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Rugby’s Specialty Experience

Rugby was back in Orlando this week for the American Maltese Association’s Obedience Trial at the National Specialty. There is nothing like being at a show with over 100 Maltese and the people that love them to make you truly appreciate what a great breed this is. Rugby agrees too, and is convinced that each specialty is held specifically so he can play with new dogs and greet every person that looks in his direction.

Partly because he is expecting a party, and partly because he is a conceited little dog, Rugby enjoys Obedience at the specialty because he gets applause! Oh my, he can hardly contain himself when he knows people are clapping for him. People don’t usually clap at your average Obedience trial, and the definitely don’t clap after every exercise so Rugby was eating up the attention yesterday. Not to mention he got instant feedback when doing his scent articles (bonus!) since the crowd told him he was right.

AMA Obedience Winnings
Rugby poses with all of his Obedience Trial prizes.

Rugby ended up with a 195 in Utility B, a 196 in Open B for his 19th UDX leg and a perfect 100 in Rally Advanced to finish his RA title. He earned a first place in all three classes and was High in Trial and High Combined. That brings his total to 9 HITs and 12 HCs.

Video of both of his Obedience runs are below. I didn’t record his Rally performance.

While he didn’t score (or work) quite as well as he did a few weeks ago, he had a few things going against him. The biggest one is travel. Flying wears him out, and for the last couple of years each time we flew for a dog show, I added a spare day after flying and before showing into the trip so he could rest and recover. I didn’t give him that day this time.

The next one is named Bourbon. We have been busy puppy raising, and slacking a little on the ‘training Rugby’ bit. We have been training, so that Rugby can get some “alone time” and keep his sanity, just not enough to keep him working at his full potential.

Lastly, he needs to visit the doggy chiropractor again. This was painfully obvious when after the show I asked him to do some tricks and he wouldn’t spin towards his left. That means his back is hurting him. That would explain the sloppy turns in the heeling and the crooked fronts/finishes. Sorry Rugby, we will fix you when we get back!

He was very tired after the show, and slept for the rest of the day. It is a miracle he stayed up during out of sight stays, considering. He really does work hard for me. Such a fabulous little dog. The applause didn’t hurt any. That kept him pretty wired.

We are on our way back today. We will be missing the rest of the show, but have to get back to Bourbon and our lessons planned for this weekend. Thank you to all the Leash Free Living students who were flexible with their schedules so we could make it down here to compete! Looking forward to next years specialty already!

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