Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Super Smart Puppy

Leo's breeder said he needed a job. His brother has been doing agility for a while. Turns out he's doing nose work, too. Another brother is doing canine freestyle. Do we sense a trend here?

So yesterday after work I took the dogs in the back yard with the intention of playing fetch to burn off some energy. Neither cared about the ball at all so I decided to work with Vegas on the dog walk. This is what happened and where it took us.

Tonight we added a jump. Success! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Foundation Class, Week 2

I have an 11.5" rockstar on my hands. Seriously. Leo is going to completely rock once he's truly trained. He is showing such an affinity for agility. He is willing. He is smart. He is energetic. And he smiles all the time. We did our circular jump sequence again tonight handling it from the left and right. No problems there - in fact we had enough speed his hair was really blowing back, a beautiful sight to see. We tried the wobble board and didn't achieve much. I'm going to discard using that one anymore since it's causing him to be afraid instead of giving him confidence. I had neglected to work on targeting with him this week using a butter container lid or something similar so I was quick to grab one of those and work on sit/stay then release to target the lid in between things. For an hour class with six dogs, there really isn't down time. We are able to keep moving through stations and working on things. After we warmed up on the jump sequence we got to move on to the tunnel. Initially Autumn had it set up at about four feet long. It didn't really take any effort to send Leo through the tunnel - even without me being right on the other end where he could see me. By the end of class he had run through it at about eight feet in length with his leash trailing behind with little prompting. Super exciting!

We also introduced the tire tonight. Our instructor said she won't spend a lot of time on it but it will be available for us throughout the remaining weeks of class. Leo struggled a bit, mostly because he's still a bit sensitive to the clanging, banging noises others might be making and whether that means something might come crashing down on him. After a couple of attempts alone, one of the instructors held him while I went to the other side of the tire to call him through. Success! Well, once. The second time Sir Leo still decided to run around the tire. LOL. But, the third and subsequent times - event by myself - he got it and jumped through willingly. Go Leo!

We went over the a-frame again tonight. This time there was no intro necessary for Leo. I just led him at it and gave him some space to gain momentum and up he went! In fact, he hit the bottom and turned around and went over it again. Now to work on targeting....certainly he's not leaping off but I want a criteria. I was leaning toward four on but after he hit a solid two on/two off and held it until I released him with an "OK," I'm thinking that will be the way to go. I know with him I'll for sure need criteria and I want to train contacts solidly this time. It's been a bit of a struggle with big sis and I don't want to go there with him since I know he's going to be a speedy boy on the course.

All in all it was a fantastic class and I am SO excited for this little guy's future. Perhaps I'll get video or pictures in the future but for now, just imagine a blur of orange fur and know it's Leo.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Leo Started His Agility Career!

Leo's agility career started on Monday. The first lesson of our seven week session was the first my youngest son, Zach, would be able to attend so initially the plan was for him to do most of the exercises. Unfortunately the dogs tend to perform better with Mom and the boys get frustrated easily. So suffice it to say we both worked with Leo but Zach says he doesn't want to do agility with him anymore. We shall see....  
Waiting for class to start
Our classes are through Columbia Agility Team and our instructor is Autumn. Autumn was kind enough to send us out an outline ahead of class so we knew what to expect going in. Here is our week 1 agenda: Week 1 ~

*** Set realistic and obtainable goals for you and your dog***
Class Objectives
Introduction of classmates/ Instructor
Barn Rules
Handlers will learn to play/ interact with their dog
Dogs will work on stays (1 minute)
Handlers will learn how to lure
Handlers will learn how to reward
Handlers will learn the safety of the equipment used in class
Handlers will be introduced to obstacles (visual)
A Frame Introduction
Contact Plate Introduction

NOTE: Please work with your dog during the week. Work ten minutes twice daily during the week and more frequently if possible. Every time you handle your dog, you are training!! Methods of training are always positive re-enforcement.

Class Description
Work on Jumps (both sides)
Work on ladder and buja board
Work on sits, stays, recalls


The buja board was very scary for Leo and I'm not certain he'll ever be comfortable with it or that it will be necessary. Nonetheless, we worked on it with tons of positive reinforcement, praise, and treats. We didn't get around to the ladder in class but I'm confident in what that exercise entails and have already practiced it at home in the past. All in all, I'm excited to see how Leo progresses. I think he's going to make an awesome little agility partner. He is eager to learn, smart as a whip, and has a delightful personality. Here is a compilation of the video I took in class. The only section I really wished I had, too, was when I was working him on the a-frame. Initially he was quite hesitant but after the second time, he really got what I wanted and charged right up the ramp and down the other side without concern. Go Leo!