Hi All -
Below is a modified version of an email I sent to some agility friends. I thought some of you might be interested too . . .
You may recall that I took Shama to two AKC trials, two Teacup trials, and three CPE trials prior to taking her to the Havanese National Specialty last August. In her first seven trials (25-30 runs), she earned a grand total of one Q (qualifying run) in teacup and one Q in CPE. At the Havanese National Specialty, she earned her first Q in AKC. (Below is a link to that thread.)
Then she went on to achieve nothing at our local agility trial other than get a laugh from the crowd when she jumped up to lick a former trainer's face when she was barsetting. (The barsetter is a volunteer who sets the bars to the appropriate heights and replaces dropped bars.)
Then we took nine months off from trials and just attended agility class.
Today we went to an NDAL trial at a facility two hours away. You pay $10 to join the league then $5 per trial. (You get the course map ahead of time - shout out to my agility instructor who set up the exact course we'd be running at our class on Monday!) I thought you got two practice runs (during which treats are allowed) and one real run, but it turned out they recorded everything, and any Q (without treats) counted as your run. Shama and I ended up in the ring four times, but other people ran the course multiple times per time in the ring, so who knows how many runs people actually had. It was great, because there were only five dogs running! (Those who Q end up representing our club to compete with the other clubs within the US. All the Q videos are online.) Apparently there are more dogs at the fall/winter/spring trials, which are on one Friday night per month at 5 PM.
Of course, we did not Q, and we didn't even end up running once without treats, but we had fun. Shama only stalled out a few times, and she did all the big obstacles without hesitation. My biggest hurdle with Shama is the FIRST jump.
Below is a link to a two-minute video of our first run.
1) She did the first three jumps, then I messed up, not clearly indicating that I wanted her to take the tunnel, not the A-frame (but she did take the A-frame no problem, even without a long approach).
2) We restarted, then I got her in the tunnel, but she popped back out.
3) I got her through the tunnel, but then she couldn't see me on the other side, so she ran around the A-frame and the tunnel looking for me. (That part of the video does make me smile . . .)
4) She took the A-frame, the next three jumps, the teeter, and the next two jumps!
5) Then the judge told me toys weren't allowed in any of the real runs, and I told him I figured that but that I was using the toy to motivate like a treat. (I figured if my run wouldn't count anyway, what difference did it make whether I was using a toy or a treat? I guess I could check to see if toys are, in fact, never allowed . . .)
6) She took the next jump, the tunnel, and the next four jumps (!) before I messed up by not clearly indicating that she should take the tunnel next. She headed back to the teeter.
7) I got her through the tunnel and was thrilled that she finished triumphantly on the A-frame (until I realized the last obstacle was actually the tunnel - she nailed that on all the other runs though, so it was fine).
The other runs lacked the energy she had at the beginning, but she still had good moments in all of the runs and never once hesitated on the teeter!
(I know I need her to not always see her treat-carrying rope toy. It's so much easier to hide it when I'm wearing a hoodie with a front pocket!)
After everyone left, Shama and a pug named Rosie ran zoomies around the viewing area space (i.e., not in the agility ring). It was fun to see Shama chasing the pug as Shama is usually the one who is chased. Next time, I'll get video of the two of them playing.
Shama slept all the way home (only 90 minutes to drive back). She just spent 30 or 40 minutes chewing on a bully spring. (That is noteworthy because we can't remember the last time we saw her chewing on a bully spring. We thought she'd lost interest in bully springs.)
Sorry this post is so long. Hopefully you know you didn't have to read it. Can you tell I'm not on Facebook?