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First Class Win
November 27, 2005 - Waco. After the Austin show, but before Waco, we went to a ukc show at Hutto, where we got some help from other exhibitors, mainly Sally Bedow. We didn't win anything, but we learned a little. A couple of weeks after that, we headed up the road to the big exhibition Center at Waco, where we had our first inkling of success.
On Saturday, we lost every way possible. She was not well enough groomed, she squirmed on the table when the judge tried to examine her, and she wobbled and hauled uncontrollably on the leash.
The judge seemed to like Weegie, but I don’t think she had much use for me. “You have to teach her to hold still and let me examine her,” she growled, as if I hadn’t tried.
We knuckled down to learn some more. This time, we had brought our grooming table and dryer. We watched the other handlers. They spray stuff on their dogs. We asked: special dog-hair conditioners, which they dilute. Then they blow and brush the dog’s coat dry.
They were glad to recommend their favorite brands of products and show us how to use them.
Dog shows are ringed around by vendors selling everything from toys to jeweled collars. Craig found one who had a wide array of grooming aids and products, and came back with a spray bottle of a product called Show-off.
Judges are supposed to tell exhibitors about their dogs upon request after they have shown. I had managed to catch one judge in Hutto, who said something vague about Weegie’s legs being a bit delicate-boned, which would mean too thin.
I thought, What? Weegie doesn't have stick-legs. When we got Weegie Dick pointed to Weegie's nice wide muzzle and said, That means she'll have good bone.
I had been thinking about this issue, and now I saw that other exhibitors sprayed and brushed their dogs’ legs against the lie. Craig tried the same thing on Weegie in Waco, and Voila! “Bone.”
Then there was the handling. Once again, another exhibitor came to our rescue. Herself a judge, she greeted us by saying that she had judged Weegie’s litter sister Crystal Best of Breed in Oklahoma City. She told us that Crystal had in fact been Best of Breed twice that weekend.
We explained our problem(s): wouldn’t show her teeth, wouldn’t stand still, wouldn’t handle on the leash. Debbie said, “Show me.” She examined Weegie on the grooming table, corrected her when she squirmed, and helped me organize my hands. Much better.
Then we found an open area and worked on moving. “I had to see her move first,” Debbie said. “She’s every bit as nice as her sister.”
She showed me how I had to get Weegie moving freely, so neither I nor the leash pulled her off her natural stride. Easier said than done, but we improved a little. Sunday, I had my hand right where it had to be when the judge approached the table. As soon as she released Weegie’s mouth, I distracted Weegie with a treat. Good!
Down on the floor again, we managed to give the judge a glimpse good movement. She kept looking back at Weegie, who was getting steadily more excited. We got the nod! We got a blue ribbon!
Thrilling, but not enough for points. Back in the ring for the winners class, Weegie was getting wild, and I could see us sinking out of favor. Our day would come, but it wasn’t meant to be that year in Waco.