February Can You Dig It Winter Series Agility Show

Well it’s been a little while since I’ve written a show report! It was good to be at a show and into competition again. To me it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but actually judging by how it went perhaps we are still a little show rusty!

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My aim and attitude for the day was to test our ring skills. Our waits, weaves and contacts.

Jumping was up first and it was a lovely course set by Becky Sargent. There were small handling sections with different options for how to run it. I enjoyed discussing the course with some friends and sat back with a coffee to watch them run it.

As we got into the queue my stomach was churning. I hate that I get nervous at shows, especially Dig It Shows where I’m surrounded by friends in such a relaxed and friendly environment. I help to run these shows, and have even run one of the little club competitions on my own, yet when it’s our turn on the start line I still clench up.

I asked for a short wait and was pleased to see he stayed put, then off we went. It was two jumps in a straight line then turn off for a tunnel rather than continuing ahead over the long jump. I was pulling away but clearly didn’t cue well enough or earlier enough as he flew over the long jump. We continued on okay, although I turned for the rear cross too early and were going well up to weaves. Into the weaves but then only 11! Ahh?! I kept pace with him but thinking back I felt a little uncertain. We went again and 12 this time then finish.

For the second run I was more confident with my wait but then he broke it and wouldn’t come back. I waited him out and got him back and proofed the wait. Good stuff. I can’t remember what happened and the start was missed off the video but I think I lost him over the long jump yet again, despite calling and calling him. Anyway off we went and into the weaves and 11 weaves again! I looked at Becky in exasperation. Second attempt and he missed the entry… a strange feeling of Déjà vu was creeping in. Final time and nailed 12 weaves plus he pushed out to the jump despite me shouting tunnel (clever Guinness remembered the course… although didn’t do as I said). 

Agility was even worse. Wrong end of tunnel, broke his dog walk contact, broke his seesaw contact and then we just left the ring.

I made a decision and scribbled NFC on my second run ticket. We entered the ring with a much better attitude and connected. I asked for a wait and walked away with confidence. He nailed his dog walk contact but broke his seesaw so I put him back over. He got the Aframe and did some decent wing wraps, although I forgot to move for the front cross so we skipped a jump on the way out.

(Video with added commentary from my friends!)

I took him for a walk and popped him back in the car then headed into the scoring box and sulked.

It feels like we are still in the same place as we were 2 years ago. It’s so demoralising to have been doing agility for the best part of 3 years yet to be in the exact same place. I wanted to start all over again. Or throw in the towel completely. I whinged and ranted to friends then we chatted and I cheered up some what. They were so lovely and helpful bless them.

I walked the steeplechase course and decided to run it as a final finish off blast. My friends told me to go and have fun and not worry about anything. The lovely burger van man had given us some left over sausages and Guinness was 10x more switched on now that I had some decent, high value reward!

I went for a wait, not wanting to ruin training by run starting and as I turned round to start running, thinking he was about to break, I was pleased to see he was holding his down. Off we went, I sprinted to make the tunnel to tunnel then hesitantly turned him around the 180s. I stopped by a wing and he stopped. Grr… see what I mean about being in the same place as 3 years ago… It was only a temporary blip and he charged ahead to the finish line with ease. One thing I do love about this dog and what I’ve trained him is straight line drive!

The end of that video makes me chuckle so much! We’d been having a laugh with the sausages in the score box and then Nick was coming to film me and I asked him to grab us another sausage while we were still queueing, hence the sausage joke. (You kinda had to be there).

I was so pleased! What a great run to finish off on. Yeah the turns were a little crap but Guinness likes flowing motion so I shouldn’t have got myself in a place where I was stopped dead at a jump because he does stop when I do.

I watched Sara who trains in the same class as me run a storming round with her collie Luci and she took 1st place with me and Guinness coming 4th, 3 seconds behind. The turns would have made up a second perhaps but we were never going to touch Lucie’s time, that dog is just amazing.

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There’s a lot to reflect upon and sort out from yesterday. Too much to write about in this blog post. We have so many issue areas.. queuing, my nerves, his ring attitude, waits, weaves, contacts, show attitude, wing wraps, turns.

To be fair I haven’t done many shows for well over a year now yet I walked into the show yesterday with the attitude that we’d been doing indoor shows every week. That doesn’t mean I had to walk in with a cautious attitude, but I should have been more conscious about supporting him and working on things.

Lots to do!! One thing I have decided is that next month we will run NFC but with a toy in my pocket, so that I enter the ring with a competitive attitude but can stop and reward good bits.

So… we’ll keep on rock n rollin!

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