Today my best friend and I went to the 9th Annual Ahwatukee Family Dog Show for the first time ever. This year was actually the first time I had heard of it, although I’ve been living in the valley for over 16 years. The show included vendors, demonstrations, contests and rescues.
Well, the trial is over, and I will admit that I’m very glad because I didn’t do as well as I hoped. Now I have my “first agility trial” jitters out of the way.
At the beginning of the year, I made one simple goal for Wynston and I; to compete in an agility trial and win a blue ribbon. Well, we are officially registered for our first USDAA trial, which will take place on March 14-15th.
We’ve been working really hard. Wynston is ready. Me…probably not so much. Although I am SUPER excited for the trial, I am also super nervous. Wynston really feeds off my energy so I’m trying to just get pumped up without all the nerves.
The trial will be held at Club Doggie, which is the club where we train. It’ll be nice to have our first competition experience at a place where we are truly comfortable.
Originally, Wynston and I were going to run the starters jumpers course which consists of 14-16 obstacles; tunnels and hurdles. But tonight at class, my trainers convinced me and a classmate to team up for a pairs run. This means that we will each run 9 obstacles in the same ring with our dogs. For example: Jen (my partner) will run the first 9 obstacles with her dog as Wyn and I wait on the side. Then when she’s done, Wynston and I finish it off with the other 9 obstacles while she waits in the ring on the side. Honestly, we’re both beginners and we’re both a little bit crazy, so I am ecstatic to get the experience!
If you’re in the area, come on by to the trial and check it out! Wynston and I will be running on Sunday, March 15th!
Be sure to check out our agility page here!
Looking for an amazing agility blog? My close friend and agility trainer, Kama, blogs about everything agility! Read it here!
Yesterday I attended an agility trial at Club Doggie, the club at which we train with Wynston and Khloee. I was set on going so Matt and I could volunteer and get some experience. I’m so happy we went because just like anything, you learn so much more when you are actually involved.
The weather forecast: 82 degrees and sunny. I needed more sunscreen as the day went on!
What I learned (aside from how point systems work, etc.):
- Even if you have a knee brace and you can barely walk, you can still kick ass at agility.
- Having the fastest or biggest dog definitely does not mean you will be the best.
- “Steeplechase” is literally called that because the course revolves around the A-frame, which looks like a steeple. Genius.
- Trials aren’t as hardcore as I thought they would be. It was just a great big party!
- A blow of the whistle and super loud buzzer are BAD.
- I need to invest in a canopy or tent for when we start competing.
- Jell-o shots are a frequent tradition at trials! Yes please!
My duties as a volunteer (which was a learning experience in itself!):
- Set bars. I sat in a chair on the agility field during almost every run. After each height class, I would set the bars on the hurdles accordingly.
- Fluff the chute. After every dog ran the course, I adjusted the chute to make sure it didn’t get stuck or messed up. This ensured a smooth exit for every dog.
- Adjust tunnels. Many times I had to re-velcro tunnel bags and pull out the ends of the tunnels.
- There were also volunteers running score cards (Matt) and running leashes from one end of the agility course to the other during each dog’s run.
Being a volunteer and sitting on the field watching each dog really helped me more than I could ever imagine. It’s fun to see how each person chooses to run a course. The crosses they do, the words they use for each obstacle, their hands motions…I really got a feel for how different everyone is and how they connect with their dogs.
Club Doggie hosted an amazing trial. The parking was right next to the field so competitors didn’t have far to walk with all of their items. Of course, the scenery is hard to beat and the people are all so much fun. Even the judge who was from Tyler, Texas was extremely kind and thanked the volunteers after every single run for setting bars and helping out. The volunteers also appreciated an amazing homemade lunch, courtesy of Kama and Jubie, the owners/trainers at Club Doggie. Love you ladies so much!
Wynston and I are still shooting to compete in the next Club Doggie trial on March 14th and 15th. We still have a ton of learning to do but I really want to get out on the field to get my first competition out of the way. Honestly after volunteering, I’m not nearly as nervous. We learn from the best trainers around and I know they are setting us up for success. We’ve also been working extra hard…I really want a fancy agility ribbon!
Congrats to all of the winners and competitors at the trial this weekend! Every dog was absolutely amazing. I also got to watch my friends run their dogs, which is totally cool. I’m so proud of them all!!
Have you ever gone to an agility trial? Have you competed or volunteered?
Although I’ve never competed in a dog show, I absolutely LOVE to watch them! Each year I think I’m pretty well versed in dog breeds until I watch national shows…then I realize I know nothing!