Day 1 – Saturday, December 10, 2011
This was the last agility trail for Scraps and Rags for the year and it was quite a year in agility for the two of them. We started 2011 with Scraps taking classes at K9 Campus with Linda Bogart. After one series of classes I was able to get Rags into the class and from then on, we trained with Linda at both K9 Campus and St. Huberts in 3 or 4 series of classes with Scraps and Rags together. Rags had just finished her second agility class at St. Huberts in the fall and without getting her into this class with Scraps, it was going to be an agility-free winter or Rags. Fortunately that was not the case.
Rags’ training may have eventually taught her to do each obstacle, getting her to run is another ball of wax. In addition, none of it compares to getting her used to performing at a trial with all of the distractions and none of the in-ring rewards.
Scraps on the other hand really learned to run in unison with Kathy this year. Linda taught them the “switch” command and with that they seem to run as a much more fluid team. Additionally, they have done a lot of work on handling skills, discrimination and weaves. All of this makes Scraps a much better dog in the ring. Though he is now a veteran and we have lowered his jump height in NADAC to 8″, he still loves to run agility with Kathy and their success continues to build.
Though this weekend at k9 Campus is the tenth and final trial of the year, we haven’t practiced too much in recent weeks and our level of activity with agility has waned quite a bit, so we weren’t expecting too much from this weekend. All of our practice in the past several months has been outdoors at St. Huberts.
At the last trail Rags for the first time was finishing courses on an agonizing difficult and slow but almost consistent basis. Knowing this was indoors, distraction-less and compact, I had some hopes that Rags could run the courses and with a little luck, CPE friendly course times and the enthusiast handicap, we may squeeze out a qualifying run. After all, Rags earned her one and only qualifying score of her life here in August.
I was able to walk Rags through the almost every course and she missed her qualifying score in Jackpot by 3 seconds even though she finished the 4 obstacle Jackpot distance test. It was pretty easy. Finally, by the end of the day we pulled out a qualifying score in Wildcard in 33 seconds, 7 seconds ahead of the 40-second course time. Compared to where Rags was during her first trails where getting her over the first jump was not always assured, we were feeling pretty good.
Scraps on the other hand was right a home on the fast, cushioned surface. He didn’t sniff and was fast and nimble. He and Kathy scored a perfect 5 out of five qualifying runs.
Day 2 – Sunday, December 11, 2011
K9 Campus is a very tight so the variety of course layouts was limited and I could get Rags used to doing and out and back loop. We started off the day with a pretty good jumpers run but missed the time by 11 seconds but still lots of obstacles to go in and out. She showed more promise though and as we went on and we got a “Q” in the next run, then the next run and then the next two. Oh, my G-d, four out of 5 qualifying runs. Well they were walks but they were qualifying. And that I call progress.
Scraps for the second day in a row was flawless and got 4 out of 5 Qs. He was heading down his nemesis the teeter for his 5th out of 5 Qs, but Kathy caught it right before it hit and accepted the disqualification for Scraps’ sake. Nevertheless, it was a perfect weekend in our eyes.
After a great weekend like this it kind of gets you psyched to train over the winter and get set for next years’ season of agility.