NADAC Forum

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: kaseyrichards on May 16, 2014, 12:14:30 PM

Title: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: kaseyrichards on May 16, 2014, 12:14:30 PM
Hello all... I am new to this and unclear what I need to do to sign up my dog for an agility trial. I have been doing agility training for about two years with my black lab and would love to compete in a trial. I've read over some information on the NADAC site but still unclear. Hoping to get a few questions answered.... Sorry if stupid questions  :)

1. What is the written entry? When and where is this done?
2. Do my dog and I have to pass the entry level test before we can compete?
3. What should I expect at the trial? do I need a crate?
4. What is difference between associate member and just member?

And any and all info to this would help. Looking for a walk thru basically of what I need to do to get started. Thanks in advance for help and info, greatly appreciated!
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Janine McGee on May 17, 2014, 05:32:55 AM
Hello Kasey

First of all there is no such thing as a stupid question. This is all new to you so don't feel bad about not having all the information already.

1. On the NADAC website you can look for trials in your area by state. If you live close to a state line, check the other states close to you as well. Each trial should have a link that takes you to where you can find a PDF of the trial premium (info and entry form).  Your dog must have a NADAC number before entering the trial. Fill out the entry and send it in.

2. You do not have to pass an entry level test in order to enter the trial. Some clubs offer BA (Beginner Agility) trials and they are a great way to find out if you and your canine teammate are ready for a trial.
NADAC also has just added a new level called Intro. The courses are shorter and less complex than the Novice level. Not all clubs are offering it yet due to software issues.
You can also only enter the classes with equipment your dog is comfortable with.

3. You should have some way of containing your dog at the trial. You will be walking the courses and he/she cannot be with you. You cannot tie them up to a fence etc either.
As for what else to expect I would suggest you may want to go and watch a trial to see how everything runs.

4. You do not need to be an associate member in order to compete in NADAC. The NADAC website lists the advantages of being a member in the rules/FAQ section.

Hope this helps
Janine McGee

Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Janice_Shavor on May 17, 2014, 07:14:56 AM
Since Alabama has reached our "end of trials" season, I give your questions a starting answer.

1. What is the written entry? When and where is this done?
The entry form is found in the premium, a document put out by the trial secretary.  You go to the NADAC.com web site and then click on the Events tab (left tab on a light gray bar) and select Trial Calendar.  That takes you to a page you can look at trails by one or more states.  Each trial has an email address for the trial secretary and a web site.  If you click on that club's web site you can then find the premium.  It will list trial dates, start times, classes that are offered, who the judge is, and lots more useful info.  It will have a page or so which is the trial entry form.  You print that and fill out the info and send it and the fees for the runs you picked to the trial secretary.

2. Do my dog and I have to pass the entry level test before we can compete?
No.  Not enough clubs offer the entry level tests to make them a requirement.  You might want to look at the Beginner Agility tests and just on your own or with your instructor, see how you and your dog do since those are skills we need.

3. What should I expect at the trial? do I need a crate?
Yes, you need a crate.  Dogs may not be left tied at a trial.  My dogs, if on lead, are alert and interested in people and other dogs and just do not relax if out of their crate.  In their crate, they lie back and snooze and relax.  It is extremely helpful if you, by yourself, go visit a trial for a while.  Even help out as a part of the ring crew.  Look at what folks bring for creature comforts. 
 
4. What is difference between associate member and just member?
This question I am leaving for someone else. 


Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Amber Fountain on May 17, 2014, 03:06:44 PM
Ditto on the other tips. Here are a few more things:

Bring plenty of treats and a container (plastic with lid or ziplock bag).
Bring water and a bowl. It seems silly, but I can't tell you how many times I've left without those things!
Bring a blanket or sheet to drape over your dog's crate in case he gets anxious with all of the activity.

