2-minute dog trainer – working on novice agility Qs and titles

We’re in North Olmsted, Ohio, at our third AKC trial weekend.  Bud and Kory have blown through Open in 2 weekends, and have been working in Excellent A standard and jumpers all weekend. Tempest and I are in a small, but very chummy, novice class for all our runs.

Tempest and I are learning at record speed. He’s learning how to read my cues. He’s learning that it’s more fun to follow me than to shoot off into the course (though he occasionally chooses something interesting off the dog’s path for which I strategized <g>). He’s learning that all the fun in the building is inside those gates, with the agility equipment.

I’m learning what Tempest requires from me, as his coach and his emotional guide.  I’m learning a lot about what motivates me, what drives me to succeed, and how I feel about myself when I don’t.

I’m also learning about the pure bliss of walking to the start line with a dog eager to play.  A dog actually quivering with joy and anticipation of fun-to-come.

Because Tempest tends to become over-stimulated in the ring, and because his over-stimulation increases over the course of the day, I’m starting to consider calming techniques I can implement easily ringside.

I’ve tried mild massage, which he likes, but haven’t noticed any emotional change in him.

This afternoon I decided to hang back from ringside as I waited for his run. He began sniffing inside the empty crates left by our students and his canine buddies (aka “the beagle boys”).

I let Tempest sniff all over the crates and the floor.  I refer to it as “sniff therapy.”  I figure, if a dog sniffs to calm himself, then perhaps allowing sniffing while waiting for our run will release endorphins or calm the little boy.

His standard run was ballistic, with one off course and a teeny teeter fly-off, but I actually DO think he was a little calmer than he’s been in the past. He wasn’t quivering anyway.

I’m going to play with this tomorrow and will write more when I’ve experimented with it a bit.

After 7 days of trialing, at 14 months of age, Tempest has accumulated a Novice Fast Q with a 2nd place finish, and two Novice Standard Qs with 1st places.  And today he had his first day with no dropped bars !!!  And he hasn’t missed a contact 2-on-2-off position, except for the teeter (he doesn’t always recognize the teeter), in a month.

I’ll try to post tomorrow with Sunday’s results.  Next weekend we attend Columbus All Breed’s 2-day Novice/Open trial.

This week’s 2-minute dog training is going to be done with Tempest’s breakfast and dinner bowl and a set of 12 weavepoles. Poor boy has to work for his food. <g>


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