Coach and I entered an obedience trial a week ago and for the very first time ever - I walked into an obedience ring without a really painful case of nerves. I have been told over and over to relax, have fun, nerves travel down the leash, you have to stop being nervous.... Great advice. Kind of like ignoring the elephant in the room. I stopped being nervous in agility a long time ago. I thought it was because we have done enough agility that I somehow got used to it. This weekend my dim little light bulb finally came on and I realized it's because I trust Coach (and Jazz) in the agility ring.
Coach did a very nice job in novice obedience at this trial and it was two trials on the same day. What a great opportunity that is to help work out the kinks. Since the first time through was pretty nice, I realized that we could do this. The second time in the ring in the same day was so much nicer. I had already proved we could do this and we were working together. I only hope I can continue this trend toward calm, happy obedience.
By the way - no qualifying for us. I trust him, but he does not sit stay. He sits, he stays for a little while, he starts to wonder why he's sitting there. He visits the dog next to him or he wanders tentatively to me. I think I may have the visiting next door part worked out. I can't believe I never thought to use the "leave it" command. He has a very nice "leave it." The second show he started sniffing at the dog in front of us on the way into the ring. I said "leave it" and he immediately quit. As we were setting up he glanced at the dog on the other side and I said "leave it." He did! He still got up and came to me, but it would sure be easier for everyone if he either stayed like a good dog or came to me. We will work very hard to get the stay before the next obedience trial. He just needs lots of practice in a line up. He stays fine all alone.
Anyway - I am certain that if I go into the ring believing that we have done our preparation and the dog on the end of my leash is working with me, the ring nerves will settle down to something more like excitement. I hope so.