Scoop and I have been busy training contacts and weaves and still saving some training time for handling drills. I even ran a couple full courses with Scoop this past week, hard courses, international style with weaves, threadles, serps and other technical stuff. Since I don’t ever have novice courses up in the field, the only novice jumpers Scoop has ever seen was in the one and only USDAA jumpers course he did a couple months ago before I hurt my foot. He did jumpers and gamblers that first show.
Since I am back to running or at least toddling faster I figured I had better finally try the game to see if he could really do a full course. I normally do 3 to 10 obstacle drills, and it felt scary to try the whole course. I missed a couple serps in the beginning of the course, not trusting that I could run into position, not trusting that he would not knock me down if I was out of position:), and really just not knowing if we could put it all together. But we did, and it was exhiliarating and fun. Somewhere along the rocky road this year I think I might actually have trained my dog to do real agility! Of course we are a very unproven and inexperienced team and we need lots of mileage away from home.
I am entered in a few weeks in JWW and FAST at a New Years trial, that will be a big test for us, indoors and full courses, with weaves, multiple days in a row. I am remembering my first day of trialing with all of my dogs. I remember Riots’ first day I could not wait to get in the ring, and when I came out I was begging to do it again, I just could not wait to walk into that ring with her. (Actually I would pay a fortune to do it just one more time!) Wicked’s start in agility was not as memorable, maybe because she was not as fast, and she was also just SO obedient and easy to handle, she made it simple for me. Same with Ace. Now Panic…I remember that day. Or should I say I remember the disaster, the off courses, the inattentive dog, the one who did not show again for two months till he was better trained and a bit more grown up. Scoops’ first time in the ring was calm compared to that chaos. Now it is going to feel like the first time all over again after a three month break. Will he weave, will he stay, will he come when I call, will he be worried about the big barn and the noises and the dirt surface? Don’t know but can’t wait to find out.
I hope you are waiting to experience the excitement and exhiliaration of starting your novice dog in the ring, and I hope both our experiences live up to our lofty expectations.