In the above picture, she is laying in the vicinity of many other dogs and people, right where dogs line up in preparation for their run.
Very few things there bothered her.. and those that did bother her didn't make her panic. She initially didn't like the idea of walking near so many people and their tents, but once she realized there were many people and dogs that she actually knew and that there were treats to be had, she changed her tune.
She had no problem hanging out ringside with the competing dogs and their handlers. She was a little intimidated when some men from the club came over near us, but it was nothing some hamburger bits and the TOUCH command couldn't fix. Our only other negativity came from a dog running up to us suddenly.. Marge didn't appreciate this, but was no worse for wear afterwards and actually made friends with my trainers' big yellow lab.
I gave her a break from the commotion and took her down by the pond, where she waded and cooled off. We then went back and watched a few more runs. Marge got to do some agility of her own when I snuck her over to the practice jump.. she was thrilled with that, as usual.
All in all, it was a very positive experience.
Almost too positive.
Someone from the club approached me as I was leaving and said I should go home, register with NADAC enter Marge into Tunnelers tomorrow. She meant it casually, but did say that she thought Marge could do it because it's an easy class. (Marge saw Tunnelers before we left and her eyes lit up, actually. Fearing reactivity, that's when I decided to leave.. but I know the Tunnels excite her.)
This comment, coupled with the enormous success of the day, really left me thinking. This is the only NADAC trial my club has, so if we wait for it to come back to the Island, it'll be another year before we enter the ring. There are NADAC trials later in the year in New Jersey, but I'm honestly not thrilled with having my dog offleash and collarless (though she is chipped) in a totally unfamiliar place.
Everything points to go. It's quiet there (a TINY trial), it's in a location Marge likes, and she's shown me that she is comfortable with the setup. Except, it's only T-minus 12 hours (even less) until the trial starts tomorrow. I believe I'd need to be there at 6:30 AM, and I have a funny feeling that no one in my family would be willing to tag along that early. Marge likely would run around 8:30 AM.
To me, it's very short notice for a total novice to be running a shy dog in their first agility trial ever. I'll probably sit this one out, wonder what could have been, and hope for another good opportunity to come in the near future.