First Dog Agility Trial Advice

TunnelersWe all have a first time in the ring, so what can you expect?  Mistakes and a lot of fun for you and your dog if you are prepared.  Everyone new to dog agility should find at least one trial that they can volunteer at before taking to the water.  It helps you not only get accustomed to the atmosphere and what to expect, it gives you an insider’s perspective on the event.

Once you have helped out with two or three trials you may feel you are ready to dive in to competition with your dog.  We have gathered some helpful advice from others on items you should make sure you have on board before setting sail for that first trial. It is always a good idea to pack as much as you can the night before to avoid rushing and forgetting important items.

For your dog…

-Collar and leashes for your dogs – good idea to bring a spare.
-Crates
-Tent or canopy if you need it for shade/rain.
-Water and food for your dog.
-Your dog’s bowls.
-Towels – I use old towels/blanket in my crates and they are also good to have if it rains.
-Paper Towels/Garbage bag – I had a dog that got car sick. I don’t travel without these!
-Small tarp or outdoor carpet, use as ground cover to put your crate on.
-Portable fan for the crate.
-A favorite toy or ball or tug for your dog.
-Treats/rewards for your dog.
-Your dog’s registration papers – you will need this when you get measured the first time. –
-Record of Rabies vaccinations- many venues require them, so a copy of those is a good idea.
-Your Dog – don’t forget your dog!!

For you….
-A change of clothing, even underwear, seriously.
-Extra shoes and socks. (Nothing is worse than falling in the mud or getting soaking wet and you forgot extra clothes to change into, you will be miserable all day!)
-First aid kit, aspirin, Tylenol, any meds you need, etc.
-Food, drinks for you.
-A chair for you to sit by your dogs crate or ringside.
-A camera to record the event.
-Directions to the trial site – I forget these once, and got very lost!
-Some money.  Trial vendors have great stuff!

Val shared: Pepto Bismol, Imodium, soothing foods for yourself…your tummy will thank you.
A book or knitting…even though you will be helping with the classes, it is nice to have something to escape to.

CC added:  The two pieces of advice I was given before my first trial that continue to stick with me are:
1. You will only ever have ONE first trial, so enjoy it for everything.
2. Make sure your shoes are tied.

Harriet advised: Other things to bring to trial: sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm, hat or sun visor, (or gloves and warm hat), plenty of water for dog and you (and stay hydrated), treat pouch and/or jackpot pouch. I made a list early on and check it off each time. In Sacramento it helps to have 1 for summer and one for colder weather.  Hanging out around a trail site is a great way for dogs to acclimate. It really is so different than class!

Mary had an odd but important item:  Also, especially for outdoor trials, bring your own toilet paper! At one trial, the maintenance staff forgot to replenish the bathrooms. I had a tiny roll of toilet paper in with some hiking equipment that I had in the car, but now I always carry my own, just in case! Baby wipes work, too, and they’re often in my dog supplies anyway.

And on that note Marcia says:  Don’t forget to add poop bags to your list! You are responsible for cleaning up after your dog. I always carry 2-3 in my pocket so that I’m not without.

Did we miss something?  Please share below in the comments area so we all can learn from others and be as prepared as possible for that special day.

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