Our handling classes have become much more detail-oriented, now that we've survived our first two shows and have learned the basics of how to get into the ring and go around it. Tracy is attempting to refine our technique and get us past some of our newbie habits. If all goes as planned, we might not always look like the world's goofiest amateurs out in the ring.
First objective: Get Dinah to remain standing and "at work" for the whole show experience, both in the ring and while waiting. Tracy had me correct her when she attempted to sit, which made Dinah wiggle and rebel until she decided that she could live with the idea. We've also made our first progress toward free-baiting, which pleases me because we can both stand up straight and look confident for the judge. If we practice, someday I won't have to hold her up to keep her out of the dirt while the judge is examining her.
I'm sure going to miss Dinah's puppy coat when it grows out, though. It rarely mats and is a dream to groom. I half feel guilty at the shows, watching Val and Pat work for ages to get Traveler to look "just so," and finishing up Dinah with one flourish of the brush and a couple of squirts of water mist. When Dinah's adolescent coat comes in and I'm up half the night taming mats, I'll look on these days with longing.