Ruby’s First Open Trial

MJ and I entered Ruby in her first multi-day trial this weekend. We discovered that trialing on Fridays is very different from Saturday. First, it was more relaxed, it felt to me like a day off. Added to this is Ruby is now competing at the Open level. This introduced a higher degree of difficulty and more competitive dogs (and handlers).

My goals for this event was to get a feel for Open and try to attain Ruby’s final two Novice Jumpers Qualifying scores so that we can compete in Open for all events (last week Ruby titled in Standard and FAST).

Novice Jumpers with Weaves

Let’s get this out of the way…she did it. Her second run was NOT pretty, but even with all her goofing around, she was 2 seconds over standard course time, good enough for a Q. We talked about it later, she said she was sorry… :)

11/09 JWW Second Q

It ain’t pretty…3rd and Q.


Again, Ruby got a bit “zoomy” on me near the end, but I was able to redirect her and collect enough points for her to get her first Open class qualifying run.

Get the handler out of her way!

Crazy Standard and Crazy FAST

I am including these videos for those of you who have said that “You and Ruby make it look easy.” Up to now I have only posted the great runs. Her…less than prefect runs are pretty funny to watch as well. These 3 are from this weekend.

Ruby’s focus was elusive this weekend. On her fist Open Standard run I think she spotted MJ in the stands when she was on the starting line. You can hear MJ on the video and see Ruby’s head pop up on the dog walk, that’s when the wheels fell off.

Look mom, I can FLY!

On her second standard run she blew the down contact on the dog walk. Then, she goes on to finish with a beautiful, near perfect run.

Nearly perfect

Her second FAST run was a bit better than her first. I was the weakest link, nearly running her over in a poorly executed cross. Then she begins the send, the part where she has to cross the line that I cannot and execute the jump-tunnel-jump combination. She clears the jump, dives into the tunnel and the gets that wild child look and tears off. We’ll get it next time.


As a parting shot, weather you train dogs or just love them, I always set a “calmness goal” for our golden girl. In early shows it was that she would just relax and stop panting (the trial environment can be very stressful to first time dogs). Later we wanted her to be calm enough to rest (dare I hope for a nap) during the trial. I would model this for her with Willa by crashing for 15-20 minutes right there in her crate, Ruby would sprawl out on the mat touching me and Mary Jane for security. Later, only a few months ago, we began to bring Shamu with us, and Ruby relaxed enough to enter “the Shamu zone”, where she meditates while nursing on Shamu’s head. Up to now she still did not like the crate. This trial saw a change in that too. Here it is, your moment of Zen.

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