Saturday, September 27, 2008

Agility Update

Last weekend, I took Iris over to watch some of the NADAC trial. I figured it would be a good opportunity to start exposing her to a trial environment (and people and dogs in general). It was the largest number of people and dogs I've ever had her around. She did great! I kept her pretty far away from everything and let her look around, had her do some obedience, and gave lots of praise and treats every time a dog walked past us and she didn't explode. I didn't push her very hard at all because it was her first time out.

To keep enough distance from the trial, we had to be closer to the road, so Iris ended up being a lot more interested in the cars. At least there were only a couple cars that drove past. The only thing that really weirded her out was a guy who had a very pronounced limp, but I did get her attention back on me, so no exploding. Initially, she jumped when she heard the loudspeaker (megaphone? I couldn't tell what they had) but after hearing it a couple times, she was completely ignoring it. She seemed to really relax one she got used to being there, so overall I think it was a positive experience for her.

I was also amazed by how quickly Iris recognized people from agility class. She saw Sandy from a pretty good distance away and started wagging her little nub. Iris does not wag for strangers. I was surprised because although Iris has seen Sandy in class regularly, Iris hasn't really interacted with anyone from class much. She saw Julie from way across the field and started whining. If Julie is here, where are the sheep??? Goofy girl.

Iris was full of piss and vinegar at agility class on Tues. The course included the teeter, table and chute. Iris hasn't seen the chute in a very long time. We were supposed to have the dogs "go" to the teeter and the table. There's also a front cross after the first tunnel.

Baxter (lab) was in class and I know he was stressing Iris out. He's a big black dog with a big bark, and something about him bugs her (poor Baxter, he's a nice boy!) Iris wanted to go cause trouble right from the start. Brat dog.

The goofy zoomie Aussie came out to play. She knows I think she's funny, which doesn't really help. But at least we're both having fun, right? She did not fly off the teeter (Katrin was standing right there, probably for my own safety more than my dog's). However, Iris did do the teeter backwards and wants to know if she can get bonus points for creativity.

I still have trouble with front crosses. I haven't quite mastered the art of watching my dog and watching where I'm going at the same time. I'm good at watching my dog and generally have no idea where I'm going. Crosses of any sort are my biggest challenge right now.

The last obstacle was the chute, which Iris hasn't seen since ABC. If I remember correctly, she never actually did the chute without me holding up the end. Well, she did it just fine on her own! It took a little coaxing while she was in there, but she figured it out on her own. Good girl!

She tired herself out so much with her zooming and stressing, she was pretty brain fried at the end of the night, but I think she had a good class.


Katrin said...

Great job! :-)

Jules said...

Woo-hoo! What a good mum.