Bales of Challenge: Weekly Agility Report

Remember all the strange grass cuttings we encountered at the park last week before agility? It turns out they had been cut for baling, as that’s the form we found them in when we visited before agility this week! There must have been more than 50 dotting the field, and they smelled sweet drying in the sun. It was nice to have the field clear enough that Rain could easily find her ball, and of course the bales made for a nice photo op.

I made sure to take it easy on the fetching before class this week. The day had been cooler and overcast but the clouds were starting to break up as we got to the park. We did play fetch for a spell, but then I decided to head to the back of the field and walk back along the path that circumnavigates the space. Rain got to run around, sniff at the critter holes in the ground, and enjoy some freedom and we arrived back at the car just in time to head over for class.

The prior class went over by several minutes so Rain and I headed to the back, where the facility’s kiddy pool was set up in one of the pens. Rain got to splash around in the pool while we waited, and I could tell as soon as she was feeling cooler. Then I thought about how all the dirt granules on the arena floor were going to stick to her legs during class.

Class mostly consisted of challenges involving a pinwheel. You may recall that a pinwheel is usually made up of jumps arranged in a sort of circle or square formation, with the handler working at the center of the formation.

During class, Molly warmed us up with a couple of pinwheel exercises. Rain and I went first, and she kept adding challenges for us to try. First, I was to guide Rain around the pinwheel without using any verbal or gestural cues. We did the exercise both ways, clockwise and counterclockwise. Then I was supposed to guide Rain around three jumps and do something different on the fourth jump. I think the “something different” was that I was doing a rear cross behind her as Rain took the jump—a challenge because Rain hasn’t had much exposure to rear crosses before. (I may be misremembering because my brain was starting to short out at this point.)

Molly’s pièce de résistance was a similar exercise where I was supposed to get to the outside portion of the jump ahead of Rain before she took the jump, so I could efficiently send her into the tunnel. (If I recall correctly, this means that I was doing a front cross but it was sort of awkwardly set up.)

You may recall that Rain is FAST. Running into position ahead of her is no easy task. This last challenge took us a few tries, but on the final turn I ended up doing a tour jete into place which was about the only way I was able to get to where I needed to be in time.

Our classmate Jackie very kindly caught the moment on video:

When class was over Rain and I headed back to the kiddy pool and we ended up having some hang time with Poppy, Cedar, and Jackie (their human). Jackie turned us on to a dog park relatively close to home that we might go check out fairly soon. At one point Cedar and Poppy were chasing each other and I could tell Rain wanted to join in, but stopped short. Instead she ran around the pen by herself and once bored, started barking at me to entertain her.

After a few more dips in the pool it was time to start heading home for the evening. Rain decided to dry herself off in the grass before we loaded her in the car and drove off into the sunset.



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