Sunday, September 20, 2009

Romeo's 1st Agility Trial

Today Romeo and I were entered in our first AAC agility trial! The club that we train with offers an annual Starters Trial, with only Starters rounds, to encourage new dog and handlers to get started competing in an environment that is somewhat less intimidating. No crazy Advanced or Masters dogs around to make us feel like fools!

I had Romeo entered in two runs, a Standard and a Jumpers. I knew going into this trial that whether we qualified or not would be completely in my hands. If Romeo were in charge, we would definitely qualify, no problems. But I hold the handicap in this team, and my handler skills are seriously lacking. Sure enough, Romeo did beautifully in the Standard round, but I was in the wrong place with the cue for a tunnel and Romeo ended up trying to take the dog walk instead. He went exactly where my body language was telling him to go. So I can't fault the boy. In the Standard round, everything Romeo did was awesome! He nailed all his contacts, took the teeter like a champ, and even got his weave pole perfect on the first attempt! The teeter and weave entries are our sticky point at the moment. We ended up taking 5 faults for the tunnel-dog walk snafu, but wound up placing 2nd in our division!

The Jumpers round wasn't quite as nice, but again Romeo held up his end of the bargain admirably. I wound up pulling him off the tunnel ... TWICE ... by starting my turn before he was completely committed. We took 15 faults, but it was good enough to get us 3rd in the division!

To make it all even better, Romeo pulled off these great debut performances in the most nasty weather! It rained all day long, not enough to reduce visibility or safety enough to warrant me pulling him from the trial, but just enough to soak you through to the bone. Add the frigid temperatures and wind on top of it and it was a nasty NASTY day! We've been home and in dry clothes for an hour how, and I am still shivering.

Despite the horrible weather that made me into a whining, grumbling she-beast, it was a lot of fun and a very positive first adventure in agility trialing! Now, we get to rest up and do it all again next weekend at a huge Jumpers trial! We'll be aiming for qualifying scores this time.

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