Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jetson's Agility Adventure...

Ok, this event happened in Nov. 08, but since I haven't posted, I thought I would put it on here. I am thinking of entering it for the Crying Towel Award at the dog club we belong to. Warning, it's long, but you have to understand it from beginning to end to realize how funny it is! This picture is from the GOAL fun run that is mentioned in this was COLD that day!

The Trials of Agility aka Let's Run Amuck

We have only been dog club members for a couple of years now, but hearing about the sending in entries for the “Crying Towel Award” had my interest after this last November.

We are not the type of people that want many “letters, titles, symbols” etc. after our dogs’ names, ribbons on the walls, or care how many Q’s we get. We just like to have fun with our dogs and if they get something that reasonable resembles a title fine, if not we had fun and none of that matters at the end of the day as long as they are loved, love being with us, and had fun in anything that we do (except maybe the vet’s, which any dog will say is never fun!)

I, myself, had great visions of training Jetson for agility. Now, we all know that training doesn’t always go the way you plan or want it. Dogs have minds of their own and it’s always trying to find the best thing that works for you and that particular dog. I have watched Carleen train Higgins and they have done well for the short time he has been training. They work great as a team and his focus is amazing. So, I am thinking that “GREAT, I can do this with Jetson and since we are starting from puppy, it will be easy.

Forward ahead to when we are ready to start training safely for health and growth reasons, I wanted to make sure growth plates are closing correctly, joints are not damaged, etc. Corgis are a dwarf breed and caution is needed during the growing up process because of the dwarfism.

Come to find out…I am “Little Miss Chicken” about him doing anything! NO JUMPING (not even 4 inches), NO AFRAME (he might hurt his front), Oh My Goodness, you want him to CROSS the dogwalk and I am supposed to hold the lead loosely and let him get ahead of me some?? At one point during a mini lesson with Marlene and Cindy on the dogwalk, Cindy had to give me a wedgie to slow me down! Quite the surprise, but then I realized that “Hey, he can go ahead of me some and it’s ok.” Side note…Marlene would have had lots of fun helping me train him and had lots of fun laughing at us.

So, we start working on the basics and he does pretty well. Attention isn’t the best, but hey he was still a lot of puppy and has a whole life of learning ahead.

We go to our first agility fun run, which was the UKC fun run at the club. I take him thru on leash (as I didn’t trust him off leash!) and he does well the first time around. The second time pretty good, except during the walk thru I let go of the leash not even knowing that I was supposed to hang on. Rule Number One noted for walk thru hang on to leash. I hear a reminder from the one of the spectators (namely Valeri) to grab his leash. Then Cindy was trying to help and I almost ran over her! One fun run out of the way…more in the future to improve!

Fall comes and time for the GOAL NADAC (another “type” of agility where they have their own titles, such as the difference between AKC and UKC) trial. We had to gather the equipment in one place, so GOAL decided to host a fun run at the same time. This was held at Valeri’s house. NADAC has a great class for those just starting in agility that consists only of tunnels. WHEEEE…what fun for the dogs, they can build up speed and trip you up all at the same time! And no chances of knocked bars or those hard to learn weave poles.

So, it’s finally Jetson’s turn….I, on the other hand, am about to make myself sick…It’s only a fun run…I tell myself. So we get out there and get set up. Ready, go….WOW, he starts flying. Faster than he has ran with me before and this is far more obstacles than he has ever done in a row. And the first time it’s been all tunnels. He does GREAT! He takes the turns and goes the way I want him to and finishes the course! He even does a discrimination turn that some of the seasoned dogs miss. I am delighted! I started getting my confidence up thinking…..Hey, we could enter the NADAC trial here and probably do ok! Everyone is saying I should, it would be a great experience for him and me too! Carleen is saying to enter only if I want and don’t feel pressured to enter…he still has a lot to learn. Well, heck….he just completed a course…he has learned a lot…he could be a contender!