The main thing I didn't know to expect was how long trials last. We're in Texas, and the trials are pretty big. There have been a few times where we've been at a trial for close to 12 hours. It's a fun 12 hours, but something to consider if you wanted to make evening plans on an agility day.
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Kathy Thacher on May 19, 2014, 08:03:32 AM
Also, I would highly recommend visiting a trial without your dog before you actually compete in one. Go and watch and learn how the day flows--courses being built, handlers doing walk-throughs, checking in at the gate (put a check by your name to show that you are there), warming up dogs, cooling down dogs, where the leash goes, how you get it back at the end, waiting for the "good luck" from the judge, where the crating area is, how loud the atmosphere is, where you get your ribbons, where you potty your dog, etc etc etc.

This can all be overwhelming for both the human and the dog. If your dog gets worried about things, I also recommend going to some run-throughs and having people act like judges and ring crew so your dog gets used to other people being in the ring while you are running.

Kathy Thacher
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Murrelet Halterman on May 19, 2014, 09:00:41 AM
Amber,

These are great questions!

1. The entry form, or premium, can be found in several locations. Often a club will post it on their website, or you can check agilityevents.com. You'll need to select NADAC and the state the trial is in. You'll get a list of all trials in that state, and can find the trial you want. Download the entry form (premium) and fill that out. The trial secretary's contact information will also be there, and they are a wealth of helpful information! Make sure you find the entry deadline, and get your entry in before that.

2. You can enter your dog in either the Intro (if available) or Novice level, and don't  have to complete Into before Novice. That said, for your first trial, I would recommend entering either the Intro level or a Beginner Agility Trial. These are great ways to get yourself started in Agility!

3. What you need depends on where you're trialing, the weather, and your dog. On a cool day (under 70 degrees) I will often leave my dogs in the car, with the windows down and shade cloth around the car. If that's not an option, you will need a crate to contain your dog, and a way to keep your pup cool - either crating inside or with a shade canopy. A nice slip lead is also a big help, and don't forget the treats!

4. An associate membership gives you a discount on the cost of registering your dog, free permanent height cards, and a number of other benefits. Membership is not required to register your dog, or to compete at NADAC trials.

Thanks for some great questions, and have fun!!

Murrelet Halterman
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: kaseyrichards on May 19, 2014, 06:27:07 PM
Wow! Thanks everyone for answering all my questions,with great explanations and suggestions. You've all brought different perspectives so it really helps to get an idea of what a trial is like. I will check out a trial solo first, then maybe bring my dog along for another time just to observe. He's a lab, so he loves every person and every dog, so he may be overwhelmed with sights and sounds at first. The training we do now there are 6 other dogs in the class, but he is used to them.

Thanks again everyone. I can't wait to compete in our first trail -- gaining some confidence, during training today he won a quick little gamblers game with 37 points, our first time doing this version. Thanks again everyone!
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Vicki Storrs on May 19, 2014, 08:19:08 PM
So Kasey, where are you, so those of us in your area can be looking forward to saying hi?
Vicki
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Yvette Cook on May 20, 2014, 06:39:44 AM
Hi Kasey,
When you go a trial to check it out, try to talk to someone running the trial, such as the show chair or the the trial secretary, chief ring steward are a few contacts, or just someone entered at the show.  You can let him/her know you are close to entering your first trial and see if there would be anyone available to be a mentor to you during the trial. They can go over how to check in at the gate when its your turn to run your dog, how to check your points and other things that go on at the show. 
Good luck!!

 
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Maureen deHaan on May 20, 2014, 09:43:04 AM
HI Kasey

Something to consider - if you think you will take your dog to a trial to watch - ask the trial host if that is allowed before you just show up with him/her

As a trial host I can tell you that I do not allow spectator dogs on site as they are not covered by any insurance waivers and if there was an incident there could be great fall out.

Other than that sounds like you have gotten a lot of good info from everyone else - I highly suggest trying Intro level if you are new - if it is offered - every team I see running in it has great fun and success! 

