Puppy’s First Agility Trial

by Melissa R. on June 30, 2014

Waiting our turnEmme, our Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, is now 19 months old. This means she is finally old enough to compete in some agility competitions. We have been training for agility since Day 1, learning to be comfortable on new things and starting out with the right training. So I was really looking forward to finally getting into a real competition to see how things would go. We had a little experience in a ring, as we’ve done some AKC Rally competing prior to working up to agility, so I knew she had an inkling of paying attention to me when the time came.

So, Saturday morning we packed up our gear and headed to the agility site. We are starting out in Novice, which means we are generally last at the shows – so at least we were able to take our time and get there with plenty of time to spare. I took Em for a good couple of walks to tucker her out a little, and we settled in to wait our turn.
THE NERVES were horrible waiting for that first course! It didn’t help that it was a course I had never run before: Time to Beat. But I was trying to look at it as a good “warm up” to the other regular courses: Agility Standard and Jumpers With Weaves. I thought I was going to DIE from the nerves and I am sure Em felt it, too. We managed to get about halfway through the course before time was up, but I felt like it was a good start!

Thankfully, my nerves quieted down after that first outing, and when it was time for Agility Standard we ran pretty well. Had a few refusals (missed jumps and had to run back to re-do it). Missed weaves entrance, but completed in the end. BUT – we nailed all of our contacts which I felt was very impressive and we finished under time. No Qualify, but I wasn’t expecting anything but giving Emme a good experience.
For Jumpers With Weaves, Emme was really finding her stride (and so was I). We had not had a lot of practice this spring/summer with the weather and travels, so this was a lot of practice for us in the ring, but again she did really well. One off course, missed weave entrance, but boy she was FLYING over the jumps and having a grand time. It was great to see, and it felt good to have her follow what I was saying so well! Again NQ (expected), but it felt like a really great way to end the day.

I’m really looking forward to spending the summer training some more and trying out a couple more competitions. Emme LOVES agility so much (as you can see in the photo!) – it’s a great way to spend time with her where we both are having FUN!

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.

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