The Dark, the Bathroom, and the Pinwheel: Weekly Agility Report

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Rain and I found ourselves arriving at a near-dark park again this week before agility. This time the park was completely deserted but the same unsettling fog was forming over the grassy expanse.

I snapped a couple of photos while I could. Behold the last gasp of daylight in Clackamas County, Oregon!

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Then Rain and I set out to circumnavigate the field again, soon discovering the recent rains had made several areas of the footpath pretty wet. So wet, in fact, that someone had set up a 2”x6” with some block supports to help walkers get through the first puddle! Rain waded in nearly up to her elbows, and I attempted to balance without falling off the plank. Normally this wouldn’t be a challenge, but balancing is always more difficult in the dark!

It means that I’ll have to find a new pre-agility activity for us to do.

*****

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Whenever I describe the facility where our agility class is held to people in real life, I like to talk about the bathroom.

From the outside (above), it doesn’t look like much. Our facility was originally built as a horse arena, and it’s easy to tell on the outside that the bathroom was originally a horse stable.

Inside though, it’s a bit of paradise.

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This bathroom is spacious and stylin’. Festooned with dog-related decoration, it smells pleasant and is usually quite clean. There’s plenty of room for a person and one or more dogs, complete with shower and two mirrors. There are often towels on the towel rack that were apparently rewards for some competition—they have the name of the competition embroidered right on the towel.

I used to take Rain into the bathroom with me, but she started making a habit of barking at me in the bathroom. I don’t know why! She also barks for a bit when we arrive to agility (excitement) so these days I usually leave her in the car, use the restroom, and return to find her settled down.

*****

This week at class Molly introduced us to pinwheel jumps! Essentially a pinwheel is just a formation of four jumps, and there are many exercises one can practice using a pinwheel.

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We started simply, working on sending the dogs around all four jumps while doing the right thing with our body. Handling skills! Our exercises seemed to be more about fine-tuning what we were doing rather than our dogs.

Rain did great at going around the pinwheel, so Molly added the challenge of having me send her around twice, with no reward until the end. We did it!

The next challenge was for the dog to switch direction using “tick tick tick” to wrap the dog around the wing of the jump, then proceeding the way they had just come. Rain was a success.

Molly then briefed us on “bypass,” which is a cue for a dog to ignore an obstacle that may be in their line and instead come to their handler’s side. Applied to the pinwheel this meant I had Rain taking three jumps and calling her to my side to skip the fourth. Rain did what her handler’s body was telling her to do! Although as a team we didn’t quite get to perfection on what had been asked of us. 🙂

Closing out the class with some teeter review, I started noticing how chilly it was inside the arena. Chilly enough my phone decided to die again! When we arrived home the thermometer said 42 degrees, but my guess is it was nearly 10 degrees cooler out in the country.

We’ll have to start bundling up more when we come to class!

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