Are you ready to Trial?

Hey…I remember the days. I’ve trained your dog it seems forever and you just want to get out there and see how it goes.

Quite frankly it all depends on you and your dog.

Trialling too early can scare off some dogs, trialling too late can make training seem ho-hum to some. Is there a perfect time? I don’t know, but it’s a matter of knowing yourself and knowing your dog. Talking with people who know the two of you just might help.

Here are some guidelines: NOTE, these are not all from me, most comes a person named Robin. 🙂

1. What are your goals for your dog? Do you have any? If you don’t,
you should.

The best goals are are performance oriented. Good goals are “I want nice fast sits on the table.” “I want a happy dog in the ring.” “I want my dog to do 2-on 2-off.” Adapt your goals to your dog. You should make short-term goals (this weekend, I want a good start-line stay), and long term goals (I want to be able to do 3 jump lead-outs). Your short term goals should never be discarded if they will adversely affect your long term goals. So letting the dog break the start-line “because he might Q anyway” is a bad decision.

2. What are your goals for yourself? Do you have any? If you don’t,
you should.

Again, not title oriented. “I want walk a course smartly and run like I walk.” “I want to be a team with my dog.”

Once you have set your goals, think about ways to accomplish them. And where you are on the journey to accomplish your goals will also help you know when you’re ready to trial. But here are a few more tips, some concrete things.

1. Is your dog crate trained? He’ll need a nice, comfy, quiet place
to hang out at the trial. Keeping him out all the time will exhaust both
of you. Doesn’t need to be a crate, can be safely stowed in your car, can be tied to a tree while you both take a break from the busyness of life, can be lying quiet under your chair, etc. My dog stresses in a crate so I work around it all. 🙂

2. Is your dog used to riding in the car? if not, you may wish to work on this as many trials need to be driven too.

3. Has your dog been exposed to the shows before entering? It’s a
really good idea to take your dog to some shows before you actually
enter so you can get him used to the noise and smells. Check all the rules first, some trials don’t allow unentered dogs on the grounds.

4. Do you understand all the basics of the sport and feel confident
of the rules? One of you needs to know what they’re doing out there, and you’re the only one that can read the course maps. That makes you team captain. You don’t want to spend all your time fumbling around the course, you want to know what you’re doing and convey that to the dog.

5. Does your dog understand all the equipment, and is he relaxed
and confident in his execution? If your dog is tentative on the teeter
or can’t do weaves at home, it’s going to be worse at a trial. It’s
ALWAYS worse at the trial. It’s never better, so think about that before
entering. 🙂

6. Can your dog work on both sides, does he know how to switch sides,
and can he read your crosses? If not, he’s not ready to trial and
neither are you. Even novice mandates side switches! NOTE: I have seen some owners do some creative things that have resulted in clean runs. so it all depends on just how creative you want to be. 🙂

7. Have you practiced in more than one area? Yes, I know there are
stories of how some dogs do fine at a trial after only having been
trained at home-but those are the exceptions not the rule! Remember that if your goal is for your dog to be relaxed and have fun, then your job is to help him figure out that agility is something he can do (and have fun doing) anywhere.

8. Do you feel confident about entering? If you aren’t confident,
don’t enter. I don’t mean confident you can get all clean runs, but
confident that you and your dog can have a GOOD TIME.

8. Finally, do you have a positive attitude? Are you prepared to
laugh at mistakes, not cry? Can you put agility into the right
perspective–that it’s a fun game we play with our dogs? Can you be
absolutely, positively sure that when things go wrong out there and
everyone is watching, you will NOT get upset, and you will NOT start
blaming your dog? If you’re not sure, please do not enter. Though I have to admit, at times it is your dogs fault….and all you can do is laugh about it. 🙂

If you can answer yes to these questions you are ready to enter an
agility trial. Remember there’s no huge rush to title. This is a game
you play with your dog, and having fun at the trial is an end goal, no
matter what your score ends up as.

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Agility Dog Dictionay

Agility Dog Dictionary

A-frame — a long slinky-like pipe that is fun to run through.

AKC — an agility organization that also has beauty contests, though
no one knows why.

Chute — what your human says when you take the “long slinky-like
pipe that is fun to run through” once too often.

COME! — go immediately to your human as soon as you’re finished with
the next three obstacles.

Contact — what your human says to get you to start your engine and
take to the skies.

Damnit — a dog title similar to Dr. for humans, or MACH for some
dogs: e.g., Dr. Smith, MACH Fifi, and Damnit Rex.

Quiet! — means you should cheer on the dog running the course. In
the spirit of good sportsmanship, cheer louder for those dogs you
don’t particularly like, but cheer loudest of all for the dogs that
live with you.

STAY! — an agility command that means wait until your human turns
her back on you, and then quickly take the first few obstacles while
she tries to catch up.

