Friday, July 15, 2011

My New Dog, 'Sierra'

At least for a moment...
We had class outside Wednesday night and when Gilda wasn't sniffing the newly raked sand for treats and critter trails, she was moving through the obstacles like molasses through a funnel.
The heat and lack of shade were factors as Gilda does not tolerate either well. Also, we had just done some group Teeter work which had her a little concerned that she might be asked to get on it again. I really think she was wishing she was home dealing with Pico's antics rather than playing Agility!
After trying a tug toy with only a flicker of  success, Linda suggested that we put Gilda in a nearby kennel so that she would have a good view while I ran with Sierra, a 9 pound, cute-as-a-bug Jack Russell Terrier. The obstacles were: A Frame, Jump, Jump, (RC) Tunnel.
On a good day, Gilda is fast. Sierra, is a whole different kind of fast! If I wasn't out in front of her (which I wasn't!), she would flip her little muscle-bound body around and start barking as if to say, "Directions please and hurry up with them!" And, if my directions weren't clear, she'd happily choose her own course! She was just eager and willing to run for whoever had the treats!
Our classmate, Henry the Rat Terrier, had quite a crush on Sierra so after 3 runs with Gilda watching like a hawk, Sierra went back to her car crate and Gilda was released from captivity. Linda's ingenious idea worked and Gilda ran better and tugged like a champ on a borrowed lamb tail tug toy!

{No photo of Sierra available!}

It seems that the Agility Team often consists of more than just the Dog and Handler. Tonight our team included Linda and Sierra whose help we greatly needed! Watching Sierra run had an energizing effect on Gilda and I even got a tiny lick on my nose which in Gilda-speak tells me that she is happy and on board with what we are doing.
With my very limited dog experience, it has taken me awhile to understand Gilda and to pick up on her subtle cues. Unlike Bruno and Pico, most of Gilda's cues, like the infrequent nose lick, are subtle ones!
I really enjoyed the opportunity to run another dog and to experience even briefly the challenges that different temperaments and running styles create.
Kudos to Linda for coming up with a very unique way of motivating Gilda!

We ended class by running a Jump, Tunnel, Jump, Jump, Tunnel, A-Frame Jump sequence with everyone doing well despite the heat.

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