OH and RAIN GEAR!  get some good rain gear for sure :)
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: kaseyrichards on May 20, 2014, 10:33:26 AM
I'm in MA so will likely be doing a RI trial.
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Maureen deHaan on May 21, 2014, 02:30:46 AM
there are also trials in Dummerston VT (august & Sept)and in Stephentown NY (onthe MA border) June & October - all these trials offer the intro level - so you don't have to limit yourself to indoor at one site - trialing outside is great fun and NAE who hosts these trials puts on low key very relaxed trials with something for everyone and everyone is always willing to help you as a newbie - their last 2 trials had so many new people - it was AWESOME to see :)

www.northeastagility.org (http://www.northeastagility.org) for more information

if you wanted to put on your traveling shoes - I host trials in the Hudson Valley of NY (New Paltz) at a lovely outdoor site  in October and April  www.playbowdogs.com (http://www.playbowdogs.com)

just some info for you :)
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Jackie on May 21, 2014, 07:29:08 AM
Hi Kasey,

Looks like you already have lots of great answers to your questions.  One thing I will add is it is important that everyone volunteer to work a class or two.  Most clubs have folks that are happy to train newbies on how to do the different volunteer positions.  It is a great way to get to know more people and see how things run.  And bar setting gives you the best seat in the house!
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Greg Brasen on May 21, 2014, 10:27:11 AM
I agree with what everyone else said about going and observing a trial (or even better volunteering - as it gives you a front row seat to the action).  After observing and deciding that you are ready, keep in mind that you don't have to enter every class. You and your dog may or may not be ready for 6 runs in a day - only you and your instructor are in a position to know this - some teams are ready for a full day and others are better only doing a few runs. Shows with day of entries where you can add runs throughout the day are nice as you can enter a few runs and if things are going well you can always add the remaining classes.
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: TheQuestKnight on May 21, 2014, 10:56:46 AM
Hi Kasey,

You've recieved A LOT of very good advice................

I'd just like to add one thing..........................ABOVE ALL ELSE, HAVE FUN and make sure that your canine partner HAS FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In spite of all of your preparation, you're going to be nervous....................if you aren't, there's something wrong!!!!!!!!!!! <G>  We've ALL been there..........................and we all still get nervous......................and anyone that says that they don't..................well, IMHO.......................they're telling a WHOPPER of a "fib"........................

Most of the time, first trial experiences go REALLY WELL; but there are those moments when one or both members of the team have a momentary lapse of concentration........................

........................so don't PANIC.........................or get "down on yourself" or worst of all, get frustrated with your dog.........................you both will have done YOUR BEST.................and when you do your best, what more could you have done??????????????

Agility is a GAME.............................ALWAYS keep that in mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  When it becomes "work" or a "job", it will be time to hang up your agility shoes and retire your dog's agility lead....................hopefully, that will never happen to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep it "light", "free" and "easy"......................no stress......................and good things will always follow..............

Best wishes for achieving all that you desire.......................

Hugs & wags,

Al, Barb, Gael, Pellinore & Caitlin in Ohio..................aka Castle Camelot
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Visionagility on May 21, 2014, 12:18:57 PM
Hi Kasey,

One more thing I have found to be helpful when entering a first trial is to print out and have available a copy of the NADAC exhibitors handbook lots of good information in there....and if you find you have questions about anything don't hesitate to ask! Hope you have a great first trialing experience all of the NADAC community is really helpful and friendly!!


Sunny Williams





Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: StefanElvstad on May 22, 2014, 08:10:51 AM
Hi Kasey,

There is a lot of great advice in the responses to your questions. First and foremost, a trial is an event for you and your dog to enjoy working as a team. If you both have fun in a run, that is success whether or not it was a qualifier towards a title. If something doesn't go as you had hoped in a run, congratulate yourself and your dog for all the things that did go well.

