Sunday, August 25, 2013

Actual agility. Seriously.

After several months of missing out on weekly agility club practices, I finally drove down and joined in the fun today. And after months of not posting about training and agility...I mean geeze, 'agility' is in the blog address afterall...I'm actually writing a post about training Danee today. Will wonders never cease?

Danee hasn't been to the arena since May. And while we've been training on obstacles at home, I wasn't sure where her state of mind would be with the busy environment and new dogs. So my goals were simple, and none of them really had anything to do with agility.

1) Practice taking her in and out of the x-pen she shared with Holly in a busy place. My criteria for the x-pen is that both dogs must sit when I open the door. Either of them pops up, I close it again. Then I leash the dog I want and release her by name, and the other dog must remain in a sit until the door is closed again. Danee rocked this. Holly...not so much. Holly was pretty certain I should only be working with her and not Danee. Jealous much?

2) Be able to go into 'working mode' outside of the ring, inside the ring, and focus on whatever the task is at hand. Danee rocked this. She was totally comfortable and able to dive right into working mode in the busy environment. And it was extra busy today too...there were puppies everywhere! She happily did tricks outside the ring, next to the ring while other dogs were running, and inside the ring right before her turn. No problem with focus at all. Not only that, but she did many short obstacle sequences and nailed each one. No hesitation, no hint of stress or confusion at all.

3) Chill out when she's not working. She was able to chill in the pen somewhat, but was not relaxed enough to lie down. She watched everything and stayed very alert. Then again, Holly can't chill either...but Holly takes it the next level and barks incessantly when she's overaroused. So, I'm calling Danee's chill attitude, compared to Holly's, a win.

4) If she wants, to greet new people and new dogs. She did. She took cookies with gusto from several people and shied away from no one. She also liked several of the new dogs, including another dog not unlike herself...a cute little terrier mix.

I was thrilled with Danee today. It was like she'd been doing this for years and had no problem with anything that got thrown her way today. Actual agility included. She sequenced 5 obstacles in a row and drove down to each obstacle with gusto. She even experienced the chute for the first time. Since I do only NADAC, I don't bother training the chute or table. But she hopped onto the table today and dove into the chute (held partway open) with glee.

And so not to be left out of her own blog, Holly got to play too. I only worked on distance and layering with short sequences. She rocked it too. Granted we did some pretty simple stuff today, but it's nice to ease back into things and build on layers of confidence instead of presenting her with nothing but challenge after challenge. If I did that all the time, the poor girls brain would pop.

Both girls took long naps when we got home. Next week, we play with tunnels!


Muttsandaklutz said...

Wow, that is a pretty darn successful day for sure! And YAY for glee and gusto!! :D

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

That's great!!! So glad everything is going well with Danee.

KB Bear said...

It sounds like both of them did great at what you asked of them. Perfect - especially after so long away from the agility scene.