Easter Treats: Weekly Agility Report

In her inherited Easter bandana. #australianshepherd #EasterAussie

A post shared by heather andrews (@bookishheather) on

Rain was excited to get back to agility class after last week got cancelled due to the wind storm. Underexercised mentally and physically this week, she hopped right in the car so we could get to class. While we were en route she whined more than usual. She was aching to get out and unleash her Aussie energy!

We stopped at the park before class but only had a few minutes to enjoy the grassy field. During our drive I realized I had forgotten to bring poop bags, and emphatically warned Rain she was not allowed to poop at the park. Naturally, the first thing she did once she was out in the field was have a big one. 💩 Thus, I burned even more time rifling around in the storage areas of my car looking for an emergency bag. Fortunately I found something that would work! (I have since put a roll of bags into my vehicle for the future.)

Molly brought everyone Easter treats! There were doggy cookies in one basket and chocolate human treats in the other. The only bunny in the basket of dog treats was pretty enormous—but Easter and bunnies go together like peanut butter and jelly so I fed it to her anyway. The cookie was so big she didn’t quite know what to do with it—a first for food-motivated Rain! She quickly figured it out while I rooted around in the basket of human treats for a chocolate bunny.

Poppy and Cedar weren’t at class so it was just Linda and her papillon Rudy with us. We tend to share “brags” at the beginning of class—training victories or other things our dogs did that are impressive. Linda told us that Rudy had just gotten some high marks in an obedience competition over the weekend!

Then we began to work. First we put Rain on the teeter, then sent her to it from different places to see if she had learned her component apart from where I might be standing at a given time. She and Rudy are both on “full teeter,” which means they’re allowed to use the teeter without anything to shorten the drop or keep it from banging when it hits the ground. (All our shopping cart work paid off!)

We spent the bulk of class working with a line of jumps with one further away from our line than the others. We were working on the “out” command, getting the dogs to drive away from us to get a jump. Rain and I had to work on this one for a while, but as is often the case I was the weakest link.

As Rain and I were working, a heavy rain shower came through, pounding on the roof enough to start making Rain nervous. Since we’re not sure if the threat of rain on the roof of my car is what’s making Rain nervous about getting into the car, we decided to take a break and not give her any negative associations with working on jumps or the command “out.” We had another go after the shower passed, and aced it!

Rain has come a long way since jumping off the dog walk last fall.

At the end of class we ran a course that was set up around the perimeter of the arena. This course involved jumps, the A-frame, tunnels, and the dog walk. Rain did great! Better, really, than I expected her to with the “feet” command at the end of the A-frame and dog walk! Then we reversed course and did the same course moving in the opposite direction around the room.

Once again, Rain did great! She really is a natural at this agility thing. We made our way home and Rain was blissfully settled the rest of the evening, having gotten some great mental and physical stimulation for the day.

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