Back to agility

I've started back up at agility with Shadow and yesterday was our first session. Because he's "experienced" (fnarr fnarr) we just pay club membership and go along twice a week and use the facilities. The instructors are there to help out if and when we need it. We've not been in several years, so we took it very slowly, but Shads was, of course, a total star. He showed no nervousness with any of the big equipment - dog walk, A-frame, see saw - and flew over like a pro. We've never done a full set of weave poles and never with an entry like we had to do, where I had to send him around to start on the far side, but he did them really, really well. He remembered everything! I, on the other hand, was a total mess, screwing up my handling left, right and centre. Poor Shadow! When you look at it on TV, it just looks like the handler is running around shouting at their dog, but it's a little more complicated than that!

I have some homework to do with Shadow on targeting the contacts so he doesn't just leap off the ends of the equipment (he's such an All Action Hero) but we both had a total blast. It's so lovely to see him enjoying himself so much.

He did really well with all the other dogs around, too. Once you're on a course you're safe because they're behind mesh fences, but he worked on past other dogs barking everywhere and one running at the fence (twice, an inexperienced handler). Outside of the course, I popped his muzzle on as a clear indicator to others that he wasn't to be approached. There are a few other arsehole dogs in the club, so everyone understands. He had a minor whine at a dog who was staring at him, but it wasn't in an aggressive tone, he just wanted to go greet. Which would have led to ridiculousness, so of course we didn't, and I gave him some distance and we did some behaviours. I was very, very pleased with my action hero. :inlove:
 

HAH

Moderator
Location
Devon, UK
That's brilliant reading, well done to both of you. And echo @Jelinga , the tiny bit of agility I've done was enough to show how coordinated you need to be in your intentions as much as with your dog - always several steps ahead. Happy practising!
 
That is so great to read Fiona! Well done to you and to Shadow of course! What a star! :star: There's nothing like working with your dog when they are doing something they enjoy; the enthusiasm and sheer joy they exhibit is amazing!
 
We went to a trial today and competed in “pre agility” which is a chance to compete before it gets serious, only for novice dogs. It’s only jumps and tunnels, and is supposed to just be fun.
Well, it was a learning curve! 😆
We had two courses to run. The first was quite turny and complicated.
The way it works is that you get to choose the height your dog is jumping at - of course in trials, this is dictated by the size of the dog, but we’re only learning, so we choose. Most of the dogs (border collies, to Shadow size) will eventually be jumping 60cm but are training at 40cm. So the choices for the competition were: 20cm for the mini dogs, 40cm for most of us, and a couple at 60cm (those dogs who were up to testing their full height).
Thd first step was walking the course. You will probably have seen this at Crufts and the like. I always thought it looked a bit dickish but today I understood it for the first time. There were combinations that I had to “try” (obviously without a dog!) several different ways before choosing the one that I knew would work best for me and Shadow. Other teams would choose different options. And as I walked the course, I practiced my body language to push my dog into the obstacles in the correct direction, and suddenly all that cringey pretentiousness wasn’t that at all, it was totally necessary to work out the course.

I’ll keep this shortish by just saying that the boy was awesome, despite the really really challenging environment. A month ago he wouldn’t have been able to cope with this at all. It still wasn’t easy for him, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if I felt I had to pull him before we started (and would have happily done so) but as it was, he became more confident the longer we waited. He kept rolling on his back to ask for tummy rubs, even with other dogs snarking at each other nearby.

Anyway, we did our two rounds on two different courses. Both times, the boy was great, and both times I forgot the course in the middle 😂
Happily, I didn’t send him over any wrong obstacles, I just had to regroup and work out which jump came next, so we had no faults, just lost some time. Despite my nonsense, in the end, we came third! Out of about fifteen teams, so I was astounded! 😁

I learnt so much, and things I need to work on, so I’m looking forward to the next one 😁
 

Candy

Biscuit Tin Guardian
We went to a trial today and competed in “pre agility” which is a chance to compete before it gets serious, only for novice dogs. It’s only jumps and tunnels, and is supposed to just be fun.
Well, it was a learning curve! 😆
We had two courses to run. The first was quite turny and complicated.
The way it works is that you get to choose the height your dog is jumping at - of course in trials, this is dictated by the size of the dog, but we’re only learning, so we choose. Most of the dogs (border collies, to Shadow size) will eventually be jumping 60cm but are training at 40cm. So the choices for the competition were: 20cm for the mini dogs, 40cm for most of us, and a couple at 60cm (those dogs who were up to testing their full height).
Thd first step was walking the course. You will probably have seen this at Crufts and the like. I always thought it looked a bit dickish but today I understood it for the first time. There were combinations that I had to “try” (obviously without a dog!) several different ways before choosing the one that I knew would work best for me and Shadow. Other teams would choose different options. And as I walked the course, I practiced my body language to push my dog into the obstacles in the correct direction, and suddenly all that cringey pretentiousness wasn’t that at all, it was totally necessary to work out the course.

I’ll keep this shortish by just saying that the boy was awesome, despite the really really challenging environment. A month ago he wouldn’t have been able to cope with this at all. It still wasn’t easy for him, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if I felt I had to pull him before we started (and would have happily done so) but as it was, he became more confident the longer we waited. He kept rolling on his back to ask for tummy rubs, even with other dogs snarking at each other nearby.

Anyway, we did our two rounds on two different courses. Both times, the boy was great, and both times I forgot the course in the middle 😂
Happily, I didn’t send him over any wrong obstacles, I just had to regroup and work out which jump came next, so we had no faults, just lost some time. Despite my nonsense, in the end, we came third! Out of about fifteen teams, so I was astounded! 😁

I learnt so much, and things I need to work on, so I’m looking forward to the next one 😁
Brilliant! How exciting! I always remember how much GGJ and I loved Flyball and it was such a bonding experience for us, really helped us to become a team. You and Shadow are looking really good there!
 

Jacqui-S

Moderator
Location
Fife, Scotland
Well done Shadow!
When we did a bit of agility I was useless at remembering the order of the course AND struggled to keep up. Sophie of course was much better.
It was all just a bit of fun for us.
 

HAH

Moderator
Location
Devon, UK
Fantastic @snowbunny !! This is a super read, and clearly you and Shadow have found another fun challenge together. It’s blooming hard work, I bet you’re loving the mental agility involved from the handler’s perspective! Do you have a goal in mind, or will you see where it takes you?
 
Top