Griffin and I visited an AKC trial today and saw more people than we expected to! We saw lots of golden retriever people we know, lots of people we know from training and class, and some of his family!
We were able to talk about the Certificate of Conformation Assessment (CCA, which is given by the Golden Retriever Club of America. The test is designed to compare dogs to the standard, not to compete against each other like in conformation. A dog has to get three scores of 75+ (out of 100) from three judges. It seems like most tests have three evaluators presents, so often dogs are able to complete the CCA at one event.
It looks like Griffin and I will try to get into a spring test, and should supposedly do quite well. He'll need a good bath and grooming (it's not really judged...but...is definitely important!) and more practice with standing and being touched and gaiting. I have a feeling that the waiting-for-our-turn part will be the hardest.
Back to the trial, Griffin did way better than I expected, he worked with me for a while, asked nicely to go outside, was seeking out doors (one didn't have a handle, it was a door and a door frame... and half hidden behind a vending machine, the door frame must have cued him it was a door!), he didn't jump on some people, he walked past a lot of dogs. He watched dogs do agility. And he only barked a little.
The hardest part was seeing dogs nearby tugging or if they asked him to play. We did a little tugging inside, but there were also several moments where he would not tug and a few moments where he refused to work (...but his response was to move away and lie down in a relaxed down while watching me... so it was a very nice way to refuse!).
If we do the CCA test, we will not go covered in mud and/or cow poop.
So today was a success in a lot of ways...the trial environment is very manageable, artificial turf is FABULOUS, and after too many years in agility, I finally made it to an AKC trial. It looked just like all the other trials I've been to, agility almost all looks the same to me!
We need more tugging, more working in new places and way more training.