Friday, May 1, 2009

Mud Dog

We spent last weekend camping and competing with the dogs at the Dutton, MI CPE trial. Django and Maebe were entered both days. We chose to enter this trial as it was offering many of the classes that Django still needs for his C-ATCH, and we are happy to report that he made great progress toward that title.

The weekend did not seem promising at first. We had planned to bring the camper and stay a few miles from the trial site, but our camping plans fell through on Thursday. Friday morning I was looking frantically for another campground in the area that was open this early in the season, when I learned that the trial chair was looking for someone to stay on-site at the park to keep an eye on the agility equipment. We jumped at the opportunity – free camping and couldn’t get a more convenient site after all. So, Friday afternoon we quickly loaded up the trailer and headed for Dutton.

Saturday started out great. Django qualified and got first place in his first Jackpot run, and just barely missed qualifying in his second Jackpot run. Pesky A-Frame contact zones. It is pretty rare for him to blow a contact, but occasionally it happens. He kept up the good performances though, and qualified in Standard and Wildcard, even though his Wildcard run was done in the pouring rain.

The real story of the weekend turned out to be rain. It rained, and rained, and rained from mid-day Saturday all through the night and morning Sunday. We stayed cozy and dry playing Scrabble in the trailer all evening, but awoke Sunday to find an agility field covered in standing water and MUD!

Things got to a slow start due to the course conditions, but Django ran a perfect day on Sunday, getting a Full House leg and two Standard legs. He is now only four legs away from his C-ATCH! I was extremely proud of my big guy. He slowed down a bit in the mud on Sunday, and it took a little persuading to convince him that he could go into the tunnels even though there were pools of water forming in them, but he was a trooper. Plenty of seasoned dogs were having none of it in those conditions, but Django surprised me with his focus. It is also a relief to run a dog that has the sense to slow down a bit in poor conditions. I would have worried about running a dog like Maebe on the contacts in that much rain and mud, but Django clearly was watching his footing and being careful which I appreciated. Don’t know how you train for that though – certainly he is probably the only one of our pack to have that much common sense and regard for his own body.

The weekend easily could have been a disaster. We lucked out with the camping situation, and having the trailer there made the trial much more tolerable in the awful weather. We headed home Sunday very proud of our dogs and happy that we could have so much fun together even when things weren’t perfect.

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