Hello from the frozen tundra of northeast Ohio! Since today ended up being a snowday for me, I finally had time to upload and edit the videos from out agility trial last weekend.
Let me start by saying this was our first "away" trial (the other was at our "home" facility) with lots of new sights, sounds, and smells. This was also our first time competing in Level 2 (having qualified out of all but one class of Level 1 at the first trial), with much harder courses than we had last trial. Although there were lots of good moments, Brutus was plagued by the "zoomies" all weekend, causing me to spend a great deal of time chasing him around the ring.
While Brutus was on the course (as opposed to around it, checking out the photographer, bar setters, interesting smells in the corner, ect.) he did pretty well. Never took an obstacle out of sequence all weekend, despite twisty, tight-turning courses. Did a broad jump for the first time ever (never trained on one), and the weave poles and teeter were no problem.
But out of 8 runs (over 2 days), only 4 were Qualifying; the time we wasted getting back onto course after random distractions was too long and we NQ'd on time faults three times. Then there was the run where Brutus got frozen on the dogwalk, taking 36 seconds to get across it since he stopped and stared at the photographer for about 25 seconds. Oh, well....
Three runs are shown below. If you notice little edits, it's only because I didn't think I needed to include the zoomie parts (it's funny enough as it is). Mind you that the handler can't touch the dog during a run, so getting Brutus back on course involved a lot of luring with "air cookies" (no treats allowed in the ring either). Don't be mid-sip into a cup of coffee when you watch - or you'll need a napkin, possibly a shower....
It was fun and if nothing else, and we were most certainly entertaining. I always envisioned Brutus being funny to watch, but after seeing the videos I think that I myself am at least as comical, with lots of frantic handling and cheerleading. That being said, one of the runs shown (colors) in the video was our best ever, not only qualifying but also winning that class with 0 faults and a fantastic time (it's amazing what happens when I can keep Brutus on the course!). What a team we make LOL!!
So back to the drawing board for now. It's not the obstacles that are the problem, it's the distractions around them that make it challenging for Brutus. He is one of the youngest dogs competing (at just over 17 months old), and we just need more exposure to the trial atmosphere so that it isn't as stressful for him. So until our next trial (back on home turf at the end of January) we've got plenty of work to do. Up to now most of our lessons have been private, but we are now enrolled in group classes (both obedience and agility) so that we can practice working with more distractions during training.
There are some fantastic still shots of Brutus being processed by the trial photographer that capture my little guy in some amazing moments. Can't wait to share those with everyone, hopefully will have the images by late next week. Until then, hope you got a chuckle from watching our videos!!
Have a great weekend!