Dog Agility Troubles at the In Gate

study dog agilityLet’s face it, trialing is stressful on many levels even for the seasoned competitor. The best way to combat the stress is to plan ahead. Remember, the less stress for you and our dog, the better your runs will be. One of the worst places for stress can be at the in-gate unless the club is well organized.

In the off chance you attend a trial that proves to be a challenge at the in-gate, we have some ideas on keeping it as stress free for you and your dog as possible.

  • Plan with the Catalog.  Pack a highlighter pen in your trial bag and when you sign in be sure to get a catalog. Highlight your name in the order of running, remove the pages with your runs, and keep in your pocket. This way you can check run order on your sheet instead of the posted order at the in-gate.
  • Early Check in.  It will keep you stress level down to be checked in before your division starts. The stewards and other competitors will appreciate it as well.
  • Dog Protection.  If you must be in a congested area, leave your dog in their crate or teach them to tuck in between your legs.
  • Stay clear of the stampede.  Along with early check in comes arriving at the trial early. This gives you time to settle in, get signed in, and identify your run order all while avoiding thee last minute competitors. It will also allow you warm up time if your run comes up early.
  • Buddy System.  If you can, trialing with a friend can be a huge help. One can stay with the dogs if the other need to go into the stampede zone. You can also help each other with run planning and run diagnosis.
  • Warm up Jump.  You want to avoid the crowds, but that isn’t always possible. So, be a part of the solution by keeping your warmup to a couple minutes, 5-6 goes, if it is crowded.
  • Socialize elsewhere.  This should be a no brainer, but please, no socializing in  the high traffic areas!  You’ll make things harder on everyone else by making them walk around a large knot of people in front of the Stewards’ table.

Share your tips with us!  We’d love to know how you avoid bruised toes at trials!