Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mesa's Agility Trial Debut

This is it...what we've all been waiting for. Mesa made her big agility trial debut over the weekend at a CPE (Canine Performance Events) trial in Milford, Ohio. Of course, Dally went along and competed as well, so I'll tell you about her trial first.

So far, Dally has stayed at the 8 inch jump height for CPE, mostly because we rarely do that venue and the amount of obstacles isn't as high as in AKC. She's in Level 3 and 4 for everything, so the courses are finally starting to get to the level of AKC Excellent. In Jumpers Level 3, she Qd and placed 2nd with a time of 42.47/47. Standard Level 3, she Qd and placed 2nd with a time of 55.61/61. In Jackpot Level 4, she Qd and placed 1st with 54 points and a time of 50.78/57. And, finally, in Full House Level 3, she Qd and placed 2nd with 26 points and a time of 39.59/40.

Overall, it was a good day for Dally--she ran well and we had fun. That's all that matters.

When I sent in the entries, I decided to only run Mesa in three of the four classes because I wasn't sure how the Jackpot would play out. I started her in Level 1 because that level does not require weave poles nor a teeter. The teeter isn't a problem, but we're still working on the weave poles being tilted out and a small channel. This is why I think CPE is the best venue for beginner dogs.

In Full House, Level 1, our first run of the day, I was nervous only because I didn't know how she would act or what she would do--would she run around the course? Run out? Pee in the tunnel? She was full of excitement, barking in the line and barking at the speaker that proclaimed "Go." I wanted to run her the same course I mapped out with Dally, however she had other thoughts and loved the dog walk. But all was good, I just changed it up and we ran through the course with no problems. We ended with a Q and first place with 25 points and a time of 40.13/40.

After a long wait through Jackpot and most of Standard, it was finally time for Mesa's Standard, Level 1. I came up with the idea of taking Mesa for a short run up and down the short road in front of the building to try to get some of her extra energy out. I had meant to put a front cross in between the jump (#2) and the dog walk (#3), but she came out of the tunnel so fast that I just ran the long way. Not a bad idea, right? Did I mention that it had been raining all day? Apparently I hadn't dried my shoes off well-enough after our run because right at the end of the dog walk, my feet slipped out from under me and down I went. I was able to keep my eye on Mesa, and to my surprise she stayed on the dog walk, hit her contact, and flipped right into the tunnel while I directed her, all from the floor. I was so proud of her for keeping going while I fell--I was afraid she'd jump off to see why I was on the floor. I quickly got back up and we ran through the course without any hiccups. I was so happy and proud of her!! She Qd and placed 1st with a (smoking) time of 28.88/51.

Mesa's Jumpers, Level 1, was the last class of the long day, but she stayed on the ball. She had a couple of moments of being a puppy--we barked at the photographer before going into the first tunnel, had a conversation about going into the third tunnel, and then ran by the last jump. But we stuck together, and I even got a rear cross in, and she Qd to place 1st, yet again, with a time of 33.67/52. She went 3-for-3, with three 1st places and her Handlers Games Level 1 title in her first agility trial ever!

One of the BFO trainers described her as a "firecracker" and I think that's the best term to call her. She loves agility and she loves running with me. This is evident when we're at training and, now, at trials because she just barks and barks and refuses to sit and be still for one moment on the start line. Now Merinda is working with me on trying to contain her excitement by waiting out her barks. Last night at class I would just stand at the start line while she barked and jumped around until she finally sat and was quiet--as soon as she was, I'd just run flat out for her reward. It's going to time and a lot of patience from me, but it's something just as important as nailing those weave poles. I need to have a calm down to start our runs and to have a decent length start line lead-out as we get into AKC courses, and this is the foundation for that.

Once I get a photo from the photographer at the trial, I'll share for everyone to see. Until then, enjoy the videos.

This Friday the girls and I are heading to Queen City for a rally trial--two trials in one day. I'm hoping to finish both their Rally Novice titles. I'll let you know how that turns out.

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