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May 24, 2021: Dog Agility with Shadow, Second Skills Class

The day dawned bright and sunny, just a little nippy – no clouds in the sky. After breakfast, I took Shadow and Ryder for a run in the woods, so that Shadow might be a little less energetic when we got to agility class. I’m not sure this mattered – a jaunt in the woods is now nothing to this dog. She’s in very good shape.

The class was held outside. Claudia, our instructor, was considerate enough to have us six wait in the shade while the others took their turn.

We began our lesson by having our animals sit in front of an obstacle of choice – we then backed off while the animal remained where placed. Shadow

Shadow on the dog walk

did fine with this. She also did fine with being sent around a gate, then returning from the far side. Claudia put a target out – this caught Shadow’s attention. She then kept going for a treat.

I remember seeing this exercise done inside last winter. The dogs had to go around barrels. I have barrels, so I am going to practice this with Shadow.

We next did object discrimination. The dogs had, in front of them, a tunnel and a jump. We all used hand signals to get the dogs to first go through the tunnel, then over the jump. Shadow had no problem with this.

After, we worked on going across the dog walk. Shadow leapt off a few times, so I next did it with her on the leash. She then caught on.

Work on the teeter totter followed. Shadow and another dog, a mutt named Kodiak, are fast, which is why we did this obstacle without either first having to get on the table. I started out with Shadow on leash, then in the next go around, took it off of her.

Claudia’s concluding comment was that “Shadow learned a lot today.” Later, I thought I should have said “Shadow’s owner learned a lot today.” I sometimes wonder if I’m not doing this dog a disservice, and for this reason I should find her an experienced agility competitor to work with. However, the truth of the matter is that this is good work for me. I have to interpret and carry out given directives, neither of which are my strong suit. I remember a few years back, I took a clinic in which I had to jump Raudi, very quickly, over a pattern. I did terribly, not because Raudi couldn’t do it, but because I could not internalize the patterns.

Well, I have on the home front been working on getting the dog agility equipment set up. I have some books with good guidelines. I need to sit, read, and think about how I might assist in training this wonderful young dog. Keeping a journal is going to help. Mainly, though, I need to find the time to think out, then after, reflect upon what I and Shadow are doing.

I am eager to also make the horse and dog agility connections. Again, this is going to take time, and I am going to need to make the time.

Next: 144. 5/25/21: Book-Related Conversations

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