Saturday, October 2, 2010

Spike runs agility

I can't believe how time is flying... it's October already, and I am now in the off season for flyball and agility. I think that's a good thing as Spike and I ran at two trials and I have a whole list of things to train over the winter. But it was fun and he loved every minute of it!!

The first weekend was D&S Dogs annual Starter's Trial. It's intended for dogs like Spike, as a first agility trial and it was small, lowkey and lots of fun! I entered Spike in 2 Standard rounds and 1 Jumpers round. No need to post results; we didn't Q in anything, but I was able to shake the nerves off and by the end of the day was earning way less faults! The last round of the day was the Jumper's round and that was an incredible moment for me; it was then I realized I had an agility dog, that Spike is fast and that I am hooked on agility! He flew around the course, with me merely stumbling behind, yelling "GO!". And, he went! One pesky wrong end of the tunnel was all that stopped us from getting our first Q.

The second weekend was a much larger trial with 320 runs per day. I entered Spike in 2 rounds each day; Standard and Jumpers again. Needless to say, the Standard runs were better than the Starter's trial but I still need to work contacts, weaves and my own confidence. As well, Spike has a pesky habit of not seeing or taking the tire jumps so I must work that with him this winter too.  Day 2, was two rounds of Jumpers and the first round was so-so. Second round Spike shone. We nailed it, until the bitter end when the lousy tire jump was all that stopped us from Q'ing. However, he was grinning and flying around that course!

I also took Murphy both weekends and she had fun playing with other pups. She even met a Mastiff puppy, who at 10 weeks of age was already bigger than her. At 8 months, I suspect Murphles is pretty close to full grown at about 13 or 14 pounds of solid terrier fury.

Sophie even got to come with, the second day of the second trial. The days were long and I didn't want to leave her alone so she came and hung in a crate with us. She got out for some good walks and some clicker training by the ring as I worked on her excitement levels and focus. She's happy staying home and she's happy coming with. And, I have to admit, it was nice to have her there as a bit of a distraction, as I had lots of downtime.

I learned some things about myself this weekend. I love agility. I mean, I really love agility. The challenge of the sport, the quietness around the ring, the support from the agility community (that groan from the crowd as Spike missed the tire at the end of his run said it all to me!), and the chance to hang with my boy in an environment that doesn't stress him and in fact allows him to come alive and show me what he's learned is worth so much to me! And, I learned that I can do things I never thought I could... rear crosses, yelling go and trusting Spike to go, working in the ring, and not letting nerves get me nearly as bady as I thought they would. Yup, agility rocks! I can't wait for Spring and trialing!

Spikey, overjumping the 22" jumps. We trained him at 26", but he measured at 21" on the nose, so only has to do 22" jumps in competition. Makes me happy....

And, Murphy playing with Cinch who belongs to Shirley, my fabulous agility coach extraordinaire.

Thanks to Megan MacLean for the photos.  Can't wait to run Spike some more and get more fabulous photos of him looking so happy and focused. :)

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