Yesterday Tessa earned her All Dogs Parkour Championship title! Tessa is a Parkour Champion!
I am particularly excited about this because I really do love the mutually satisfying experiences that Tessa and I have had creating our Parkour entries for this venue.
We started out titling with the International Dog Parkour Association (IDPKA), and we had fun doing that. Tessa and I explored the Parkour behaviors for that title in that venue, and we made videos of Tessa carrying out those behaviors - some on training equipment in the house, and others outside. For IDPKA, the behaviors do not need to be filmed in a single location, so our final submission was a combination of videos from different places.
Tessa and I created a nice entry and we earned our Novice title, and that was very satisfying.
I considered going on to the Intermediate level with her, but I did not feel that some of the requirements were appropriate for Tessa, and so I decided not to.
And that is when we got into All Dogs Parkour.
At first I did not like the requirement that all of the behaviors would have to be carried out in one single location. The first few times I filmed, I had to work very hard at coming up with 12 behaviors (although some could be repeats) on the EF's (Environmental Features) that Tessa would find in one single location.
However, as we progressed through the levels, I began to find that going to a single location, which can cover quite a lot of ground in some cases, was precisely the aspect of All Dogs Parkour that I enjoyed the most!
I also came to appreciate the fact that we could choose the Parkour behaviors that we wanted to do for each entry. I never had to ask Tessa to do something that I felt wasn't quite right for her.
I found that I loved packing Tessa up to set off for different places, and then Tessa and I would get there and we would explore together. She would sniff as I looked around for EF's that we could use. Then we would try different Parkour behaviors out with what we found. Then we would film.
Sometimes our filming attempts completely failed. Sometimes it became clear that Tessa did not want to interact with a particular EF. At other times, she rocked the exercises with enthusiasm and style.
I learned that it is OK to go back to film at a location twice. I learned to film extra behaviors, especially when Tessa was in a focused and happy frame of mind, in case something didn't end up working on the video.
And after all that, I had the pleasure of cutting down our video clips, putting them together, labeling them, and submitting them.
I found that this whole process of choosing a location, searching out EF's to use, trial and error and filming, and then putting it all together is like creating an art project with Tessa! And there is nothing that I love better than creating art with my dog!
I loved everything about this. And - even more important - Tessa thoroughly enjoyed it.
Tessa has always been a team player. Her love for engaging with me and accomplishing something with me as a team really shines forth in her Parkour. And, we get to do all this, as much as we want, out in the woods where she and I have always loved to go!
Last week we filmed one of my favorite entries of all that we have done. We went up to the top of the mountain in Kings Gap State Park to film in the area of the mansion that is up there. Tessa absolutely loved working up there, and there were many great EF's. On top of that, the setting was beautiful! I enjoyed adding in bits of beauty to our film clips - the mansion, the view in the distance, a quaint light post, pumpkins, fall leaves . . . . this video really is beautiful!
I entered this as our final leg for Level 5:
As we go on to start to work toward our Grand Championship, I want to go back up the mountain to film there again! We are allowed to re-use locations the second time around, and I plan to re-use most of ours.
We won't have the gorgeous fall background next time, but it will be fun to go and film there in another season.
After we filmed the mansion entry, we needed to do just one more. I was completely at a loss for a last location. On top of that, the time change had occurred, and I would not be able to go very far from home and have daylight to film in with her after school.
On a whim, I thought of the trailhead for our local rail trail right in town. I live about 7 minutes from there, so we went to check it out.
It was a perfect location!
We had to go twice because the camera battery died on the first day that we filmed. But I was glad for that. On the first day we shot the Advanced Novel Uses (at the end of the clip), and that is almost an entry's worth of work unto itself with 7 behaviors!
The next day we went back and finished it up.
We both liked this location. Tessa was a little leary of the people in the area at times, but she didn't mind them very much, and they always moved on pretty quickly.
My favorite clip in this video is her "Get Inside" in the planter. She just got a kick out of jumping into that thing.
Here is our video for this entry:
I submitted those two videos together and yesterday we got results! Both Q's, and we earned our Level 5 Title and our Championship!!!
Go Tessa!!! Parkour Champion!!!!
On we go! Weather permitting . . . we are having way too much fun at this!