We bundled up our courage and took Samurai to his first ever agility match away from his home base. Samurai can be unpredictable (to say the least). So I only signed him up for two runs only…just in case. Should not have worried. Although he did have to give stink eye to some of his newfound BC crating companions, he maintained his cool. Went into the ring like he’d been doing it for years. Ran the course clean.
Second time, we ran it sans reinforcers. He didn’t miss them. Ran fast AND clean. He’s still clearly a green dog and has lots of room to build confidence. But he paid attention (big victory) and really seemed to care about doing his job well. Stayed connected with handling throughout and came off the course without breaking a sweat. Surprisingly enough, he actually reminded me of the first time I entered the ring with another out-of-the-box cool customer -- Samurai’s Uncle Taylor (who walked into his first Novice Agility ring at no less than McCormick place and performed as if he owned it).
People who know us know that getting Sam to this point was not easy, and there were days when I honestly believed he would never work off leash. Would never get over his extreme reactivity. Would never run in his floaty, graceful way outside an empty room. Would seriously even survive his bent for thrill-seeking, hair pulling danger during his first year and a half. But thanks to lots of effort, and the support of some wonderful, supportive people, he seems to be crossing the threshold.
I feel that even if Samurai does nothing else in his life, we’ve been able to share at least this one day of victory. I look forward to whatever else is to come.