Anyway, for Friday we were determined to try to improve that behavior. Open Bitches was a class of 8 this time round, and I wanted to try some new strategies to improve her chances of showing successfully. I needed to duplicate the behavior she was displaying in order to train her to show better. I found a spot right in the grooming area where she was not happy, and grabbed a bag of potato chips to use as a high value treat. I did some basic work with her, rewarding her for any attempts at wagging her tail and being animated, letting strangers approach her and give her the reward. She made some good attempts to jump up and de-stress, so I figured we were on the right track.
Once we entered the ring, her usual ring behavior was back in spades so I got to work. After the initial go-round I passed the time while the other 7 dogs were examined by playing and rewarding Faith for showing animation and wagging her tail. When it was our turn, I could feel that she was a tad lighter on the lead but didn't feel she was really as animated as I wanted. On the final go-round she started to relax and put up her tail, so I felt that all the work I'd done in the ring and outside the ring had started to pay off. Our goal on this trip was to give her four days at the same site to learn to be comfortable showing. At least now we've got a framework for continued work on Saturday and Sunday. I'm hoping she'll figure this out by the end of the weekend, and I'll get a big bag of potato chips for her treats.
What strategies do you have for getting your dogs happy in the ring? Let us know.