Rain Gets Hot: Weekly Agility Report

The weather was once again idyllic for going to agility class this past week. The temperature was warm, but not nearly as warm as the previous weekend. Rain was feeling good.

We arrived at the local park before class to find that the hip-high grass had finally been cut. It appears a community group has been holding work sessions as well—large mountains of wood chips now dot the park, I believe for the purpose of legitimizing the footpath that circumnavigates the field.

The cut grass was great except it appeared to have been executed by a hay machine. I’m not an expert on farm tools, but all the tall strands of grass were lying in rows in the same direction, cut at the base. It meant that running in the field was easier for Rain, but finding the ball was more difficult. The ball would roll under a layer of long dry grass strands and Rain would need to sniff around for several moments to find it again.

Nonetheless Rain ran after her ball with plenty of gusto again and again. She was winded before it was time for us to leave, so we left a bit early so she could enjoy some nice cool water before class.

When we arrived at the class facility Rain definitely enjoyed some water but was still panting pretty hard. There were puddles outside the arena where other people had hosed down their dogs. Rain enjoys standing in water but has never indicated enjoying getting her fur wet so I hesitated to do the same. We waited for class in one of the pens and I encouraged Rain to hang out with me in the shade to help her temperature regulation.

Once in the arena I was reminded that the air inside is a bit warmer and more humid than outside.

Class started and Rain was still a little overly warm to perform the given tasks as quickly as she normally would. If that wasn’t enough, Molly admitted she was pinch-hitting her lesson plan because she had arrived and several large obstacles had been moved out of the arena.

Class got sort of sidetracked toward the end (my fault). When I was pointing out Rain’s lack of engagement we detoured to training a “whiplash command”—that is, a word you can say that has been reinforced with treats, so as soon as you say it the dog will turn their head quickly to you.

We all did what we could during our time together. For every awesome class where you run backwards and your dog still takes the jump, you have one (or more!) where you accidentally overexercised your dog before class. Whoops! As we’ve entered the warm part of summer, I’ll have to keep tabs on this to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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