Last weekend Chico and I did two days of AKC agility at an Agility Club of New Hampshire sponsored trial. Tons of fun and lots of familiar faces, as usual. Lots of good things happened. I was late again on Saturday, but got to run Jumpers anyhow. My friend Nancy came see what all this agility stuff was about and spent most of Saturday with us. In Standard Chico gave me one of the best sets of weave poles in competition in ages, maybe ever. Not correct, but he just went faster and faster as he progressed. No way I was pulling him out to start again and “make him do it right.” For our purposes, they were right; right as rain. Great start line; good connection between us, except for one place where he was maybe headed for the exit when he needed to turn and follow me to the see-saw and he kinda took the long way around the jump, but wasn’t off course. My send was a bit strong and I wasn’t already turning my feet in the new direction when I sent him, so it’s probably me – as usual – but that’s minor fine tuning to fix.
And on Sunday I was so early I had to wait for the Jumpers walk through. Let me tell you, I received a fair amount of good natured ribbing about that. Walking didn’t get me a Q, there was something at the weaves no doubt. But I do have the Standard run, and it’s pretty nice. I pulled him out of the last weave pole by moving too fast too soon, and I might have accelerated too soon at the end of the dog walk because he missed the down contact, but those are minor. Remembering where the next jump after the table is, that’s something to work on too. You can see me looking around, and moving one way then another, trying to real-quick-remember what’s next.
And, as is so often the case, some of the best stuff happened outside the ring. There’s a dog named Maggie that trains at Julie’s, a sweet mixed-breed of Chico’s basic type, though colored more like a spaniel, and I’ve had a feeling that she and Chico would like each other. Before Sunday, they had sniffed at each other under strict supervision when they meet as Maggie’s class ends and ours begins, and had played a few rounds of Chico’s favorite “meet a new dog game” – Treats by Turn. Well, on Sunday Maggie’s people brought her to the trial, just to see what agility trials are all about*. When they arrived, Chico and I were outside and the two dogs met face to face. Maggie started to drool little spitty bubbles like Chico was a big piece of chicken, she licked his mouth. He went immediately into play bow and asked her to romp. He likes her. I’m not sure we’ve ever met a dog that Chico liked. Tolerated, yes, sometimes. Said “go the hell away” to – plenty of times. But this? Immediately initiating play? That was a first for my eyes. It was so sweet for him and so happy making for me.
*And I am living proof – that’s exactly how it starts. You go look, you think, “Hmmm, maybe we could do that. It’s only 25 bucks to try it once, what the heck?” My money is on “Maggie and her lady-person (well, Maggie has a man-person too, it’s a real pack) will be trying trialing before ya know it.”