Wednesday, February 16, 2011

First comp agility class

First night of agility class was... ok. The other dogs in class have had a good obedience foundation, but there is a reactive dog in class whose barking makes Scorch a little on edge. Still, we had fun, and Scorch even got to work some calming signals on Reactive Dog *and* a little beagle mix who was pretty anxious.

Scorch's reaction to the agility field was pretty amazing. I wasn't sure how he'd take to agility, but he went on the field convinced that all the equipment was put there JUST FOR HIM. He tried to get on no less than 10 pieces of equipment. We did some ground work with ladders, which he picked up quickly. I guess the foundation work with cavaletti we've been doing paid off. We did some heeling on both sides, and GOOD LORD I need to work with him on right-side heeling. Both of us were uncoordinated and uncomfortable with that at first.

We did some target work with margarine lids. Scorch tends to target with his paws as well as his nose, and I'm trying to shape just a nose touch. I'm going to hold it in my hands for a bit, then gradually lower it to the floor to try to eliminate the pawing. Since Scorch is enthusiasm personified, he also wanted to target everyone else's margarine lid too. It's a good thing he's on leash.

We worked with a small teeter and balance board. The instructor gave a speech about shaping the behavior gradually because the dogs might be nervous with the balance board.

Scorch clearly didn't listen, because when his turn came up, he gleefully leaped onto the board and banged it on the ground repeatedly, tilting it every which way. The rest of class was a delighted audience, which egged him on even more. He tackled the mini teeter with the same unbridled avarice.

Overall, it was a good night. Scorch sliced through one of his new tugs in about 2 seconds, but other than that, I think it was a success. I'm definitely proud of the foundation work Scorch already has under his belt, and I think he's going to be a shining star at agility. Now if only I can get my back healed up again...


Molly said...

I'm cracking up at him trying to target everyone else's lids too :-) That kind of enthusiasm is great!

Jen said...

I wish I'd gotten it on video! He is overcome with joy at the sight of a margarine lid now.