Molly measured an even 21" at the shoulder and that puts her squarely in the 20" jump height class. She was very interested in licking the judges face and not in being measured! I grabbed my course maps and guess what? No Table! Hahaahaa! If I had forgotten to work on Molly's table position, it would have been there for sure!
No matter, we waited for Agility #2 to come around and went in the ring and gave it our best. The trickiest part for us was in the beginning, those jumps. My front cross was too late after the third jump and Molly read my forward lateral motion as a cue to just run (off course). I called her before she took the wrong jump, and she got a "refusal" on the number 4 jump - but in the Beginner class refusals are not faulted. After that things went great. You can't see from the video but that number 9 tunnel, for a Molly, points straight to the off course jump. I learned my lesson from our past NQ's and talked to her while she was in that tunnel so that she would come with me to the Aframe. You can see that the judge holds her hand out from her body and low - that accidentally got scored as a fault and we were shown to have NQ'd. I asked about it and showed my video to the secretary and he asked the judge what that hand signal meant and she said she was feeling behind herself for the support pole! The error was corrected and Molly earned her very first UKI Q!
Next was Jumping. I got a dog who was totally done for the night and not interested in working with me. After the first line of jumps I was cueing "Weave weave weave!" while she was taking the fourth jump, but she was thinking "no no no!". There was an Aframe stored in the top left corner of the room behind a fence. She ran over there and circled and sniffed it. She recalled back to me. She was like "Naaaaahhhhh" and zipped up the A-frame! Then she came back and after some fumbling she reluctantly did the weave poles without popping out. I front crossed and we did 6 and 7 and 8 and Wheeeeeeeeee! over to the ring crew sitting in the top right corner, all wiggles and "Save me from this woman who has not fed me my dinner!!" She gave her a kiss in the face before returning. We started running again and I kind of forgot where I was going but we hobbled through the rest. She ran out the second to last jump and was almost over the last jump when I said her name. She stopped dead in takeoff and recalled to me. The spectators gasped and laughed at how quickly she stopped. We finished the course "clean", only overtime a whole 36.88 seconds over the standard course time of 38 seconds. Oops!
(In Molly's defense, she was with me all day and had not had a drop of water to drink since 6am. We ran this course at 9:30pm. She had water available the whole trial and all day, but doesn't like to drink away from home - she's weird about that. But even worse, I forgot her kibble dinner. Molly, like many food hounds, has an excellent internal clock. Around 7pm, it's food time. I have to wonder if I had brought her dinner along, if she would have run a little bit nicer for me. It would have been fun to do this course at normal speed and attention and seen how we did with it. Oh well!)
Not a single dog out of the (20?) dogs entered qualified on this Jumping course. If they ran clean, they were overtime. Molly and I certainly did not deserve a Q for our theatrical performance, but I was sad that some of the teams running did well but were overtime. One handler showed me her time. It was not even a second overtime, .96 of a second. That hurts. UKI is a venue with tight Standard Course Times, it seems. Even on Standard where we only had one boo-boo, Molly was about three seconds under the SCT, just squeaking by. Recovering from the refusal, and her routine A-frame lingering ate up those precious extra seconds. Not much elbow room to spare timewise in this venue. And, other than the forgiveness of refusals in Beginner class, absolutely no faults of any sort are allowed.
So what did I think? I had a good experience and a lot of fun, that much is for sure. One thing I do not love about UKI is that it is competitive by nature. In order to get your titles, you need to earn points. In order to earn points, you have to place above other teams. For example, Molly earned third place in Standard and that means that she got four points. The second place team earned five points, the first place team earned six points. In order to earn her first UKI title (the "BIG" title, Beginner International Dog), Molly will need to earn twelve points - and eight of those points will need to come from the Agility class and the other four can come from any other class. I am not competitive by nature, and my feelings of success are largely "Molly stayed in the ring and we worked together and qualified." not those things plus "I did better than the other teams!" It's not really an issue because Molly and I always get slower times than other teams, since we spend a lot of time fooling around with her refusals and sniffing adventures.
Otherwise it's really a fun venue, a fun challenge and I would certainly go to more trials. My main focus right now is CPE and working on Molly's C-ATCH and along with that I am very much enjoying AKC. I ennoyed this Wednesday night trial with UKI and would be interested in doing more of the same in the future. Hell, if it's not obvious, I just love agility plain and simple!