The “Not Normal” Dog: Weekly Agility Update

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Rain and I practiced our homework all week…or at least as much of it as I could remember. We practiced our right spins. We practiced an exercise where you try to get your dog to stand in a box without using commands, movements, or lures to cue them in. We practiced going further with our “touch” command, moving from a simple right hand/left hand touch to up high, down low, between the legs, and more.

When we got to our second agility class Thursday, Rain got to show how far she had come in just one week. Apparently she likes having an audience—she did great when everyone was watching. She even did better on the box exercise than she had done during our practice sessions!

Rain was also less barky coming in this week than last. During class she still got bored/antsy at times and started demanding my attention, but overall I think she toned it down a notch.

Once everyone had demonstrated their homework and got more personalized notes, it was time to learn new material. We started with some exercises that built on our previous lesson (that’s when I discovered what I had forgotten to practice this week…whoops!). Then we gathered around our first obstacle: the pause table.

Different agility organizations (AKC, USDAA, CPE, etc) have different rules about what is acceptable on a pause table—a sit or a down, just a down, etc. Our trainer Molly teaches a down, because it works for all the organizations under their current rules.

Rain went first.

Rain hopped up on the table with ease. She watched me, and the first time I lured her into a down while introducing the word “table.” We left the table and then did the same thing two more times. On the third try, Rain didn’t need the lure—she lay down by herself. It was a little slow, with her paws daintily draped over the edge, but she was doing well.

When we were done, Molly pointed out to the others that what they had seen was “not normal.” She meant that most dogs don’t get the table command so quickly, so our classmates shouldn’t expect the same results from their first try.

However, “not normal” seems to me like a great general description of Rain, between the barking and all the other quirky things she does. Don’t be surprised if I use this phrase ad nauseum!

Once everyone had their turn, class was over. Rain and I dilly-dallied leaving the place, but I snapped a photo of the building our class is in (above) before finally heading home for the evening.

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