Friday, September 10, 2010

Beckett's Agility Fun Trial Debut

Last weekend, I took Beckett to his first agility fun trial at Dogz, a training facility in the west end of Ottawa. We had trained there before so the location wasn't totally new to him. I decided before we went that I would try to run the complete courses (with treats provided at key locations) but if it proved too much for Beckett to handle we would just do short sequences. I also decided that we would not attempt the weaves at all but I didn't want to just run right by them. Fortunately in the Standard course, obstacles 3 and 4 (two jumps) were parallel to the weaves so I just did those two jumps a second time rather than run by the weaves. It was a good thing too, as it was 12 weaves that were set up on course and Beckett isn't even doing 6 weaves yet. We're getting there though.

It was beautiful agility weather, cloudy and cool with some sunny periods, although sometimes it was a tad warm when the sun was out which meant jackets on, jackets off. Tucker also came along as a spectator but I did take him over to the practice ring where he did a few jumps and tunnels for his favourite treat, chicken hot dogs. What am I saying Tucker's favourite treat is any FOOD!! Beckett also got to have some free play time with his best bud, Whistler, a sable Sheltie only 3 days older than Beckett.

In our first Standard run, I tried a false turn to get Beckett from the jumps to the tire, since we should have been doing the tire from the weaves, it made for a very awkward entry to the tire. The second time around, I did a front cross which worked so much better and put Beckett on a nice line for the tire and the next obstacle, a tunnel. We have to work on our contacts though, he likes to sit at the top of the A-frame now and usually stops way up on the down ramp of the dog walk but for a young fellow his teeter isn't bad.

In the Jumpers course, the first time around we did the Starters course and the second time we did the Advanced course. In the Starters course, he didn't get out to the second jump of a pin wheel and I wasn't in a good position, having tried a front cross, which put me behind him going up the field. When we ran the Advanced course, I didn't front cross but just stayed on his right side which worked much better. In his Advanced run, I wanted to try a hard false turn from a jump to a tunnel, unfortunately, there was another tunnel right there so in my mind I'm thinking "false turn, tunnel" so what did I do, but put him in the wrong tunnel. Even with the extra tunnel, he ran the course in 28.9 seconds and the standard course time for Minis was 47 seconds. I'm going to have to work on distance with that boy because when he gets going, I'll never keep up.

Some parts of the weekend were bittersweet though. Beckett looks so much like Ceilidh that there were times on the videos that it was her I saw. Two moments in particular stand out, in the first Starters course after running the course, we were practicing jumps to a tunnel with a rear cross and on the second attempt, Beckett refused the tunnel and began to spin and jump; it was classic Ceilidh. When I saw the video of the first Jumpers run, just the way Beckett sat on the start line and then sprung off the line, for the first few seconds I saw Ceilidh. At the beginning of the second Jumpers round it had started to rain but by the time it was Beckett's turn, the sun had come out again and there was a beautiful rainbow. I tried to take a picture of the rainbow but my camera batteries were running low. Luckily for me, Lyne had videoed a few seconds of the rainbow which I incorporated into my video on Beckett's debut. The video is long so if you don't have a fast internet connection, it will likely take quite a long time to download.

We are looking forward to our next fun trials, Krazy Kanines in October and Red Gate's in November and December. Maybe by then we'll try the weaves. Go Beckett Go!!


  1. Well, Beckett clearly LOVES agility! He was so happy running those courses, always checking in with you. I noticed you were smiling the whole time too.

    Gorgeous rainbow from Ceilidh.

  2. I remember having to skip the weaves at Walter's first few fun matches -- he seemed to take forever to learn them. It was so much fun the first time we got to run the full course without running past the weaves! Looking forward to Beckett reaching that point too.

    I totally laughed out loud at your comment about Tucker's favourite treat being any kind of food -- that's totally Tucker, and Lucy too. Funny how some dogs go crazy for food, ANY food, and others are more "meh" about it.

    I thought you did a great job keeping up with Beckett on these runs, or rather, planning your handling in a way that allowed you to be where you needed to be. Certainly more distance skills will be a great help too though. So many fun things to work on with a green dog!

  3. Wish I could have been there to see his fun match debut! You can definitely tell he was having a good time from his smile in the photo. Can't watch the video now because I'm at school (you know you're an agility addict when you shamelessly go on agility blogs at school...), but I can picture your runs from your descriptions. Sounds like an awesome start. I bet his first trial next year will go just as well!


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