The Mid-Hudson Kennel Association (MHKA) hosted an AKC trial 20 minutes away from my house last weekend. I usually have to drive 2 hours for “local” trials so this was a real treat.
This was our first trial since January 1, 2012. And after four months away from trialing, I noticed that my priorities have shifted. While I still enjoy having clean runs, I realized that I don’t have big goals in terms of agility and I don’t care about titles, which puts me in perfect alignment with my dogs, who could care less about Qs, ribbons, or titles. 🙂 My only goal at this point is to have the fastest and funnest runs possible with each of my dogs and that is what we did this past weekend!
Everything I’ve been doing as part of Silvia Trkman’s on-line class appears to be paying off with Lil. She was the fastest dog in her class (all size dogs) in Open JWW and took home 4 First Place Ribbons and earned her Open JWW Title.
I felt that Lil powered over jumps well and handled spread jumps with ease. She had great obstacle focus all weekend and aced her two Open FAST runs, one of which included a tunnel to a WRAP at a distance, then back to the tunnel. Her line and speed were unwavering (no video unfortunately).
Wind is like a giant tug toy to Jake in that it really revs him up and it was very windy most of the weekend. In addition, it takes Jake a while to get used to being in a new environment with a lot of dogs around, especially when we have not been trialing for months. On Day 1 we had some start line issues related to over stimulation and stress. So on Day 2, I decided not to ask for a Sit Stay. Instead I started Jake’s runs by restraining him, then releasing to the first obstacle. I think this method is perfect for him at this point and time because it directs his high-on-life energy towards the course vs. me trying to suppress his excitement by asking for a Sit Stay.
This decision is in keeping with Silvia’s thoughts about honoring the dog/s we have vs. trying to make every dog fit into the same mold. I am certain that her approach is the right one for my dogs and me. There were a lot of people at the trial whom I have known for years and talking to them made me reflect on the journey I have taken with Jake and Lil so far.
Jake has always been high on life, ever since he joined our family at the age of 2. It is who he is and my husband and I love him for it. He is sweet, affectionate, funny, smart, and I believe he always brings forth his best effort. Lil has always been a real worker bee and rather serious about her “job” and she does it well. She has been this way since puppy hood and my husband and I love that about her. I feel so fortunate to have such great dogs!