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GameOn K9 Agility offered an Intro trial as their first USDAA agility event. By Jamie McKay CPDT KSA



Judge Monique Plinck and GameOn K9 Agility's own Deb Salerno. Photo courtesy of Stephen McKay.
 GameOn K9 Agility held their first USDAA event April 19th,  2015, on a beautiful spring day at Ridgeland Farm in  Middlefield, Connecticut. Handlers came from New York, New  Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts to participate in an  Intro only event judged by Monique Plinck, who was fresh off  her trip to Italy as an IFCS World Agility Championships team  member.

 Deborah Salerno, owner of GameOn K9 Agility, provided  folders containing handouts with explanations of the various  USDAA classes and Intro rules to all competitors. This allowed  new competitors to be more comfortable giving Intro a try.

 Intro classes are an excellent way to practice and hone skills  as well as assess a dog's readiness for competition. For many  handlers and their teammates, an Intro trial is their first taste  of what a "real" agility trial is like. For others, it's an  opportunity to try out USDAA courses in a low pressure  environment.
 

Many handlers entered FEO (For Exhibition Only) and were able to run with a toy and train in the ring. Others chose to run for a Q. There was a diverse mix of breeds showing that included some not commonly seen, like a Croatian Sheepdog, a Mudi and a Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Four Intro classes were offered: Gamblers, Standard, Snooker and Jumpers. A total of 106 runs were judged. Handlers and their canine teammates looked amazing, according to Judge Plinck, who was gracious and encouraging to all competitors. The spectators were supportive of each team's efforts and lots of encouragement was shown for fellow competitors. The environment was especially conducive for dog beginning their competition careers. Every handler I saw left the ring happy with their dog, no matter how the run went.
 
Barbara Siegel's young Mudi, Ivan, made his competition debut at the trial, successfully completing his first Gambler's course. Barbara stated "While I admit to ring nerves, the atmosphere of the event promoted success no matter what everyone's goals were and mine were certainly met." Virginia Hagan's Shetland sheepdog, Aria, also made her USDAA debut. Virginia reports that Aria can be sensitive in new environments but she ran Intro Standard and performed very well in the relaxed setting. She nailed her weaves and down cue on the table!
 

Stephen McKay pops a cork to toast to GameOn K9 Agility's successful first event. Photo courtesy of Deb Salerno.
Special thanks to Judge Monique Plinck, chief course builder Stephen McKay, A.M. Hill for scoring and to all of the wonderful competitors who volunteered, especially Joyce Rivers and Jane Harding who came and helped out even though they were not entered in the match. I have no doubt that, going forward, GameOn K9 Agility will hold many more successful events and I am proud to say I was present at their first trial. Well done Deborah Salerno and GameOnK9 Agility!

The happy handlers gather for a pic! Photo courtesy of the author.
 
Jamie McKay CPDT KSA and her husband Stephen own McKay9 Dog Training LLC in Harrison, New York. As well as working with private clients, Jamie teaches group classes and is the Family Manners Training Director at Portchester Obedience Training Club in White Plains, New York. Jamie and Stephen are loved and owned by Shetland Sheepdogs Piper and Derby, West Highland White Terrier Ceilidh and Border Collie Scorch, all of who have earned USDAA agility titles. She can be reached through www.McKay9.com.

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