The chilly temperatures this week reminded me that I never posted about our last NADAC trial!
Way back on January 18 & 19th, we went to the annual Frosty Paws trial held by RuFF. Our last trial had been clear back in November... So I was expecting to be a little rusty. And very cold!
In the past, the Frosty Paws trial has separated the casual agility competitor from the die-hards :) The first year, it was so icy that there was a back-up of cars waiting to "gun" it up the hill into the parking lot. If you didn't get a running start up the ice, you weren't making it...
That was also the year that we had no bathroom facilities, because the pipes had frozen! The 2nd year was even colder. I remember that year vividly because I picked up Stout on my way home :)
Last year was tolerable, only because they had sweatshirts made to commemorate the occasion. So of course it wasn't near as frosty!
Anyway, this year the location was moved. We were assured that this horse barn never got below 55 degrees. I was cautiously optimistic and packed as if it would be completely unheated (it was about 30 degrees outside).
Doubled up on blankets & beds!
And wouldn't you know it, they were correct! It was almost pleasant in there!
The dogs only needed their (new, bought just for this occasion!) coats when I took them outside to pee.
Ok, they probably didn't really need the coats outside. But I bought the coats, so they were going to wear the coats!
I thought they looked quite dapper.
The trial itself went pretty well. Porter got an Elite Chances Q, so now he only needs 5 more for his NATCH :) He also got to run his favorite classes instead of the few that he still needed for the NATCH.
Stout showed some improvement. I had him entered in 4 classes on Saturday & 3 on Sunday, many more than he has ever done before. I was going to use it as a training weekend to try to figure him out a little bit more.
Things I learned:
- Playing with him on the way to the startline just gets him a little too excited. The excitement manifested itself in humping my leg. He also humped my leg on course when I asked him to retry the weaves...
- His startline was better when I asked him to go between my legs & lie down. He was happy & waggy to do that. I did try simply running with him, but I couldn't keep up...
- He only ran to a bar setter once! And came back almost immediately! He did run around quite a bit in Tunnelers though (first class of the day). But of course there was no one to run to.
- If I rear cross, it's like giving him permission to run wide & scope out his surroundings. It's like releasing the feral wolf back into the wild.
- If I run fast & purposeful, trying to get in my front & blind crosses, it keeps his focus more on me. Duh.
- If I speak to him & keep him engaged then he is less likely to run off. Again, duh.
- Getting him out plenty early & working with the clicker also seemed to help get him in the right frame of mind.
He did pull off a jumpers Q. The rest of the runs we were either eliminated or had way too many faults. I took what he gave me & made the courses short & simple if needed. I wasn't actively trying to Q :)
So back to the drawing board. He is quite the complicated little guy...