Agility #2

We started with our warm up inside with some puppy pushups, listening skills, and ball work. Ranger saw the ball and immediately tried crawling onto it making him the demo dog. He doesn’t mind going forward on it, but trying to manage his hind legs moving backward in a straight line while his front end was up on the ball ended in more arcs than straight lines. We have a ball at home so I need to find a pump and fill it up.

Outdoor classes are still giving us the add bonus of additional distractions. We started with tunnel-jump and have found that all my movements need to be slow for now. No running or even jogging since the minute the black ball of Ranger catapults out of the end he forgots everything except Ooooo, Hooman is moving! and misses the following jump. A few times he blasted past, but eventually he slowed down enough for us to calmly manage the next piece.

He loves to teeter so far (which means I must have done something right in our original class last summer which started with him terrified of the movement and bang) and he’s now making his way over slightly more settled (but still strong, I’m glad I’m not holding him on that side) and waiting to be released.

The class divided and we worked on two different stations for the rest of the class. In one, we worked on the A-frame. Eventually we had them going over on their own, clicking for contact touch, feeding in a marked area at the bottom and then hopping over a little jump. Honestly I’m not sure if he saw the jump, but he always went over it.

The other station was working on a ramp and having the dog go down to the end, placing their front feet off (while maintaining hind foot contact) and nose targeting a disc. Ranger didn’t eat the disc (yay!) but he definitely punched it with his nose, flipped it around with paw targeting and generally was a clumsy boy haha.

Have to get into doing some training this weekend to get ready for next week, but for now I am hoping for some long walks in the (finally) nice weather.

Happy Birthday Gauge

Ranger was invited to his first doggy birthday party for his “brother with a different mother” the Labnado.

dog birthday cake

awesome cake from Three Dog Bakery

I arrived a little early so that Gauge and Ranger could have a quick run first in their rough style before the other dogs arrived. The ‘guests’ were Ranger, Buddy (who comes and plays sometimes), and Scar (a HUGE boxer/gsd cross that ran like a gazelle). Ranger had an amazing time and for once there was a dog too fast for him to overtake.

dogs running in yard

Ranger has found a worthy opponent

dogs playing in yard

Racing across the yard

dogs in yard

lolling tongues and happy dogs

dog with cake

mmmm, birthday cake!

 

Agility is Back!

…and so many new things to deal with.

For starters, classes are now outside. I didn’t know that, but luckily I had my vest and only got cold towards the very end. Ranger of course doesn’t mind the cold at all and the first few minutes were spent trying without much luck to get his attention away from sniffing everything and trying to pee.

There are more of us now, but everything moved quickly. The two shelties from our previous class have continued and now we’ve added a pitty looking girl, a black/tan medium haired dog-reactive female (who is handled fantastically by her owner), and a schnauzer.

To start we jogged them around the perimeter (well, most people jogged, I kinda hobbled faster and tried to keep Ranger from zooming) once in each direction, then did our one jump warmup before lining up.

First item was tunnel to jump. Ranger was happy to blast through and bounce over the jump whether the pole was down or not. I was worried he would zoom right past me, but he came right to me for reward and grabbing his collar.

We worked on the teeter. To start B would hold the teeter and we’d walk our dogs along and then treat as she lowered it. Then we switched the B taking our dog along it (and lowering, this woman can multi-task) while we waited at the end with the reward. I love my boy and the happiness he shows at agility, but the amount of sheer enthusiasm pours off him. He wanted to race across, but we kept him slowed down.

Introduction to catwalk had them all go across with us beside them and then with us at the bottom. Ranger did great at his contacts (except the occasional back foot popping off at the end) and didn’t fall off!

Class ended with a tunnel-tunnel exercise. Ranger overshot the second tunnel, but after being turned around he went through. At the end of class he finally seemed a little more settled (and brain tired). I couldn’t have asked for him to be better out there and am excited to see next week when it’s not all so new.

Diving…err, scootering into spring (almost)

Well, there is no turning back now. I finally took the plunge, went into CycleSmith on Quinpool and ordered in my scooter.

Toucan 20 inch dog scooter

Soon I hope to be avoiding potholes and feeling the wind in my hair (or at least no gravel in my skin)

After researching and listening to people already in the sport of dog powered motion, I decided on the 20″ Toucan with suspension (which you can see the specs for here). It’s a solid scooter with the suspension that I need for my broken body. Down payment was paid and it should be in within the next two weeks!

Now I have no excuse to put off working the basic commands with Ranger to be ready.

dog sleeping on bed

scooter? How about snoozer?