At the start of the trial and generally in the morning each trial day, there is a briefing by the club and the judge prior to the first class. Often the club or judge asks if there is anyone that is new to NADAC, participating in their first trial. That is a great time to find someone experienced to act as a mentor to guide you through your trialling introduction. Trials are in much social events where people get to meet others with a common interest. You will find that people are supportive, helpful and happy to answer questions. This includes the judge. We make a point of being approachable and do our best to make the trial a positive experience for all, particularly the newcomers.
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Joyce Roessner on May 22, 2014, 11:30:01 AM
Hi Kasey
As others have said, never be afraid to ask a question if you don't understand something, there are lots of helpful and supportive people at NADAC trials!
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Audri, Cee Cee, Lily, Toto, and Calypso on May 22, 2014, 11:42:31 AM
I totally agree with Al.  Go out and have fun!  Don't worry about doing a clean run!  Just do what you can.  If you are off-course, just continue on as best you can keeping your dog moving along the way.  Worrying about the off course causes both you and your partner lots of stress.  NADAC doesn't whistle you off for going off course. 
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Bernie Doyle on May 23, 2014, 09:27:21 PM
Hi Kasey,

   First off, WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF NADAC AGILITY!!!

   You have received TONS of great advice & input to work with! Having fun is the key & keeping a positive attitude! EVERY little milestone out on course is a HUGE achievement!

  If you have someone that you train with, perhaps they can help you fill out the entry. I was clueless when I filled out my first entry!! The Intro level is a great place to start if you are a bit apprehensive of running a full course.

  Don't worry, we all had to go through our "first trial"! If you have questions, please ask! Be sure to get to the trial early enough to hear the general briefing from the hosting club & the judge. Little pieces of important info can be missed if you aren't there. Reading the NADAC rules & handbook are always helpful too! 

 Oh, don't forget to volunteer to help! Bar setting even 1 class will give you an up close & personal view of other teams at the trial! This will also allow you to see that even "Elite" teams make mistakes! I myself am usually given AT LEAST one piece of "humble pie" during an agility weekend! Running 3-4 dogs at the trial gives me ample opportunities to make mistakes, along with those "PRETTY" runs that we all strive for!

  So, go out there & have fun! Have confidence in yourself & your wonderful Lab!! Oh, & remember to BREATHE!!!!

  Bernie Doyle & "The Blue Crue" .... + 1 Rental Corgi  :D
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: kaseyrichards on May 24, 2014, 03:01:40 PM
thanks so much for all the advice everyone. I've just signed up for our first trial, June 1st in Rhode Island. Can't wait !!
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Bernie Doyle on May 24, 2014, 08:05:48 PM
I believe that I will be seeing you in Rhode Island, Kasey! I will be judging there May 31st & June 1st. Please don't hesitate to ask questions. We are all out there to support each other!

Bernie Doyle
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: cheyaut on May 25, 2014, 01:04:41 AM
Good luck and have fun! I do hope you'll post here after the trial and let us know how it went for you :)

You got some great advice. Remember your dog must run naked: no collar/harness/etc :) And dogs (and, more often (er, MOST often!), handlers!) make mistakes, so don't feel bad if you and your pooch have errors... remember, we ALL do, and it should always be about the FUN! Run fast, run clean! :)

Jessi
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: MichelleWhall on May 25, 2014, 04:02:28 PM
Hi Kasey!

We are happy that you will be joining us at the Addicted to Agility trial next weekend! You will love the location!

You will have a great time and you will not be the only new person there as there are several new people who have entered for next weekend too!  If you have any friends that want to enter tell them to email me and we will be happy to accommodate them!  There is no additional charge in entries fees for entering after the closing date if there is room.

We also have the following trials scheduled:

June 21/22
July 26/27
September 20/21
September 27/28
October 18/19

Another local club - Act-Up Agility Club also hosts a trial at the RI location on October 11/12.

Let us know if you have any more questions!  Doesn't matter how many you have we are happy to help!

See you next weekend!
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: kaseyrichards on May 26, 2014, 07:14:24 AM
Thanks again guys! Really appreciate everyone response.

Excited to do our first trial! I am going to give myself and Henry (my lab) a lot of slack since it will be our first ever. I'm sure he will be overwhelmed with new sights and smells and will probably think it's the best place ever since he loves people and other dogs. I do have a lot of confidence in Henry but ultimately we do this for fun. We are going to do 4 runs.. If we do well, awesome, if not, there's always another time and room for improvement.

