The agility news I spoke about earlier this week is actually the first installation of what may be the journey to our second agility trial.
Long story short, I honestly do not have a whole lot of options for places to trial with Marge.
Number one, she's not purebred, so that knocks dozens of AKC trials right off of the table. (Yes, AKC is implementing their mixed-breed program, but AKC trials, in my experience, are usually very busy anyway, and significantly more intense in terms of general atmosphere than other venues.)
Number two, it is not my goal to travel far with Marge - I do not want to compete heavily with her, I think it'd be unfair to either of us, given all the work that goes in to it on her end and mine. That takes away a lot of trials, too. NADAC is not very widespread in my area - maybe 4 trials a year within a one hour radius of me (and most of them are in the sweltering heat of the summer). There is a little bit of CPE around, but almost all of the trial sites are indoors and from I hear the spaces are TIGHT. I would be foolish to try to squeeze her into a building packed full of people for a trial that I wasn't confident about.
Number three, because of her fearful nature, I need to make sure trial sites are comfortable for her, but secure in the event of a problem. Of course, I make every effort to be sure that Marge is comfortable while running, but, strange things can always happen.
Given all these special considerations, I decided to give a February 2010 CPE Trial about 1 1/2 hours away, indoors at a large dog training facility, a second look. A few months to prepare, ways to get Marge used to the place, larger than some other indoor trial sites from the sounds of it, and, from the looks of it, situated in a pretty quiet area (we will, undoubtedly, hang outside in between runs). The trial itself is not very large - less than 400 runs per day, and only three or four classes per day.
I originally did not want any part of the indoor trial scene, at least not for this year. Over all, I still don't want any part of it. However, I've made arrangements for tomorrow to take Marge to the training center that's hosting the trial for one hour of private ring time. Obviously, this pales in comparison to the buzz of an indoor trial, but hey, you have to start somewhere, right? If this goes well, I may take her back out there for run-throughs or even a match. They seem to have a lot of agility events and training opportunities.
(Of course, if I plan on entering the February trial, I'm going to have to send the entry in soon, regardless of how sure I am that I'll even be competing. I think for now we're going to stick to two runs - Regular and Colors. But, before I get ahead of myself, let's see how this goes first.)
There will be no other classes going on at the time of my rental, which is good. I did have some fear that Marge would be confused by hearing, but not seeing, other people and dogs working in adjacent rooms of the building, but this will hopefully be a non-issue. It looks like I picked a pretty quiet time to go.
All equipment will be available to me, which is another reason I liked this opportunity. I don't get to practice on contact equipment often, so even if the February trial doesn't happen for what ever reason, this is still good practice.
I have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow. The presence of agility equipment usually makes everything ten times better for Marge, but, at the same time, this will be pretty different than anything she's done before. I guess it all remains to be seen. Just wish us luck, hope that Marge is enamored with the whole thing so that we can both have fun.
And, of course, a huge thanks to my boyfriend for taking me out there. None of this would be possible without him..