This was our Novice Agility run at Cloverdale's trial on Saturday 4th April. After finishing this run I reminded the judge to untangle the tunnel for the next dog so that they weren't caught up like Chilli was, and in doing so we found that the tunnel wasn’t even pegged down to start with!
This left me with two things on my mind …
Firstly, it bothers me that ultimately, I lied to my dog! Not intentionally of course but my dog trusted me and I trusted that the tunnel was safe and it wasn’t! That’s fine when you’ve got a high-drive bomb-proof agility addicted dog BUT … when you’ve worked hard to motivate, focus and build a relationship of trust with your low drive dog and you then tell them that something is completely safe and it isn’t – it certainly sends you backwards in your training as you rebuild that trust back to the same level.
Secondly, this un-pegged tunnel moved quite substantially and set Chilli on an off-course line, a good couple of metres off line to where it should have been, off line for the next jump and yes she took the next jump the wrong way and top it off with the comment from the judge that “your dog should have come to you regardless of where she came out of the tunnel” ... she had to rebalance and reorient herself, and then respond accurately to my desperate calls to come to me (all through no fault of her own, or her handler) .… well, she did come to me and she recovered quickly to continue on with the course … what a good girl.
I felt this situation was very unfair, if a dog had normally skidded and tumbled in a properly pegged tunnel they would not have ended up off course like this, and fair enough, they should then resurrect themselves and deal with their mistake. This was not Chilli’s, or my, mistake and in all fairness, could consideration have been given for a rerun?
Yes, it is the competitor/handlers responsibility to check the equipment is safe when walking the course; however, this tunnel was pegged when the course was initially set up ... whatever happened to the pegs in-between is unknown! Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming anyone, it certainly wasn't left un-pegged intentionally.
Fortunately Chilli is a very forgiving dog and she recovered quickly to finish the course – however we will definitely need to work on collapsible tunnels this week ...
On a positive note, Chilli did qualify in Excellent Jumping, and Summer qualified in Novice Agility in 3rd Place to finish her AD title, plus qualifying in Excellent Jumping too.
Photo’s on this post of Chilli and Summer, all at Saturday’s trial, by Tim Abidin (http://www.yourdogphotos.com/). Thanks Tim!