Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Agility

Today we had agility class. It's been about 3 weeks since we've been to class, since we had some time off for the holidays. Addie was pumped! I told her we were going to class and she spun in circles and jumped for joy she was so excited. Now Addie's not a puller, or a whiner, but once we get in the room that we do agility, she starts pulling hard on her leash, and, Please, please PLEASE can I go play?! I love it.

Today started off like every other day - restrained recalls. We do this to build drive, mainly, but also to get the dogs to follow us and we often add obstacles. Today we worked both sides of the dog through tunnels. One of the trainers holds our dog's collar, while the handler takes off running. When the dog is pulling after their handler, the trainer lets go and the dog follows the handler. Addie goes nuts for this game, she's pulled a trainer over before - and she only weighs 38 lbs!

After this we split up and the big dogs, including Addie, went to the A-frame. We are doing See-Wood-Run with the dogs and Addie is getting fast. We worked hard with the hoops on the ground, so she knows to stay on the Frame when she sees them. We also worked the frame with a tunnel - frame, tunnel, come back on frame. I think in a week or two we will backchain the A-Frame and start running it for real, with 2 on 2 offs and everything. Addie will do well, I think; she LOVES the 202o. She does it everywhere - stairs, ottomans, etc. We shouldn't have any trouble!

Then we switched with the small dogs and worked on jumping. We learned a one jump figure eight, and a two jump figure eight. Addie was pretty tired so I used her tug instead of treats, and she did pretty well. She still needs more drive for jumping, surprisingly, as she doesn't seem to really love it.

Finally we finished off with some weaves. We are training the dogs with channel weaves and have them set pretty close together already. We do a sort of restrained recall style - holding the dog's collar, getting them pumped up and pulling toward the weaves, then releasing and calling "Weave" as we run for it. Then we'd go through the tunnel at the end, and come back through the weaves on the opposite hand. I'm learning that Addie doesn't like working on my right. She goes through perfectly on my left hand, but coming back, she gets the entry, but hops over the guide wire after the first pole. Thankfully, she did it perfectly the last time, so we ended with a success. When we get our own weaves I will work her on the right a lot. I still haven't found any channel weaves that I really like that aren't ridiculously expensive.

Addie loves going to agility. It's a small class of only 5 dedicated dogs and handlers. We were a "guinea pig class" as our trainers decided to try a new series of classes, called Performance Puppy. We began in July of last year with a rather large class, working on all sorts of foundation on the flat, drive, and impulse control. We did this for 4 months before starting to really work the equipment. As we progressed through classes, the number of people steadily decreased. Time has a way of weeding out the dedicated from the not so dedicated. So our class is composed of 5 females - but they all get along very well. They're off leash much of the time, so they have to.
Aspen - Bichon Frise
Rudy - Blue Merle Aussie
Alon - Red Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Kia - Blue Heeler mix (rescue)
And Addie, of course. We've been having so much fun and I can't wait until the spring - we move our training outside and really start to run things.


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