Some of you know I started Agility with my Salukis a few years ago. So much needed to
Ideally we would both be headed the same direction
be learned, improved, changed before we could come close to success. I needed to work on my own fitness so I could run with them as well as learning skills I never thought I’d need. Fire Dragon was my ‘test dog’, my ‘first pancake,’ showing signs of brilliance but also frustration when I failed to guide him correctly.
I continued working with his siblings, with varied success. All of them enjoyed the Mom
Biddy and Tom
and Me time. Not all of them showed his brilliance, nor his joie de vivre (in place of, perhaps, doing what I asked?) Biddy, sweet little Biddy, with her unrelenting attachment to my late husband as well as her desire to please, came last to the training, thereby not suffering as much from my efforts. Her very first trial she stood in front of the first jump, frozen in shock. I quietly led her out of the ring, and worked with her more. Last month she surprised us all (including the judge) by managing to make most of the jumps, and resist the impulse to race around in a near panic. Last week, we tried another set of Agility trials. After every trial we are sent the results, which come like this:
Valencia Valley Kennel Club
Los Lunas, New Mexico
Printed below you will find your classes, scores, standard course times, and course times.
CALL NAME Biddy
AKC NUMBER HP34092405
REGISTERED NAME CH Sacre Tyana Faerie Queene
Date Class Division JH Yards SCT Score Time Qual Place YPS
4/7/2017 JWW NOV P 20 96 39.00 0 0 Not Qualified 0
4/8/2017 JWW NOV P 20 94 39.00 0 0 Not Qualified 0
4/9/2017 JWW NOV P 20 95 39.00 0 53.28 Not Qualified 1.783
To translate: Date, Class Entered (Jumpers with Weaves), Division for that class (Novice Preferred) Jump Height (20″ – she measures 23.5″) Yards in the Course, then the standard course time, our course time, our score, and if we qualified. Plus the yards she ran per second. Obviously we did not qualify. In fact we didn’t really finish the course until the very last day.
Looking at this readout one would think we were failures. Except each day she ran with more confidence. Her temperament keeps her attention on me, so it’s up to me to make the directions as clear as possible. Thanks to multiple hours of instruction with different trainers in different locations, I’m getting better at that.
The rest of the story? Doranna Durgin (you know, writer extraordinaire as well as dog trainer to envy?!) saved us a spot where she set up with her Beagle boys, so Biddy could rest among friends. Said friends also shared wisdom when asked. On that third day, Doranna called to remind me classes were different and I need to be there NOW.
Fortunately this trial location is not too far from my home. I arrived with hair unbrushed, shoes untied, to see the last dog run. Too late. Sigh. I went over to apologize to the secretary for being late. She looked up at me, down at my dog, smiled then called out
“Judge, the SALUKI is here.”
Said judge whirled around, then turned back to the ring crew, busy taking down the jumps. “Set them back up, twenty inches.” He turned back to me “Do you want to walk the course?”
Not wanting to hold things up any longer than I already had I shook my head then rushed to the set up where I’d left her Agility leash. Neither of us had time to be nervous, in fact I only stopped to tie my shoes before we went in, where that little girl ran with me from beginning to end, to the cheers of everyone who’d been watching us fumble all weekend.
Not Qualified. But winning all the same.
Another ending to another day in New Mexico