June Agility Recap: Frustration Builds

by Melissa R. on June 30, 2010

Mocca at agility practice

Mocca at agility practice

If you’ve been following our adventures in agility lately, you’ll know we’ve been running at the “Excellent” level in AKC dog agility for quite awhile, and haven’t been able to “Qualify.” To clarify for people who don’t know the lingo: Excellent is the highest level; there is Novice (easiest), Open (middle), and Excellent (hardest). To “Qualify” means you completed the course under the time allowed, with zero faults. So basically we have to have perfection! When we first started out, Novice and Open were a snap for us really. We Qualified out of Novice right away (you have to Qualify 3 times to move up to the next level). Open was a little tougher, but we only had 2 or 3 events where we didn’t Qualify.

So, you can imagine, in my head Mocca & I are pretty darn great and should Qualify all the time. Now that we are in Excellent…and things are so much tougher…my frustration is really building. We’ve been in Excellent for so long it feels, with NO QUALIFIES. Now, I realize, we are there to have fun. Oh boy you know we do, Mocca especially! I tend to stress out a bit, but enjoy the day nonetheless. It is tons of fun, and I love the challenge. However, I also love the competition, and I want to get the Qualifies! Once we get a certain amount of Qualifies, we get a title called “Master Agility Champion!”  And who doesn’t want that!?

Slowly, very slowly, I think we are inching our way towards a perfect run. Lately it has been such a small thing that has given us a fault that it MUST be just around the corner for us. This past weekend in the Jumpers course, I was SO PREPARED! I had this course down perfectly. I even knew exactly where I would give “HERE” commands, and “OUT” commands. It was a twisty tricky course but I knew I had it and we really did have it! We were perfect except that I didn’t call Mocca out quite far enough to make a Tunnel entrance. Instead, she shot around it, giving us an “Off Course” fault. DANG! The rest was perfect though.

Our Standard agility course was difficult as well – VERY TIGHT, and LOTS of traps. I never felt 100% comfortable with the course, but hoped for the best and watched as many dogs ahead of us run it as possible. I felt I could do it, I knew I could! We ran it perfect as well…EXCEPT one small mistake on my part. I had to call Mocca off a Tunnel trap, and onto another jump, but I didn’t step over as far as I should, and she hit the wrong jump.

So another trial, another no-qualify…Very frustrating. I am trying to focus on the positive things like Mocca making her weave pole entrances (in the past a difficulty), and my being able to do THREE Front Crosses (run ahead of your dog so you can “cross” in front of them and get on the best side for handling). Front Crosses have always been a downfall of mine, but the fact that I did three in one course really makes me happy. Now I know I CAN do them, even though it may not be pretty and doing them DOES help us run much better.

We have another trial in just a week, so I am hopeful for our 1st Qualify! I know we can do it!
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About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the DrsFosterSmith.com and LiveAquaria.com websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

brittany June 30, 2010 at 7:25 am

You’ll get there! I know you will!!!

And someday, you’ll have a MACH bar. 🙂

Rosemary June 30, 2010 at 7:59 am

Well, Ilka and I just started a basic pet obedience class a couple of weeks ago. Like I pointed out to the instructor, we are only basic civilization, a CD, a CDX, and a UD away from having an OTCH/UDX title. I have discovered that the AKC has a mixed breed performance registry, and that mixed breed dogs can participate at certain regular AKC obedience and agilty trials. Now I have a goal to work toward. Our first Novice A classs (in about a lifetime or two).

Melissa June 30, 2010 at 8:25 am

Awe thanks Brittany and Rosemary! I love it when people get a MACH and their bar and then do the spin around the course! It’s so much fun. One day perhaps…one day! We have a competition Friday and I am very hopeful that we’ll finally get a Q. Good luck Rosemary on your endeavors! There have been 2 or 3 AKC Agility trials around here that have accepted mixed breeds already so hopefully it will take off.

Krystie Rose June 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Ms. Melissa: Awesome blog post; there is SO much that goes into it that I never realized! Wow-ee; it’s almost like synchronized swimming or partners dancing or something! I like the “Master Agility Champion” full title rather than “MACH”; so much more impressive! Mocca is a smart puppy and loves to please so I can easily see her making it! That is so cool! Good luck this weekend; I’ll send positive vibes your way and tell Buster to do so too!

Pet Sitting June 30, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Keep it up, you will get there eventually! =)

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