Straggling: Weekly Agility Report

This week our afternoon of agility seemed to involve quite a bit of being just behind. It felt like congested traffic got me home a little late, then we left home a little late, then we hit all four of the school zones (each with a 20 mph speed limit and/or congested auto traffic) en route. When we were approaching our last turn I pondered whether I should go straight to class and arrive a little extra early or head to the park and play for just a few minutes (no more than just a few!).

Thinking of Rain’s energy level and the piece of paper I signed at one point that promised we would not arrive earlier than 15 minutes before class, I headed to the park. It was a lovely afternoon and Rain thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of running in the sun and playing fetch. When we started heading for the car though, I decided I’d get a video of Rain playing in the enormous puddle at the edge of the parking area.

Her second favorite puddle. #australianshepherd #splishsplash

A post shared by heather andrews (@bookishheather) on

Of course that took longer than expected so we rushed to class and arrived right at 3:30pm. It was at that point I felt the desire to use the restroom, but I ignored it and headed into the arena for class. I thought I was asked to wait before coming in due to a loose dog, so I used the time to fill one of the dog bowls with water. I also noticed an unfamiliar dog inside and thought they’d be heading out.

Turns out it was a lot of misunderstanding—the unfamiliar dog was in our class, at least for the day, and there hadn’t been any reason for us to wait outside. Once we came in then, we had to sit off the platform on the dirt part of the arena, which made it even more difficult for me to keep plugged in to what was going on.

It was one of those afternoons I guess!

We did do an exercise that took up most of the class time involving a jump. Humans were calling the dog to them while starting to travel parallel to the jump. The jump separated the dog and handler, and we started very close to the jump and increased distance as we had success. Close together, the exercise gave each dog experience in doing short jumps, which would also work new and different muscles. When we were further apart, it was reinforcing hand targets and I think there was some taking-a-jump-laterally that was happening.

As Molly set up a course for us to perform at the end of class, I took the opportunity to use the bathroom. Rain barked at me while we were in there, as she does for reasons I have yet to understand. The dogs had started running the course when we returned—and in keeping with the theme of the day I was a few minutes behind everyone else, not yet knowing the details about how we were running this course.

Rain did okay, but not as great as she did running last week’s course. Perhaps the weakest link was bringing our team down again on this particular day!

Rain and I enjoyed a few minutes of fetch in the pens out back after class before I remembered we couldn’t dawdle too long getting home. I had another commitment that evening, which meant my mom would get to enjoy  the fruit of my labors. Rain is delightfully quiet on these evenings, having been worked physically and mentally during our agility class.

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