Where does your dog go when you have to leave him/her during the day?

08 February 2011

Gabe's First Trial! (and Error...?)

This past weekend, Gabe and I competed for the first time in agility. It was a milestone for us because it's something I have wanted to work towards for several years now. However, due to moving around a lot, not having money to pay for classes, and my own lack of confidence, it took us longer than it should have to accomplish this.

The trial we entered was a NADAC (North American Dog Agility Council) trial. They allow both mixed breeds and purebred dogs to compete (as does the American Kennel Club now), and we only entered two classes, since I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into exactly. I decided on two 'Touch-N-Go' events, which focused on contact obstacles. These courses mainly consisted of the A-frame, the Dogwalk, hoops, and tunnels.

I didn't set unrealistically high goals for Gabe and myself; mainly, my objective was just to get through each course, and hoped that he would do more than just sniff the ground or run out of the ring completely. I had no idea what he would think of the trial environment (a horse barn - are you kidding me?), equipment different than what he was accustomed to using, and of course an audience.

The things I learned that day were:
1. Everyone makes mistakes. Especially Novice handlers.
2. If I ever reach the higher competition level classes, I never want to become condescending or arrogant (like some of the elite handlers unfortunately were.)
3. Gabe really needs some sort of a warm up run, to get rid of the squirrely tendencies he has.
4. Laughing at Gabe and myself is helpful.

I will post the footage from both of our runs. Please watch both, as he improved greatly from the first run to the second! (It is ok if you laugh while watching, too - he is slightly over-enthusiastic and had the time of his life. It is what I adore about him. :))

Run 1

Run 2

More trials to come, hopefully!


  1. Such an improvement on his second run!

  2. Looks like fun! Gabe is an awesome dog. :)

  3. thanks, guys! i was glad we finished the day on a stronger note than we started :)

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  5. Great job! The first video, it just looked like he was picking up on body language from you that that you were subconsciously giving. He improved a lot on the second video, but it seemed to me you were also giving better body language. I'd keep watching the first video and see if you can spot things he might be picking up on. Also, to get him running faster, try running faster yourself. It seemed you were trying to go slow to keep up with him, make him keep up better with you. Doing so will also allow you to give stronger body language to go for the obstacles. Keep up the great work!


  6. thanks, amy! i myself have TONS to work on. it's so hard to be aware of what i am doing while trying to think fast enough about what comes next. which i know is exactly why practice is so crucial. as for the speed thing, he usually smokes me. there was a bunch of sporadic speed in the first run for sure.

    i appreciate your input - i'll definitely be watching both videos a whole bunch :)

    ps: you were a student at triple crown?! so was i!!

  7. Oh Awesome! I love meeting other people that attended Triple Crown! What year did you attend?

    Haha, I know what you mean with the trying to think fast enough about what comes next while trying to be aware of what your doing! I have a Weimaraner that is WAY faster than I am, I have to think really fast and try to keep up. lol.

    I'm loving your blog, keep up the great work!

    Talented K9

  8. i was there at the end of 2007 into 2008. how was your experience there?

    it looks like you are using your education - did you open your own business? do you have any other dogs besides your weim?

    thanks so much for reading our blog!

  9. So cute, he looks like he was having fun and trying hard! It gets easier, don't worry! That's too bad that someone was snooty to you, sheez, but yes, a good lesson to remember when you are a pro someday!

  10. thank you, michelle! that was my first comment when we first came out of the ring: 'well, i think he had a LOT of fun.' haha

    we're going to enter a fun run at the beginning of march!

  11. I Love him and you! If I brought abby in there she would be gone...