In the Dark: Weekly Agility Update

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We should have seen it coming, what with the time change the previous Sunday. When we arrived at the park before agility this week, we could barely see anything.

Rain and I still circumnavigated the field on leash. I didn’t want her to dart off without my being able to see where she went. As the sky grew dimmer, a fog settled across the field, obscuring our view of anything across the grassy expanse. When it was time to go to our class site the sky was dark, we saw some stars, but the field was enveloped in a spooky fog.

img_3531Just call her Devil Dog.

Rain still had plenty of energy though, so we used the pens in back of the agility barn to burn off as much energy as possible in the few minutes before class.

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This week we only did a few exercises in class. First, we kept working on variations of “feet,” with the dog keeping in the two on/two off position while we handlers moved around. (Rain needs more work on that one.) Then we reviewed our “tick tick tick.” (Rain’s doing pretty well on that one! Although that means that Molly adds more challenge for us.)

Next, we introduced a “go on” cue for sending a dog through a series of jumps. Since our dogs will run agility courses faster than we can, a “go on” can help us direct them even if we can’t be by their side at every moment.

At the end of class, we sent the dogs over a jump and then said “tick tick tick” to a) blow their minds and b) get them used to wrapping around an obstacle other than a cone. Molly says it will come in handy later on.

We were down by one pup this week—Linda’s pupper friend Kate was having problems with her leg, as she had earlier in the year. Linda came to class though! Molly decided to help exercise Linda’s handling skills by bringing her own border collie Moxie into class.

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Moxie was adorable! She is a fairly slight border collie that moves lithely. Her movement was specific and unique, even just doing a sit, as shown in the photo above. Moxie just had a physicality that was effortlessly endearing. When Linda wasn’t practicing in class with her, Moxie was on her mat “working the crowd,” in Molly’s words. Moxie kept looking at Linda and offering behaviors in aim of getting more treats. Moxie was just being cute, and I, for one, was totally buying it.

Rain didn’t like Moxie’s presence the first time, and she started out by barking at Moxie this week too. Molly decided to press Rain’s buttons a little bit, and kept Moxie in the space without using a blinder like we did last time. (This was similar to the doggy blinds we used in Reactive Rover.) During class I used some tricks from Reactive Rover to settle Rain down…and by the end of class Rain was still on alert, but was not barking and lunging as she had been 45 minutes before.

That was all for class this week! At close of class the sky was just as dark as when we started. Rain and I may need to come up with a new way of burning her energy before class this winter, as I don’t think the park is going to be a viable option in the dark. Any ideas?

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