Monday, May 03, 2010

My Lessions Learned at my most recent Agility Trial

I was excited! My Van was packed and Thursday I was headed to Palmbay To set up my tent and crates for the CPE Agility Trial.This is going to be the last trial for the season as it is too hot in Fl to run much past May However there are some trial held at night but if you have ever lived in Fl the Summer nights can be just as bad as the days.

My boys new something was up so I took them up with me to set up everything they watch me with great excitement as I started the process. Now I have a first up tent and it supposed to be very easy to put up but for some reason I seem to struggle but finally It was up and crates were set up I was finished!

Friday Morning came all to soon and up at 3 Am to feed my boys and load the cooler and other last minute items into my van . Going over everything that I needed for the trial I was ready oops my reading glasses need those I mean how am I going to be able to read the print sheets for my Q's.Cup of coffee in hand my boys loaded in the Van off we go to Mikamar Training Center for our last CPE trial of the season.

Apon arrive around 7 am the place was buzzing all ready. Handlers walking there dogs and hugs were giving to all of old agility friends that you have meet along the way from past trials.and much conversation of where you are in the course of your dogs training
Driving back to my spot I was I was happy to see that right next door to me was my good agility friend Susie and her husband that was filming for the trial Susie has Wheaten Terriers and always has her hands full with her Three.If ever there was a positive person and a true delite with her dogs it is Susie!

Finally it was morning briefing and time to meet the Judge Oh sometimes they can be lengthy but it is always good to here what each judge has to say as they are all different.

At each trial they alternate the different jump heights so Friday was big to little and always the upper classes run first we were not in the first class but I had entered Thomas in Standard Class Level 2 he only needed one more Qualifying score to have a move up to level 3 My class finally arrived and I was 3 in the ring Thomas was ready and off we went!! through the weaves over the A frame and had perfect contacts and was on it and yes we Q and got a second place. I was debating to move him up but I felt that it would be OK as I knew we would be at level 3 a while as the courses are harder and allot more is expected out of you and your dog so I did.
The rest of Thomas classes for that day were washes he was not focused and had to much of the poodle Zoomise plus it was so hot.But there was a catch to all of this and I did not see it until later in the day of trialing with him.

Evan was awesome he did not Q in Standard but he had a beautiful run but did Q and receive 1 st place in the game Wild Card He was so happy to be out there and doing it he seems to have a smile on his face the whole time and wanting to make me happy he was such a joy. He is a little slower then Thomas which allows me to catch my breath and give better direction! Hmm could that be the Key, better direction?

Saturday came boys were ready this time my classes were not as early and I had more time so I was able to leave a little later Wrong! I was lucky to get there when I did as My sister and I took the last spot for parking it was packed.
My Friend Marsha and her lovely German Shepard Chinook were my bukies and Marsha is such a great help with anything. I was lucky to have both Marsha and and Susie with her Husband Robert as neighbors.

Thomas had a level move up and he was in Standard 3 but he had class before it called Colors and yep we blew it he was all over the place just not having a good day it seems as if were going backwards I was becoming worried. Evan Q and took first Place had a beautiful run and he earned a title. But Thomas and I it seemed we were headed for some hard lessons I just could not figure out what was happening. Finally our class Standard and again he was all over the place so I stoped and called him to me and made him down ask the judge to be excused and she said OK so we were disqualify I walked with Thomas to cool him off and while doing so the Judge came over to me as she had the time since we the last dog to run and said " Don't give up on him he is a great poodle both your dogs are very nice he is showing allot of stress stick with him" I thought that was very nice of the judge to say that and to take the time to seek me out. Most Judges would of whistled us off way before I called him to down but I guess she as I were hoping I would get him back on course.

Finally the last class of the day and my favorite Jumpers! I ran Evan and he had a beautiful Run no faults and Q and them it was Thomas turn Oh Boy Wow what a job we both did a clean Run and a Q gosh I was so happy and so was Thomas everyone cheered and clapped he was awesome flew through the air and did it he was a joy and he was very happy I gave him the biggest kiss!!

Sunday the last day of the trial and we all were tired tired and tired! We were up first in Standard and we did not Q as he did not make his contac on the A frame but it was a good run I was so disjointed and not knowing if it was me or just a poodle thing. Finally Olaf showed up and he became my savior I asked him to watch my run as it was jumpers again and he did and I lost him but was able to get him back but not enough to have Q so olaf said to me go cool off Thomas off and I will come and talk to you. He watched Evans Run and Evan and I had a clean Run and a Q first place. Finally Olaf came over and I was sitting in the chair and he just stood and stared at me I stared back then he continue to stair then I turned my head away then back to him. Then he said did you know what you just did? I said yes I staird back he said you broke your consternation because I took to long to talk to you. The same thing with your lead out Thomas knows his job all to well and you beg him to stay. As soon as he looked at you that was the time to release him you were in perfect position For Thomas to take the five jumps and for you to get ahead of him but you waited and so you lost your dog!! MOVE You have move with Thomas he has a lot of drive and that is good you want that but stop not trusting Thomas He know what he is supposed to do.

It was like a weight lifted off my shoulder I felt that I was going to be able to do IT and put this explanation to work. We had one more class and it was Thomas and I a game of Colors. I walked the course saw the path I needed to take and presto brought Thomas up to the start line put him in a stay and walked fast to the position and as soon as he looked at me I release him and off we went yea folks a clean run and a Q and 1 st place.

Yes it was a big lesson for me not to give up on Thomas by giving up is giving up on myself as it was not just stress with Thomas it was I was not giving him the direction he needed to acehive his goals and mine. I do not have to beg him, nag him,I just needed to give him direction.

After the end of the day and the packing up the van and driving home I learned such a valuable lesson. Trials are nothing but big test for both you and your dogs and reaching home and UN loading my boys I gave each one big hugs and kisses and thanked them for putting up with me

Lydia Thomas & Evan

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