Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New handler, old groove

MKA ran their 1st official agility trials last weekend … took some time in coming but better late than never. However, MKA being MKA, decided to limit participation to members only. As I was never officially certified as a pure bred JRT, my owners never bothered to be part of the kennel association.
'My impersonation of a Meerkat'
However, Mr Owner came up with an ingenuous plan to ‘smuggle’ me into the trials. The MKA rules are very much based on dog conformation shows ie. anyone can handle any dog as long as he/she is a member. Hence, he appointed a fellow trainer (Mr Chan) who happened to be a MKA member to run me in the trials. I think he is just being plain lazy or perhaps, he is finding it more difficult to keep up with me in the agility ring. Yup, Mr Owner is one sneaky fella.'Sneaky dog takes after sneaky human.'
So Mr Chan had to run 2 JRTs for the event, his own JRT - Kimi and me. We put in a last minute training session the evening before just to give him a feel of my antics at the weave poles, and Mr Owner pretty much left Mr Chan to fend for himself. Poor Mr Chan, he doesn’t know what he is getting himself into.
Event was held in USJ Summit shopping centre and ring size was fine for jumpers but crammed for standard agility. Hence, the Indonesian judge could place not more than 14 obstacles in the ring. Based on my experience, small rings and closely stacked obstacles are a speedster’s nightmare and I was already counting the number of faults that I will eventually chalk up … I sniggered while Mr Owner fretted. Advantage to the slow and steady, close heeling dogs.

On the other hand, MKA decided to go with the outdated scoring format of adding 5 secs per fault (ie. placing determined by time) and this gave the advantage back to the faster dogs, as faults incurred do not automatically send you to the bottom of the pecking order.Being MKA’s 1st agility trials, judge was fairly lenient and didn’t make any elimination calls but opted for the easy 1 fault/ error/ obstacle. This suited me just fine as I proceeded to chalk up the faults as predicted but with the scoring format and my relentless pace, I still manage to take top spot. Notched up to 3 faults in both my runs much too Mr Owner’s frustration, nevertheless he still had to force a smile as Mr Chan did manage to run me to 1st place … I love this game!

However, it wasn’t plain sailing all the way bearing in mind that Mr Chan had to run 2 JRTs one after the other, twice. With our punishing pace, screeching turns and pivots, Mr Chan was huffing and puffing to keep up with us 2. Come the 2nd run, he had to ask for a timeout just to catch his breath before proceeding further. The judge was kind enough to oblige.Faults aside, it was a neat effort by Mr Chan considering he only had 1 practice session and was my 1st time running with a new human. In fact, I prefer Mr Chan cause he didn’t reprimand or make me reperform the obstacles which I faulted on, sweet.

My mates also had a good day at the trials. Kimi took 2nd spot in standard agility and won the jumpers class, while Amber the GR captured 3rd and 1st spots in both classes for maxi dogs.

With the agility trials being held in a busy shopping centre, there was no shortage of distractions to test our focus and attention. Plenty of noise, lights, movement, a DJ playing music in between runs and a voluble MC urging the teams on with remarks like, 'Don't miss the hole!’ (he was referring to tyre jump) and 'Yes, Yeesss, Yeeeessss!' (with each successful negotiation of an obstacle).

Obedience trials was held the next day and the mood couldn’t be anymore different with the audience being told to keep noise to a minimum and to stay 1 feet away from the ring. The DJ and MC were placed on silence mode as well. Despite the safeguards, a couple of petty OB handlers still found time to complain about people tapping on the signboards and other dogs being a nuisance by being too close to their dogs. Heard that a heated argument took place between a trialer and a casual observer as a result. Personally feel that these trialers are a spoilt lot. The main objective in a trial is for the dog to perform on field despite the distractions. If your dog can only perform in an area with minimal noise and movement, then for goodness sake, do stay away from trials in a shopping centre or any public arena for that matter.
As the saying goes, 'If you can't stand the heat, then stay out of the kitchen.'

'We even had time to perform tricks during the agility trials.'
Wonder what the OB trialers would have made of the agility trials the day before. Hah, the weird and wonderful world of dog trials … never a dull moment.


Blogger Amber-Mae said...

Congrats to you & your friend Kimi! Poor Mr Chan. I feel so sorry for him but I guess it was worth the pain!

I sure did have a great time. I'm sure you saw how clownish I was during the 1st run for Novice. I did have a few faults here & there so I was surprised I still got a placing for Novice. Well, maybe this judge is the easy-easy type I guess who doesn't mind. There are a few concerns I had about him on that day. He was dressed up in a suit for Agility? And he didn't even move from his spot from where he was standing. Shouldn't he be moving around & watching whether we touch the contacts? He didn't even count to 5 when I was on the table. Hmm... But oh well! Maybe that's the Indonesian way of judging Agility which I'm totally fine with.

However, on OB day, there was a lot of controversy not only the small little argument by the trialer & observer. A LOT more happened which I'll be posting in my bloggie very soon. Big big problem.

Butt wiggles,
Solid Gold Dancer

11:27 AM  
Blogger Pacco de Mongrel said...

congratulation to u pal..

wat a day at the ob trial. we would like to hv watch it live. we love drama.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Groovy Dogs Just Wanna Hv Fun said...

I think d judge isn't really experienced at agility. Mr Owner noticed that most of d faults were called by d scribe, with a subsequent nod from d judge.

So overseas doesnt mean better, local judges r just as good.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Amber-Mae said...

Just did a research on Mr. Sugiarto Tandjung. He's a Conformation Judge. That sure did not surprise me! No wonder he doesn't have much knowledge on Agility & OB...

Butt wiggles,
Solid Gold Dancer

12:24 AM  
Blogger PoenyStormRider said...

congrat to groovy! and kimi!
should hv know it earlier this trial in complex we can bring jon since it wont be too hot..

12:10 PM  
Blogger Groovy Dogs Just Wanna Hv Fun said...

Yarlah. MKA sldom announce their trials in advance. The venue was a last miniute change from BU park.

9:31 PM  

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