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TaraM1285 12-18-2012 09:46 AM

Getting Back to Agility - small brag
Yesterday, Tara and I took a private agility lesson since I have some extra time right now. I warned our instructor that we hadn't done any agility in months - since late August, early September, so I wasn't really expecting much other than to get there and have some fun. Tara had other ideas...this was probably the single-best agility lesson/class we've ever had. She was extremely motivated - so much so that she was having so much fun she started blowing contacts and even flew off the teeter. I know that really those aren't the things to be happy about, but it showed me that she was having a WOOHOO GREAT TIME! :) We've struggled with motivation in the past, but I'd say whatever was going on yesterday was perfect. Usually, I handle everything from out in front, but I was having trouble getting there yesterday! Fortunately, she was handling the course almost instinctively knowing what I wanted from her rather than me having to support every single obstacle. Our instructor even said that we must have been practicing at home because of how well we were doing - this was the best she's seen from Tara. I wish I'd taken my camera to video some of our runs, but I thought this would be more of a reintroduction to agility than picking right up where we left off.

We're taking two more private lessons in January. Then, if it works with my schedule, we might try to do a group class again to get both of us used to the idea of other dogs being in the vicinity while she's running. Maybe then I'll feel ready to start trialing her.

gmcwife1 12-18-2012 05:08 PM

Woohooo, good for her :)

MaggieRoseLee 12-18-2012 06:26 PM

What a great session. Its weird how sometimes our dogs seem to benefit from breaks in training. That's a HUGE brag.

Can't wait for more updates and pictures/videos.


TaraM1285 12-19-2012 10:29 PM

Thanks! :)

TaraM1285 01-14-2013 08:23 PM

She wasn't quite as motivated and fast today, but I still think she did well...when my handling didn't suck!

Loneforce 01-14-2013 08:28 PM

I think you are doing an awesome job with her.

MaggieRoseLee 01-18-2013 04:51 PM

I thought your runs looked great. Did I see an amazing rear cross at the weaves on the second run??? The computer I'm using is really jerky so it's a bit hard to view though.

Keep in mind that speed DOES matter and if our dogs get to used too running slowly, then that's what agility becomes to them as a normal pace. I know when my first agility dog slowed down to a trot it was not good, the more of a lope/canter the better.

It's just something we all need to remember and if I have to reward more, tug more, stop and treat more, throw the toy more............ that's MUCH more important that doing the course slowly and correct. I can always fix a off course or mistake taken too fast when training. But years down the road trying to get the speed back is usually extremely difficult.


KristiM 01-18-2013 05:54 PM

Nice job! Your handling looked really good for the most part, a few minor mistakes but really good overall:) I really like her contacts. She seems to really pick up towards conatct equipment, likely because they tend to get rewarded way more than anything else making them more valuable to the dog. I would suggest LOTS of rewarding for jumping to create that same value for the jumps as she has for the contact equipment. Jump - reward - jump - reward, repeat, repeat, repeat:)

Looks like you both are having fun! Can't wait to see some trial vids from you two.

TaraM1285 02-07-2013 11:40 PM

I forgot to come back to this thread!

Thanks for the comments! I'm really glad to be doing some agility with Tara again. She does find a lot more joy in doing contact equipment than jumping. I guess I know where I need to do some work. :) In our recent classes, I've been doing a better job of getting her warmed up and ready to start than I have in the past, and I've seen an obvious difference in her motivation to run with me.

I'm planning to go to a seminar with Lori Michaels in March, so hoping to get a lot out of that!

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