Last night, Princess, Moon, James and I packed up in the truck and drove down south of Versailles for our first Conformation class. She was a good girl, and was happy and polite to all the people and dogs in class.
Our first lesson was to teach a command that means we are going to give them a treat. That command was "Back". So we would say "Back" and give the pups a treat.
The next stage was to get the pup to stand arms-length in front of us before treating, but using the command "Back" to let them know they are about to get a treat. So we were to put a foot out in front of us, have the treat in hand, say "Back", and hold the dog away from us for a couple seconds before giving the treat. Princess grasped this concept VERY well and quickly. It only took her two times to realize just what I was asking her to do. We practiced this for a few minutes before going on to the next phase.
The next step was to get our pups to line up with us if we moved. (This was so that they restack facing you no matter where the judge has moved, so you can present a profile to the judge). We held a treat in the thumb and forefinger of both hands, took a huge step right or left and said Back. Again, Princess picked this up fast, and she had it on the first try! What a smart little girl!
Our last stage of the evening was learning to walk/run around the ring while showing the dog. She had us placing arms correctly and running around without the dog, then with, and finally correcting how we ran (by springing forward and lengthening strides). We were given these things to practice all this week.
Overall, Princess had a great time and so did I. I love that little girl! Moon then got to meet the instructor who confirmed my prognosis of her being unfit for show. Ah well, Jim still loves her a lot, and she will be joining the sled team, so she still has a racing career ahead of her. Moon was a bit less mannered than Princess, though and was bent on dominating all other dogs she saw, so we had to keep her quite separate from the other dogs. We will need to work on that with her.
At least she didn't have much opportunity to teach bad manners to Princess, as we removed her from the picture as quickly as possible.
After the long drive home, all four of us were tired. I drank a dark to relax, watched the rest of the new "Deadliest Catch" with Jim, then went to bed. Princess opted to accompany me, and hopped up on the bed, curled up by my feet and went to sleep.