Author Topic: Want to do my first trial... Help!  (Read 4473 times)

kaseyrichards

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Want to do my first trial... Help!
« 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!
Kasey
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Janine McGee

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #1 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

Janine McGee

Janice_Shavor

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #2 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. 


Janice Shavor
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Amber Fountain

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #3 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.
Amber, Braddock, and Magic
Round Rock, TX

Kathy Thacher

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #4 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
Kathy Thacher

Murrelet Halterman

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #5 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
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kaseyrichards

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #6 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!
Kasey
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Vicki Storrs

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #7 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
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Yvette Cook

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #8 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!!

 
Yvette
Phoenix, AZ

Maureen deHaan

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #9 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 :)
Maureen, Kiva & Zoe
Play~Bow
Kingston, NY

"A great dog is not determined by its papers"

kaseyrichards

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 10:33:26 AM »
I'm in MA so will likely be doing a RI trial.
Kasey
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Maureen deHaan

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #11 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 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

just some info for you :)
Maureen, Kiva & Zoe
Play~Bow
Kingston, NY

"A great dog is not determined by its papers"

Jackie

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #12 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!
Jackie, Risk, Journey and Mick Mack Snack Attack!

Greg Brasen

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #13 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.

TheQuestKnight

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Re: Want to do my first trial... Help!
« Reply #14 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
Castle Camelot: Al, Barb, Dred, Gael & Pellinore . . . and from The Bridge Grill & Pub,  Kali, Flurry, Promise, Chico, Romulus, Trix and Tony.