Scroll down now if dog stuff bores you! Summary: Scout now has an ACT2 title.
Last week I decided to quit agility classes because I wasn't having fun. I enjoy the training, but the classes are frustrating and I decided to take a break. This was not a popular decision with the instructors and they may not let us back in (I get it--we would be behind our cohort but too far ahead of the next one). AKC recently started an agility competition for beginners. The courses are easier and the judging is generous--no faults for missing an obstacle as long as you eventually take it in the correct order. I convinced DH and DS to come with us.
ACT 1, Round 1. Scout and I are nervous. She takes the first couple of obstacles and then I edge her past the tunnel by mistake and she decides it would be fun to run around the ring and make friends with the judge and sniff all the corners. I get her back under control and we take the tunnel and some jumps and then she misses the tire because she always misses the tire. The horn sounds, she jumps through the tire as pretty as you please, and we leave the course. Not a Qualifying Run.
ACT 1, Round 2. First 2 jumps great, then she misses the tire because she always misses the tire. She decides that being constrained to take particular obstacles in a specific order is stifling her imagination and leaps on and off the A frame and then greets the judge. Somehow, I get her back on track and she even jumps the tire, but I am on the wrong side of her and need to sprint to catch up. Time expires while we are on the table, but the judge lets us finish the course. Not a Qualifying Run.
ACT 2, Round 1. ACT 2 is a bit more difficult, there are weave poles and a teeter totter. I take her to the start line. We shake hands. I make her look at me. And then we go. Jump, teeter...then tire...which she takes beautifully. Jump, jump, A-frame, quick turn to weave, then tunnel, table, a couple of jumps and WAHOO, we have a perfect run! My girl!
ACT 2, Round 2. From her point of view, the first jump leads naturally to her favorite obstacle, the A-frame. So that is what she sets out to do. I should have lined up differently and signaled more emphatically to prevent this, but I get her straightened out and we jump, weave, tunnel, table, jump, jump, A-frame, jump, jump, miss the tire because she (almost) always misses the tire. Well, if you are going to miss the tire, you might as well see what the ring crew is doing, right? Scout prances off to investigate. I jump up and down and yell "Scout!
Let's have fun!
To my surprise, this works. She comes back, hops through the tire, over the teeter, one more jump and we finish within the time limit. And all of that doesn't count as any faults because she didn't put any paws on the wrong obstacle and this is ACT which has generous rules.
We get 2 qualifying runs which is enough for the title.
And now I guess we are retired.
DS and DH had a good time watching the other dogs. The great dane was a hoot--she was exuberant and gamboled around the ring without regard to rigid rules about obstacle order. The beagle led with her nose. The schnauzer yapped the entire time.