I finally got brave enough to enter Murray in his first agility trial. The main reason I hadn't was that he has a habit of clipping jumps. We have been working on it, but he seldom has a totally clean run. I've come to the conclusion that the very thing that he has gotten praised for is the main problem: he watches me very closely. You wouldn't think that would be a problem, but it takes his attention away from the jump, especially if he gets a little ahead of me. Very frustrating. He is just over 11", so in CPE he would jump 8" which is what we usually practice at. CPE makes an exception for some short legged deep chested breeds including Corgis and they can move down to the next lower height. I felt kind of silly jumping at 4", but was advised to do it by several veteran agility trainers. I was glad I did, as it really took away a lot of my nerves not worrying about knocking jumps. There's enough other stuff to worry about.
Anyhow, after an initial bout of nerves (me, not Murray, he was unusually calm ), we had a great time. We had 5 runs in one day, got 4 Q's and 4 first places ( not so hard when you're only competing against 1 or 2 dogs in your height category). His only faults were a couple back jumps due to my poor handling skills. His times were all among the top 3 in all height categories in Level 1 including beating the times of many of the Border Collies and Aussies. He had the fastest time in the Standard Course. The one DQ we had was again due to my bad. He stopped at the end of the tunnel to munch some cow poop that had apparently been kicked into it by the previous dog. Without thinking until it was too late, I stuck out my foot to encourage him to move on when telling him to didn't work. Who knew that kicking your dog wasn't allowed???? Actually I didn't touch him, but knew immediately that I had screwed up. I have been practicing with him to get him to back up to aid in "hind end awareness" on the assumption that it may help with his jumping skills....he will take a few steps backward and then sit and scoot back and if I touch his butt with my foot he stands back up, so I guess I had kind of gotten used to guiding him with my foot!
All in all we had a great time and I am very proud of him. His accuracy and speed, and distance work were pretty amazing and nobody has more fun than Murray. Now...back to practicing his jumping skills......