Thursday, June 18

Agility Woes and Yays

So, as you may have read, I'm doing a "fun" dog agility class with Popper this session instead of repeating the handling class we were in. I was having absolutely zero fun, dreaded going to class, and Popper felt my reaction and started being less cooperative and joyful in his runs. I could get maybe one run out of him, and then we were done.

This is our third week in the fun class, which is zero pressure, and after the second week I saw a huge difference. Popper works for me the entire time (although he wouldn't call it work, I'm sure!), and I'm actually sad when class is over. His response to my directions, garbled though they may be, is phenomenal. He's so amazing that I find it hard to believe we've only been doing agility for a year. At our last trial, he only went off and visited during one run instead of both of them. I think before he was getting so stressed (because I was getting so stressed) that he would run off to visit folks. He always comes back, it's just annoying when you're on a speedy course. :) I'm really glad we're taking the class, because there's no point in doing agility if it's not fun.

Merlin is in the "weaves and teeters" class. He could do a full height, ground to ground teeter before even entering the class. I just started him on upright weave poles, too. So passing the class shouldn't be a problem. The problem I am having is, right after we decided he would make his debut at an agility trial in August, he suddenly decided the backyard is an evil place to practice agility in. The inside is fine, but the backyard - no. He'll do the teeter, and anything else is like pulling teeth. He's very intent on agility in class, very aware of my body positions, very eager to do whatever obstacle I tell him to, handles everything like a more seasoned competitor - but in the backyard, he's like a lost little dog that's never seen agility equipment before. I have no idea what happened. I suppose I have to start back at square one to see if I can get anything out of him. I want to pack up some obstacles and take them over to my parents' yard to see if he'll do agility there. The trial is an outdoor one, so I really need him to work outdoors. I'm not expecting much out of him for the trial, being his first one and all, but if I try to run a dog that looks like he's terrified, well, I'll probably get kicked out of the competition. I'll keep updating what's going on with him and our progress...

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