Thursday, June 21, 2012

Go Pico

Pico continues to love Agility. Even with blazing hot days and long courses he is a little trouper!

Last night in class, we worked on a 17-obstacle modified (low teeter, no weaves) Novice Standard course and I'd say he did pretty well!

I was thrilled that I was able to memorize the course and picture it (for the most part) while running. This is definitely progress for our little green team. I am still not very confident about doing this without Jessica's guidance but that day is coming!

With Pico progressing so nicely, I have decided to join the Agility club that is hosting what will be his first CPE trail in August. This way I can get him working in the building before the trial and hopefully eliminate that part of the stress for him. We will see how my plan works out!

The hot weather is definitely hard on Gilda as she doesn't tolerate heat well at all. Otherwise I think she is enjoying her hiatus from Agility. We are doing much more clicker training and she seems to like that in her own Gilda way!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

For Those Who 'Don't Get' Agility

This post is especially for my Dad who recently rolled his eyes when I told him that Pico would hopefully be trialing soon...

{Me & Dad c. 1972}

Many Agility bloggers have tackled this topic including some of my dog friends. Like most enjoyable pastimes, Agility is a very individual endeavor. Here is my take on it...

Dad, remember those once-a-month poker games with your teacher friends? You all got together and sat around the table enjoying some laughs and stories about students and teaching in general. When it came to the game though, it was just you and the cards you were dealt. It was up to you to play your best hand and to do that you needed your best poker face as well as the intuition to read your friends' thoughts.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How a Tiny Dog Changed my Agility Attitude

The first time I watched an Agility trial I thought, "Oh! How much flipping fun is that?!"

The first 2 years of Agility with my girl, Gilda, completely changed my tune. Agility, it seemed was hardly fun at all! When Gilda wasn't running off, she was shutting down. At home, training sessions were a balancing act of keeping her attention AND keeping her happily working.

The mere thought of giving up my weekends to trial was horrible! I was actually relieved to accept the fact that my beloved Gilda would probably never trial....

{Gilda sittin' pretty}

Then along came Pico... all 8 pounds of him. Our second dog was supposed to be a lap dog and companion. Our second dog was also supposed to be a female...

I had no idea that little dogs were trainable but Pico made that clear from the start. I started taking him to Gilda's classes to give her the frequent breaks she needs and to work on his crate training and distraction skills. I was shocked when he started quickly picking up shadow handling, obstacles, and handler focus. It was really as though he was teaching himself!

It was very apparent that, unlike Gilda, he was really enjoying Agility class and training, and, I was finding class much more enjoyable!

The true change came when I took Pico to his first run-through just 8 weeks into his formal training. I had no idea how he would react to other dogs and handlers being around. In the past, the run-throughs I took Gilda to were disastrous!

Pico, however, acted as though he was in just another Agility lesson! He was willing and able to work through a 10 obstacle Novice Jumpers course a total of 5 times! The runs weren't clean or even pretty but I suddenly had the feeling that "This is so much fun!!"

{Tiny Dog Agility}

I think the Agility bug finally bit me and I'm so proud of my little dog. And don't worry about Gilda... I'll make sure she's doing what makes her happy too.

Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference!

This post is part of a Dog Agility Blog Action Event. If you'd like to read more posts on "Attitude" click here