Next week, April 29th-May 4th is the Newfoundland National Specialty in Frankenmuth, MI. Newfoundland Dogs (and their owners and/or handlers) from across the country and even from other parts of the world, gather for a week filled with activities and events of all things Newfoundland Dog.
I went last year for the very first time and Winn and I participated in two events. We were there for three days, Winn earned her Rally Intermediate title and I did my very best to remain calm and not get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the show. My daughter joined me which was a huge confidence boost while I mingled around other Newfoundland owners that seemed to have so much more experience with this incredible breed that I love so much.
This year I decided to go for the full experience and will be up there all week. Once again, I am bringing my steady partner Winn and we are entered in 10 events (yikes!). The first one is the Draft Test on Monday morning for which we have been focusing our training over the last several weeks. Currently we are on the alternate list, we started as the 4th alternate and recently jumped to 1st alternate so there is still hope that we will make it into the test. (The test is limited to 15 dogs, so we are waiting for just one more person to drop from the test. ) If we don’t make it in, that’s OK, we will watch our friends participate and we have 9 other events to keep us plenty busy.
This show is the Granddaddy of all shows. I’ve been looking forward to it since last years’ show ended. I have focused on being even more prepared for the many aspects of the event. It seemed so far away for so long, but now it is next week and I’ve got a lot to do! I’ve had a running list in my head for the last few weeks that include: training, a very lengthy packing list, Winn will need a bath and fresh trim to look her very best and I need to gather my support materials for our agenda.
Most of our training has been in Rally and Obedience. For the health of her joints, I needed to wait until Winn turned two, her birthday is March 6th, before we started focusing on jumping and pulling the cart. After earning her Rally Intermediate title last year, she can compete in Rally Advanced but that level includes jumps so we had to hold off on entering that level until very recently. Shortly after Christmas, I purchased a carting starter kit and slowly introduced the harness, the feeling of pulling something and then finally hooked her up to the cart about six weeks ago. She’s very good with all of the maneuvering, I think because it’s so much like rally, she just needs to pay attention to me and my commands. She doesn’t love putting the harness over her head, so we continue to work on that with lots of praise and rewards. Harness and Hitch are the first two elements of the course and she has to be willing to do that before we can even begin.
Packing list: this list seems to grow every day, but so far, this is what I’ve decided I need to bring.
- Crates-2 soft sided 1 wire (large for room, lightweight to bring to sites, wire to set up for longer stay in grooming building as a back up), crate pads
- chairs-2 one for show, one lightweight for sites
- treats: training and reward
- food: dry and fresh, supplements
- food and water bowls/ extra water bowl and water bottle to bring to event sites
- blanket/sheet for bed, toys
- portable fan, charger and extra batteries
- draft cart (disassemble Sat), weights, harness
- draft cart repair kit: extra clips, nuts, allen wrench, large screwdriver
- leashes: slip and leather
- clean up kit: rags, wipes, poop bags
- first aid kit, embrace ins. form and immunization record, copy of registration for eye clinic
- brush, grooming spray, scissors
- Winn’s robe/towels
- training bag
- cross bars for roof rack
- clothes for a week
- outfit and hat for Derby Day party !!??!!
- bathing suit
- toiletries, brushes, hair dryer, curling iron, plenty of hair ties, ball cap
- cooler with grab and go foods: deli meat, yogurt, soda, bread, snacks
- camera, charger, lens cleaner
- raincoat and rain boots
- disposable cups, plates, paper towel
- wine, wine opener
- small scissors
- laptop, iPad, chargers for all electronics, camera cord
How on earth is all of this going to fit into the car?!
Winn needs a bath and trim Tuesday/Wednesday
- Take screen photos of all entry numbers and judging form for each day. Create a phone note for each day with the schedule of events and entry numbers as well as meals and downtime.
I’ve learned from being at different events that internet access can be spotty and slow. When checking in at past events, I’ve had to scramble a few times to find my entry number because reception has been bad. This time around, I want to have stored notes for each day with my numbers and the schedule for quick and easy reference. I don’t need to add to my stress level and I like to be prepared when I approach the stewards to pick up my numbers.
I’ll be taking lots of pictures and posting daily on Instagram and FaceBook. There is so much that we are going to be doing that I’m sure I’ll have enough material for several posts, so stay tuned, and wish us luck!
You can read about our experience at last years’ Newfoundland National here.