Last night’s agility was probably his worst, but also our best if that’s possible. When we were warming up he was bouncy and distracted trying to zoom off on the end of his leash a few times before settling in. We started with them going over a cavaletti set which Ranger took in bounding leaps (instead of trotting over nicely) and when we moved to the weaves he had literally no idea what was being asked (handlers walking on one side while the instructor loosely held the lead and just prevented them from making mistakes. He didn’t get it at all.
Then they put up the gates to have the dogs go through on their own and we took it very slowly with me on one side to guide him and the instructor on the other. The other dogs got it pretty quick and even did a little flying changes to add speed, but we worked on walking through v.e.r.y slowly and not trying to catapult over them (which he did once jumping the WHOLE setup from right to left. We did end on an easy slow walk through with him going where he was supposed to. Not sure if that’s the right setup for him to learn weaves so I might look at teaching him a different way.
Next we did the A-frame with click on contact and feed in box at bottom. The dogs are supposed to be free a few strides beforehand, but that involved Ranger pretty much soaring over the top, missing the contact entirely and landing in the box. We managed a good turn by gently holding him until his feet were on the bottom of the frame and then letting go while calmly walking it.
We then built up to a jump – spread – jump – tire – tunnel. The jumps were high enough that he couldn’t just blast through the whole thing and he’d have to use his brain. He tried once and didn’t shorten his stride enough for the spread and ducked out; before doing a little zoom followed by a fake spook at equipment followed by sniffing some grass and then spooking again. It reminded me of the horses when we’d train and they’d get frustrated at not being able to figure out what they needed to do.
When I tried to put him back into place he didn’t want to sit and gummed my hands so I asked for a sit, treated, and took a minute to pat him. When he was settled we worked through the sequence very slowly and he got it! He even ran ahead of me to dive into the tunnel!
Final exercise was the dog walk with one of the instructors at the bottom with target and treats. I feel like I need to buy her a bottle of wine because watching Ranger gallop up and over to slide down the end into a stop must be pretty intimidating (the look on her face was one of apprehension lol). Most of the dogs were freely started a few strides away, but Ranger was walked to the bottom and held until there was no pressure from him on the collar and then calmly released…this slowed him down so he was only twice as fast as every other dog, and to give him credit he stopped at the bottom each time.
After class I asked for some exercises we could do at home to work on “Ranger being, well, Ranger”. This week we’re working on a jump with his food bowl on the other side. When he looks forward he is to be released from him wait. As this gets better I’m to start being in different positions (farther away/in front/in back/etc) as he tends to not look where he’s going and give the jr instructor a heart attack.