Rain and I started our first agility class last Thursday! It takes place in a horse arena/stable in a rural-ish area outside Oregon City, taught by a woman named Molly. Our class has only three dogs and their people: a woman with a black schnauzer, a woman named Linda and her white Westie, and Rain and myself. Strangely enough, all the dogs are about six years old!
When we first arrived Thursday and made our way past the stables to the arena entrance, Rain was barking her head off. I was mortified. Were we back to square one? Were we going to get kicked out of class before it even began? Molly had us set up a little further away from everyone else, and once Rain was on her special mat and started focusing on earning her kibble, she quieted down. PHEW.
Which is a good thing because I forgot to grab the extra-special Kong I had made for her the night before and put in the freezer!
Molly used to have two Aussies herself, and it was really nice to be in a place where Rain was better understood. She recognized right away how Rain was being pushy, demanding my attention and getting rewarded for doing so. Molly made reference to Aussies being vocal when they’re emotional, and during one exercise when Rain was trying to figure out what it was I wanted, Molly remarked that Rain was “a quiet thinker.” Molly seems to be a good fit for us!
We racked up what sounded like a lot of homework during our first hour together. However, I started working on a couple of the items the very next morning on our morning walk, and Saturday afternoon we practiced one of the more challenging exercises. Rain is already showing improvement on these new commands! What a smart doggie.
Another thing that’s great about this class is that Molly emails us notes each week so we don’t have to retain everything. One of the (many) things that was helpful about my mom going to Reactive Rover with us was she could focus on those aspects and pay better attention than I could. Since I was frequently half-focused on Rain to keep her from barking.
My mom hopes to attend class with us occasionally to see how we’re doing, but she’s giving us a few weeks to “settle in” before she goes with us.
We’re looking forward to next week!