Table — one of the few shady spots on the course.

Teeter — a long slinky-like pipe that is fun to run through.

Touch — what your human says to get you to jump over the yellow zone
on contact obstacles.

Triple — a long slinky-like pipe that is fun to run through.

Tunnel — a long slinky-like pipe that you run through anytime you
don’t know which obstacle your human wants you to take. Can also be
taken because you prefer it to the obstacle your human wants you to
take.

USDAA — a government organization that employs people with really
good noses. Their job is to decide if meat should be eaten or rolled
in.

Salute to Canada!

I found this sitting in my OLD email account that I was clearing out of stuff I really don’t need to keep around.   Why take up space right?  And being as I am Canadian (Canada rocks by the way), I thought it a good piece to post.

Excellent article…enjoy!!!

A British news paper salutes Canada . . . this is a good read.

It is funny how it took someone in England to put it into words…

Sunday Telegraph Article From today’s UK wires: Salute to a brave and modest nation – Kevin Myers, The Sunday Telegraph LONDON –

Until the deaths of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan ,
probably almost no one outside their home country had been aware that
Canadian troops are deployed in the region. And as always, Canada will
bury its dead, just as the rest of the world, as always will forget its
sacrifice, just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does.

It seems that Canada ‘s historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored.

Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to come and ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers, and  suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped  Glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet again.

That is the price Canada pays for sharing the North American  continent with the United States , and for being a selfless friend of Britain in two global conflicts. For much of the 20th century, Canada  was torn in two different directions:      It seemed to be a part of the old world, yet had an address in the new one, and that divided identity ensured that it never  fully got the gratitude it deserved. Yet its purely voluntary contribution to the cause of freedom in two world wars was perhaps the greatest of any democracy.

Almost 10% of Canada ‘s entire population of seven million people served in the armed forces during the First World War, and nearly 60,000 died. The great Allied victories of 1918 were spearheaded by Canadian troops, perhaps the most capable soldiers in the entire British order of battle.

Canada was repaid for its enormous sacrifice by downright neglect, it’s unique contribution to victory being absorbed into the popular  Memory
as somehow or other the work of the “British.”

The Second World War provided a re-run. The Canadian navy began the war  with a half dozen vessels, and ended up policing nearly half of the Atlantic against U-boat attack. More than 120 Canadian warships participated in the Normandy landings, during which 15,000 Canadian soldiers went ashore on D-Day alone. Canada finished the war with the third-largest navy and the fourth-largest air force in the world.

The world thanked Canada with the same sublime indifference as it had the previous time. Canadian participation in the war was  acknowledged in film only if it was necessary to give an American actor a part in a campaign in which the United States had clearly not participated – a touching scrupulousness which, of course, Hollywood has since  abandoned, as it has any notion of a separate Canadian identity.

So it is a general rule that actors and filmmakers arriving in Hollywood keep their nationality – unless, that is, they are Canadian.  Thus Mary Pickford, Walter Huston, Donald Sutherland, Michael J. Fox, William Shatner, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg, Alex Trebek, Art Linkletter and Dan Aykroyd have in the popular perception become American, and  Christopher Plummer, British.

It is as if, in the very act of becoming famous, a Canadian ceases to be Canadian, unless she is Margaret Atwood, who is as unshakably Canadian as a moose, or Celine Dion, for whom Canada has proved quite unable to find any takers.

Moreover, Canada is every bit as querulously alert to the achievements of it’s sons and daughters as the rest of the world is completely unaware of them. The Canadians proudly say of themselves –  and are unheard by anyone else – that 1% of the world’s population has  provided 10% of the world’s peacekeeping forces. Canadian soldiers in the past half century have been the greatest peacekeepers on Earth – in 39 missions  on UN mandates, and six on non-UN peacekeeping duties, from Vietnam to East Timor, from Sinai to Bosnia.

Yet the only foreign engagement that has entered the popular on-Canadian imagination was the sorry affair in Somalia , in which out-of-control  paratroopers murdered two Somali infiltrators. Their regiment was then disbanded in disgrace – a uniquely Canadian act of self-abasement for which, naturally, the Canadians received no international credit.

So who today in the United States knows about the stoic and  selfless friendship its northern neighbour has given it in Afghanistan ? Rather like Cyrano de Bergerac , Canada repeatedly does honourable things for honourable motives, but instead of being thanked for it, it remains something of a figure of fun.

It is the Canadian way, for which Canadians should be proud, yet such honour comes at a high cost.

This past year more grieving Canadian families knew that cost all too tragically well.

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Please pass this on to any of your friends or relatives who served in the Canadian Forces or anyone who is proud to be Canadian; it is a wonderful tribute to those who choose to serve their country and the  world in our quiet Canadian way.