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  #1231  
Old 06-13-2013, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by BostonBanker View Post
My first trial was a 2 day trial; I ran every starters class, so 3 classes a day. The advantage to doing a bit more is that you get less nervous as time goes on, and if you and your dog have a meltdown at first, you have time to fix it. That's what I tell myself anyway

Preferred works for my dogs in USDAA. Honestly, I could probably run Gusto Championship, but at just a hair under 17", I jump him 16" preferred. How tall are your girls?
10ish inches. Not a very official measurement.
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  #1232  
Old 06-13-2013, 04:59 PM
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Do y'all enter every day first trial out of the bat?
I did but only one run per day. FAST the first day so I could run whatever I wanted, Jumpers the other two (3-day trial) so we just kept moving and she had less to remember. Just depends on the dog and environment. She'd never been there before. If we were entering a trial where we train, for instance, I probably would've gone ahead and entered both classes.

She didn't miss a beat and didn't seem affected by the trial environment at all so from trial 2 onward she's been entered in both classes any time we trial.
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  #1233  
Old 06-13-2013, 05:01 PM
DenoLo DenoLo is offline
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I jump Lola at 8 inches performance in USDAA. She's only 9 inches tall so 12 seemed ridiculous. Our first trial we just did one day- I think you are better off taking it easy and building confidence.
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  #1234  
Old 06-13-2013, 05:12 PM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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I jump Zuma preferred in USDAA and am planning on doing the same with Zinga.


Also. Just registered Zinga with USDAA and was super excited to see that koolie is a recognized breed!! AHHHH!!!
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  #1235  
Old 06-13-2013, 06:30 PM
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So you think maybe 1 run on 1 day or 1 run on 2 different days?

I have no idea.... I think jumpers will be easier but I think gamblers might be a good place to start with Mia since we could start on a climbing obstacle (her favorites) and build from there.

Ugh I'm nervous, haha! Tell me that gets better.

This is what I get for listening to peer pressure from my agility friends at nosework on Monday.
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  #1236  
Old 06-13-2013, 07:00 PM
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Gamblers is a perfect start. Straight lines to her favorite obstacles, skip the weaves entirely, forget about the distance part if you don't have it (distance is rough with most little dogs!)

I wouldn't worry about 2 runs per day. Trials I've been to it's 5 or 6 runs per day, and that makes for a LONG day for a dog.

And yes, the nerves go away. I am no longer afraid of making a fool of myself
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  #1237  
Old 06-13-2013, 07:05 PM
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Ugh I'm nervous, haha! Tell me that gets better.
It gets so much better. It really does. I still sometimes get a twinge of nerves with Gusto - he's so new to it. But honestly, I don't stress at all with Meg, and haven't in a long time. The fact is, things will go wrong. Sometimes terribly. Meg pooped in the ring. She peed in the ring. She's refused her weaves, she's popped out at the 10th pole. She's flown over her contacts and had once spectacular run where she was going so fast, she launched herself straight over the table as I screamed "LIE DOWN" and landed in a down pretty much on the judge's feet on the far side of the table. She was so scared about a chute that had a church and steeple as the 'barrel' entrance that she ran around it multiple times and finally jumped up and stood on the roof. In the biggest class of the trial. And you know what? We survived. Nobody cared. Everyone has had their own dogs fall apart in the ring at one point. There is nothing your dogs can do that hasn't been done. Even Mia

Not only does nobody care - nobody is going to remember. That's another big thing. It will seem like all eyes are upon you, but really, people are thinking about their run, chatting with their friends, and maybe going "look at that cute Pap!". If they notice your run at all, they will likely forget it within 20 minutes.

My favorite judge for "first trials" makes a point to ask who is at their first trial during briefing, and says something along the lines of "I'll let you in on a secret. By tomorrow, nobody is going to remember who was second in jumpers, but everyone is going to remember who was an a$$ to their dog." Go out, relax. If you get a couple of obstacles, or a great start line, or a full course, you win.

Looking at the schedule for what I assume is the trial you are entering (am I a creepy stalker?), I'd enter my baby dog in Gamblers and Jumpers. I seriously can not do one run a day. If my dog goes out and can't get off the start line (yup, happened to us at Gusto's first outdoor trial - nobody remembers but me), I don't want to feel like that's my whole day. I want to see what falls apart, then come up with a plan to at least improve one thing (I didn't ask for a stay next class, just restrained him with a hand and did a running start, and got him going with me).

The schedule is great as long as you don't mind being there all day. You can run gamblers first. Like you said, pick a course that will cater to what your dogs *love*. Don't even worry about the gamble. Find a short flowing course that would be too easy for your dogs in training class. I might even go in saying "no matter what, we aren't trying the gamble". Run your short course. If your dogs are running with you but miss a jump or make a mistake, keep running. Don't fix things yet. Let them learn "we go in the ring and run and everything is positive and happy and then there are cookies!".

See what you've got. Now you have a few hours before jumpers. Walk them before putting them away. Work a couple of classes so you can see that yes, other dogs make mistakes. Figure out what was great about your first run, and what you'd like to improve. Make a plan for jumpers. Maybe you need to change your warm-up (was your dog too up? Too down?) or your start line (see anecdote above). Maybe the ring crew or judge was too distracting for your dog, and this round, if they start to stare or go over, but turn back to you, you need to mark that with a verbal reward marker and run out of the ring cheering for them and go straight to the cookies.

Above all, remember that your goal is to 1) Get that first trial under your belt and their collars (not literally, don't run in your collars). 2) Teach them that running with you is So. Much. Fun. 3) Don't be an a$$ to your dogs (I can't imagine it). Make sure that when you snuggle with them that night, you have at least one thing you can tell them that made you so proud, and that you don't have anything you feel you need to apologize for (am I the only one that has those conversations with my dogs in bed?).

Seriously. Go for it. Video. Share with us
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  #1238  
Old 06-13-2013, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
So you think maybe 1 run on 1 day or 1 run on 2 different days?

I have no idea.... I think jumpers will be easier but I think gamblers might be a good place to start with Mia since we could start on a climbing obstacle (her favorites) and build from there.

Ugh I'm nervous, haha! Tell me that gets better.

This is what I get for listening to peer pressure from my agility friends at nosework on Monday.
Pick a class or two where you understand the rules and feel comfortable. I like ones where I can pick my course (like FAST or FullHouse or Gamblers depending on venue) since I can start by picking their strongest obstacles to build confidence and choose to take or not take their less-strong obstancles/sequences if I think it's a good time to work on it. But that's what I like. Doesn't make it right for everyone.

There's no pride in Q'ing your first runs. You're setting the foundations for a competative team career... It's ALL about encouraging the attitude and teamwork you want to have on course. That and being safe are the only things that matter.
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  #1239  
Old 06-13-2013, 07:09 PM
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And yes being nervous is normal and it does get better lol. When I was first starting with Kim and Web I used to barely sleep the night before haha. Now I go to bed early and sleep like a baby.
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  #1240  
Old 06-13-2013, 07:22 PM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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Yup to all of the above.

The nerves do get better. I like rescue remedy, I used to take it before each run and it helped a ton.

Go out there and have fun, that is the best thing you can do at your first trial. Oh and video it so we can all see!
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