Sunday, December 5, 2010

Close To Everything, Far From It All

That's the slogan for Gloucester County, the place that holds the fabled Dream Park that so many exhibitors in my area rave about.  I finally got the chance to go there today with a friend of mine, to scope out the place and see whether or not it'd be a good fit for Marge.

As it turns out, I actually liked it quite a bit.  It's very, very big on the inside - it almost doesn't feel like being indoors.  Here's a video I shot (thanks to Amy who also sent me some videos of it last week):

I'm not quite sure where to start with it!  The noise is, of course, my biggest concern with these kinds of places.  But, there wasn't a whole lot of it going on - at least not as much as I expected.  The teeter didn't bang very loudly, and there was no automated table (apparently there hasn't been at the last few trials down there - perhaps I will be able to find out if they'll be used in the Spring).  The loud speaker was a bit startling when I first walked in, but, I think if she hears it a couple of times, Marge won't be bothered by it.  The only noise that would really be trouble for us is the darn whistles - but, we have those outside, too, so that's got nothing to do with the site and everything to do with what kind of whistle the judges use.

The amount of people?  It wasn't overwhelming.  People would sort of bunch up and then disperse, but it was always easy to get around and there were plenty of lower-traffic places to escape to.  This might have been slightly deceiving because of the people away at AKC Invitationals, but because I plan to arrive late in the day, after many people have left, I don't forsee this being a huge issue.

Other miscellaneous stuff... the rings were really nice and a pretty good setup for a dog like Marge, since activity is contained to only one side and the other three sides are essentially just walls with nothing there.  I don't think she'll be weirded out by the surface, it was just dirt.. and, since grass at outdoor trials frequently turns to dirt, it honestly wasn't that much different than the trials I've been to!

One bad thing was the ring gating.. there were huge gaps for the entries and exits and lots of dogs took off out of the ring.  That scares me a little bit, but fortunately, all judges seemed to be mindful of this and left lots of room after the last jump so people and dogs could collect themselves and leave properly.

I've got about a month until these shows open, but I'd really like to go and I'm confident enough to give it a try, so it's looking like I will be entering.  I think a Saturday JWW run would be enough for our first time down here.  Avoiding the stress that seems to come with our Standard runs is probably a good idea.  But I'm still thinkin' about it.

On another note.. I RAN A COURSE!

Here is my partner.  Notice the lack of black and the abundance of yellow!

I was expecting to run Spirit in Open FAST (Spirit's momma was the friend I came to the trial with), but as it turns out, she wasn't actually entered in FAST.. so, after a nice but non-qualifying run in Open JWW, her momma told me to run her in Excellent A Standard.

The course was awesome.. very flowy and lots of different handling options.  Spirit's been having some trouble weaving, so she didn't really expect much out of her.

Well.. we qualified.  Clean run, 1st place, 21 seconds under course time, and the only dog to qualify in the 24" height.  It was her third leg. She earned her AX title. And I ran her.

Who woulda thunk it.. my first time in Excellent, MargeDog nowhere in sight, and I get a dog their freakin' title.

Talk about a good day.


NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! December 5, 2010 at 9:34 PM  


We won't tell Marge but she probably smelled SOMETHING ;-)

KB December 5, 2010 at 9:49 PM  

Awesome Day!!!!!!

Wow, I really wouldn't have thought that a dog could switch handlers so easily. You and your friend must have very similar styles.

Wow, you and Spirit got a title!

doberkim December 5, 2010 at 10:05 PM  

congrats!!! im looking at what to enter down there too... but lydia wants me to do some USDAA (i think she just wants a pairs partner!) and im showing in obedience the first weekend in february, and i have to work too... so my time will be limited. if only i had unlimited time to show!!!!

houndstooth December 5, 2010 at 10:15 PM  

It sounds like a pretty cool place! Hopefully Marge forgives you your canine indescretion! ;)

Sue December 5, 2010 at 10:19 PM  

Wow, nice job! Was it fun?

AC December 5, 2010 at 10:47 PM  

How cool is that!?! Spirit must have been fun to run. I'm also amazed that she was able to handle a different handler, and you a different dog, so well. Nice work!

Hope to hear about your trials with Marge at the same facility in the future!

Kari in Alaska December 5, 2010 at 11:44 PM  

It sounds like a great place but I understand what you mean about the noise. It seems like a place where noise will carry but only time will tell


Amy / Layla the Malamute December 6, 2010 at 12:26 AM  

I'm so glad that you had a good experience there!! And the fact that you were able to do a run there (without Marge) is even better because you got the Full Experience, without bothering Marge at all.

CONGRATULATIONS on a Clean Run! In EXCELLENT, no less!!!

I hope we're entered in some of the same trials next year.

Anonymous December 6, 2010 at 4:51 AM  

Glad you had a good run with Spirit :)

Happy Holidays to you and Marge :)

LauraK December 6, 2010 at 9:27 AM  

What a beautiful facility! And how awesome that you got a title with another dog! It's always interesting to run another dog- it's almost like driving a new car, just a little bit uncomfortable, but still fun. Hope to see you and Marge out there getting some titles soon, sounds like you're getting pumped up for agility trials again :)

Diana December 6, 2010 at 9:55 AM  

Wow, thats sounds exciting. Good for you! Diana

Frankie Furter and Ernie December 6, 2010 at 9:55 AM  

How Cool Drool is that place. Congratulations Marge.

Kathy Mocharnuk December 6, 2010 at 10:55 AM  

CONGRATS on your run, that sounds like a lot of fun!!! Her owner must really respect your handling to let you run when she could get her title, I would take that as a huge compliment!!! ;-). That looks like a nice venue, can you go to a trial to just watch with Marge to figure out if you should bring her into the building a little in advance or to crate out and then come in at the last second? Do you know people that would probably be at the trial that could sort of stand by those openings? Marge is getting so into agility lately I bet she is going to be able to handle the challenges, if she was not as into as she is I think there would be a lot more things that might bother her but she wants to go so much I think she is not going to notice as much as she used to once she gets into the ring, so if you have a good strategy for getting into the ring....

Sam December 6, 2010 at 12:30 PM  

Kathy - it's honestly too far away to take Marge before the trial, which is why I hitched a ride with a friend who lives nearby to go scope it out. She told me to take Marge with me, but I didn't think it was a good idea (since I'd then be stuck at the trial with no way to leave). I'd love to do that, though. I think I'll likely be shuffling Marge in and out of the building - bring her in, give some cookies, walk around, then go outside and let her run around, go back in, practice jump, go back out to car, etc.

I'm banking on it being a bit quieter than the video shows, because I took that in the middle of the day, and Open JWW is the last class to run, so most EXC people are gone.

Unknown December 6, 2010 at 2:34 PM  

congrats and that place looks awesome! Haylie wouldnt do well with the noise - she is too ansy - Fred on the other hand. more noise the calmer he is... weird dog.

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