Barkaholic/Workaholic: Weekly Agility Update


Some days are just a challenge starting the minute you walk out your front door. This week it happened on the day of our agility class.

That morning when I gave Rain the command to exit the front door for our morning walk, I didn’t see the person walking their dog right in front of our house while simultaneously talking on a phone using headphones. Rain was excited to go to the park and the sight of the other dog started the day out with a big barking eruption.

Once we were at the park we had some extra distractions while I was trying to practice with Rain one last time before class. When we finally got to the spot where we play ball to burn off her morning energy, it was already 7:10am—time to head home. We got a few throws in, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

When we got to agility, Rain was at least as barky as she was the first week of class. Since we arrived early, I did whatever I could to engage her and Molly taught us a new exercise that used a jump. It kept Rain engaged/quiet enough I was able to manage a little conversation while continuing the exercise. (Rain, of course, picked it up in a couple of minutes.)

During class Rain got distracted and excited by dogs she saw outside the barn. She barked when I was trying to listen to Molly or watch the other dogs in class.

In fact it became a class conversation at a certain point.

I was expressing frustration at not being able to focus on listening or our classmates during class. Everyone was really nice about it though, chiming in that a typical dog competition like flyball is far noisier than our three-dog class. Linda and Molly pointed out that Aussies are really intense so a certain type of patience is needed—for example, when they’re raring to go at 5am Saturday and you want to sleep in.

The barking may bother me, they assured me, but it doesn’t necessarily bother any of them. It had been a challenging day, but that knowledge did help a bit.

When Rain needs to use that noggin of hers, she does great—so the other parts of class were fine. She’s pretty solid on her table cue just one week after learning it, although she could lie down a bit faster. Molly remarked how obvious it is that she loves to work.

I can tell when she’s enjoying class—she tends to look up at me with a happy goofy look. She must be a workaholic.


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