 

Remember these nights

I didn’t bring my camera, but I don’t suppose it would have mattered as it couldn’t have caught what was so special about tonight.

Ranger and I went over to the school for a long line run and since there was some kibble in my pocket I threw in some training exercises in between. Ranger worked fantastic dragging the leash with sit and down stays – without and without recalls. He was happy and focused the entire time.

I think for the next little while I will just make his walks a little bit longer and insert a few mini training session within them. He really seemed to appreciate the break to run, smell, roll on the ground like he’s having a seizure, and generally act goofy.

Although he didn’t want to have anything to do with retrieving tonight…but I’ll take what I can get.

Final agility class of the session

dog laying down

Waiting his turn for the jump work

Today was Ranger’s final class for this agility session. Starting in two weeks we will be joining the Wednesday night classes at 6:30pm.

After starting with our warm up we did some work on foot awareness (on pivoting turns), keeping our dogs off leash but engaged with us, and some four jump bounce lines. Being in a class with two shelties means that everything needs to be put out farther for Ranger’s big stride, but it didn’t seem to matter the first couple times as he took jumps 3 and 4 as a veeery wide oxer. We ended up having to go back with me rewarding at jump three a few times before adding the last jump.

Ranger was great at the table with plenty of enthusiasm to leap up onto it and then be lured into the down. He also exploded off it with the release cue. We also worked on the stability ball today which he hasn’t seen since our Skills 2 course. He actually bounded right over to it and hopped on without being asked. We got a solid sit and down on it with him comfortably taking treats from me. His release was great too and didn’t involve a flurry of legs.

Over these weeks I have developed an appreciation for how hard he tries. We’ve come a lot farther than I had expected and his off leash work continues to impress me. I never thought in a million years he’d be able to stay focused on me with other dogs in the ring, but here we are.

Moving forward I need to work on more foot awareness, working him on the right side, and keeping him challenged.

boy feeding dog a treat

Ranger practising his commands with T

After agility we headed out to Gauge’s for a quick blast around for the dogs. I can walk Ranger as much as I want, but nothing gives him the physical energy release like rough housing with his chocolate friend. They chased sticks, chewed on each other, and had a good time.

dogs trotting away from camera

off to find some trouble to cause

This week should have plenty of nice weather to get out. Hoping to do some recall work tomorrow behind the school.

 

Agility #5 and new foster sister

At agility class this week the instructor had her two shelties and little terrier pup with her. Ranger was so excited to meet them all and of course played with the puppy. Which of course got him excited and barking (the young girl’s mother even said how loud and scary his bark was *rolls eyes* My dog’s bark is insane).

He seemed more focused on the cavaletti, with only the final pole or two being trickier as he tried to regain my eye contact. The crawl tunnel was lower and he willingly went through; his hips wanted to take the tunnel with him a bit though haha.

We worked on having the dogs work round a circle of jumps with us on the inside; just walking with them off leash and using our bodies to keep them in the right area. Ranger did well when he wasn’t watching me, and went past the other two waiting dogs (I think the aussie has left our class meaning it’s Ranger and two little shelties remaining) continuing over the jumps…I was so proud!

Worked more on the one-jump exercise. Ranger has a tendency to drag his hind legs through (slide the inside leg over the bar) so we’re keeping the treat out 2 feet until he gets his front legs over giving him some extra room to work. It did help and I’m now thinking a single jump at home to work with would be a great asset.

Things to work on with Ranger…yes, we got homework!

– precision sits (sitting into his front leg position – tucking bum – instead of rocking back)

– starting position (between legs circling round side from front).

– eye contact with treats in both hands held away from body (she used him as the demo: offered different behaviours, including jumping on her *d’oh* before working it out. Impulse control games are always a good bet for him)

Next week is our last session and then our new class will be on Wednesday evenings. The people in that class have moved a little slower and we’re moving a little faster so hopefully we meet right in the middle.

***

The new foster arrived. A withdrawn, growly, 5 year old lab mix. She hated the rescue worker for the whole drive until she realized she was being left with new people at which point she clung to her like white dog hair on a black skirt. She has no interest in Ranger and has made it quite clear. Luckily, Ranger takes growling very seriously and she is getting all the space she needs. She’s living in the kitchen right now, which means Ranger isn’t missing out on night-time cuddles or other attention.

I’m just so impressed with my lunk head interacting with her. Originally she didn’t want him even within eyesight, but slowly he’s worked his way up to the hallway entrance  without upsetting her. He listens to me if I ask him to back up, and enjoys all the extra treats he’s been getting.