Winter has been pretty mild in Portland so far this year. Remember back a couple years ago when agility class got canceled for several weeks due to a series of winter weather events? This winter I think the temperature has dipped below 32F a grand total of two times, both overnight lows. It has been more dry than usual, and also windier.
We did start getting some patches of rain recently, so the low areas at the park we go to before agility have been collecting some water.
While we were at the park before class this week, Rain started out with her usual excitement but before long she would fetch the ball but not bring it all the way back. She got pretty barky, barking at me instead of completing the fetch game. If I walked to her and grabbed the ball she’d be ready to fetch again. I think she was trying to convince me that she wasn’t tired, when in fact she was. Is Rain finally slowing down, at nearly nine years old?
We arrived at agility to find a gray mist hanging over the cow pasture behind the agility property, hiding the road we can usually see from the pens. It looked peaceful, yet slightly mysterious.
Our newer Sheltie classmate wasn’t in class this week—his person had apparently gone on vacation to Hawaii (much like the measles recently did!)—so it was just Linda with Aria, and Jackie with Poppy and Cedar, until Flute’s person walked in without Flute and just observed us for part of class.
We walked a partial course, numbers 1-11, where “1” was actually two obstacles. The opening also ended up being the toughest part for Rain and I—we had to practice a couple of things I know Rain is normally comfortable doing—to get the opening sequence. Normally she’s all over “out” and rear crosses don’t faze her, but there was either something different about this setup that was making them difficult, her brains weren’t completely turned on yet, or something else was going on with her.
Descending in jump height, Poppy went next, then Aria.
After we had all had a chance to run the first eleven obstacles, we tackled 11-16. Molly thought most of her students found it easier than the first part, but the first time through Rain didn’t quite get the tire right, so it disconnected at the bottom, which spooked her a bit.
Here’s Poppy doing the tire. Poppy was having a great day, and Jackie noted that she has been performing well since she lost some weight. Poppy didn’t need to lose weight, but Cedar did so the whole pack has been slimming down a bit in solidarity.
There was a set of twelve weaves (in channel form) on the second half of the course. Rain had one pretty successful run of those, but there was one she seemed to pop out of a fair amount. Our last time through I realized it was set a tiny bit closer in than the others, which might have been the problem.
Rain was significantly calmer at the end of class than at the beginning—although she still wanted to go outside and play. It was now raining and getting chilly, so I obliged her but not for long. She didn’t seem very happy to be heading out, but I thought she might be a little extra tired. And once she had her dinner at home, she was pretty much zonked for the rest of the evening, so I might have been right.