We headed up early as usual so that Beanie and Biggles could get their private races while it was nice and quiet. Unfortunately Beanie’s favorite lure-meister Scooby wasn’t there. That left us with some serious time to kill until the official races were over and private runs could take place. Happily this passed really quickly because we bumped into a little Beagle boy called Breac and his owners.
We swapped stories about Beagle naughtiness and found out that Breac has his own blog too:
Maggie soon arrived and broke the good news that the experienced dogs would be racing separately from the inexperienced dogs. This was a very welcome attempt to address the problems of unruly dogs in previous weeks. In light of this we decided we’d let Beanie and Biggles enter the official races. After all, there was no guarantee there’d be time for them to get private races at the end.
A few newbie racers had arrived and they were ‘schooled’ before racing got underway. All did very well and were extremely well behaved. They all earned their place in the main races.
The Dog Trophy race was scheduled for this week and our little Biggles romped in a close second beating last year’s champion! Not bad for a little 11 month old boy! He got a few nice compliments from the race officials – he was running beautifully and shaping up very nicely indeed. Murphy won the race despite the fact that he had only recently recovered from a leg injury and wasn’t at his peak of fitness. Here he is with proud mum Carolyn and yet another trophy for his ever growing collection.
Then the rest of the racing got underway. However, all dogs were racing together as normal. Dogs that had caused problems in the past weren’t kept separate. The draw was made and in Beanie’s first heat she was unfortunately drawn against the dog that harassed her and made her afraid to run last time. The dog in question meant no harm of course – he was just being overly playful but his advances were definitely not wanted by the other dogs and it was not appropriate to put him on an enclosed race-track with other, well trained dogs until he’d learned to chase the lure instead of other dogs. I discretely asked if Beanie could go into a different heat (after all this was only a fun race), but that wasn’t allowed. She had to either race this dog or withdraw completely. We withdrew, and the race proved it was the right call as the playful dog lost interest in the lure and chased one of the the other racers all over the track. He was subsequently disqualified. Clearly we’d been wise to keep Beanie out of the race but it meant a long wait for her. She was desperate to chase the lure and was getting more and more frustrated as she watched one race after another. In restrospect we should have called it a day at that point.
As for Biggles, he won his first two heats convincingly and qualified for the final!
Sadly it wasn’t plain sailing though – in his second heat a larger dog cut across three lanes and ‘body-slammed’ him two or three times. Biggles snarled at the dog but kept going. He was not happy. He’s only 11 months old and we don’t want him exposed to this kind of thing – and we most definitely don’t want him to learn he has to be aggressive towards other dogs!! We decided to withdraw him too. The offending dog was disqualified, but that didn’t help Biggles any – the harm was already done. I must stress that efforts were being made to solve the problems and I’m sure things will settle down in due course, but too late for our two. They seem to have born the brunt of so much this season. They are young, small and fast and this seems to cause other dogs to home in on them. Their welfare has to come before a daft race!
We didn’t let this spoil our day though. There was still an opportunity for Beanie and Biggles to run together after racing was over. This would help blot out any bad experiences on the track. They had two or three great runs. Then race organizer Graham asked if they’d like to help school one of the new dogs by running with it. It had proven itself to be a well behaved dog – and fast too. We jumped at it – and Beanie and Biggles thoroughly enjoyed it. The new dog did extremely well.
As usual we’d taken up our portable agility equipment and by the time we’d finished Beanie and Biggles’ fun runs there were quite a few Beagles eagerly waiting for a go. In fact they’d already got the enclosure erected. We all worked together to get the course up quickly and each and every one of the Beagles dazzled us with their jumping ability!