Today mom volunteered as a ring steward for an obedience trial. When she got home, she told me all about it. Mom and I had been to see some of an obedience trial before, but this was her first time working at one. She worked the Open B class that had around 30 dogs entered in it. First of all, the judge was a really nice man who was easy to work for and who was very patient in explaining the duties of the ring steward. The other ring steward did not have any experience either. Mom was in charge of changing the broad jump boards for the different height dogs. So if a dog jumped 20" for the high jump, then mom had to make the broad jump 40". She also gave the dumbbell to the judge and took the handler's leash. And for long sits and downs, a ring steward had to lead the handlers out of sight (they actually went outside of the building). For anyone who doesn't know, the Open class consists of the following exercises - retrieve on flat (dog goes out and brings back the dumbbell with no jump), drop on recall, retrieve over high jump, broad jump, figure eight and heel-free (all with no leash). Then after every ten or so dogs, they do a group 3-minute sit/stay and a 5-minute down/stay all with the handlers out of sight. The sit/stay seemed to be the hardest exercise for a lot of the dogs - too many merely laid down during it and that is an automatic NQ (disqualification). It was sad to see so many dogs do great exercises and then see them lie down during the sit/stay. It was all very interesting and a great learning opportunity. Mom came home with lots of ideas for us to work on and with a renewed enthusiasm for learning obedience (after my one advanced novice class, we weren't feeling like obedience was for us - maybe it was that class with that instructor - since we had to miss so many classes at the beginning, we decided to wait and try the class next time). Mom met some nice people and saw a lot of great dogs! We are hoping we can show for that judge (his name was Frank Washbaugh) some day too.
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