This last weekend I attended my very first agility trial. (No pictures unfortunately) As a spectator, not as a competitor (Hah! Like we’re ready for that!). We decided to leave Shiva at home because we knew all the excitement would be way too much for her. It doesn’t take much to put her over the threshold of arousal. The combination of new smells, new people, all that agility equipment, and lots of new, equally excited dogs? Shiva might have been the world’s first flying dog! So she stayed home and we got to watch our trainer, and a few other people we’ve taken classes with, compete on a real, live agility course without worrying about her distracting all the other dogs.
It was even more fun than I expected. Even just watching such amazing talented people with their amazing, talented dogs, was a blast. It seemed like everyone was having so much fun, no matter how well they did. The atmosphere on the field was casual and laid-back. I’d thought it was going to be a lot more tense. But all the competitors seemed relaxed as they prepared their dogs for their runs. If they were nervous, they didn’t let it show. Though we were the only spectators nobody made us feel awkward for being there. Just being surrounded by so many other dog-lovers, so many people who get it, was a stellar feeling.
This last weekend hopefully was the kick in the ass I need to start working harder on getting Shiva ready for her first trial in the spring. That’s the goal, anyway, and I’m determined not to change it. A few weeks ago I sent away for Shiva’s AAC ID number. As soon as we have that, technically we can begin her trialing career.
I say technically because while she’s familiar with all the obstacles now, other than the weaves (heh heh), I don’t feel nearly confident enough in my handling skills. Nor do I feel confident enough in my abilities to control Shiva on a course, sans collar and treats. While I know it’s probably going to happen no matter what, I don’t want our première to involve my wild dog running around with a manic grin while I crawl into the nearest tunnel and die of mortification. *sigh* It would be nice if our first time was a lot more calm, shall we say, than crazed. Though the latter style does tend to entertain a crowd.
But I digress. The agility trial last weekend was awesome and I’m even more addicted to the sport than ever before. No matter how well we perform in the future, if Shiva never earns a single Q, I think we’re guaranteed to meet a lot of fantastic people and have a lot of fun. And I really, really can’t wait for spring.