Stepping outside the box and out of our comfort zone is never easy. It forces us to view our surroundings in a different way and pushes our perspective to the limit.

All too often, we become stuck in a particular way of thinking and behaving. We create this space and time that eventually turn into our everyday life where things can get a little repetitious.

This is perfectly normal and fine, I think, but if every once and a while we took a drastic step outside of that space, we might find something new and refreshing.

For me, when I go to dog shows, my comfort zone consists of preparing the dogs and showing them in the ring. Rarely do I go to a show and not step foot inside a show ring.

This past weekend, however, the tables were turned and I was unable to show – for a good reason. My mom was judging, so I simply couldn’t show. It was great for her to judge, and I’m glad I could be there to watch.

The idea of not showing was surprisingly fine with me. The thought of going to a show and not getting into the ring had me thinking of all the things I wouldn’t have to worry about – like ring conflicts, pottying dogs and having to juggle showing and taking pictures. I was excited to take that step outside of my box and discover a new perspective on the dog show world.

I have to admit, it was definitely strange walking around the show grounds wearing normal clothes. Camera in hand, I’m sure I looked like some person from the outside world just taking pictures of puppies – to people who don’t know me, that is.

Overall though, I don’t have any complaints about the experience. I had the chance to chat with some old and new fellow dog fanciers, and take some interesting photos too. At a fun match on Saturday night, I had the perfect chance to get some cute photos of the puppies roaming around. Not only that, but the show site was so beautiful and green it made for a perfect backdrop for ringside candids.

A candid shot of a Chinese Shar-Pei puppy at ringside. Photo by Kayla Bertagnolli.

Another thing that currently has me stepping outside of my box is judging.

I had the great opportunity to judge my second Sanctioned B match over the weekend as well. I’m getting used to being in the ring without a dog to show. As the saying goes, “The more you do something, the better you get at it.”

The experience of judging again was fun, and I had a great group of juniors to work with – some young and some not so young! They didn’t complain and they had a lot of good energy. I can’t wait to do another one!

Now I suppose this whole stepping outside of my box thing is something I’ll have to get used to. For starters, I’ll be going to another show next week without showing. Maybe stepping outside the box isn’t too bad. I’d rather be outside the box than tucked away inside with nowhere to go!

Even if it isn’t comfortable at first, stepping out of our comfort zone seems to get easier each time we do it.

Dogs Freakin’ Rule!