Last night Bella AND Domino went to handling class. This was my first “attempt” to learn how to handle Bella in the ring.

I have to tell you….it was one of the most challenging things I have tried. The task itself isn’t hard, it’s the “handling” of the dog that is challenging, especially if you are dealing with a puppy. Bella likes to pull and jump while in the ring if she is not interested in gaiting. She wants to play and sniff all the other dogs. Trying to control a dog/puppy that is jumping or tugging in midst of a gait can wear some one out!!! I haven’t perspired like that (partly due to nerves and partly due to activity) since I can’t even remember when!!!

Needless to say, after a few attempts, I felt pretty foolish and a bit frustrated with her. But the teacher was very patient and gave me a few pointers. She suggested that Bella and I (along with Kelly) go out to the parking lot (where there wasn’t so many distractions) and practice with Bella a bit. Bella did very well outside without all the stimulation of what was going on in class.

So back to class we go after several runs with her. I went back to the ring and tried gaiting her again. She did a bit better, but she still has the tendency to jump or totally stop during the run.

We decided that I try to gait Domino in the ring as he is more seasoned than Bella. This would give me the opportunity to work on my technique rather than trying to control a rambunctious puppy!

Well, what a Godsend it was to gait Domino! What a difference! He gaited BEAUTIFULLY! He didn’t even pace (like he normally does). He was perfect! And Domino did wonders for my ego! I now felt like I kind of knew what I was doing, rather than looking and feeling like a dork when I gaited Bella!

So starting today, I will be practicing about 5-10 minutes a day with Bella on her gait and her stack. I will also interchange gaiting with Domino to help me with my technique and to get a feel of what gaiting a dog should feel like.

If you are asking yourself if I am going to show Bella, I won’t be handling Bella in the ring at the dog shows, she will be handled by a professional. The reason that I am getting involved is to help practice with Bella so that she gets used to everything. Hopefully I can do just that! That is if she doesn’t kill me first!!!

More to come next week…..

UPDATE:   First day of practice (today) – SUCCESS!!!  YEAH!