My best dog ever Trio just brought me a pine cone. Of course, any of my dogs are “the best dog ever” if they bring me something and look so proud and happy about it!
Pine cones are to be treasured and this particular one smells beautifully of pine trees, but the topic of this particular blog is not pine cones.
Today the subject that springs to mind is training a dog to do agility and hopefully getting the opportunity to run in Starters/Novice.
I have heard some people refer to this momentous occasion as “going through novice”, but I think this makes it sound as if it is not a fun experience at all and simply something to “get through” before the real fun begins. Looking back at the times I have been fortunate enough to step to the line and take on the first ever courses with my dogs I will never describe it as “going through Novice/Starters”.
Let’s see how many times have I done this?
Twelve USDAA Starters Dogs:
Rufus, English Shepherd
Purdy, English Shepherd
Bracken, English Shepherd
Nel, Border Collie
TC, Border Collie
Bobbin, Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Stroller, Border Collie
Daz, Border Collie
Twiggy, Border Collie
Just Emma, English Shepherd
Watson, English Shepherd
Six AKC Novice Dogs:
That’s 18 trips to that precious Starters/Novice start line.
Hey, Wait! Make that 7!
Trio, the dog who just happens to be sitting in front of me holding a beautiful pine cone in his mouth looking so proud of himself, just “went through AKC Novice” before I even had a chance to realize we were there. More about that later!
The point I’m hoping to make here is not how many dogs I have “been through USDAA Starters and/or AKC Novice competition with, but just how important it is to truly believe that the dog sitting in front of you, whether he is holding a pine cone or something unmentionable, is truly the best dog in the world. Agility happens most of all between the obstacles and outside the ring. Only a small time is spent in the actual competition so remain in the moment, relish the experience and enjoy it for all it’s worth, as it truly is an honor stepping to the line for that first time in Starters/Novice competition.
Okay. Now I really have to get off the computer as the best dogs ever are being very quiet and patient. Must reward that before it is too late!
P.S. When I got my puppy, Trio, I had an interesting conversation with somebody who commented that “Now you have to start all over again!” as if it was something to be dreaded. I was and have always been thrilled to meet a new puppy or dog, to develop that playful bond and to apply layer upon layer of mutual trust which hopefully will be the beginning of a fun and enjoyable agility experience.