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Old 05-20-2010, 04:23 AM   #1
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Default First agility lessons

Oscar, Simba and I went to an agility class last night. It was a class that kinda specialises in rescue dogs, nervous dogs and ones that can be a bit naughty.

I was a bit nervous, as Simba is so nervy and Oscar is such a blockhead sometimes - plus it was a bit of a long trip to get there so I thought the dogs would be a bit overexcited.

The trainer told me to walk them separately around the field, to get them used to the sounds and smells etc, and to watch the other dogs at work.

I had a go with Oscar first, and once I found my 'silly voice' i actually managed to keep his attention on me - yep, I think I sounded like a complete fool, but he got really excited and was boinging about for me. We were told to start off just familiarising with the equipment, and working with one at a time to get Oscar used to it.

I still don't know the proper names for the equipment, but we managed to get Oscar going over the jumps - he managed a triple jump, through the tunnel (that one took quite a bit of encouragement, his legs are so long he finds it difficult to crouch down, but he did it after a few goes of me crawling through!). He also managed to go over the walk board frame (again, he struggles with his gangly legs and he needed a bit of help to balance as the boards were narrow). And he was running through the two rows of poles (not the weaves).

The trainer said we did very well for our first attempt, and Oscar clearly enjoyed it a lot, his tail was wagging like mad and he was so excited, at points he started walking up the boards and wagging at me (look at me mum!)

Our main thing to work on will be his contact, as the trainer said that dogs of his build tend to struggle with contact, because of the stride and the way they boing about - but for now it's all about the fun and just building our focus.

Simba didn't do much really, as the trainer suggested I just bring her along and familiarise her for a few sessions. She did meet some of the other dogs and she went over some small jumps, but we left it at that for now.

At the end of the session, all the friendly dogs were let off lead to have a romp together - and Oscar has a new best friend - a Pharoah hound/Doberman cross (who is gorgeous).

I didn't manage to take any pictures, because I had my hands full but will try to get some next week as hopefully Mr Mel is coming with us.

Hope that's not too boring - but i'm very proud of him, and myself, because I didn't know if we'd be able to do it as he can be so pigheaded and distracted.

Really looking forward to next week - just wish it was a bit closer so we could go more.
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Old 05-20-2010, 07:37 AM   #2
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Wow that sounds like a really nice start, and its not booring. Trust me I know how it can be *lol* and for Simba slow and steady is her pace, I think you proven that to yourself more than once. However I think this will do her good, it's prooven that agility work (balancing, jumping obstacles etc) help to increase a dogs self esteem, which I think will be good for madam strop. I can't wait to see pictures though, really cant. The dobie cross sounds over the top cute as well Im very glad for you, just imagine that Simba would do this two years ago?? Remember the pain you had with her then? be proud girl you deserve it!
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:01 AM   #3
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That's GREAT Mel! Oscar sounds like he had a grand time. Simba will be okay too.
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:17 AM   #4
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Yup! The silly voice is sooooo important to many of the dogs to throttle them up and keep their focus on you... in my class our trainer was demonstrating on a poodle who was owned by a very quiet voiced lady. The trainer took the same dog that had slowly plodded through the loop a moment before... using nothing more than a silly high energy voice she propelled that dog up over and through! The change was amazing.

The first few classes are a lot of exploring and introductions. And over time it continues to be about fun and teamwork. I hope you find it as rewarding as I do.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:22 PM   #5
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Great work Mel! Don't worry about the silly voice either, it keeps the dogs focused on you and that's so important both inside the agility classes and at home too I wonder how well Mr Mel will do, I take it he will be participating in the class next week? Look forward to the next intallment Well done you!!!!
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:45 PM   #6
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Yeah about the silly voice, when I deal with an insecure/disobedient/aggro dog I use the silly voice all the time to keep the momentum going on play and focus when I walk them. Oh god, I have sore throat after a while, usually when first having a dog the first two weeks I live on Halls, and vicks.but it does work!
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:19 PM   #7
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Agility is a great ego booster for any dogs,whether shy or not!
.Not surprised that yr boy loved it and I'm sure he will do,great at it!.
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:05 PM   #8
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I'm so glad you had a good time!! Let us know how it progresses.
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Old 05-21-2010, 12:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melamaphine View Post
yep, I think I sounded like a complete fool, but he got really excited and was boinging about for me. through the tunnel (that one took quite a bit of encouragement, his legs are so long he finds it difficult to crouch down, but he did it after a few goes of me crawling through!).

Our main thing to work on will be his contact, as the trainer said that dogs of his build tend to struggle with contact, because of the stride and the way they boing about - but for now it's all about the fun and just building our focus.
I had to giggle when you're describing Oscar "boinging" around - as I can just picture this gangly goofyball bouncing around like a puppy! I bet he probably was wondering what on earth you were doing crawling through the tunnel at first, though.
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:34 AM   #10
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Thank you

Yep, lots of boinging. When he gets excited, he has a slight habit of jumping up at me. I would stop it, but it's part of him getting his bounce on and getting him hyped up, so it's tricky.

I did have a few 'tigger' moments with him, but nothing too bad.

We had a lot of fun, so are definitely going to continue, he was utterly pooped out when we got home.

Nobody could believe that he's middle-aged, I think some thought he was barely more than a puppy - but that's pointers for you I now realise.

He does show a bit of his 'older man' side, he doesn't have the recovery time I imagine a younger dog might have. He will go and go while you're out, but when you get home he will sleep for hours and hours. After agility, he just collapsed in a heap on the sofa and didn't move for the rest of the night - apart from to lift his leg up a bit when he wanted a belly rub

He's a good boy really, he has his moments but he has come a long way in 7.5 months. Main thing is, his tail does not stop wagging now, no more clamped between his legs. Apart from the odd little thing, he really is my perfect dog and I just feel so lucky that he's mine
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