Friday, March 4, 2011

Intro to Agility, Class 2

So tonight definitely went a lot better! Freya can actually do agility. Since she is afraid of heights/stairs and enclosed spaces, we worried agility might not be the best activity for her. Today we actually got to start doing the equipment. We worked on the A Frame:
And the dogwalk:

The A frame we worked on was about 2.5ft wide, but wasn't set as high as the top picture. The first runs were about set to about 3 or so feet high, and then it was moved up to about 5 feet high. The first time, Freya did not really want to go up it or down it, but after that she really liked running up it, too fast for me to keep up! After the A Frame, we did a modified A frame where the first side is wide, and then the down side was 12 inches. Since it was also super short (maybe 2 ft high), it was pretty easy. Then we moved onto the dogwalk. That was about 3.5ft high and 12 inches wide, so definitely trickier. She did so good though! For all of them our trainer has you show the dog as she puts cookies/treats down along the obstacle, so then the dog is really excited to do it. For the final obstacle, it's a modified dogwalk, with a platform in the middle and was closer to 4.5ft high. It's hard to get her to slow down when it is so steep. It's also hardest for her to try a new obstacle, but once she does it the first time, she was much more comfortable with it.

I was so proud of her! She really did better than I expected. I was really nervous since the last class went so poorly. But we bought a leash and cut it down to an appropriate length (just past her shoulder), so I didn't really have any rope burn issues.  We also bought an apron (a requirement) to keep the treats in so they don't fall out.

We still aren't a big fan of the trainer though. I think, depending on how the tunnels go next week and if we decide it is a good activity for her and me, we may try to find a different place to go. She isn't especially patient and hasn't spent any time really even introducing herself to the dogs. So when she takes one for a demonstration, the dog doesn't know her and it doing something it has never done before, and then she thinks the dog is overly nervous or not interested.  The trainer mentioned the first week that they can't have overweight dogs doing agility because it is bad on their joints. Today she asked if Freya (not that she knows her name) was overweight, and I clearly replied no.  Freya is a Norwegian elkhound and they have naturally very stocky chests and weigh around 50 lbs. She is also super fluffy, especially since it is winter, so she looks bigger than most dogs. So that put me off a bit. Then on the higher dogwalk, she asked if we touch her, since she was anxious to get off the obstacle and got more jumpy when the trainer put her hand on her. Clearly I never touch my dog... so I am not a fan of her.

But Freya really has done pretty well. Still a little distracted, but it helped having only 6 dogs and then several obstacles to work on instead of waiting in a long line. She still ran off like twice, once the first time we tried on the first A frame, then again at the very end when we were about to go, but then the trainer realized it was the end of class, but I wasn't ready to grab Freya's leash. She just ran up to Dylan the second time, and the whole space is enclosed, so no worries. We'll see how the last class goes!

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