Monday, May 28, 2012

First Ever Run-Through!

I am so excited!
Our home turf, The Agility Underground,
hosted a Run-Through on 5/27 and I took Pico along to see how he would do...

... He was great! Other than a little crate barking, he was thrilled to be there, happy to perform, and relaxed enough to hang out with me on the sidelines performing simple attention exercises! Having no idea what to expect, I was thrilled.

I think it was ideal to have our first Run-Through on familiar ground. Pico has been going there with Gilda and me since September 2011. He started his own lessons there in February 2012. To him, the place is all fun and games!

There were 4 courses to choose from which was really awesome. We chose the Novice Jumper course which had 10 obstacles, no weaves and no teeter:

We bought 2 runs for $4 each. During our first 2 minute run, we were able to run the course 3 times. Afterwards, Jessica was kind enough to offer some handling tips which we used on our second 2 minute run. During our second attempt, we ran the course 2 times.

I thought it was of utmost importance to make sure that this was a positive experience so that's where we ended. I would have loved to have stayed all day but I felt it was better for Pico to end on a good note. He did seem exhausted once we were home so I think it was a good thought!

Run-Throughs are great because they give teams great practice at memorizing new courses, trying out different handling techniques, and exposing dogs to a trial environment all without the stress of a real judged trial.

I couldn't be happier with my tiny dog!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Little Dog who Taught Himself Agility...

It's been awhile and we have lots to catch up on!
Gilda is taking this session off from Agility Classes. We will see Dr. Feltes on 6/6/12 and will hopefully have a good plan to work through in an effort to increase Gilda's confidence and decrease her guarding the house issues... I enrolled her in 3-class Weaves and Contacts class but the first class proved to be too stressful and too advanced for us. She Stressed down but didn't shut down so at least we've made some progress! Today we went to the building to practice and Gilda chose to get on the teeter which is encouraging. She really enjoyed playing fetch in the building which I hope will work on her toy drive and play skills with me. It's also a way to make the obstacles less of a stressor. We will reassess Gilda's agility career after our visit with Dr. Feltes. Pico, on the other hand, has seemingly taught himself how to do Agility!
His shadow handling, ability to perform a series of obstacles, and his handler focus have happened with very little effort on my part! I am amazed that in such a short period of time, he is willing to work his way through a 15-obstacle course! We had some treats along the way and one area of intense sniffing but I think it was amazing nonetheless! More amazing is that I actually was able to memorize the course and was able to troubleshoot some potential handling issues. These are things I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to accomplish! The course was: Jump, Teeter, Tunnel (FC), Jump, Jump (FC), Table, Chute, Jump, Tunnel, Jump (FC), Tire, Jump (FC), Jump, Tunnel, A-Frame. We are working on Pico's Stay right now and I think he's starting to get it. We are also working on his toy drive (which he has until the treats appear!) Both dogs are happy and healthy and are loving the sunshine...