We all know Tripp is an agility rock star... at least in his mind. ;-) Unfortunately he's stuck with me as a handler, so we haven't gotten very far in trials. Agility Qs have not been at all easy to come by, compared to Rally Obedience for instance, which is more my forte as a trainer. But we still have fun out there - and Tripp obviously intensely adores it.
We've been out of agility classes for a while now, so my handling this weekend was falling below par again. I just wanted to give it one more try before winter break, and getting even rustier! Tripp just needed one more Q in USDAA Gamblers for his Starters level title. That's all I wanted for Christmas - an agility title. That, and no injuries.
Well, the latter did not look promising when Tripp approached the dogwalk too fast and misstepped. Off he tumbled and all I could think was something got hurt. But he was more embarrassed than anything and continued the run with as much drive as ever. Thank God, no apparent injuries resulted - he is running and jumping in the same good form as before. Surely an extra long warm up and cool down helped, followed by massage and stretching. And extra napping! LOL
After that mishap, however, the former did not look promising either. No way, I figured, would we collect enough points to Q at that point. We continued on through a tunnel then tried the weave poles, which Tripp missed - I pulled him out to try for a jump, but our time was up. He finished the gamble with no trouble, but I did not expect a Q. Oh well, I was too busy worrying about him still (even though he was moving just fine - yes I'm paranoid). Scores were soon posted, and lo and behold, we Qed!! But how?? Thanks to Tripp for making up his own course and taking the teeter a 2nd time, that gave us just enough points to qualify! Smart boy.
I must say, too, that when he wasn't falling off that darn dogwalk, Tripp had beautiful form on all the other obstacles. One of these days we'll get it all in one trial - good form, responsiveness, no mishaps, and good handling! Hey, I can dream, at least. ;-)
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Finish Forward Dogs Weight Pull Fun Match
The competitive pull which followed is based on UKC rules. We are hoping that a newly formed club will soon be able to offer sanctioned UKC weight pull trials in the area. These fun pulls in Maine have been proving a local interest in the sport and are establishing a base of competitors, so things are looking promising. It has been a long time since I've seen any trials offered in New England, and the few that I've seen in the past were often far away and rarely had a "great" venue. I would be so excited to see a UKC weight pull trial offered at a wonderful facility like Finish Forward Dogs. Here's hoping! Maybe one of these days we will actually get to finish Tripp's UWP title! And who knows, maybe more...
I never considered going beyond level one title into championship competition. It requires so much more from the dog, as far as amount of weight pulled. I figured Tripp's winter performance this year was a fluke; surely he wouldn't pull over a thousand pounds again - I probably wouldn't even let him try. So much for that - Tripp gave a repeat performance, pulling the same 1040 lbs. with very little trouble! No consequences followed. In fact, I swear his gait improves after doing weight pull.
Once again I paid no attention to the amount of weight he was pulling; rather, I watched his behavior and physical response. He actually did better this time, physically - while he was also fine after our previous match, and still working eagerly, he was obviously tired and muscles maxed out. However even after our last pull at this weekend's match, his muscles were nice and loose and remained so. Of course I cooled him down well and massaged him throughout the day. I'm sure he could've pulled more, but I wanted to end on a positive note. He was just a tad slower on the final pull, and worked hard to finish, so I was not going to push it. There was no reason to continue anyway, as he was the "last dog standing" so to speak - he took 1st place with that final pull, hauling 20 times his body weight. Incredible! That would've been worth 10 championship points if I understand the rulebook correctly. If he continues this trend I might consider aiming for UWPCH... although that is still a lofty goal, with so few trialing opportunities.
Regardless of any titling possibilities, we will continue doing weight pull as long as we can. Even if it's only in the backyard and once or twice a year at this fantastic FUN match. :-)