Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trust Me, It Really Happened...

Everyone at the hospital will understand when I say that we haven't had a lot of practice time with the high census and the new computer system installation. In fact, other than walks and daily reminders about how good dogs should behave, we've done very little.

Imagine my surprise when last night, both pooches were star pupils in Agility class! Maybe they were just happy to be out and about or maybe it was the pre-class baths but something made them both happy AND obedient... at the same time! Please trust me on this because as usual when my dogs are on their best behavior, I have no video proof.

We started with Gilda and she was ready to go! She was fast through the tunnels and was jumping without the usual coercion from Jessica and me. While working on some short Jump Jump Left Tunnel opening A Frame sequences, I was actually able to convince Gilda that a Start-Line Stay (SLS) was only a tool to let me get out ahead and the world would not crumble away if she stayed for 3 seconds until I cued her. [ Gilda has a beautiful sit-stay and down-stay anywhere but the Agility ring... until last night!]

We started introducing a Push from the second Jump to the right side of the Tunnel which was harder for me than it was for Gilda, as usual!

After some running work, we went to the Teeter. Gilda was eager to play Jungle Gym Teeter on full-height equipment! Jessica was there only to make sure that the downward movement was gentle. Apparently the Teeter has been downgraded from the 'Dreaded thing' to the 'Sorta-Kinda Fun' obstacle. So proud of my Speckled one...

We also worked on Gilda's weaves using 12 slightly open Channel Weaves. This was the first time Gilda had seen 12 Weave Poles and in true Gilda fashion, her first two passes were beautiful! After that, she would completely avoid some or all of the poles. I told Jessica that this is common with Gilda and she reported that it's common with many 'Soft Dogs'. As she said, they seem to have moments of brilliance followed quickly by a seemingly complete misunderstanding of the task. I have seen Gilda do the same thing during Treibball class and during her Herding session. Hmmm... Nevertheless, it continues to astound me that she can remember how to Weave each week!

Once Pico channeled his exuberance, he did some nice shadow-handling. We worked on his Dog Walk which is coming along nicely. He is willing to run the entire obstacle with good speed as long as I am running alongside. It will take some work to have him complete the obstacle if I make a turn or stop.

Pico jumps with enthusiasm and is the type of dog who will jump every obstacle if given half a chance!

We spent some time on his 2x2s (training Weave Pole entrance). At this point, I find it a little dull and, I'm embarrassed to say, confusing. Pico, puts on his tiny thinking cap and doesn't give up (as long as the treats are flowing at least).

Lastly, we worked on Pico's Jungle Gym Teeter. The little guy is fearless! Our goal right now is to have him jump onto the high side and travel the length getting more comfortable with the movement. At this point, he tends to lay down after the apex but he is willing to hop right back on again and again and again... Eventually, the goal is for him to run the length, drop to a down on the Contact Zone and ride it down to the floor. I have no doubt that he'll do it one day too!

They say animals come into your life for a reason. The pragmatist in me tries hard not to believe such cliches. The realist however points out how Gilda has taught me patience and Pico has taught me that it's important to have fun. Dang, I love my dogs.

1 comment:

andrea said...

sounds like lots of learning and fun for all of you :) well done!