Penny is my first agility dog ..and I didn’t get her with that in mind. I just wanted to do a lot of fun things with her and then I found agility. Besides agility, though, Penn also comes for hikes, runs, does rally once a week& has been to a hunt trial& I plan on titling her through at least FD. She’s my all arounder! She’s my snuggle buddy first& foremost. Every ribbon, title or leg towards a title she earns is pretty much considered icing on the cake for me. I didn’t realize I wanted to do things competitively with dogs until I got her& got introduced to that world.
I am an insanely competitive person, in my day to day life but especially in the areas where I decide to actively work towards goals. I like to put the effort in& have it show. I like to be the winner& I will be the first to admit that I’m a sore loser. I don’t take it well but I do take lessons away from it. Without Grant& Briar’s help, I would have quickly faded from agility because I had no idea how to train the foundations for a puppy.
It was tough to learn agility with such a fast dog. Briar flew& for the first 3 months, I pretty much just stood there with a confused look on my face wondering if I would ever figure it out. Then I started to get it& we started to trial. Our first trial was a disaster ..I was so nervous I didn’t even hear the buzzer for the Gamblers course go. The competition jitters got me big time. We persevered, trained harder, got over being nervous& by our second trial? I knew I could do it. I ran 3 courses clean, got the Q& got first places for them.
I have been to 4 trials (my fifth is next weekend) with varied results. I managed to rack up 7 Qs in about 12 runs so that’s not a terrible rate of success. We got a third place overall at one event that was scored like the Nationals ..which was good practice for when we head off this year ;)
I have learned that in order to succeed in agility, with a fast dog, you need to practice hard. Your cues to the dog have to be spot on, you have to train like you’re competing& correct your mistakes! I don’t have any pre-run jitters now before B& I step onto the line, I can memorize a course with the best of them& I have mastered the art of the walkthrough. I walk into a competition knowing that B& I have worked very hard& with hopes of success but I have also learned to relax, enjoy the atmosphere (there’s not many days you’re surrounded by that many awesome dog people& awesome dogs)& just be in the moment.
I would say that now, even more than before, I am in it to win it& my plans this summer include regionals 100%& if nothing disastrous happens during our weekend, the leap from there to Nationals. Does anyone else out there have big plans for the upcoming summer? Big goals help (me, at least) with practicing, focusing& working towards something. I know Briar& I will have to be at the top of our game to do well in Regionals so that will lead me to putting in 100% effort in order to find success when we get there! If not future goals, what motivates you to be the best you can be?