2-minute dog trainer — OMG what a blast we had today

I felt like singing “I’m baaaaaaack!”

Running Tempest today felt a lot like the old days of running Banner (as in, a dog who was thoroughly enjoying herself and was willing to play the game) EXCEPT for the fact that I know a heck of a lot more about agility now than I did in 1997, and my dog is a lot better trained than Banner ever was.

We started our debut with getting Tempest measured. He stood beautifully for Ron McClellan to measure him, and came in at 20.5″ — just as I’d hoped. A full inch shorter than Banner and Dash, and a great size for my agility dog.

Our first class was Novice Jumpers with Weaves, where Tempest held while I took a modest lead out, then slipped on his approach to jumps one and two. This was a matter of him figuring out the footing, a nice cushiony agility mat — softer than what he’s used to.

He kept the bars up but by-passed jump 4 — I brought him back and he jumped 4 and went off-course to a jump 15 feet ahead.  He had NQd, so now I could relax and take my time with the rest of the course.  He did some seriously advanced agility through the rest of the course. His weaves took 3 starts, but he settled down and finished them.

Next was Novice Fast.  Tempest held while he allowed me a 30-foot lead out, nailed all his contacts with a 2-on-2-off, and did a beautiful 6-pole set of weaves once he was aimed properly (in other words, he’s not seeking out weave entries yet — note to self, work on weave entries).

Most importantly, he allowed me to cross on the landing side of two a-frame performances!  There was a dropped bar somewhere in there, and a simple “tunnel-jump” distance challenge with which he had no issues. He Q’d and took second place in his class. His first Q — in any organization — ever !!!

Last class of the day was Novice Standard. He allowed me a 20-foot lead out, but I took my eyes off him.  He was placed about 8 feet off the first jump and dropped the bar. I’ve watched the video and it appears I need to put him either ONE or TWO strides from the first jump — and 8 feet is about 1.5 strides.

Dropping the bar caused him to (a little anxiously) come in to me instead of taking the dogwalk, earning a refusal. Then we circled around, he rushed across the dogwalk and hit his contact while I was still running ahead. He had a refusal on the teeter but agreed to do it second time around. We went to the pause table where he assumed his down position and allowed me to walk away.

I precued the left turn after the chute, and he came out facing the way I’d hoped — then on to the broad jump and the rest of the course. I remembered to slow him slightly on the weave approach, and he nailed the remainder of the course.

For the day — Novice Jumpers NQ, Novice Fast Q and 2nd place, Novice Standard NQ.

I’m beyond delighted. He was excited about the agility ring, poking his head in the ring gates at every opportunity. “Send me in, coach!”  Never gave up, never surrendered, never sniffed, never worried about the environment, just shear joy and boldness.

Oh, yeah, Kory had a good day — Open Jumpers NQ (dropped bar), Novice Fast Q and 1st place, Open Standard Q and 1st place.

It was exhilarating to be back out in the agility world again.  We saw our dear friend Erica Behnke (her Brittany, Toby, ran right before T each time), Leta with her new Boxer, Zeus, and Yvette, Ellen, and a bunch of folks who — strangly enough — have aged about 5 years since I saw them last. Hmmm …. strange …. of course, some of them didn’t recognize me either. <g>

My Mom is home house-and-dog-and-kitten-sitting.  I picked up a shelter kitten 2 weeks ago (late May) which I named Splash, Kory’s litter name. She’s black and white with a blaze and collar.  To keep her company, I found a wild little tortoiseshell at the Parkersburg shelter last week while doing demos for their kids’ camp.  Both girls are abour 12 weeks old, and are Siamese mixes, according to cat people. I’m hoping that translates into “dog-like.” LOL

I’ve spent 2 weeks “taming” Splash and she’s absolutely delightful.

Bud named the new torti girl — said she looked like an owl — so she’s Hooty. I love that name. We started taming her on Thursday and she’s already choosing my lap to the floor.

So Splash and Hooty have joined our tiny clan. They’ll police the house and keep the rodent population down while we’re away.

Splash is in training to be a killer. She appears to like things that fly rather than things that crawl and squeal.  Hooty wants to kill anything that moves, including bugs and specks of food on the floor.

Both girls are being taught about proper use of claws (un-retracted claws = quick trip to the crate), are litter trained (they prefer clay to feline pine), and are becoming incredibly loveable.  The dogs, originally fascinated with cats, are now bored with them.

The girls are going to be good friends once the hissing stops.  There’s a metaphor for agility trials somewhere in there. <g>

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One Response to “2-minute dog trainer — OMG what a blast we had today”

  1. katie Says:

    Congratulations Marsha and Tempest!!! Sounds like a great day and a great debut.

    And welcome to the two lucky kittens. They sound adorable, and I love their names.

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