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Any tips? Meg's First Agility Trial (finally)

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Meg and I have been taking agility classes for almost two years but have yet to compete. Finally on Saturday July 7th I plan to enter us in a NADAC Fun-Raiser. It's indoors on dirt, single arena, much like the building we have classes in.

 

Here's my 'to bring list':

Crate

Blanket and cover for Meg's Crate

Water bowl

Water

Treats

Tug toy

Chairs

Poo Clean-up Bags

Camera and camera-person ;)

Money

Meg's NADAC number (will be registering day-of, shouldn't be a very big trial)

 

I think we're going to do one Regular run and one Touch-n-Go run in the Skilled category. Meg likes contact obstacles the best so I think she'll like Touch-N-Go. Her least favorite obstacles in class are weave poles. At home she'll fly through them...in class she s-l-o-w-l-y creeps through.

 

I'm considering going Friday to give Hoopers a try (and so Meg can get a feel for the place) but I'm not sure. It's only 10 minutes from my house, so certainly do-able, but I don't really understand Hoopers as described in the NADAC handbook with the Test vs. Non-Test hoops.

 

I'm excited and a bit nervous. I don't expect to Q, but I hope Meg has fun and doesn't tune me out completely. Any tips for us first timers? Anything I'm forgetting on my list off stuff to bring? Should I do two Regular runs? I don't want to overdo it, but I also don't want her to be bored.

 

 

In class last week we moved all the equipment to the newly fenced outdoor area. Meg loved it! She by-passed the teeter and most of the jumps the first run through, but she had more fun than she's had in a while (she's been way too serious/bored in our agility class lately). If I get that response in our first trial, I'll be happy (though it'll be nice if she actually completes most of the obstacles). ;)

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Relax and have fun. I am coming over to deer park for the weekend too. I'll keep my eyes open for you two. Always fun to meet someone from the boards in person. I will be running Renoir; smooth coat b/w border collie without a tail. If you see us come say hi!

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you and meg are gonna love it! bring a cooler. bring a dog- it's not on your list and you wouldn't believe how often people pack everything but the dog!!

remember there is no teeter in nadac. dogs run naked, humans shouldn't. do tunnelers if offered, it's like a border collie cannon!

 

kinda jones-ing for a trial myself. nothing here till aug.

 

enjoy!

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How many runs totally depends on the dog. I like to enter Jude is however Many runs I can. That's because he's a steam engine always looking for more and gets bored waiting his turn. He doesn't shut down and lives to run agility, lol.

 

Just gotta know your dog.

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Looking forward to an update! Fun-raisers are their own little world -- Very relaxed and low key. I would assume that most fun-raisers would be running the numbered Hoopers these days (essentially Jumpers with Hoops), but I suppose there could always be exceptions.

 

Hoopers counts for nothing unless you get your Superior titles in all levels and go for the All Around. Because of that, I find myself not entering it ($$) but my boys love it. I'm debating letting Kaiser do it at our next trial to finish up his Open title. He got the Q's he needed to do Champs in 2011 and we haven't ran it since.

 

Hope we get video! :D

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I will be running Renoir; smooth coat b/w border collie without a tail. If you see us come say hi!

 

Will do! Meg will be the rough coat b/w border collie without a tail. :D

 

I'll definitely add a cooler and snacks to my list. And Meg of course...Thank you!

 

If Hoopers is numbered we can do that. Maybe we'll drive out and just see on Friday. At this point, I'm not worried about points, Qs, etc...mostly I just want to get through a course without Meg tuning me out. She finds the ground much more interesting when she's stressed or feeling pressured so I've been trying to just keep her moving and having fun. She's doing good lately (and it shows outside of agility too).

 

I'm still debating how many runs to do. On Saturday, our choices for runs are 2 Regular, 2 Touch-N-Go, Jumpers, and Chances. I'm not ready for Chances and Meg hasn't been too thrilled with just boring old jumps lately, so I think we'll stick to Regular and T-n-G. I'm thinking Meg and/or me will probably bomb on our first run and it would be nice to be able to try again when the nerves have settled a bit. :P

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Go for both rounds of Regular. Round two is just a reversal of round one -- and usually it runs better in one direction than the other, so it helps to take two shots at it.

 

Most dogs find NADAC Jumpers courses to be very motivating with their soft flowing lines. There isn't the stress of weaves or contacts, so most green dogs excel there. I'd try it at least one of the days, although numbered Hoopers would be similar for a dog who likes hoops.

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Never have done NADAC but i can attest to agility trial. Best advise is dont stress! Just relax and have fun! Even if your border collie bombs dont stress it.

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Don't forget lunch/snacks for yourself, and plenty to drink. Trial food can be really, really bad! Also, sunscreen, a hat, a chair and something to read (and if you're getting on up there like I am, reading glasses ;) ) Oh, and Tylenol or Advil is always handy. You're gonna have sooooo much fun!!!!

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Will you have someone there to help you keep track of the classes and timing of the walk-throughs? Not a big deal if you don't, but it helps smooth some of the confusion of your first time.

