December 21, 2014 by Julia
Up until now, the majority of my training time with Delta has been spent on Obedience. We’d done some foundations agility when she was a youngster but hadn’t had a chance to follow up with more classes. Then in October we began a new Foundations class which reviewed and built on our existing skills.
Delta has been a blast to train since Day 1. She is smart, picks things up quickly, and enjoys both food and play as a reward. But something is else in play when we’re working agility.
Along with her athleticism, Delta has shown a lot of natural talent for this sport. When I tell people how much she’s enjoying our classes and how different it has been from Obedience, they assume that means she didn’t enjoy Obedience. That isn’t it. She enjoyed Obedience and she did fairly well – I feel we were held back by my inexperience, not her feelings or aptitude. When we work in Agility, there is an X factor. Things click and something natural shines through. I’m still inexperienced, but it doesn’t seem to hold us back in the same way.
Here’s a naughty example – one night at class the trainer was introducing us to the broad jump. Since Delta has done some work with an obedience broad jump, it was no big deal for her. We went first and Delta took the jump easily… and then took a tunnel, the A-frame, a jump, the teeter, and finally hopped on the table. The obstacles weren’t set up in a straight line, she had to make deliberate turns to create her own course. And she’d never done the teeter with full motion before, just a propped teeter that bounced slightly. Putting that all together on her own and hitting the teeter contact (and not scaring the crap out of herself!) showed me how much she understood the game.
Of course, we’ll need to work on her playing the game with me rather than making her own course.
Along with the goodies I bought at the dog show, I purchased puzzle piece rubber matting to set up a training area in our basement. Now we’ve got a great area that is big enough for skills and small sequences to keep up with our practice during the winter.
This is one of our first nights playing with the (nearly complete) matted area. I set up a sequence that worked for my handling skills and we doodled around a bit before moving on to practice our 2×2 weaves. It isn’t a perfect sequence, but I love that you can see her thinking on the tippy board.
I was going to take two weeks off from Agility Training during the holidays, but the trainer is offering classes and I can’t help myself. I want to keep up the momentum because she’s doing so well. If we can continue on our current course, I see a move up to the sequences/handling class in our not-too-distant future.