Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Year into Trialing

We're in May now, which means a year into really trialing.  And it's been a really fun year... especially on weekends when I remember to wear sunscreen.

I'd say we've had our ups and downs, but in reality, we've had our ups, and ups, and ups.  Yes, we had a minor teeter setback.  And some more sniffing.  But the vast majority of the time, Murray is feeling confident in the ring and enjoying the trialing atmosphere.  His behavior is improving as agility people are totes cool and want to be his friend.  Meaning lots of treats for being friendly!  And we have a pretty cool little dog class at most of the local trials, with lots of celebrations because those little dogs pick up awards like it's nobody's business.

We've been doing more USDAA this year, namely because The Murr got through the measuring process (happiest day ever!) and so that one little thing is no longer a thing.  We are never ever ever gonna be remeasured.  I really am digging USDAA, despite not having the "typical" USDAA dog.  The tighter course times, head-to-head competition, and laid back atmosphere are turning The Murr and I into a stronger team.  I have to go for it with him to succeed in this venue, and while he may never be able to catch up to those papillons, he'll keep trying to best his personal records.  Plus, there are a lot of trials at Happy Dog, which is perhaps his most favorite place on earth.

We got our PVP Q in March and have gotten to do two other PVP events since.  So. Much. Fun.  We're going to get to do Cynosport PVP with my favorite little cairn and his fantastic handler.  I love the intensity, risk/reward, and teamwork involved in PVP.  And making silly team names.

Team Short People at Happy Dog, March 2014.  Eve is a pretty darn cool corgi.
We are improving in AKC too, with Murray hitting his 50% MACH mark at the 1 year anniversary of his first AKC trial.  With a judging slate of two males (something I used to avoid), mulch filling the gopher holes (better to roll in, my dear), and a heat wave coming in, Murray was awesome.  I love that he tries so hard.

We have also dialed in our training.  Our local dog club was somehow able to recruit an absolutely incredible instructor to teach two handling classes on a weekday morning.  Normally, I have work then, but my boss has allowed me to come in late that one day to participate in the class.  So that saves a long drive.  Our other instructor is also incredible and has such an amazing eye for angles and motion and getting Murray to RUN.  Coupled with a workshop a month and I feel like we're really gelling as a team.

A year is a milestone.  And it's been two years now since we started in this crazy sport.  Another milestone. I can't believe my incredible little guy and how well he's been doing in conquering his fears, finding joy in an activity, and keeping me laughing throughout.

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