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Sugar's Very First JRTCA "PLAY DAY"

Sugar never knew life could be so good!

March 25th 2007 11:24 pm
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This was written by her daddy...

March 25, 2006

Today, after some persuasion from my wife, I took our Jack Russell Terrier daughter to her first “Play Day” sponsored by the JRTCA affiliate California Gold Jack Russell Terrier Club. The Play Day was held at Pioneer Park in Nevada City, a little over an hour drive from our home outside of Sacramento. Sugar, our Jack Russell is 4-years old and we adopted her this last July from a rescue who received her from the Marin County Humane Society.

We arrived at the park a little after 10:00AM. As the club was setting up the various activities, Sugar and I wandered over to where they were setting up the Go-To-Ground course and was introduced to a rat (in a cage of course) that is used in this activity. Sugar went wild upon seeing the rat. It is a good thing that the rat was in a cage otherwise I might have had to search for a replacement since I am sure Sugar would have had it as an early snack! The Go-To-Ground course is a long plywood tube about twelve inches square that simulates the Jack Russell’s famous trait, and what they were originally bred for, in chasing and catching rats under the ground. At the end of the maze is a grate, and on the other side of the grate is a live caged rat. The dogs are released at one end and work their way to the end with the rat. In real competition this is timed, however as mentioned, this was just a fun outing for the dogs. Sugar started off in the first maze which is only about 5-feet and is straight. This was to introduce her to the activity. Sugar had no problem at all and shot through the tube like a rocket to get to the caged rat at the other side. It was obvious that she needed a little more challenge, so we moved over to a larger maze with a single right angle turn in it. Again, she shot through with no problem at all. When she was finished she wanted to do it again and again and again. We moved over to the largest maze which is probably about 20-feet in total length with a couple turns in it. I held Sugar about 4-feet back from the entrance, released her, and she put her head down, headed straight for the entrance, and raced to the end. She could not get enough of this game and we ended up going through this about a dozen times. The only thing she disliked was the fact that she had to wait her turn. She barked and barked, trying to get the line moving faster so she could go.

After Go-To-Ground it was off to the races. They had a small fenced course set up with the starting blocks on one side and a hole at the other side. There are 6-7 dogs per race. After they are all in the block, there is a fuzzy thing that looks like a mutilated large squeaky toy that is tied to a rope. The other end of the rope goes through the hole at the end of the course and is pulled through as the dogs are racing. We watched a few of the pros first. Sugar made it very clear by her barking that she did not want to be left out. She however had to wait her turn until it was the more novice dogs turn. I had to borrow a muzzle from one of the members in which Sugar had no problem at all with have this put on. She wanted to run after all, and if this was a requirement, so be it! I put her in the block with about 5 other dogs and walked to the end of the run. The gates went up, the fuzzy thing was pulled fast, and the dogs ran like there was no tomorrow to be the first one through the end. Even though Sugar was in last place since she had no idea this was a race, she had a blast and made it all the way to the end. She is very fast and could probably have placed, however she was a little slow getting out as she had no idea what was going on… except that it was lots of fun! She did this a second time and then it was time for the steeplechase race in which short plastic fences are put in the run that the dogs must jump over. Sugar jumped over these like a champion thoroughbred at the Kentucky Derby. Again she was last due to her being a little to slow getting out, however once she left the gate she ran like a pro.

I will have to say I am glad my wife persuaded me to take Sugar and I am now looking forward to the next one, as I am sure Sugar is as well. Everyone was very nice and they all loved their little Jack Russell’s as if they were their kids, as I do mine.

I think Sugar has what it takes to be a real pro with a little more practice at these play days. Regardless as to whether she becomes a pro or not, she had more fun then can be imagined. So much fun that she was not the least interested in the treats I brought. The only thing she was interested in was the next activity!


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