Our eleven weekends of dog sports came to an end the weekend before Thanksgiving. It was sort of a sports marathon, and a learning experience. I thought it would be fun to tell you why we did that, and what we learned from the experience.
Why Eleven Weekends Of Dog Sports?
What possessed my mom to sign us up for eleven weekends straight? We traveled a lot the first eight months of the year, primarily for Nose Work. The success was not what we had hoped for. Travel is tiring, and expensive. One day, Mom realized between, at the time three of us, we participate in five different sports. Her focus is always on NACSW Nose Work, but we were not meeting most of our goals. The idea came up to simply enter multiple sports, mostly local until Thanksgiving to see if we would have more success. By doing so many different sports, Mom hoped she would stop focusing so much on the Nose Work, perhaps helping us have more success when we do trial in Nose Work.
Weekend One – Agility
The first weekend in September was my first agility trial. Mom signed us up for all three days. We learned three days is a bit much, and we also learned agility trials present course issues different from what we experience in class at school. Nevertheless, we had a good time, and I got my first “Q”, qualifying run ever. A dog needs three Q’s for a title.
Weekend Two – NACSW Nose Work
This weekend probably came too early in our eleven weeks, but it was what it was. Bailie bombed out of her NW3 for the sixth time on Saturday. I think Mom had too much pressure still about getting that title with Bailie. Emma had her day on Sunday, and got her L2I Title. The first GBGV to get that title. She and Mom had such a wonderful time. They didn’t know it would be their last trial, but it was a perfect ending to the sport Emma so loved.
Weekend Three – Nose Work Camp
Bailie and I went up north to Nose Work camp together with Mom for the second year in a row. Emma went the first two years. We had a great time and learned a lot about searching as a team. Oddly, the lecture the first night also helped Mom and me out with some agility issues too. Camp is always fun, but also super tiring, and we do have to drive three hours to get to camp.
Weekend Four – Barn Hunt
The last weekend in September, we spent two days doing Senior level Barn Hunt. Bailie had a nearly perfect search, but it was the only leg she earned that weekend. I did really well on two of my four searches and got two legs towards my Senior Title. Mom’s goal for the weekend was for use each to get a Q, and we came home with three total. Senior level is hard as we have to find four rats, go in a big tunnel, and climb on a bale, and all that in three and a half minutes.
Weekend Five – AKC Scent Work
This was our first time trying AKC Scent Work. For us it will not be our main sniffing sport, but it is a fun way to practice and pick up some more titles. A girl can never have too many ribbons. Bailie cleaned up at this event earning seven Q’s out of eight searches, including three in buried hides which we had not done before. She got her novice Container and Buried Hide Titles. I had a difficult time as AKC has different rules for where the human can call alert. In my four searches I earned two Q’s, but the two I didn’t pass were pretty close. Overall, it was a fun weekend, and successful too.
Weekend Six – Agility
I got back to agility after several weeks off. It turned out to be a good thing as I managed to get my Novice Jumpers Preferred Title. The last day, last class, and last dog of the trial…it was me, and it was my title run! Now that was really super sweet!
Weekend Seven – Agility
This was my first trial where we only entered two days. It is much more fun and manageable for me and my mom. I got to try my paws at the Open level for jumpers, and I earned two first place Q’s in Novice Standard Preferred. It was a fun weekend, and as always, Mom and I were learning a lot about competing in agility.
Weekend Eight – AKC Scent Work
Bailie and I took another stab as Scent Work, but just for one day. The trial filled and we didn’t get all the runs we wanted. I was able to get two Q’s in novice containers, Bailie earned two Q’s in novice interiors. This was the day Emma started getting ill, so we raced back home to see how she was doing and didn’t take any photos with our qualifying ribbons.
Weekend Nine – NACSW Nose Work
Mom and I dedicated this trial to Emma. It was my first try at an NW2 Title at just two years old. Emma earned hers the same weekend on her first try in 2015. Mom was a mess that trial, but Emma was on our shoulders and coaching Mom and me the whole trial. I did actually get my NW2 Title which made Team Pink so very proud! It was not real easy, but we did it. This title is also special because Emma, Bailie, and I are the first and only of our breed to earn the title.
Weekend Ten – AKC Scent Work
Traveling to Sioux Falls for AKC Scent Work was something Mom had planned with Emma since the summer. When Emma suddenly passed away, this trial was in limbo for us. Mom decided Emma would want us to go for her and do the best sniffing we could do. We followed that thought to the max and came home with a car full of titles and ribbons. I finished off my Novice Containers, Buried Hides, and Interiors. Bailie finished her Novice Interiors taking second place in one of the searches, and also finished Novice Exteriors with one third place. She finished her complete Novice Scent Work Title. Emma was with us in spirit, and we made her very proud. It was a super hard weekend for Mom, but she did great, and we all had a lot of fun.
Weekend Eleven – Agility
To finish off the eleven weekends of dog sports, I earned my Novice Standard Preferred Title! The rest of the weekend was nothing to howl about, but I am now done with novice. I’ll be competing in Open starting at my next trial. We are super happy. Novice always runs last. It will be nice to finish a bit earlier for a change!
11 Weekends of Dog Sports Conclusions
Overall, it was a lot to keep up with every weekend. We learned how much free weekends really are needed now and then. It has helped Mom to stop being so worried about competitions, which was a main goal. We did all our sports except for tracking, and brought home lots of titles and ribbons. In some ways it took the “special” out of trials. This is a good thing as it makes them routine, and not something to get all nervous and worried about. In the future, one to three trials a month is all we plan to do. December will finish off our year with three trial weekends, all local. Teams Purple and Pink are looking forward to lots of sports fun, and ribbons in 2019! Stay tuned!
We are thankful we get to do so many sports, and go so many places, so we are joining Brian’s Home Blog in the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop! Visit some other blogs to see what they are thankful for.