This weekend Libby and I went to our first flyball tournament, the Jingle Bell Jump in Talladega, Alabama. We carpooled down with the captain of our flyball team (Double Dog Dare), Dana, and one of the other long time members, Angie. Between the two of them they have SIX dogs: Josie the greyhound, Huey and Dustin the whippets, Siren the staffie mix, Bailey the american eskimo, and Ivy the border collie. Angie also owns Rooster (who is Libby's twin, except he is a red heeler mix instead of blue) but he didn't come to this tournament. If you go here, you can see the dogs. Rooster is in the far right column. Anyway.
So in our van there were 3 people and 7 (SEVEN!) dogs. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. Dana had taken out all of the seats in the back except for one captain's chair in the middle. Three dogs were in their kennels in the far back and the rest were loose. They all behaved very well.
Let me preface the rest of this post by saying that I had pretty low expectations for Libby. Everyone had said that the dogs usually freak out at their first tournament. It's loud and crazy, with about 200 or so dogs all in one big room barking their little heads off. Plus, the days are long with racing usually starting at about 7am and going as late as 8:30pm.
But Libby was a CHAMP! Her first race she didn't do too hot, but still better than I would have thought. She was definitely excited and knew that her goal was to get the ball and come bring it back to mom. She was really calm in her kennel, but barking and howling like crazy in the ring waiting to run. She never balked at the hurdles on the way down, but we had to pull her halfway through the first race because she kept skipping the jumps on the way back. Fortunately, though, she stayed in our teams' lane and still came right back to me. She just didn't want to jump. I would have been happy if that was all she did- she was focused on the ball, she didn't even notice the other dogs or people, she came right back to me and would stay with me and wait for her next run... it was way more than I had hoped for!
For warm-ups later, we put a gate up by the box to make sure she would come back over the jumps. The next two races she ran PERFECTLY in all 5 heats per race. The first one got her her first title (FD). The next ones she ran got her her SECOND title (FDX)! We figured out that for some reason she only skipped jumps on the way back in the left lane, and unfortunately her last race of the weekend was in the left and she had to get pulled again. And unfortunately, a lot of other dogs were having meltdowns on our team, so it was kind of a disaster near the end of the weekend anyway. But I was super excited that she had gotten two titles her first weekend (apparently that is really rare and everyone was really impressed). Hopefully we'll be going to our second tournament in January. If we can fix the left lane problem, she'll be up for her third title!
So for now you can call her Libby Caldwell, FDX.