I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY ARMS /rant
Today’s class was pretty good although we did have some little hiccups. I think a lot has to do with Ranger’s limited exercise since last Friday, and throw in the warmer evening. We started with having them go over some low caveletti work and then some table work. Ranger is happy to bounce on and off the table, but still needs luring into the down. I really need to work on it at home, but first need to find something to be the table. He has a pretty solid “go to your mat” so that should help us.
Jump-tunnel-jump involved him coming unglued and trying to climb/jump/stand on the tunnel entrance the first couple tries. Just full of bouncyomgicannotcontainmyself energy but we finally managed a good sequence. We’re still running into issues with him watching me or my hands and not paying attention (which I think had a lot to do with this). I end up moving like a robot with my arms by my side trying to draw no attention to them, but sometimes he still tries to come mouth them and loses his line to the next obstacle. Putting them on my stomach doesn’t help either.
His A-frame was good, but he’s fast and we weren’t using a wait before it. If I rush to get to the other side he goes faster, if I stay slow he is ahead of me and I can’t see to click as he hits the contact. I know a lot has to do with my timing and ability so we’ll trundle along. Maybe I should ask to put him in a wait before most obstacles?
Tunnel-jump-tunnel had to be broken down into a reward after each piece to slow him down and re-engage his brain. He did check out once though and bombed past the tunnel and headed for the fence…I ran (read: quickly hobbled) in the opposite direction and he came right back (this was before we broke it down).
Sometimes I watch the other people in the class and wish my dog was as slow. It’s partially that he’s the biggest dog in the class (him and one other are jumping at 16″, the rest are at 10″) so he’s obviously going to get places faster, but even the other big dog has a beautiful slow canter between obstacles while mine it creating his own squeal marks and dust clouds. I think it’s going to take us longer to get farther along (not that I care how long it takes us if/when we’re ready to trial) only because I have to learn how to do everything fast…and trying to control my brain, eyes, voice, and arms while he’s at mach 10 makes me feel like a lump.
Ranger’s teeter (and eventual teeter-jump-jump) were the highlight of my class though. I use a wait command so that I can get up to the end in time (still having the instructor there to control it) and he handled it really well and wasn’t bothered by the noise. He released and popped over both jumps…apparently it’s the straightest they’ve every seen him go. I’m super happy he enjoys the teeter because when we started with the baby teeter last summer at a previous beginner agility he was terrified of the noise and we had to use pillows under the landing to soften it. Also, at least for now, his wait is fantastic.
Is it easier or harder to start agility with a fast dog? While I glance wistfully at the other people who need to encourage their dogs to pick up the pace in class I can’t help but feel a little jealous since I blink and mine would be 5 jumps ahead. This is the dog who kept taking the last two once strides as a spread jump in our last set of sessions.