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kingfisher7151

Holy crap...our first trial!

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I'm SO sorry that I haven't been around the last month or so, summer gets wild between work, horse shows, and whatnot.

 

BUT.

 

We are doing our first trial August 28-29. Holy sh*t.

 

Keeper is pretty much spectacular, he thinks agility is the greatest gift I have ever given him. He's solid on everything now, even the teeter! It's not his favorite, but he's fine with it. I need to get a video, I think you guys would like it! We're starting to work on fancier handling and giving ourselves more options on how to run a course. Course study up the wazoo, my little brain sends off sparks every week.

 

So, what would you recommend bringing for your first trial? I'm a newbie, and don't want to look like a dork.

 

It's a turf arena, so I need a 6x6 waterproof cover to go under his crate. I currently have a 30" (I think, maybe 36"?) Midwest wire crate. I'm trying to decide if I make a cover for that or go with a soft sided crate. I know space is tight, and I don't want to be That Person who takes up way too much space.

 

Oh, I'll bring my big girl panties too. What else?

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Treats, a toy, if it's hot where you are a battery operated fan is nice for the dog. For you I'd reccomend a lawn chair and if there are no concessions (or they are super expensive) don't forget water for you and the dog as well as a snack/lunch for you. (Even if I bring stuff I still try to support the concessions stand and get something even if it's just ice water, but to each their own.)

 

Some people bring cooling coats for their dogs and cooling bandanas for themselves if it's hot or if it's chilly a coat for the dog and human. Also some dogs get to eat meals at the trails, however my dog won't touch regular food when she isn't at home.

 

Some things I forgot my first trial that would have been nice were a pencil, to write things down or write on course maps if I need to. Also a copy of the trial confirmation, because on occasion the lineups that get printed off are wrong and you may need proof of which classes you signed up or or height/level your dog is in. I would reccomend you bring something to do while you wait between runs or you could get really bored or be prepared to volunteer a lot to pass the time.

 

Will you be crating with someone or all by yourself? If it's all by yourself I would make sure to bring a small mat of some kind to cover the ground under your crate and chair.

 

Most of all have fun and good luck! My first trial was back in November so I remember it vividly, but it was a great experience.

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I'll be crating with my trainer, but I'd still like my own mat, just so I don't have to rely on people.

 

I measured my crate, and it's 36". :( I think I'd be too much of a space hog if I used a 36" crate for my 45 lb. border collie. Time to spend more money...

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Not sure what's the normal material for a waterproof mat or how big you need it, but JoAnn Fabrics sells PUL (polyurethane laminate) cloth that's waterproof. Mostly people use it to make cloth diapers. The edges don't fray so all you have to do is cut it to size, no sewing. If you download their app or subscribe to their e-mails you'll regularly get coupons for 40-60% off, which makes it pretty affordable depending on what your other options are.

 

Good luck next month! I'd love to hear your wish-I'd-knowns afterward, because with any luck we'll be there eventually. :)

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All good suggestions above. ^^

 

Use your 36" crate. Your dog deserves it. You will not be a space hog.

 

IMHO, a space hog is someone who has a crate or two, then puts 1 or 2 chairs 4 feet away and maybe adds a cooler, etc. Basically, they are taking up about a 10' X 10' space by spreading all their stuff around. If there is room (usually an outdoor trial), I don't mind people spreading out, but I have been to trials (indoors) where just the crating is crowded - not including the extra stuff people bring - and some handlers will still spread out and take more than their fair share. Just be mindful of others.

 

I do not like a soft-sided crate for public crating. Personally, I feel MUCH safer knowing that my dog has zero chance of escaping his crate. [One dog barks aggressively if he sees any large black/dark dog walking by. And the crate rattles. I wouldn't trust him to be in a soft-sided crate.) I know many people with larger dogs that are fine in soft sided crates. They are well behaved.

 

I have often thought about making/buying a crate cover, but then I forget about it until 2 days before a trial - and then it is too late. I end up using a couple pieces of ugly upholstery fabric that I bought at a Goodwill store. (About 4 yards for $3!!) I cut it in half and can drape the 2 pieces in numerous ways across one or two crates. I like to block off the crate, even when my dog is fairly calm, because I like to think that he can calm down better (nap time)- rather than always watching everyone walking by.

 

Good Luck!

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All good suggestions above. ^^

 

Use your 36" crate. Your dog deserves it. You will not be a space hog.

