Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday August 27th 2006 - Fun Match

(Backfilled in October 2009 due to impending closure of Geocities)

Today was our first ever agility try-all, and Walter did great! It was a fun match with treats, toys, and training allowed in the ring, and we shared the day with Jenn and Sammy. I had registered him in the 16" class because I didn't want to overload him and had no idea if he'd even set foot on a different set of equipment; turns out it was a safe choice too because it was a day of steady showers/rain. The day started with a standard course (see diagram below; chute replaced with tunnel due to rain). We were the second team up since there was only one dog at a lower height and no others at 16". The first time through I made it a training exercise, stopping and treating at contacts and some other places too. It took us just over two minutes to do the whole thing. The second time through (everyone gets a second turn after all dogs have gone) I held back on the treats and went for it, albeit conservatively. The only trouble we had was the last obstacle (a jump), which was very close to where the ring crew was sitting with ponchos and umbrellas, and Walter lost his focus and ran by it but recovered quickly to finish the course within the time allowed (1:03), with 20 faults for NC on the weaves (which we obviously didn't even attempt).

The standard course (starters).

Our second time on the standard course: pausing for a good contact.

Our second time on the standard course: Walter just refused the green jump and we're setting up to get back on track.

Then, it was time for snooker (see diagram below). Because it's a fun match, no one was whistled off for doing something wrong. Both times we did red, dogwalk, red, 4a/b, red, 6a/b, then onto the closing sequence. The first time we had no trouble on course and Walter was about 8 feet away from the down contact on the dogwalk when the time was up so we ended with 31 points (assuming the weaves weren't part of the course), 6 short of the required. The second time, well, it had been really raining on us while we waited for our turn which annoyed Walter, and I could tell he had to pee but refused to, so those are my excuses for our less than stellar last run. He ran by the first red, then after 4b I had to think about what was next (almost forgot the next red), then at 6b (as the obstacle of choice) Walter refused (but did it after 3 or 4 approaches). The closing sequence was fine.

In summary, Walter did just great; I really couldn't have asked him to try any harder. He didn't "forget" how to do any of the obstacles (including the scent-laden table and mildly different-looking tire; his feelings about the different-looking chute are yet to be determined), he never got the sniffies or zoomies, he was attentive to my directions and didn't make up his own course, and he offered his bows on the contacts when I didn't rush him. I on the other hand was not so great, occasionally forgetting the course and slowing Walter down, and my arms were probably all over the place. Things I learned include the following: $10 rain boots actually provide decent traction on wet grass; it's true what they say about agility being good exercise for the human; with few dogs in a trial (approx 12 dogs participated today) your turn comes up *fast*.

We ended the day with a nice (if rainy) walk at the off-leash dog park.

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