Saturday, August 22, 2009

Eating My Words

Marge, to my complete surprise, was cool as a cucumber at the trial.

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.


Cinnamon and Mint August 22, 2009 at 9:05 PM  

I am glad that Marge was not unconfortable on the ringside, a new environment for her. It seems her agilit trial debut is not so far. I think it would be best if you would give it a go when you get to feel comfortable with it.

Carolyn August 22, 2009 at 9:26 PM  

Yay for Marge!

I'm excited for you guys! She looks so relaxed in that picture and it sounds like she was engaged in what was going on.

What a lovely compliment to you, and Marge, that someone would suggest you run tomorrow.

You should go hang out there again tomorrow, whether you run or not. I would. But I'm a "trial groupie", lol!

Keep up the great work!


Martha August 23, 2009 at 5:10 AM  

Beautiful picture! We are thrilled for you - Marge is looking so good!!!
Martha & Bailey xxxx

Dexter August 23, 2009 at 6:12 AM  

Tunnelers, huh? I wonder if they have A-framers?

Good job keeping your cool at the big event. I tend to go a little cracker dog with all that excitement around me. I think that you should compete if you can because it would be fun and so what if you miss a tunnel here and there.


Cinnamon and Mint August 23, 2009 at 7:59 AM  

Did Marge run today? Can't wait to hear all about it if she did!

Sam August 23, 2009 at 11:00 AM  

No, I made the decision late last night not to run her. I didn't get in until after 2 AM delivering a *very* early Sunday newspaper, and knew I wasn't going to be able to get up at 5:30, drive a half hour down to the park and straighten everything out. It's probably for the better.. but it really would have been nice. All I know is next year's NADAC trial, we'll be there no matter what.

I am looking at a couple of indoor CPE trials later in the year, as I think I'd feel more comfortable being in a new location if the ring was inside. Don't know how Marge would like that, though.

Sue August 23, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

Too bad you didn't have more time. It might have been interesting to just see how she handled it. There's always next year.

We're gearing up for our Rally trial in October. Fudge only needs one leg, but he's so unpredictable that I'm probably going to register for two days in hopes of qualifying on one of them.

Bijou August 23, 2009 at 1:55 PM  

Hi Marge,

It sounds like you really surprised your mom. Good for you!! The hoomans often forget that we doggies live in the moment. I hope you get to do some agility soon. I bet you will do fine.

Wags & wiggles,

BRUTUS August 23, 2009 at 11:25 PM  

Sounds like Marge is in her element more & more. So did you sit it out or throw caution to the wind & run her? Even if not what a great experience just for her to be there and be comfortable the a trial atmosphere! I have learned a lot just be helping & observing at trials, will be ready to enter when Brutus turns 15 months this fall.

Brutus LOVES tunnels, goes through them when I'm not paying attention just for "extra credit". We participated in an agility demo today at a "dog day" event benefitting some local shelters. No contact obstacles or weaves - just jumps, tires and tunnels. I was SO happy with how well Brutus did, despite lots & lots of other dogs around as potential distractions. Gotta love when it all comes together & you get to truly work not as dog & handler, but true partners :)

Astrid Keel August 24, 2009 at 6:15 PM  

Way to go Marge! see, I knew all of that fear stuff was a GREAT ploy to get extra treats! You are brilliant!

hope that if you do the tunneling, that it's a great success!

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