 

Be aware that NADAC starts running dogs as soon as the walk-through is finished. I am used to AKC - only running one NADAC per year. In AKC, there is a 13 minute walk-through, then 5 minutes to get the first dog on the line. One time I missed my run time because I wasn't fast enough bringing my dog to the ring since I forgot that there was no 5 minute period between walk-through and first dog.

 

Have fun. Best of Luck to you and Meg,

Jovi

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My family will be around with the camera(s), but they know next to nothing about agility. ;) There is only one ring so that makes things a little bit easier to keep track of.

 

I get totally lost watching the AKC trials when there's more than one ring.

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I didn't make it out Friday for hoopers. We did do three runs today. Probably should have done the second Touch N Go, but that's ok. Next time!

 

Video later, but here's how things went:

Run #1 Touch N Go

Meg started out great and made it through the first 7 obstacles, though I think she missed the contact on the A-frame. Then she ran around the outside of a tunnel...she does this in class too. We'll have to work on it more; I think I may be pushing her out somehow.

 

Then came the Dog Walk...

 

The judge was standing on one side of the dog walk and I think that made Meg a little uneasy,

AND a dog kenneled off to the side barked and snarled as she got on the dog walk and that startled her,

AND well, she started up the dog walk and jumped off. Started up again...only made it up a few steps before hopping off again with her 'what the heck is that!?' look. Rubber Matted contacts...she's never been on them. So she got back on and I put my hand under her ribs and supported her all the way across. I'll post the video later...its kind of funny how she tip toed across the whole thing.

 

She was happy once we completed the dog walk so I ended our run there and gave her lots of treats!

 

Run #2 Regular 1

Totally not focused! I was really nervous and so she just kind of checked out a bit and sniffed a lot...we had so many faults and she missed quite a few obstacles. I think I got in her way twice and that sure didn't help. She also wanted to go say hi to my sister who was off to the side with the camera. Not a very good run for either of us BUT she did the dog walk! She hesitated and was nervous about it, but she did it! That made the whole distracted run well worth it.

 

Run #3 Regular 2

AWESOME! NO FAULTS! We were 4/10ths of a second over on time so did not Q but I could not be happier with our run. She did circle around one jump but went back and completed it. A great last run! Best of all...she did the dog walk with no hesitation! :D

 

I'm very pleased with our first trial! We had fun. Everyone there was great. I didn't know anyone but it didn't matter. Everyone was nice and glad to help.

 

@Jumpin Boots - It was nice meeting you! Renoir sure is a good looking dog. We (my family and the people sitting next to us) all enjoyed watching him run!

 

Today, after her runs Meg was laying by my feet while strange dogs she's never seen before walked close by. She either ignored them or showed mild curiosity. This from the dog who had to be separated from the others in our first obedience class because she kept snarling at anyone who came near and kept trying stare the other dogs down. She's come a long way in the last two years. I'm very proud of how relaxed she was overall being in a new place, with lots of strange people and dogs. That's my girl!

 

I can't way to give it another go!

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Congratulations! It sounds like you and Meg had a great time, and that Meg showed improvement in many areas. Keep up the good work.

 

Jovi

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Yes, she was pretty stressed (been there, done that, have several t-shirts :P ), but I saw lots of good stuff. You made some excellent choices with regard to just going on and not fixing certain things (which would make it worse) and things that needed to be done (getting over the dog walk).

 

I bet the next trial will be loads better because you'll both have more experience and know what to expect!

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@Jumpin Boots - It was nice meeting you! Renoir sure is a good looking dog. We (my family and the people sitting next to us) all enjoyed watching him run!

 

It was nice meeting you too! Fun to put a face to someone from the internet. Meg and you both did great! I hope you are proud of both of you. I thought you handled the dogwalk issue very well; and what great strides she took to overcome her initial nervousness. I would agree with you that you were a bit close on the tunnels and pushed her away, but you'll figure those details out, I always find that I have a tendency to babysit my dogs when I'm nervous. Thanks about Renoir; he is a fun boy!

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Oh my gosh, the tip toeing on the dogwalk was adorable! But good for you for persevering - by that second Standard run, she crossed it like a pro! And nice rear cross too - I'm jealous. smile.gif Meg is so cute, and I think you guys did great for your first trial. Well done!

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Meg got her very first Q tonight! We went to another NADAC FUNraiser...there were only 10-12 handlers and 20 or so dogs so it was very laid back (and FUN!). Only two Touch N Go runs were listed on the premium and that's what I went there expecting to do, but they had added in Chances as well and talked me into giving it a try. So our very first run was Novice Chances and we Q'd! On our second Chances run, Meg was distracted by smells.

 

On both Touch N Go runs, we had trouble with a dog walk-tunnel discrimination. First, Meg was headed for the dog walk (correct!) but then paused and decided the tunnel looked better (still not crazy about the rubber matted dog walk). She did this twice, but on the third attempt, took the dog walk (with some tiptoeing) and finished the rest of the course beautifully. On our second run, I messed up and pushed her into the tunnel by leaning forward when I should have angled away. In both runs she hit all her contacts and was having a good time (not worried or nervous)! We even did two rear crosses and she took them in stride on both runs.

 

AAfterward we were able to practice and with some pointers for me from a few Elite handlers we did the same TnG course perfectly! She did the dog walk a few more times just to get used to it so hopefully next time she won't hesitate to take it.

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