I never thought I would be writing a blog in green! All my dogs have their own colours, and I try to write in the colour of the dog who deserves praise above others, so this is for Dave.
The little ginger b%$*^$d will be 3 years old next month, and he would not have made it past his first birthday if Fern hadn't persuaded me to let her take him on and train him. His unpredictable, very terrierist attitude has always been so hard to deal with. He is not a dog for the faint hearted, but Fern has worked wonders with him.
Last year we ran him at an indoor show, where it was a ring on its own, and had 10 people placed strategically around the ring to "field" him if he made a dash to take a swipe at another dog. He didn't, he actually behaved fairly well, and although not a clear round, it was a huge achievement. Then we ran him at a match, asking the other ring to hold on while he ran, and he did again, but still not clear as he was a bit distracted. 6 months on and we ran him again, this time outside but again in a ring a bit out the way, and the ring next door was being walked, so no dogs running. Perfect timing, and Dave did a lovely run, just missing a few jumps as he flew round.
Still Fern continued to train him every week with our other dogs, and he totally loves his agility times. Obviously one night whilst filling in entries, I must've had a few wines because when Honiton running orders arrived last week, Dave was entered!! What was I thinking?? Fern laughed and said, "well that's a waste of a few quid" (or words to that affect) and I filed them with the other dogs entries. On Saturday, the medium jumping was in a middle ring, and there was agility going on right next door. It was also medium dogs in the agility ring, Grade 5-7, so a lot of barking, quick moving little fluff balls, that would be perfect prey for Dave, so we decided against that. However on Sunday, the medium jumping was in ring one. A ring set slightly apart from the others, and the Grade 3 class was last in the ring for the day, AND the judge was a very good friend of mine, who knows what its like to have these interesting dogs. Fern & I walked the course, which was a lovely Grade 3 course, and made the decision to run him. We spoke to Sally the Judge, and Selena the ring manager, and explained that we would run him right at the end so there was no queueing. Rog had made it back to the show, having been called away earlier on a breakdown, so he was thrilled at the prospect of Dave running a real course at a real show! Deep down even I was very excited, admittedly nervous, in fact shitting a brick would probably sum it up, but the time came and Fern set Dave up on the start line. I was at the finish, with a very exciting tuggy toy, filled with sausage in the hope that would be tastier than any passing poodle, and Rog was armed with the video camera.
As Fern walked away from Dave, and he sat beautifully in a perfect wait, I admit to having a lump in my throat. She released him and he was off like a pocket rocket. Over the first 2 jumps and into the tunnel, out the tunnel over 2 more jumps and back in the tunnel, then off down a line of jumps into another tunnel. As he came out of that tunnel, Fern was behind him so she had to do a rear cross around the pin wheel, (I held my breath!) around the pin wheel, across to the final 3 jumps, and across the finish line to attack my lovely sausage filled tuggy!!!! He was clear!!!!!! I cried like a baby, Rog ran over almost in tears too, Fern was screeching and shaking like a leaf, and we all had a tight hold on Dave!! The emotions were incredible, as for us as a family this was the greatest achievement of the whole season. Imagine the shock when Sally came over to tell us he had won! His first proper run, and at Grade 3 thanks to Cove pulling him up the grades, and he was foot perfect, handled beautifully by Fern and won.
All five yes FIVE of our agility dogs were placed on Sunday, and there is no better feeling in the world. I actually may start to like Dave now :-)