Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finally! Agility Class has begun....

After five straight weeks in a row of being cancelled due to bad weather, Chance's agility class started yesterday. Boy oh boy was it fun! I will have to bring my camera next week....

There are 6 other dogs in his class: two Labs, a Labradoodle, an Australian Cattle dog (I think), a dachshund, and a Golden Retriever. I was surprised that the majority of handlers there were women. There was one older couple and one young couple. Also a pair of sisters. Everyone was really nice.

Leslie, our teacher, has been teaching and competing in agility for 10 years. Wow! I honestly didn't know it had been around that long. She is wonderful. She's very patient and informative. I really like her.

Chance did really well. He liked all the equipment and took it all pretty much in stride. The only parts he's a little wary of are the weave poles and the tunnel. But by the end of the class he was doing both with some encouragement. I guess most dogs don't like the weave poles, so we are going to do more work with them next week.

If anyone doesn't know, agility is an obstacle course that your dogs runs while you direct him to the next piece of equipment. There's lots of running for people, and lots more for the dog! It is timed and I think dogs are also allotted points for how they hit the obstacles. Also, in every competition, the course is a little different.

It was so interesting to see how to teach your dog to do different obstacles. The weave poles were particularly interesting to me. If you've never seen it, you've gotta. It's amazing! I'm sure there's tons of videos on YouTube (I can't figure out how to post videos on here). There is a set of poles, I'm guessing at around twelve. They are all in a line and the dog has to start at the right side and weave between each pole. They do this at a running pace in competition, and it's just incredible to watch! Dogs are so athletic! Anyway, one method to teach them this is to pull the poles apart a bit and have the dogs run through a channel in the middle. Then you gradually push them together and apparently the dog just begins weaving automatically. Cool huh?

The other really cool one to watch is the A-Frame. There are boards angled about five feet or so up and down in an "A" shape. The dog runs up and down as fast as he can. Chance loved this one and has no qualms about it whatsoever.

Boy howdy was he fun to watch! He just soaked in all in. He really loved it. And so did I.

It's fun to see how putting him in these classes has helped in so much to come out of his shell. I wouldn't believe he was as shy and fearful as he was if I hadn't witnessed to myself. It has given him so much confidence. And it's been a really bonding experience. It's also been really fun to learn something new and meet new people.

I just love that dog so stinking much! He's amazing!

I can't wait for next week.

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