Routines help us to get our brain in gear for the situation that each specific routine relates to, plus its good for the dog too. If you get nervous or stressed at competitions then developing your own routine may help you to relax a little by having a structure. Alternatively if you’re like me, pretty lazy and half asleep until about 10am, then having a routine helps ensure that I haven’t forgotten anything and that I’ve given my dog everything he needs.
The Night Before
I try to start my routine the night before by getting everything ready (I don’t camp at shows). I don’t do early mornings so the more that’s ready the night before the later I can step out of bed and into the car. I try to make sandwiches, although if I know there’s catering I’ll treat myself on the day. I’ll make up a bottle of juice and get some snacks together plus grab my waterproofs, boots and trainer. You’ve gotta be prepared for all weather, especially if you’re at Catton Hall! Guinness has his own bag that has his treats, toys, coats (if needed) and water bowl all in one place. One of the most important things is to charge any batteries, there’s nothing worse than getting your camera out to film a run and finding its got flat battery.
It’s Show Time
Right let’s get cracking. I make Guinness and I scrambled egg (on toast for me), load everything into the car and off we go. Most shows are about an hour away so its normally at least 2 hours after breakfast when we have the first run.
Once we’ve arrived and parked up I leave Guinness in the car and go check out the rings. First thing I want to do is get my bearings, find out where the secretary tent is and where each numbered ring is. Then I’ll walk a course if I’ve got a class first thing (normally I arrive just in time for walking, I’m not an early bird remember).
Back to the car now and if I’ve walked a course I’ll draw it in my notepad and then take Guinness out for a good walk. At least 10 minutes mooching around, letting Guinness do what he wants and then we’ll do some toy throwing, stretches and warm up routines.
We’re up next
A last look at my diagram and handling choices then it’s time to go. Before a run I try to give Guinness at least 10 minutes exercise, free running and lots of toilet stops. Then we’ll queue up and stretch in the queue, giving him a job to do to stop him watching the other dogs.
We went clear!
I wish, but it’s a nice thought! Straight from the competition run we get back to the exercise area and try to have some gentle free running then back into the car.
Rinse and repeat throughout the show. I’ll normally have lunch in my car or sat with friends somewhere, then after our last run of the day we’ll finish with a generous walk around before setting off home (or waiting for results if we have had any clears!).
It’s all about what works for you and your dog. This is my routine that we’ve developed after many many shows and it really works for us. Whatever you do, enjoy yourself!