Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gilda Gets Her Groove Back

Linda's private "fun and games" lessons are really paying off! Gilda was really excited to be there today and actually seemed anxious to get going with the Agility games.

Linda & I continue to work as a team during class to keep Gilda moving and happy. We are still not asking for Start Line Stays, Teeters, or Weaves. It is an expensive and slow way to go about Agility training but it's what happens with a novice handler and a tricky dog. We are so fortunate to have found Linda and the AU team because I'm not sure anyone else would still be hanging in there with us.

Tonight we worked on simple, short sequences in attempt to keep Gilda's success rate high and her stress level low. It really seems to be working too as her speed was back for the first time in ages and she stayed happy throughout class. Our next goal is to get back to handling and I am ready!

Pico came along again and faced some challenges of his own. He was placed in a crate among 3 of Linda's crated dogs. These were dogs he had never been around before. After some initial snarling and barking, he was able to calm down and sit nicely in the crate while I worked with Gilda.

At one point, Linda brought Frosty out to tug to see if it would motivate Gilda to tug and Pico got a bit animated and very barky. Again he was able to contain himself nicely.

When it was his turn to play Agility, he was ready and willing as he always is! He was very speedy through curved tunnels and started working on 8" Jumps. He also worked on his first Table. Tonight was also the first time Pico got the 'Zoomies' in the building. He regularly races in super quick circles around the yard but hadn't strayed much from me in the Agility Building before. He is a bold and happy little guy who is perpetually ready to work for food!

I am glad I made the decision to stick with Agility for Gilda. I think the more confident I become in my training and handling, the better she'll do. Time will tell...

My little video camera is fixed so we'll hopefully have some video soon!

Pico's 2on/2off

I think Pico wants to be an Agility dog:

{Pico performs while Gilda
watches for chipmunks}

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back on the Grid

After quite a hiatus from Agility, we are back from vacation and back 'on the grid' so to speak. Gilda (and Pico) had 2 weeks off from training of any sort!

{Vacation's Over!}

Today we started back to Agility classes with surprisingly great success on the dogs' part. (Not surprisingly, I was the rusty one!) Our main goal continues to be keeping Gilda in a "happy dog" state and to reinforce any and all willingness to move on her part.

Linda, thankfully, kept reinforcing the importance of continuing on even if an off-course occurred. It helps me greatly to be reminded of this just prior to each sequence!

Gilda was willing to run, Jump, Scale, and Tunnel quite happily. She didn't have any episodes of running off nor did she hide in any tunnels. She's just going to take more time and patience than the average Agility dog...

Pico is different from Gilda in oh so many ways! Nothing (besides being separated from me) seems to scare him at all. He is extremely food- and praise-motivated and will continue to work for either for as long as someone is willing. I was very surprised to find that despite not practicing, he had no problem with sends to the tunnel or trotting across the board. I'm not sure yet whether or not we'll pursue Agility with him but he has taught me a lot already about how different dogs can be when it comes to training!

I think our time off has given all three of us the spark that we needed to get going again!