I am really nervous about the agility show this weekend! I know that its not uncommon to NQ in Novice classes. I know that we aren't 100% ready but I think if I waited till I thought we were 100% ready she would be too old to compete..lol. I am worried she might not hold her stay on the line and if she doesn't I am going to stop right there and thank the judge. I am worried I will forget the course. I am worried I will trip over an obstacle. I expect that we might knock a bar since she is new to 24". I am worried she will run amok and I won't ave controll over her. My worst fear is I will do something that will screw her up and be really hard to correct later on. I guess I just worry to much. We are training on excellent courses but really struggling with those. I know novice should be easier for us.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Kelly and Amber
Sounds pretty normal to me..If you are worried about the start line start with her as if you are nervous she is going to be too and will want to go with you..You won't be the only one to forget the course...you won't be the first to run into equipment and knocked bars are par for the course in agility..It is unlikely that you will do anything in the less than 1 minute that it takes you to run the course that will permanently scar her...
soooooo.......I won't tell you to relax..but remember to breathe and have fun after all it's all about the fun. RIGHT?
I think you've just about covered everything there is to worry about. So that's done and you can relax and enjoy it now ;D I've only attended one actual agility trial (observer), and I can tell you - you see all that stuff and more! None of it is life-threatening, and your dog will have a ball - so you go out there and have one too! Good luck!!! (and you can't screw up your dog too much - we all make mistakes in training all the time and you just go on from there)
You are going to be fine!
You have the bonus of having an obedience trained dog so the start line stay should be no problem for her. If you are really worried, run with her. Personally I get better results when I run with Murray than when I lead out. I only use lead outs for really tough openings where I know I can't get to where I need to be in time to redirect Murray. Also, if she breaks her start line and you take her back, remember that you cannot ask her to stay while you lead out again. you will be whistled off the course for training in the ring.
Obedience will also come in handy for the dog running amok. Just stop, stand up straight and call her like a recall but I doubt this will be a problem for you guys.
Some courses can be confusing (usually JWW because there are only jumps on the course, no other equipment to cue off of) but if you get lost, take a breath and look at the numbered cones to find your place. Have you been doing any Rally courses? They are helpful for learning to follow a course at a normal speed. ;D I really think you'll be fine.
Knocked bars? Heh...join the club. It's a fact of life in agility.
Falling over equipment? Usually the winged jumps are the ones that give me problems and it's only when I'm doing a front cross and take my eyes off the course ahead of me. Usually it's when I turn back around "Oops...I didn't move over far enough and now there's a wing in front of me." : I've never hit a piece of equipment yet (without help...see below) and believe me, I'm not the most graceful person in the world.
Now falling over my dog has happened more than I'd like to say. When we first started doing agility, Murray insisted on working on my left so I always planned to run our course to let him stay on the left. Then one day he decided to try running on my right without informing me. He came off the aframe on my left and we were going to turn left but he decided this was the perfect time to try running on my right. He crossed directly in front of me, I fell over the top of him and crashed into the jump. Talk about being embarrassed. :-[ He's also tried to take me out when going thru the chute more than once. He listens to my foot steps when he's inside the chute and he always veers to that side...sometimes at a 90 degree angle. : I'm usually able to jump over him but if he's at the end of the chute and he's free from it's clutches then its a crap shoot as to whether I can make it over the top of him or if he will take me out at the knees.
May I ask WHY? A lot of dogs do a "running start". Magnum will actually run faster if I run with her from the get-go instead of leading out. If she breaks, just start the course. Don't give up.I am worried she might not hold her stay on the line and if she doesn't I am going to stop right there and thank the judge.
We actually practice in our class to do lead outs with start line stays AND running starts.
Go, have fun, and stop worrying. In the big scheme of things, this isn't all that important. The important part is that you and your dog have a good time!!!
Don't worry, you'll do fine, and if you have a really pressing question you can always come ask me ;D
She shouldn't break her start line, since I assume you've done quite a bit of proofing in obedience. And if she does, taking her out of the ring will be a HUGE step in teaching her that the rules still apply in the ring, will likely prevent a stay problem almost entirely, and whatever Excellent people are still around will be VERY impressed at a Novice person who understands the importance of maintaining your criteria in the ring. If she isn't that fast you might eventually want to run straight with her, but you should still put her in a sit and lead out a few feet to prepare for the situations in which you will need to lead out. And if she is fast, then a solid start-line stay is invaluable because even if you only lead out a couple steps you can breathe and take one more look at the course to get your bearings while you know your dog is sitting behind you.
You're not going to forget the course because you're very prepared for it by running Excellent courses in practice, and you're going to walk it for as long as possible, so the course isn't as hard to remember as in practice and you probably will walk it for longer than you do in practice.
If you trip over an obstacle, you will get up and everyone will make sure you're okay and life will go on. If knocking a bar or two is your biggest problem, we will all be amazed. If she runs amok, so will several other Novice dogs, and she won't get very far with our fancy handy-dandy ring gating, so she'll come back eventually.
There's hardly anything you could do to screw her up permanently. You're getting great instruction and I don't think they would let you do anything entirely stupid. Just make sure to keep an upbeat attitude, maintain your criteria, and try not to act differently than you do in practice, and you'll be fine.
Good luck and most of all have fun!!! ;D
"In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden
Linda, Kona and Bo
I have no problem with doing a running start with her as long as it is my idea and not hers. We ran into some initial problems with start line stays when we started agility and that kinda screwed up our up till then perfect obedience stays. So we have worked very hard to get Obedience stays back and to be fair to her I have to be consistant and hold the same standards all the time.
I am hoping that there will be a contact or curved tunnel close to the beginning so I can catch up. I am going to be the one that slows us down not her. She attacks courses in practice and is quite fearless. She often slams the teeter down extra hard just because. She runs across the dogwalk which always makes me cringe. She runs down the A-frame and sticks the "Mark" so hard on the bottom she almost does a somersault. She considers it a challenge to see how far she can get a tunnel to move when she goes through it. She flipped her head up going through a chute last week and got trapped in it and managed to rip it, barrel and everything out of the ground and move it about 10 feet before she got out of it(she went right back in it without slowing down). Weave poles she actually does kinda normal, at least nothing dramatic yet. last night she tried to angle through a tire and got caught halfway through and scrambled the rest of the way through. I am kinda hoping we don't damage the course to bad on the way through. Just picture a 70lb crazed Jack Russel terrier with almost the speed of a Border Collie and about the agility of a rottweiler and you have my lab, Amber. I have no speed no agility ability and no agility knowledge. I am doing well if I can walk through the course without tripping over my own two feet. We are really a mismatched pair in agility ability. I am going to give 100% but Amber is going to give 150% because that is just what she does.
Kelly and Amber
Good luck. Hope all goes well.
You mentioned 2 big reasons why I'll probably never venture into agility....
I am worried I will forget the course. I am worried I will trip over an obstacle.
That is all good! ;D It's way easier to get control over a high-drive dog than get drive out of a dog that is being too careful.
Don't worry, there will always be a contact fairly close to the beginning, since they have to include all the contacts and they only have 13-15 obstacles to work with. And I'm sure you're a fine handler, you've had a lot of practice and you're getting very good instruction.