Monday, November 2, 2009

First day of Agility Confidence Class

I said in an earlier post that I hope it is Darby that has to do the climbing and crawling in the agility confidence class she and I are taking. 

Well, she did all of the climbing, but I had to do a good bit of crawling in our first class today!

After lots of discussion about safety for both the dogs and us humans, we got to go out to the yard and try walking the dogs across a short bridge.  All the other dogs charged right up, over and down.   But, not Darby.  She had to be coaxed and smooched and bribed with treats the first time.  But, after that she had no problem at all!  The humans walked alongside the dogs with our fingers through their collar just in case they decided to jump off.  No one, including Darby, thought about jumping off.  Thank goodness!

The tunnel was another challenge for Darby.  The teacher stayed at one end with the dog and the human ran to the other end and called the dog to come through the tunnel.  Again, Darby was the only one who had trouble.  I knelt at the end calling her, offering her treats, making smooching noises, but she dug all fours in and wasn't going through.  This is where me crawling comes in.  The teacher suggested that if I didn't mind crawling in to meet her half way, it might make it easier for her.  And, sure enough, when I army-crawled half way in, she came running in to meet me.

Let me tell you something--it is difficult for an awkward, stiff, 56 year old to army crawl backward quickly with an excited 29 1/2 pound puppy pushing from the front!

But after that first time, Darbs came charging through the tunnel without a bit of trouble!  

These challenges are just why the teacher suggested Darby and I take this class.  Shy dogs benefit from this sort of fun, gentle training.  As the class synopsis says, both dog and human gain grace, confidence and trust in each other.

Sorry, no photos from class.  But, here's one of Darbs in her kennel in the car.  

My mom would be happy--that's a St. Francis medal hanging on the kennel dog.


That corgi :) said...

sounds like a fun class! I bet as Darby goes to these classes, she'll get less shy and actively start to participate without a lot of coaxing on your part with treats and crawling (one can hope, right?)


Anonymous said...

Hi! Darby, It's me Buddy!
I better not miss even one day checking your blog. You are one busy puppy. It was a lot of fun seeing all your activities. I hope when the time comes for me to go to agility school that I do as well as you!