Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First Agility Show, A Quick Gripe and Crufts

So this past Sunday was Volt's first Agility Show.   Honestly he could have probable done what he wanted, like grab the  judge's shoe and jump in the river with it, I would have STILL been happy.  It was just nice being able to run my boy in all the competitions.  His contacts were slower than in training, but that is just confidence competition thing... from BOTH me and him.  But he held his position nicely, I really am happy!  Of course I had to mess up two handling sections.  First because I tried to over-manage him, I mean seriously, he might be young, but he is not a three-legged cat that has never seen a tunnel.  THEN I try and handle him like an advanced A3 dog instead of the youngster he is.  Moral of the story (as always), bad handler, good Volt.  In Non-Contact we had a small hitch in the poles, I back-crossed him and halfway through he got a bit confused. His poles are also a little bit slower in the ring too, but I am really not fussed, I know that will come.  By the last round of the day both of us had settled and he had a nice clear with a win and a qualification.

Spaz was being good too, just a shame I let him down, hey?  I am very happy with his contact round, even though I dq'd him.  In Non-Contact he had a nice round, even though I changed my handling plan last minute.  Haha, see if you can spot it.  In Dog Jumping he took the first bar, eish Spaz, lift those foots.

This coming weekend we have the last trial and I will finally know what our qualifying ranking is.  Volt is running in the last trial, but looking at the points in Small, Volt can't really make the SA Champs.  That is okay with me too, I just want to RUN him some more,  he is just so much fun!

Unfortunately the competition in the small class in South Africa is REALLY lacking and I have no way to compare myself... So at the moment I am chasing the large dog times... so I made a small comparison video to see how Volt is doing. (I have given up making videos to music, as everything just gets blocked)

I spent the entire weekend watching Crufts like the Agility Addicted Zombie I am.  I really enjoyed it.  The quality of the agility was very good.  Watched some awesome dogs.  The weekend DID re-iterate the gripe that I have been having that with the immense improvement in the speed of Agility dogs, we need to do something about contact judging.  I am not blaming judges or handlers or trainers, but unfortunately I DO have a slow play function and can see the tons of missed contacts and see-saw fly-offs that do not get called, purely because the dogs are just too fast.  I have heard and read about all these fantastic new electronic contacts, but I am yet to see one in a major final.  I really hope that the sport of Agility will try to fully convert to these as soon as possible.

When I heard that Crufts were having 15 high-risk breeds checked by vets before allowing them in Group, I thought 'ja, right, it is all for appearances'.  Imagine my surprise when some of those dogs were actually not allowed in group?  I really think Crufts is on the right path here.  There are so many breeds that I feel are a disgrace to dog lovers. I realise that this superficial check is not nearly enough, in an ideal world all dogs would be DNA tested, X-Rayed, Cat-Scanned, have a full blood work-up etc before even being allowed to compete, but we know that we don't live in an ideal world.  At least this is a START.  Of course I just look at some of the dogs that still made the group and I have to wonder how the hell these people think that those dogs can still do the job they were supposed to be bred for.  Of course we have the same problem in breeding for Agility.  In South Africa I know of so many dogs that have been bred to supposedly produce 'agility litters', when the lines are riddled with genetic problems, never mind the fact that their structures or temperament are far from ideal.  People breed these dogs because they have done reasonably well in the ring and NO other reason.  This lead to new agility people who have little knowledge, to be disappointed by puppies that are unhealthy or don't meet their expectations.  The even SADDER thing is that some very knowledgeable people that are completely aware of these problems SUPPORT these breeders and keep them in business.

Of course we all have our own preferences of what we want in a dog.  Structure and temperament-wise (I am pretty sure we ALL want healthy dogs) we all like something different.  I like tall muscular Borders, others like their dogs smaller and slighter.  I don't see a problem with that, as long as these dogs that are being bred actually have a good structure and have been thoroughly tested and their work ethic and temperament is good.

Anyhow I watched the storm of comments that arose from the vet checking at Crufts and all I could do was shake my head.  While I prefer pure bred dogs because I want to know what I am getting, I just don't see the point of breeding pure bred dogs when they are unhealthy when we already have SO many unwanted dogs in the world?

 * All pictures courtesy of Melissa Wilson


  1. I just wanted to say that you and Volt looked great :) I love how positive you are on course. That picture of you two playing shows what a great relationship you have.

    Also--the weather looks beautiful there!

  2. Ah thanks, that is SUCH a compliment, but honestly I am just lucky, he is such a wonderful little dog with a personality to die for and SO trainable.

    Haha, and I will swap any day! I am a winter person, this is WAY too hot for me. But it is lovely for Agility this time of year!