25 Apr 2009Steve Schwarz

Meeker and I were at the first RACE USDAA agility trials the first week in April. He earned his Advanced Gamblers and Advanced Jumpers titles so we'll be running with the "big dogs" in our next trial.

Here’s the video (It is only missing our final Adv Jumpers run):

A big thanks to everyone who videotaped us! Here are the “highlights”:


  • Started Saturday with what felt like a really good and fast Advanced Standard run. It really looked to me like he had a perfect running A Frame and I called "YES!" when I thought he hit it. The judge and the video tape agreed that he completely vaulted over it.
  • Advanced Gamblers a little stumbling of a run, initially sent him over the first jump of the gamble from the wrong side. Reset and he went all along the path nicely. Got the A Frame contact by half a paw, surprised the judge saw it.
  • Starters Snooker, Meeker broke his start line stay and went sailing over the red and the wrong color. I called him back to me but I wasn't moving to the next obstacle, just calling to him, so he took an off course instead - our fastest Snooker NQ.
  • Advanced Jumpers we really smoked our way around the course, I stayed ahead and did almost all front crosses. Executed it just like I wanted to, great way to end the day with a Q and a first place


  • Advanced Standard, I don't remember exactly what happened but looking at the video I must have Front Crossed Learning the Front Cross - VideoFront Cross and pulled him past the A Frame, then I didn't send him far enough to the tunnel. Lastly I sent him into the tunnel on the tunnel dog walk discrimination so I just goofed off until the end of the course.
  • Advanced Gamblers went pretty well, I executed my plan w/o too much freestyling. Got two A Frames (only just in the top of the yellow), got the gamble and then Meeker misjudged the final jump and dropped the bar.
  • Advanced Snooker, thanks to Cindy Brick for course planning discussions. I got my first two reds and was on my way to the third and Meeker was building up more and more speed. So instead of my driving into position, I slowed. He took the final red and the desired color. But I wasn't in position and was standing around calling him while he want over an off course color before starting the closing sequence.
  • Advanced Jumpers, was a really nice run and we took first place

Lessons Learned(?)

While I was frustrated with my handling on the Snooker courses, my screwing them up in the same way each day made me realize what should have been obvious; I have to keep moving. Standing still and calling to Meeker just won’t work, he responds primarily to my motion and my standing around doesn’t give him enough information on where to go. So I end up watching the train wreck. It seems my first reaction is to stand still when things go wrong. It will be tough for me to react to mistakes by moving in the right direction, but I’ll learn.

The other thing on our “to do list” is to work on dog walk tunnel discriminations, since I had the same problem on a run through course. Lastly, two small but important issues in the extreme arousal of an agility trial. Start line stays and coming all the way into the 2o2o on the teeter and dog walk.

So we have some work to do, but it looks like Meeker is picking up speed and confidence on course and that is certainly a good thing.

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