AKC Agility B Match OUTSIDE!!

 This weekend Boston Terrier Club of Western Washington is having an AKC all breed agility trial at Lakebay Wa. They are hosting an agility B Match after the trial day is done around 330 pm on BOTH Saturday & Sunday. We also are having a potluck Judge’s dinner starting around 4 pm so feel free to join us in that too. We also will have a few vendors if you would like to come early and shop.

The trial and the match are outside on the grass with sheep fencing (large open squares of light weight net fencing). We will have a Standard ring and a Jumper With Weaves ring. You may bring toys in the ring but no food in the ring. Dogs do not have to be entered in the trial but  must meet the same criteria for the match as for a trial—they must be over 15 months in good health and have an AKC number (http://www.akc.org/register/?pre=breeder&activity=puppy MIXED BREEDS are welcomed in agility as well as other sports.

Sign up at the Secretary’s table starting  at noon each day. Cost is $5 for each 60 second run  (cash, check or worker voucher). You may do which ever ring(s) you want as many times as you want (at $5 for each 60-second run) but be aware that can be a long time when you are working on your plan, trying to build focus, understand a maneuver or trying to get a dog to come to you. You will sign up by jump height and you may jump whatever height you wish. (IMO) jump lower for working on your handling or problem solving or a new place and regular height for conditioning. I hear the weather should be in the 80’s.

Again, the agility fun match I am describing is an AKC (www.akc.org) event which means dogs must be under control at all times and on leash everywhere except in the ring and at the warm up jump. If you do not have off leash control you are not ready for a match yet, but feel free to work on attention on leash out of the ring. Dogs may not be on a prong or corrective collar on the show grounds—martingales are okay but the dog is expected to run in flat or rolled buckle collar for safety. While flexi/retractable leashes are permitted on the grounds they are not a good idea at trials because you should come to the line on a proper leash and (IMO) when walking your dog at an outside trial there are even more things to get tangled– humans or pop-up shade tent legs or chairs.

Don’t forget to be careful with your verbal corrections—nothing so harsh or loud as to upset bystanders. Again, if there is a serious problem or mishap the club must report it to AKC and punishments can be assigned for serious offenses even for a match.

A match for training purposes is for dogs and handlers that know how to safely engage the equipment on a course but you don’t have to do all the course as designed. It is NOT for LEARNING the EQUIPMENT but for experienced teams to practice skills (start line stays, wraps, contacts, serpentines, weave poles, shorter sequences) in the very different environment of an outdoor trial and for new teams to see where they are on the agility journey. You don’t want to put a dog in this type of match if they have never done the equipment or never been in such a stimulating environment. Why?? Because you don’t want your dog hurt by doing the equipment incorrectly nor do you want your dog to become afraid of the equipment or the environment and, since you are limited in your use of rewards and corrections, you don’t want them to become ring-wise (that is where they know you can’t get after them or bribe them like you do at home when they are being naughty or crazy)

Volunteer Park in Lakebay Wa on the Key Peninsula is a lovely park with a couple nice open spaces and a little forested walk. The Snack Shack will be open some of the weekend. You may park wherever there is room and there is overflow parking/camping in a field above the trial area. Just follow the road you come in on straight past the ball fields and up the dirt hill.

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The Trial Secretary’s table should be not far from the rings so please don’t drag your dog up to the secretary table to ask questions. I will be wearing my new brown ball cap with this logo

We do not have an official to measure at this trial. If you  would like an unofficial measurement or to get your dog use to the measuring process please ask for assistance as the wicket is expensive and we don’t want it knocked about.

Since this is a public park it is imperative that you pick up any and all pet waste you come across or your dog deposits. There is no off leash area around the rings. Also, other folks may not have the recall they THINK they have when their dog sees your dog or your dog sees their tennis ball/Frisbee/stick. Don’t assume anyone wants their dog to interact with yours.

Come early and see the runs but please understand  from the perspective of those of us who are running dogs. Please let handlers focus on the course and our dogs before and after our run. Don’t come ring side and start chatting about our breed or want to tell us how the run looked or ask questions about strategies. We are trying to focus on the job at hand and build the bond with our dog—who is getting amped about running before we go in and demanding praise and cookies when we get out. We may be running to get our next dog so timing is precious. Ask questions or share observations once everything is settled back down for that handler. This is especially important to those who are agility instructors—students might want to film their runs for discussion later but please let them enjoy the time with their dog.

Trialing outdoors can be a great deal of fun but it does offer a different level of challenges. Hope I haven’t overwhelmed you but, the more you know and plan and train, then the better and more successful your agility career will be.

 Safe travels, Theresa and the Cardis

 

 

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