I have a tendency to build things up in my mind in anticipation so they seem much worse than they are. I did it with all my tattoos, which wound up being a good thing since it didn't hurt as bad as I was expecting. I've been hearing for years that AKC shows are hard, scary things for a novice to jump in to. That the grooming for a show poodle is nearly impossible.
So I had nerves out the wazoo when it came time for the first AKC show I was healthy enough to show Jude in. I was pretty confident in my abilities, I'd spent weeks practicing spray-ups. Saturday came and we were as ready as we could be. I got there early so I could rest for a bit and Jude could get in the show routine. I was set up with a friend we met at Jude's first show and we chatted until it was time to start getting ready. I'm not the quickest at spraying up so it takes me at lest half an hour. Finally we were ready and we all headed over to the ring.
Jude quickly showed that it takes a lot to phase him. The crowd of dogs didn't bother him, he loved the people admiring him and absolutely thrived in the atmosphere. We got in to the ring and he did beautifully. Some dogs aren't sure about the noise and crowds but he just loves it. He won his age group and that was all (up against mature adults) but I got tons of compliments on him. Sunday went much the same and I was so proud of him I could bust.
I know I've picked a harder route as an owner handler but I truly enjoy showing. There are some bad apples but that is life. As a service dog handler I hear much worse and am treated poorly much more often. Jude and I have a blast and that, to me, is what it is about.