My young Labrador, Louie just turned 2 years old this January. He is not yet ready to compete in Novice B, but I have a young dog that I want to get familiar with a show environment and what it’s like to perform in the ring, especially when mom is under pressure!   YES, even OTCH competitors get nervous! If we didn’t then it probably means the thrill of competing has become blasé. Competing is my adrenalin rush!

I was planning on going to a show in Oregon with my two golden girls and the thought of leaving Louie behind was not appealing. As I scoured through the premium list I noticed the show was offering a Beginner Novice Class. What the heck is this I thought? So I googled it and here is the link Scroll to chapter 6. It explained to me what the class is about and I felt that Louie would be up to the challenge.

I have included a video clip that a friend took for me. I’m sorry it’s a little shaky at the start, but it gets better! The camera work I mean, not Louie! It gives a clear overview of what the class exercises are. You will see after I finish the sit for exam that the judge is talking to me and pointing forward. What she was telling me was that she wanted me to walk the entire inside perimeter of the ring going to the left, upon which I return to my dog and then go around behind him into heel position. You are allowed one phrase of praise or encouragement without penalty in both the heel on-lead and Figure 8. This was important to me as I have a 2 year old dog that has no show ring experience and I wanted his time in the ring to be a positive one. Louie’s score was a 199 and this completed his BN title with a 199, 199 and 198

Once the AKC and CKC began to offer Pre-novice classes, I started to compete in them. I think Beginner novice, Pre-Novice and Wild Card classes are a great way to give your dog some exposure, get your own feet wet, earn a title, and without the pressure of not being able to at least once or twice, give your young or new dog some praise and encouragement. I love the Wild Card classes and wish more shows would offer them.

When I compete in these classes with a new dog, I always have people come up to me and say things like, “I would never of thought those classes would interest you”, or “why would an OTCH trainer be interested in competing in Pre-Novice?” Well, now you know!