Monday, January 24, 2011

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Yesterday we went to an agility fun match.  It's the kind of thing you go to when you are just starting out, or your dog is new to the game, or you have issues that you want to work on in a competitive type environment, or.... you go there to just have some fun with your dog without the 'pressure' of a real competition.  Usually with a fun match,  you can take treats and toys in the ring, or you can leave a leash and collar on your dog.  In an official competition, you dog runs 'naked' (no collar or leash) and no treats or toys are allowed while you are on course.  The classes cost less to enter (bonus!), and the judge might be a 'real' judge, or someone that is considering becoming an official judge, or just someone that knows enough to do a decent job.

So we rolled out of bed at the crack of dawn, at the unearthly hour of 7:30 (yep, that is about the crack of dawn this time of the year).  Got the animals all fed, let out, etc, and took the dogs for a quick walk and headed off.  Jake knew something was going on, and was a bit put out when he got left behind.  Why did we leave him behind?  Well he's got a lot more experience under his belt, and we just didn't feel it was necessary to spend the extra money.  Both Larry and Luna are low in the experience part, so just good practice for them both.  And since I did run Luna in a couple of classes...well it was experience for me running Luna.  She is a WHOLE different ball game compared to Jake.

Thankfully this was all taking place about 12 minutes away from us, in a lovely horse barn.  Okay, it wasn't really lovely, but it wasn't bad compared to some.  The only thing is that the horse barn is the same temperature as the outside air, and when you are standing around for 9+ hours and only actually running your dog for seconds, you really start to wonder why you are there.  We could have got there an hour and a half later than we did, as Luna wasn't in the first class, and there were a TON of dogs in that one.  Since we had already waited quite a while, were already cold, and still had quite a while more to wait for Luna's turn, we just headed out down the road from the barn and did a two mile or so walk.  That warmed us up nicely, and kept us comfortable for a while after we got back.  I ran Luna in two runs, one run took 30 seconds, and the other one about 35.  Larry's three runs probably didn't add up to more two and a half minutes.  An awful lot of hanging around waiting for your moment in the spot light.

And how did Luna do, you ask?  Well she only got one run that would have been a qualifying run in a real trial, and that wasn't pretty.  That was the Gamblers class where you make up your own course in the first part of the run, gathering points as your dog goes over the different obstacles.  If your dog takes an obstacle that wasn't in your plan, well it doesn't really matter, you get points for whatever obstacles your dog completes successfully, although the obstacles you had planned on your dog taking might have been worth more points. At the end of the course when the buzzer goes, there are a few obstacles (the 'Gamble') that are to be completed while staying behind a line on the ground.  The idea is to get the dog to work at some distance away from you.  You are given about 20 seconds to complete this part.  Usually a lot of that 20 seconds is taking up actually getting in position to start that part of the course. Gamblers is actually my favourite class, I love the challenge of the distance obstacles.  In the first part of the course there are some optional 'mini Gambles' that are worth double points if you are successful.  And now I'm sure you perfectly understand the Gamblers class:)

Anyway, there were nice parts and some not so nice parts.  She needs lots of work still, which we are pretty bad at actually doing.  Aw heck, we are just doing it for fun:)  Any excuse will do....
She needs work on the weave poles.  She can do 12 poles really fast in the right situation, but seems to have trouble with the weaves when they are part of a fast course.  Larry had trouble with her on the teeter because she thought it was the dogwalk, and was prepared to run another 24 ft instead of launching herself into space. (The teeter has to touch the ground before they can exit it).  She blasts through that tire however she can, and doesn't care if she hits it or not.  In fact she is a bit of a wild child out there, and I liken her to a bull in a china shop at times.  You'll notice that in parts of the runs where she is getting the information where she is to go in a timely manner, there isn't much barking.  She does get frustrated though if she isn't given enough information and is confused as to where she should be going, and she likes to tell us to get our act together!

Luna was wearing her lovely bandanna, which was to let other people know that she needed her space.   The day went pretty well in that regard.  She did have a nice meet and greet with a golden doodle,  and Pippin and Jeff stopped in for a visit.  She did have one snarky moment with another dog (also wearing a bandanna) right near the end of the day.  The dog wasn't close, but it must have given Luna the look, or vice versa, and then there was a bit of name calling.

Here's Luna's runs, warts and all, ...and there's lots of warts:(   In the first run we figured she couldn't really see the table.  It looks different to the one she is used to, and the grey top blended into the grey around the bottom of the ring wall.  Therefore when Larry said 'table', she just laid down where she was.


  1. Looks like fun to me! We don't have anything like that in our area, what a great activity it would be in the wintertime! I really enjoyed the video:)

  2. I don't know, looks pretty impressive to me!

  3. Lots of fun! DO dogs who need space wear specail bandanas, is it come sort of secret code?

  4. Ruth, the person putting on this trial offers them for dogs that have issues with other dogs or people. The ones she supplies aren't really very obvious, especially on a dog that isn't short haired, so we took our own bright coloured one. Figure we might as well, and then hopefully those people that just let their dogs go and sniff any other dog would notice it and keep them away from Luna. The fact that it can be fairly close quarters, she is a bit wound up anyway with the excitement, and being restrained by the leash just amplifies things for Luna.
    The 'secret code' made my laugh, but I guess it is sort of:)

  5. Oh, we laughed and laughed. Wayne says that Luna and Kilt MUST be related. Kilt is frantic in agility, doesn't mind hitting the tire, would have downed on the ground, etc. Kilt is frantic, and barky. We never pursued agility with her because she was either going to hurt us by running into us or hurt herself! Love the scarf. Kilt has RED one.


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