18th – 21st June
I was very excited when my Person told me that we were going with our Dog Training Club to the Regional Agility, Jumping and Games Trial.
It was the first time I had ever been camping, and it will be my Person’s first time camping alone. While I am still too novice to be competing I would still be doing training runs and socialisation, as well as keeping my Person safe and protecting our campsite.
It was a long drive to the showground where the Trial was being held, and my Person got a little lost on the way. I don’t mind travelling but the road was rough and I felt a little carsick by the end of the trip. When we got there I was a little anxious because there were so many people and other stranger dogs, so I just stayed in the car while my Person set up the camp. I didn’t want to eat or drink anything either so I was very hungry the next morning.
Because my Person has chronic fatigue she needs to rest during the day, so she owns a camper van. Some people think this is strange, a young girl owning this type of car, but it is practical and an all-round good car. So we camped in the van, with the annex off the side where my Person cooked our meals.
Since we arrived a day early to set up camp my Person and I didn’t have much to do after we had dinner, so we went for a walk around the showground for a while checking out the arenas and talking to other people who were also camping there. I met a lot of stranger dogs, some were even bigger than I was! Most people had a few dogs; a young pup that was about Arlert’s age, a dog around my age and an old dog around Old Boof’s age. But we did meet a couple who had eight border collies!
Once we had gone for a walk and the weather was getting far too cold to be outside we went back to the van. My Person watched a movie on her laptop before going to be. It was so cold, even with my jacket that Mother made for me, and I was still anxious about being in a new place that I jumped up onto the bed and snuggled up next to my Person. I’m never allowed to sleep in the bed with my Person at home but it was just so cold! So my Person didn’t mind since I kept her warm too.
The first night I didn’t get much sleep. All the strange noises and smells kept me awake, and I hadn’t been to the bathroom since we left our house around lunch. When I really need to go to the bathroom I wake my Person up and she always lets me out, but when I was let outside the van even if my Person was with me, I got scared of something and had to run back to the van for safety. This happened a few times during the night because I needed to go! But couldn’t.
Early the next morning my Person took me for a run, and I was finally able to go to the bathroom J. Even though it was so early there were a lot of people also walking their dogs. I kept my distance from them. After the dog chased me on the beach a few weeks ago I have been a little more cautious of stranger dogs. And I especially hate it when there are more than one of them. So I stayed close to my Person and only left to retrieve the ball that she threw for me.
After my run my Person and I shared breakfast, I had already eaten my dry dog food but her tuna and toast looked far more tasty.
For most of the day I just sat in the van or in my crate while my Person was stewarding at the games ring. She would come back between course changes and take me for a walk or run me through one of the practice courses that were set up a little way away from the competition rings. It was pretty boring for me, but I couldn’t complain too much because I got to sleep in the sun and eat yummy dog biscuits.
It was so cold in the mornings that I didn’t want to get out of bed, which is very unusual for me. My Person let me stay curled up in bed while she got dressed for the day, and it took a bit of convincing to get me out from under the sleeping bags and blankets… Well not much convincing really, all my Person had to do was show me the tennis ball.
The next day Mother and Little Sister came to the trial, which meant that I was able to sit with then and not at our campsite. I was very well behaved and calm around the other dogs and I was able to sit quietly ringside with the other dogs running past me competing. This is something I have never been able to do during dog training, so I was very proud of myself. I didn’t bark, whine or lunge.
Now would be a good time to mention that even well trained dogs make mistakes. One time when my Person came back to check on me during one of the course changes I was so excited that I jumped up to greet her. I’m very big now and I accidentally caught her face. One of my claws cut her lip and she punctured the inside of her lip on her tooth.
My Person didn’t get angry with me because she knew I didn’t mean to do it, and it made her realise that maybe I need a little more training so that I don’t jump anymore.
But aside from that accident I was very well behaved and I had a lot of fun.
I was a little anxious around all the stranger dogs at the trial. Some were friendly, others didn’t care, and some were mean and scary. So I was overwhelmed with excitement when I saw my dog friend from my agility class. He was a little anxious too so our people let us play around for a while before we went over to the practice course for a quick run.
As this was both my Person and my first real trial experience we had not yet learnt all the rules. So it was a great learning experience. We were watching an agility competition when the dog running stopped and attacked the judge! It was very scary for everyone, but especially for the judge and the handler. The lady, with the help of some of the other bystanders, managed to restrain the dog and took him from the ring.
The judge was okay and wasn’t angry at the lady or the dog, sometimes these things happen. Dogs are not robots.
Apparently the dog had a dislike of strange men. This is actually a common occurrence, even in very well trained dogs, that have female handlers. Lashing out at strange men is really the dog’s way of saying: “This is my female. You stay there and everything will be fine. Come a step closer and I will bite you. Understood?”
Because of this issue the whole trial had to stop. All three rings were shut down while the officials had a meeting about what to do with the dog. Me and my Person sat with the rest of our club and waited out the two hours (possibly longer) before the trials could start again. While we were waiting they explained to us that the dog may have to be taken away from the trial grounds and will have to go to a meeting with the people who organise all the agility trials in our state, since the dog had done the same thing at a previous trial.
The dog wasn’t taken away but he wasn’t allowed to compete in any more events, and the lady was still allowed to run her other dogs in the trial.
Even though it was a really fun couple of days I was very happy to be home. I tackled Old Boof and played with little Arlert and chased Jerry around the house a few times before falling asleep on the lounge room floor.