This weekend we went to our very first agility trial. For the first time, we opted to go with CPE (Canine Performance Events). Everyone I spoke to, including our instructor, assured us that it was the most relaxed and most newbie-friendly of the venues. And ultimately, they were right.
We had a fantastic weekend full of some ups and downs. We did four runs, and NQ'ed on three of them. Two were a total disaster. But she got a qualifying score on one run (Jumpers Level 1) and a first place ribbon for it, both of which were nice to go home with. I didn't expect her to get any Q's this weekend so I was really quite happy with that!
Perhaps the best part about it was how focused she was on me and how hard she tried through each and every run. The one thing that threw her for a loop and ended up causing the three NQ's was "contact anxiety." She wouldn't get on the dog walk in one run. I had been worried about the dog walk from the get go. She's comfortable with it usually, but this one was different from the others that she's seen. It had no slats, was not rubberized, and I watched many dogs who hit it hard and nearly slipped off the ramp leading up to it. It was also a little wobbly. Our instructor flat-out refused to let her dog get on it. Dahlia was apparently smart enough to refuse it and instead of being a good human, I kept trying to get her on it. After three times I finally gave up!
She also struggled with the A-Frame, flat out refusing it once and starting up it a second time but then deciding against it. Like the dog walk it was not rubberized, though it did have slats and was more sturdy than the dog walk. But I did watch some dogs slipping on the way down and so ultimately she was probably smart for getting off it instead of hurting herself by continuing up and over. Had she been able to do it, we would have had a qualifying run for the Colors course and might have gotten one for Full House as well.
Overall, though, it was a fantastic experience. I had my down moments (like when she totally blew the Full House course), but mostly I felt pretty good about what we had accomplished. And now I know some things that need to be further trained! I'm hoping to find some fun matches (aka Show 'n' Go's) in the area to get her up onto equipment she hasn't seen before.
But we'll also be going to another trial. This one is on December 3rd. We'll be doing three runs (Standard, Colors, and Wildcard) that day. It should be great fun!
Dahlia was happy enough to model her ribbons. Doesn't she look proud of herself?
And for anyone interested, here's a video of our second run of the second day. This was the Colors course where she started up the A-Frame but then turned around and came back down before getting too far. Unfortunately I forgot to have someone videotape her really good run! Try not to laugh too hard over how slow she is. She was faster the day before, but not by much!