Well I've done it! I've actually competed in a proper agility competition at last!

The moons were in alignment this weekend with my disabled son in respite care and my two teenagers occupied and Gareth away on tour. So, with just me and the dogs and a UKA competition just an hour's drive away it was a no-brainer!

I just took part in two UKA competitions at Mapledurham : Beginners Agility and Beginners Steeplechase.

I had Rufus officially measured whilst I was there too as UK Agility have an extra height category. They have Toy (Small), Midi (Medium), Standard (between Medium and Large) and Maxi (Large). Most people I spoke to thought Rufus might be Standard height rather than large. He had been measured Large for the Kennel Club. The maximum height for Standard jumps is 500mm. Rufus measured 497mm!! That converts to 19.56" so a fraction shorter than I had been claiming (20").

Beginners Agility
His 'wait' at the start was non existent - naughty boy! and I have probably set back my training of him by a good 8 weeks by letting him continue on but I really wanted to see what we could achieve. We did get a big E (elimination) as he back jumped a jump instead of coming around it. It was entirely my fault and if that hadn't have happened we'd have gone clear with a possibility of a placement . Please check out his weaves and his constant checking back to get direction ......I was sooooooo proud of him!
Beginners Steeplechase

Steeplechase courses are made up of jumps and rigid tunnels and so are ideal for people starting out without sound contacts or weaves!

Rufus's reluctance to wait on this one really cracks me up when I watch it! Watch me move when I realise he's broken his wait! It was really important to get a wait on this one as the second jump was a right turn and not straight down the enticing row of jumps straight ahead! However, having jumped the first jump he waited for direction for the next jump! We got 5 faults on this one (I think! ) as I didn't turn him soon enough for a left turn and he circled the jump before jumping it and then continuing clear.
I absolutely loved every minute of it. Can't wait until the next competition now!
 
 
The agility club I belong to is MAD! Millbrook Agility Dogs. Each winter, during the quiet season of agility competitions,  our club, which has 300 members, runs a Winter League consisting of four competitions held between November and February. There are three categories: Never Competed (never entered a Kennel Club or UK Agility Competition), Grades 1-2 and Grades 3-7. Each competition consists of  2 courses: Agility and Jumping. Points are awarded from 200 (first place) down to 0 (elimination), and the person with the most points at the end of the four league competitions gets a free 10 week agility course (one class per week). Rufus and I are in the Never Competed category and at 20" high Rufus jumps large height. At the point of entering the fourth Winter League we were joint 7th on the leader board having achieved a first and second place in previous events. There was everything to play for!

Picture
Rufus adores agility. However, recently his excitement level has been going through the roof, so much so that his 'wait' at the start of courses has become non-existent. This is something I seriously need to work on as you will see in the first video. His lack of  a wait meant we had to start together and as Rufus came out of the tunnel he took a right turn instead of going on ahead.....meanwhile I was several metres behind! Here I am calming him at the start whilst waiting for the nod from the judge.

The last photo cracks me up. We had finished the course on the jump shown in the bottom left corner but Rufus was off for another round! The result was elimination in the agility round but we really enjoyed running the course. Here are two videos of the rounds we did. First the agility round:
Next the jumping round. This was a very frustrating round as we were going clear right until the last jump which Rufus missed! A refusal! It is interesting to note that I chose to switch sides after I had sent Rufus into the tunnel. It's a valid move but not the best to use with an inexperienced dog (and handler!) as when Rufus exited the tunnel he immediately turned to his right to find me resulting in a time wasting circle!
We left this competition without any rosettes but with an enthusiasm and determination to carry on training hard!

STOP PRESS! The Winter League results are now through. On the leader board we came 2nd in the Never Competed category and 7th over all (145 competitors). I'm one happy Bunny!