Jake, Lil and I attended our first trial in Colorado last weekend, hosted by “Dog Agility of the Pikes Peak Region” (DAPPR). The site was gorgeous and everyone was so nice and friendly, it made for a very fun weekend.
I think this might be the first time I attended a trial with “real” grass vs. what we call grass in the NE.. which is more like cut grass-like weeds. Plus this was the thickest grass I’ve even seen. Lil had to really work to plow through it, which slowed her down quite a bit (as evidenced by her YPS) but that didn’t seem to dampen her spirits too much.
Lil ran a whopping 14 courses, and attempted 4 bonus boxes. No Bonus Qs but she ran very well all three days Q-ing 9 of 10 non-bonus runs.
Jake also had a great weekend. He Q-ed 6 out of 9 runs but more importantly his start line stays were impeccable. I had really let them slide over the past couple of years (for no good reason) and decided a few months ago to get Jake’s SLS back on track.
Sharon Nelson demonstrated a fantastic Start Line Stay game at her Distance Seminar at Yellowstone Dog Sports in July which I now play here and there at home and last weekend I played the game before each of Jake’s runs and it worked brilliantly. I had no question that he would stay and when released he blasted off the start line.
Now onto the main topic of this post: Why I want a do over. I screwed up and said OVER LEFT when I should have said OVER GO ON and blew what might have been a successful Bonus Run with Lil. Here is my excuse :)…. I was mentally and physically exhausted. Its been a long time since I ran 2 dogs at a 3 day trial.. up to 9 runs a day to boot. Plus the site was very large so all the treks to my tent, RV, bathrooms, ribbon tent, and 2 rings took its toll on me.
But actually the “do over” I wish I had was not related to the actual run… although I would love to run that course again someday to see if we could have gotten the bonus from behind that tunnel. But my bigger wish for a do over was based on a short conversation I had immediately following that run.
A fellow competitor came up to tell me that her instructor encourages her students NOT to use verbal directionals (left and right) because people make mistakes with them. My response (while having a post-run party with Lil) was “I rarely screw them up.” What I wished I had said was: “I rarely screw them up….but when I do, my dog doesn’t know I screwed up because I follow through as though everything went perfectly well. Granted I was a total bumbling idiot with my directionals in the opening sequence of this particular run, but Lil didn’t seem bothered by even this extreme level of confusion on my part, as evidenced by her confidence and speed… and this was the 2nd to the last run on day 3 so I think we were both tired.
(above) the video that shows my bumbling idiot moment in the opener. At 0:40 seconds, I redeem myself re: verbal skills and Lil does a great job with what I considered to be the trickiest part of the course.. an interesting serpentine-like distance challenge.
Even with an occasional mistake using LEFT and RIGHT, I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives for me and my dogs.. not that I’m suggesting everyone should use LEFT and RIGHT. I personally love that there are as many different ways of handling as there are different types of handlers!