Friday, October 15, 2010

Barbie's first agility class

I took Barbie to an oval in Bassendean, very close to the train line, for her first agility class. The rank beginners were taken by an instructor called T. He was a very cool guy. The very first exercise we did was about calling and turning the dog. The first time I called Barbie and went to turn her, she came to me, but then looked up and saw the wide open spaces and took off. She ran into a very dark adjacent park and I could barely see her shadow moving I followed her over there and then called, she came barrelling back, and past me, and then back to me again. After that T didn't want me to let her offleash much. I think she scared the beejesus out of everyone.

She did the straight tunnel for the first time ever, jumped well, and also did the low dogwalk the first time I asked her to. I think she is going to get confident enough with the obstacles, she spent most of the night sitting well and looking at me expectantly. She did good sit/stays as well. I need to work on restrained recalls in order to get her reliability up. We need some discipline in wide open spaces. Crazy dog's eyes lit up when she saw all that space.

I think we are going to have fun with this. Barbie also coped really well with the trains swishing past every 20 minutes or so.

She also jumped into my SUV tonight unassisted for the first time ever!

At the end of the class I let her off to play with T's border collies. Barbie chased them a little, and then ran into the little storeroom where all the agility stuff is kept. I asked T if there was any food in there, and he seemed surprised, 'there is, actually!'

There as a big knob of polony on the sink. T came in and snatched it up. He gave Barbie a bit and then she kept sniffing around the sink. She didn't really want to play with the Borders, which is interesting, so I took them home.

T said he would really love to see Barbie run a course, and so would I. We are going to work with directional stuff and restrained recalls in the park.

Go Barbie!

She has another CGC class tomorrow. I think agility is going to help her with her CGC as well.

It's funny because all the things that are challenges for the other dogs in the class are challenges for Barbie, but for the opposite reason. The dog has to stay calmly in the car, have it's leash clipped on, and wait to be told to jump out, without a lure. I think Barbie is getting there with that.

They need to stand calmly by the handler while we talk to a 'friendly stranger' - most dogs have the problem of being overstimulated and hyper, but Barbie had to build the confidence to let normal people pat her.

I need to train her to not react when someone loudly drops a package on the floor nearby as well.
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