Is there anything anyone can suggest that I bring with me that I may overlook? Trying to come up with a list of items to bring so I am prepared. So far I have the travel crate, leash/collar, dog bags, bowl, water, towel, treats, treat bag, ... do I need to bring any documents with me like info on the trial, vaccine info, etc. ? I'm assuming we check in first so is it best to crate him before check in or what is the process? Thanks again everyone, you've been great.

Happy Memorial Day!
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Janice_Shavor on May 27, 2014, 07:11:22 AM
It is always a good idea to have a copy of your rabies certificate and other immunization data with you. 
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Bernie Doyle on May 27, 2014, 06:49:36 PM
Hi Kasey!

    You may want t o bring a copy of the premium, along with the classes you are entered in for the day. Have you entered  Henry in Proficient or Skilled? If he is jumping Proficient & is not jumping 20", he will need to be measured before he runs in his first class of the day.  If he is jumping as a Skilled boy, he gets an automatic 4" ht exemption. He would not need to be measured if he jumps in the Skilled division.

  You may wish to bring a sheet to cover Henry's crate, just in case he gets a bit over stimulated  by all the action. Do you have a chair?? Bring something to sit on by Henry's crate! Sitting on the ground is fine, but after awhile you body will appreciate that chair!

  Remember, if you have any questions, please ask!

 See you this weekend!

 Bernie Doyle

 
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Karin Bell on May 28, 2014, 12:05:25 PM
I have to chuckle because when I attended my first Fun Match, no one helped me with what to expect.  I just showed up with my dog on a leash.  No chair, no crate, no X-Pen, maybe not even a bowl of water for my dog...  Now my car is packed to the gills!  Bernie's advice is great!   ;)

Have fun with your dog!
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: kaseyrichards on May 28, 2014, 04:17:03 PM
Hi Bernie!

Thanks for all the suggestions. Henry typically jumps 16" in our weekly agility class. He has jumped at 20" a few times, which he can do, but we typically leave jumps at 16" just because class only an hour and there are 5 other dogs in the class who jump 16" or below. So just less practice at 20".

I had been in touch with Michelle, who is associated with the club that hosts the trials and suggested to write the height I want him to jump at, so I wrote 16". I also signed him up for Skilled (although I'm not really sure the difference between skilled and proficient. I also checked him off for the Standard division , under the Novice level. Hopefully I choose the right ones! I am have entered Henry in Regualr 1, Jumpers, Tunnelers and Weavers.

Really looking forward to it! Thanks again!!

Kasey
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Bernie Doyle on May 29, 2014, 07:54:02 AM
Hi Kasey,


    Sounds like you & Henry are good to go!!! Since Henry is jumping 16" Skilled, he won't need to be measured.

  Get a good nights sleep before the trial & have a safe drive!! See you June 1st!

Bernie  :D
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: cheyaut on June 04, 2014, 11:17:50 PM
How'd it go?
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: kaseyrichards on June 12, 2014, 07:31:46 AM
It was good! We entered Jumpers, Regular, Weavers and tunnelers. Henry Q'd in 3 out of the 4 runs, coming in 2nd place for two (jumpers and tunnelers) and 4th place in weavers. Regulars not so good... he wouldn't go up the dog walk and after a few tries we skipped it. Contacts are our weakness but still proud of my pup and he had a great time... Treats and attention is what he's all about!

Not bad for our first trial! :)


Btw....at a the trial is when I first learned what a Q is, so my next question is what do the points go towards? Is this to move up a level?
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Ben Philibert on June 12, 2014, 08:09:47 PM
Yes the points are what let you move up.  A minimum of 30 points in a class will let move up, to the next level, but you don't have to move up.  You can continue to accumulate points at each level to work towards outstanding and superior titles.

Check the titles and awards  section of the exhibitor handbook for more details.

Thanks,

Ben
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: kaseyrichards on June 13, 2014, 07:04:07 AM
Thank you Ben!
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: Vicki Storrs on June 13, 2014, 03:14:12 PM
The checklist under titles and awards at the NADAC.com site can be really helpful keeping track.  Congratulations, glad you had a fun and successful time!
Title: Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
Post by: cheyaut on June 18, 2014, 06:30:18 AM
Congrats on your first trial! 3 our of 4 is great!