Agility trial weekend…tunnelers isn’t on the schedule until the end of the day…so a lot of sitting around in a crate waiting, oh and howling at the kid next to us that keeps singing to us. The tunneler’s course time has finally arrived…..I am nervous, which in turn everyone knows makes your dog nervous! I tell myself…it’s ok…even if he just does a few tunnels and quits it will be fine…although, it would be great if we completed the course. (you see where this is going, don’t you?) So, Jetson’s time comes….we get set up at the start and GO….thru the first tunnel…..and then let’s run around the arena! Let’s blow by the judge and bark and back again! Let’s run totally amuck and bark at mom….oh wait she is telling me to wait and come…..ok, I will stop and give in to her! Another tip we found out….Do not let Higgins and Jetson run right after one another….Higgins was worried and looking around during his run to figure out where Jetson and I went. And he and Carleen had a beautiful run, but was over course time….because of the looking!

After talking with a lot of people and the judge the next morning while driving him to the trial site, I decided to provide myself with some more punishment and try it again. Mind you, while working the gate, an Elite (highest level) handler comments…awww…was that your dog out there….he was so cute running around….yeah…that makes me feel better! Now, I think it’s quite cute when someone else’s dog is doing this….but mine?? I was so embarrassed!

Round two….Judge tells us to be the very last run of the day…maybe there will be less distractions, can concentrate more, etc. So, I get Jetson out of his crate and think about what I did on Saturday, or more what I did wrong. I am thinking…he wasn’t focused on me and I needed to get him more in tune with me. So, I get him to start playing with a toy, we are dancing back and forth chasing the toy etc…20 minutes BEFOREHAND! I am thinking this will help him to focus more on me. We missed Christie's run with Bentley where he jumped up the concrete wall to get out of the arena, but was told about it. Bentley and Jetson are the same age. So, I thought…hey Jetson can’t jump that high, what else could happen??

We were to find out, 1 second into the run……Jetson doesn’t even take the first tunnel. He heads off to the side, running amuck. I am thinking “happy voice” JETSON COME, JETSON COME! He keeps running…..I call JETSON TUNNEL when he gets near just to get him to go to any tunnel, I didn’t care which one. At that point it didn’t matter just take a tunnel. He gets on the other side of the tunnel and barks at me, wagging his tail……Blows by the judge and stewards barking and trying to get anyone to play with him. By this time I am starting to panic thinking how on earth am I going to get him to come to me. It doesn’t help that one of the stewards moved toward him and off Jetson went running more. I must have the panic look on my face, because Carleen gives Ella and Higgins to someone and jumps down in the arena to help me catch him. Well, Jetson is having none of this…he wants to play. FINALLY he takes the tunnel at the end. Carleen yells, “Cover your end” and we trap him in the tunnel and finally catch him. Everyone was laughing and all I wanted to do was crawl in the tunnel!

It seemed like forever in the ring and I am not sure how long we were in there….thank goodness almost everyone was heading home and not too many people saw it. Of course, practically everyone that was left was everyone I knew. But as Vicky Sullivan told me…it’s better that it happens with your friends around that when you are at a trial and no one you know is there. At least we aren’t laughing at you, we have all been there and now how it is.

I don’t know if this qualifies for the Crying Towel Award or not, but I sure went thru a lot of Kleenex after that trial! We are not ready to trial and may never be, but it’s more about the journey than the title at the end! And hey, Jetson knows he’s cute, he just wanted to show everyone how cute he is!


dreameyce said...

Feel free to add me to your blogroll, and I'll be adding you to mine :)

I can't wait to see more of your pup pics! I LOVE your colorful crew! So adorable! All the costumes... too cute!

coopercreek said...

Oh, Katrina, I can just see you out there in a panic. Hang in there! But I know how you feel and about how a few minutes can feel like an hour. Our cardi boys have a mind of their own. LOL

Can't wait to see you guys and I bet Jetson has grown so much since I saw him last.

Nicki said...

holy cow-an update. And yes-he is cute!

Valeri said...

Great Write-up! Yes, Agility is a journey - I even have an italian charm Marlene bought for me that says that!

CK said...

Great story. I am sorry I missed the run. Girl don't feel aren't the only one that had a crazy run that day.LOL

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