 

IMHO, a space hog is someone who has a crate or two, then puts 1 or 2 chairs 4 feet away and maybe adds a cooler, etc. Basically, they are taking up about a 10' X 10' space by spreading all their stuff around. If there is room (usually an outdoor trial), I don't mind people spreading out, but I have been to trials (indoors) where just the crating is crowded - not including the extra stuff people bring - and some handlers will still spread out and take more than their fair share. Just be mindful of others.

 

I do not like a soft-sided crate for public crating. Personally, I feel MUCH safer knowing that my dog has zero chance of escaping his crate. [One dog barks aggressively if he sees any large black/dark dog walking by. And the crate rattles. I wouldn't trust him to be in a soft-sided crate.) I know many people with larger dogs that are fine in soft sided crates. They are well behaved.

 

I have often thought about making/buying a crate cover, but then I forget about it until 2 days before a trial - and then it is too late. I end up using a couple pieces of ugly upholstery fabric that I bought at a Goodwill store. (About 4 yards for $3!!) I cut it in half and can drape the 2 pieces in numerous ways across one or two crates. I like to block off the crate, even when my dog is fairly calm, because I like to think that he can calm down better (nap time)- rather than always watching everyone walking by.

 

Good Luck!

 

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A 36" crate is not too big. No need to spend more money. My 35lb BC has a 42in soft crate (because I got it cheap). You can buy a tailored crate cover but it's just as easy to use a sheet. I've made a few covers for my crates when we trial where it's cold. A twin size blanket/throw/sheet is the perfect size for a 36 in crate.

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Thank you guys for the suggestions!

 

Funny you say Joann's TxMom, that's on my to-do list today already!

 

Maybe I will use my 36". I actually just found a 30" soft sided crate almost new that's usually $100 and she'll sell it to me for $30. I'm a dog gear hog, so I'll probably get that and keep it in my car for class or something anyway. Then I have a backup in case I need it! I tend to prefer wire crates too, but having a sturdy collapsible crate is pretty handy to have anyway. What's money?

 

ETA: He's pretty spoiled with a 36".

 

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I agree on the crate issue. There is no issue with having a slightly larger crate. In my area trial premiums list space limits as 6'x6' per person, so you may check there to verify or ask your trainer if you are worried.

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I just took my 32 lb boy to his first trial, and used a 30" crate. After seeing him stuck in there all day, I'll definitely use the 36" in the future. So, I'd use your 36", you will not be hogging unnecessary space!

What else to bring? The usual stuff you'd bring to class. Water, treats, poo bags. Make sure you have the right kind of collar (or no collar) and a leash that's easy to remove/put on. If it's allowed, food and drinks for you, of course (some places have a food vendor and ask for no outside food). A chair for you, jacket if it's cold inside, and a cover for the crate if he needs to be covered.

Have lots of fun and don't worry. Things will not go perfectly, but as long as your dog has fun, it's ok. Your job at his first trial is to make it a good experience for him, period. :)

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I will also say don't feel guilty about the size of your crate, I use soft crates that have built in curtains, I have never had a problem with the dogs breaking out. Rievaulx did unzip the door when he was young but that was solved by clipping a leash to both zip pulls. His crate his huge, he loves to sprawl and I don't see any reason why he should be cramped.

I would add to the list: paper towel and baby wipes in the car (you just never know)

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I also use a 36" crate, although my boy is pretty big. I find a queen-size fitted sheet fits nicely around the crate (that is the Australian sizing). A light one is good for hotter weather, and I use a flannelette one in winter. A folding chair, treats, food for you, drinks for you and your dog - if you are worried about using up space, I have found that a water bowl designed to clip into a bird cage works well in a wire crate for your dog too, and gives access without tipping risks.

 

I recommend a trial catalogue if they have one - it helps a lot to keep track of where rings are at, and how long until your turn. Pencil and graph paper possibly to sketch a course to practise later. Make the most of your course walk, don't be afraid to bend down to dog eye height and look to see what Keeper will see.

 

And MOST OF ALL remember to breathe, enjoy your run with your dog and HAVE FUN! Don't get all uptight, don't panic if things don't work out and don't stress. Best of luck and I hope you and your dog have an awesome experience!

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But really, I've done quite a few world and national horse shows without anything worse than some butterflies.

 

And yet my throat gets all tight just thinking about this little trial!

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Just breathe - you'll be fine :)

 

I tried disc dog on the fourth of July. First dog competition thing ever. It was all foreign to me except throwing the Frisbee... And it showed :D

 

But it was fun - I'll try it again sometime!

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