Update: The professional photographer at the trial got some great pictures of Chico during his Friday standard run. See them in the gallery here.
On the 15th and 17th of June, Chico and I competed in an agility trial at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds on Cape Cod. I wanted to try competing someplace different – most of the trails we’ve been in have been at one place, American K9 Country. Since the motivation for trialing is to expose Chico to new and different experiences, it makes sense to branch out.
We stayed with my cousin Eva (see Chico and Mozzie Play) and competed on Friday and Sunday. It was an outdoor, two-ring trial with vendors, and lots of cars and dogs, and a public address system – more distractions than you can shake a stick at and Chico did, really, really, really well. We had a couple runs that were flaw-free enough to get us a green ribbon for ‘qualifying’ and one run that was an actual thing of beauty and one run that was so flawed that when I look at the score sheet for it I just laugh – in eighteen obstacles we did six things wrong enough for them to get marked down, let alone the ugliness (crossed paths, misdirected dog – all errors on my part, not Chico’s) that didn’t get committed to paper.
Chico was generally well behaved around other dogs, great with new people, willing to get into his crate when that was needed. He didn’t think much of the kiddie pool or of getting hosed down with the spray nozzle. He placed in a couple of classes and for that he got not only a ribbon, but, oh, SO much better, he won a stuffed (toy) lobster. He absolutely thought it was better than anything ever and carried it everywhere for two days.
If you know any chefs in the Providence/Boston area, Eva sells greens, herbs, flowers, and foraged foods to lots of restaurants and even supplies Whole Foods with some products. SEMAP (the South East Mass Agricultural Partnership) has contact info for her here.
So, my very, very good dog and I now move out of “novice” jumpers with weaves into “open” jumpers with weaves. The courses get harder, the judging less forgiving, the ribbons less frequent. But that’s OK, because what moving up has done for me is confirm that I have a great relationship with Chico. And what it’s doing for Chico is letting him run 12 weave poles like we do at class, not six like they give the novice dogs. And he really doesn’t take it seriously when there’s only six weave poles.