This weekend i took my older boxer, Jasmine (in my icon) and we competed for the first time ever, Rally obedience.
If you're not familiar with what that is, it's a lot less strict than the other obedience trials. There are a series of excercises laid out on a course. The dog and handler approach each sign, and have to execute the tasks on the sign (for example, one asks me to stop, have her sit next to me, then lay down and stay while i walk in a circle around the dog, then we move on to the next sign). Dog and handler pairs each start the course with 100 points, and we lose points for mistakes, for skipping an activity, or for bad behavior (like too much barking, ignoring the handler too much, etc).
We did the competition both saturday and sunday. Both days we got a qualifying score. You need 70 points to qualify. If you qualify three times, you get a Rally title. Jasmine and i qualified both days. We had a rough day saturday, and only qualified by two points, but today we not only did well, we had the third best score!. It was only the novice division, which is very laid back. I had a hard time getting her to pay attention to me, and not the crowds, the noise, or the other dogs. We made what i would consider to be big mistakes (like her refusing to lay down!), and still qualified, and all qualifiers get a show ribbon. I'm so proud.
I think I might be the only one here who competes with their dogs, but if you guys think you might want to try some of the other competitions available, like obedience, agility, etc, i really recommend it! Rally is the perfect place to start for beginners, and it's built so that a even if you're a complete beginner who only gets most of the things right, you'll still be a winner. Close enough counts! More importantly, the AKC has changed the rules so that all dogs, regardless of breed or parentage, can compete in AKC sponsored events (except conformation). That means if you've got a rescue, or a stray, or a boxer mix, you can still compete!
We're having fun with it. And i hope some of you will give it a shot!