Three Days of Trialing

Agility people take “trials” and “trialing” so for granted that it sometimes surprises me when I mention “I have a trial this weekend,” and people become concerned that I’m tangled in some legal issue.

No, no.  It means packing up the van, sometimes driving a day, sometimes just for forty-five minutes to an hour–and spending two to three days getting up at 0-dark-thirty (usually 4:30, sometimes 4am) to arrive on site at 6:30 and spend the next eleven hours memorizing courses, walking courses, walking dogs, doing emotional and environmental management of dogs (huge!) and of course, those intense thirty to sixty second blasts through the course while–hopefully–grooving with the dog.

If you’ve never done this, you probably can’t imagine how all this effort is worth 90-180 seconds on the agility course.

The only answer I can give you is a big goofy grin.

Plus, of course, there’s the training. Lots and lots of that.  And it’s all time spent with the dogs.

This past AKC trial weekend?


  • It is HOT.
  • Connery finishes his Novice FAST title!
  • Belle earns Double Q  17/20 for her PAX2*!
  • Dart Puppy learns what it means to be at a trial site!  He practices socialization!
  • See neat people!
  • My jaw goes WTF, that hurts!
  • While juggling emergency dental appointment, begging indulgence from trial committee and affected judge to shift my jumpers runs back-to-back a couple hours ahead of schedule and simultaneously trying to prepare dogs for same, brain explodes, too.
  • Brain explodes all over Connery’s jumpers run.  Ugly sight.
  • Late to dentist.  Xrays, $$$, cracked tooth, inflamed toothbed…turns out if you lose a dog and don’t have the chance to grieve due to work stress, your body will find its way.  Nothing can be fixed immediately…plans are made for same.


  • It is HOTTER.
  • Fallout from brain explosion wipes out another run for ConneryBeagle, who begins to wonder where his real mom went.  Because he’s running first in each class today, he bears the brunt of the Stupids.
  • Connery nails his other two runs in spite of his handler!
  • Belle earns Double Q 18/20 for her PAX2!
  • Dart Puppy shares his most mournful hound howl with the entire assembled trial contingent.  “Woe!” cries everyone within earshot.  “So sad!”
  • Dart Puppy receives unofficial measurement by AKC rep and is found to (currently) be under 14″, a most exciting discovering!  (It is a critical determination of his agility career jump height.)
  • See neat people!  Friend earns MACH!
  • Jaw does not get any worse.


  • We have MELTED.
  • Brain returns!  One major Stupid Moment, compensated for.
  • Connery nails all three of his runs, including a stupendous standard run!  Now has 2/3 of his Open FAST title!  Now has Double Q 19/20 for his MACH2!  (still needs lots of speed points, though)  That’s 7/9 runs for the weekend, totally in spite of Yours Truly.
  • Belle earns Double Q 19/20 for her PAX2! She is six for six this weekend, with a great comeback after a season of increasing worries triggered by the stress of the January move.
  • Dart Puppy is a Most Excellent Boy.  He loves his BONE.
  • See neat people!  (sense a theme, there?)
  • Jaw does not get any worse.  It ponders the dentist-filled week ahead.  I pretend not to know.

Sunday Evening:

  • Come home, unload van with a mind to the two-day trial next weekend, feed annoyed horse, and sit stupidly in front of TV for the first time in a week.
  • Best part?  Dog at my feet, dog at my side, dog in my lap.  All very happily exhausted.

Sunday PM not nearly as late as usual:

  • My turn now.  Good night!

Monday Morning:

  • What?  Already?

I think I’ll hit the rewind button to the part where I’m surrounded by happy, sleeping dogs…  And oh, yeah.  Just ignore this big goofy grin!

But wait! I’m doing this again next weekend!  It must be trialing season!

Belle, by Doghouse Arts

Belle (in late '07), by Doghouse Arts -- driving across the dogwalk

*PAX Title: The highest available title for a dog in Belle’s running class, earned even less frequently than the vaunted MACH.  In fact, clubs often don’t even bother to have the PAX poles and ribbons available; Belle was given a MACH pole & ribbon for her first PAX, and I’m guessing the same if we get this one.

Belle, by Doghouse Arts

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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8 Responses to Three Days of Trialing

  1. Leonore says:

    wahooo and yippeee for Belle!! (and boo hiss on the weather)

  2. Peggy says:

    Glad you did so well. Next time tell tooth to wait till Mon to hurt (but they never do). I don’t know how you manage 3 days, you must feel like a boiled noodle by now. Good job Belle and Connery. Dart you’re doing good.

  3. Crysta says:

    That is such an awesome picture of the Belle dog! She’s only got one paw touching the dog walk. XD

  4. Doranna says:

    Leonore–of course today is cooler! With clouds!

    Belle definitely seems to be on the right track with regaining her morale. 8) Not running as she was, but…hey, she’s 12!

  5. Doranna says:

    Peggy–dental emergencies and doggy emergencies–always on Friday or a holiday eve…

  6. Doranna says:

    Crysta, that’s one of my all-time favorites of Belle. 8)

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Amazing! Incredible! Dogmom and dogs! A bowl of Huzzah! to spread over all concerned.

  8. Doranna says:

    A bowl of Huzzah! Wow, that sounds good!

Comments are closed.