Getting Back Into the Game
December 9th 2012, the last time Rio touched a piece of agility equipment other than my backyard weave poles. August 2012, the last time Rio had any type of agility training.
Flip to the last week of December 2013, I happen to catch a post on a local yahoo group about an Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) agility trial being held the first weekend of January 2014. Out of no where, I considered taking Rio to the trial, just for something fun since he hadn’t gotten a chance to “play ‘gility” in a long time. I pulled up the premium to look over and ponder. Meanwhile on Facebook, I happened to see a post by a friend talking about her agility training and an upcoming trial. Based on the date, I guessed she was talking about the ASCA trial, so I checked in with her and sure enough, that was the plan.
As it turned out, two of my friends had been doing some agility training and were planning on trialing that weekend. With two friends there for bonus fun, I figured I’d sign Rio up for the trial just for something fun for him. I’ve felt a little guilty over the last year that Rio didn’t get to do any agility, something that gives him so much joy. I’ve tried to get him more into Rally since it’s something that we can do and practice on our own without the need for classes (which don’t generally fit in my schedule and rarely fit in my budget) but I missed the joy I’ve seen in him when he’s running agility or really jamming in frisbee. I figured it’d be an amazing way to start 2014 for Rio–a day with just me and him playing a game that he loves.
My friends were planning a private training session at their training club and nicely allowed me to join them for a refresher course on these things called contact obstacles. In 2012, I started working on TRUE running contacts with Rio and we had made lots of progress on the A-frame and had a good start on the dog walk but was just starting. I figured a little refresher before the trial would be helpful–even if just partially to see what he had retained (largely through muscle memory). We met with a few friends on New Years Day for a fun couple hours of playing and chatting and working. Rio hit nearly all of his contacts, though, we didn’t really test the dog-walk with speed, and thoroughly enjoyed himself!
I was a little under the weather the rest of the week and nearly opted not to go to the trial but I sucked it up for Rio and went to the trial to have some fun with my favorite speckled boy! It was not our finest performance overall, but it was so much fun and Rio clearly loved it.
I will probably never be able to afford regular classes or ring-rental time to get into agility extensively but I want to make it a point in 2014 to try and get him into a class or get regular rental time for him to get to “play ‘gility” because it brings him so much joy.