Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good news!

Today was an agility event that our club participated in. We held a demonstration and confidence course for attendees interested in trying out agility. Right before we re-set the course to do our second part of the demonstration, I decided to try Leo on some of the obstacles. He was energetic and really wanting to play so I thought it would be a great time. I may have mentioned before he's weird about surfaces. He will steer clear of anything that in any way shape or form that disrupts his concrete or asphalt surface when walking; he doesn't particularly care for gravel; and he doesn't like the slick flooring at Petsmart. Therefore, my biggest concern with him for agility has been the potential to be fearful of the obstacles because most have Contactacoat or some other surfacing material.

This week has bode well for him, though. It started on Thursday when Leo, Vegas, and I went to the park. We walked down to the dock after our meandering time in the woods. I had to carry him because he took one look at the metal grated surface of the dock ramp and said, "No way." On the way back up, I decided to leave him down on the dock and see if desperation to be with Vegas and I would convince Leo to make the decision himself.
That didn't happen. But, after carrying him part way, I made the tough decision to set him down and see what happened....
He didn't freak out! Yeah, for Leo!

Then today, he did better than I expected. Without help, trying the tunnel was almost futile although I did get him to go through a scrunched up tunnel twice. However, jumping was better. I set the bars on the ground and he was willing to go through the standards finally! Loose leash and repeatedly, it looks like he's losing his fear. And the pièce de résistance...after just three attempts at the a-frame, he willingly went up it (at a lowered height) and didn't lean toward the edge and me to get off. Whoohooo! My "little boy" gave me a lot of hope today for his future in agility. He seemed like he was having fun and really wanted to work with me. He was
distracted, too, what with a lot going on. But he was cooperative and less fearful and that meant a lot. Go Leo!

Friday, July 30, 2010

At long last...

Since Leo's basic obedience classes ended months ago I have hemmed and hawed on what to do with him. I really wanted to enroll him in another session of obedience classes but nothing ever met our scheduling requirements. Of course he's continually getting work when we go for a walk, off and on throughout the day at work, and at home. In fact, he has learned 'dance' recently and is starting to learn 'spin.' His stay could use work but is getting better. It's his leash walking and coming when called that are so lacking, unfortunately. And of course I have never trained a dog so small and am out of my element, so to speak, on working with such an independent and, at times, stubborn little dog.

The other issue I have struggled with is whether I will work with him or whether the kids will. Truth be told, I know they want to but I also know some of that is fleeting and I hate to have Leo's spirit crushed with regard to working and performance due to the kids' impatience. Plus, both are going into new schools in September (middle school and high school), both will be playing football, and Kane is starting to come into his own interests including going out with friends and girls. So, it isn't fair to backburner Leo and his training.

Through a Yahoo Group I belong to (NW Dog Activities) and Facebook, I learned of an upcoming Foundation Class session with a trainer Vegas and I have worked with before. Bobbie Lyons of Pawsitive Performance is great with dogs and knows her stuff. I look forward to the classes and seeing how things go for Leo. The classes will be held fairly close to home at a chic boutique pet store and doggy daycare center, Lexi Dog. They've got a fantastic facility and I look forward to introducing Leo to the world of agility as well as learning how to handle a tiny dog!

Wordless Friday