a month where I work.
2. What is a day at the trial like? Do you go in the ring once, and that's that? How do titles work, and how do you know if you got one?
I think the day of trial is often a bit overwhelming the first time, but after a while you just take it in stride. You want to park, attend to your dog, then look for the trail secretaries. They should be able to help you with everything you need. There is a lot of waiting if you are just trialing one dog in one level.
In APDT, you need 3 "legs" (trials with scores of 170 or higher) to earn a Level title. Until you have your level title, you trial in that level in "A" class. Once you earn a level title, you can move on to the next level, stay in the same level trialing in "B" (or championship) class working towards that levels championship (10 legs with scores of 170 or higher) or do both. Once you have your Level 1 and Level 2 titles, you can begin working on your ARCH (APDT Rally CHampion). The ARCH, ARCHX, ARCHEX and ARCHMX are all combined level championships and require Q's (qualifying scores) of certain scores (190 for the ARCH and ARCHEX, 195 for the X and MX) in multiple levels of the same trial.
YOU need to keep track of your legs and scores. If you forget, you will still earn the title and it will be sent to you, but you may miss out on the title or championship ribbon.
3. What should you bring to the trial?
Bring and extra leash and collar, water/food for your dog, refreshments for yourself if they are not offered on site, a crate, chairs, a tarp or mat or blankets, bags to clean up after your dog. Since at this point I am often judging at events I attend, I usually go with a group of friends so I have someone to watch my dog while I am either judging or walking the course. My mom is my best kennel help!
4. What "little things" do judges look for that could help/harm your score?
That can depend entirely upon the venue. Read the rules and regulations before you go. Personally, I am looking for happy, working teams, but it will not affect your score. In APDT, issuing a cue harshly can NQ you. Risa is right, in APDT, you will loose a point every time the leash is tight. You loose points for recueing. You can not give the appearance of luring. But you can reward your dog with food or touch after the completion of a stationary exercise.
5. Is it best to start off at one of the multiple-day shows, or just a one-day show?
Our first trial was a 2 day, 4 trial weekend and Ash and I titled that weekend. It depends on you and your dog. Two day weekends were nothing for Ash at that time (he is now 12 years old and has arthritis, so his stamina is not what it was a few short years ago), but Demon gets tired.
6. Are people generally pretty nice at shows? When I showed my cat in the HHP ring, 99% of the people were total pricks!
I have found the people at APDT trials to be kind and generous and sharing. I can think of many times I have shared my food with other people and they with me. We trade tips and I have made many, many friends. Most of the people in APDT are simply showing their dogs for fun. We celebrate each other's victories and commiserate for NQ's and point losses.
One of my fondest memories is when Ash and I earned our ARCHEX. Everyone knew we needed one more QQ. And Ash was having trouble due to the temperature. The day before he refused a jump for the first time ever and I scratched him and took him home early. When we finished our Level 3 run that second day, it was clear it was a better than 195 run and the whole horse stadium burst into applause. I had tears in my eyes and was humbled by the support I felt.
7. Do you know of any good youtube videos that outline what the signs mean? I have always been a visual person, LOL.
For APDT, there is a video you can buy:
You can find out more information about APDT Rally here:
APDT Rally has been an extremely positive experience for me. I have made so many friends and learned much in our journey. Ash is now semi retired, but Demon and The Pug are coming along nicely.
Asher and recently I had a nice writeup in the last Chronicles of the Dog where I wrote of my experiences in APDT Rally..
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