Thursday, May 29, 2008

Agility Level 1 Class 3

Last night's agility class did not go well. It started out kind of ok. The class was split into larger dogs and smaller dogs again (about 6 dogs per group). The smaller dog group went to one side of the room and practiced jumps. Three of the dogs are repeating level 1 so the instructor always has them go first - like they are the demo dogs or something. But they are not very good. So it means a lot of waiting around for my turn while these dogs repeat their exercise. First we did straight tunnel and then a three-jump chute. That went ok for me. Then we tried it tunnel, jump, jump, post turn, tire. I kept blowing mom off and taking the third jump by myself. Maybe mom was cueing me to turn too late but sometimes I think she said "here" at the right time and I just wanted to take the third jump any way. We also practiced this with going to the table and then the broad jump. Here our troubles continued because even though I jumped the broad jump last week, this week I decided to walk over it. Finally with a big running start, I jumped it. Also kind of funny, but mom tried to be quieter and not yell so loudly (since Deb suggested that the other night) and the instructor told her she need to get her commands out louder and get excited, etc. Go figure.

After about 40 minutes it was the small dogs' turn to go to the other side of the room. Here's where things got ugly. The instructor introduced us to the chute for the first time. Now at home we have a chute made out of a shower curtain - it is a light color (so not very dark inside) and not as long as a real chute. But I have done it successfully many times. So mom thought the real chute wouldn't be much of a problem for me. One instructor rolled it up and held it open for the first few times so it just looked like a tunnel. When it was my turn, mom said "go chute" and started running and I refused to go in and went around. After a few tries, I did go through. But the instructor kept having us go again and again (at this point only the three dogs who had never done the chute before were working on it). There was barely time to catch your breath or get some praise and a treat before it was time to go again. I didn't like the noise of everybody yelling, I didn't like it when dogs came out of nowhere near me because their owners were not able to control them, I didn't like the instructor holding me at one end so mom could call me through at the other end, I didn't like the constant repetition...... The instructor said she wanted all dogs to go through with the chute completely on the ground before we could move on to the dog walk. Mom tried to tell them we had had enough but she wasn't firm enough about it. Basically it ended up with trying to shove me into the chute and I got bummed out and was not having fun (and needless to say, neither was mom)! Finally the instructor said that was enough for now. This was like after our 25 try! I went on to do really well on the dog walk - last night it was set up with the ramps on a table. And I did great on the a-frame.

Mom was really disappointed with herself for not putting a stop to the frantic chute training. We are so new to all of this - agility and dog training in general - and sometimes it's difficult because you are trying to follow the instructors' directions - I mean they are the instructors after all! And it's funny because they are always saying stuff like you don't want to scare your dog or turn your dog off, etc. Then they go and do something like this with the chute last night. We don't know why it was so important to try to progress to having the chute all the way on the ground in one session when they teach everything else in maddingly slow increments! But mom and I learned an important lesson and in the future mom will be much quicker to question what is going on and to stand up for me.

This morning we did some fun jumps and weaves and later mom is planning on getting out our chute and trying to erase the bad memories of last night. Wish us luck!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

4 comments:

Diana said...

That is horrible. Im sorry that happened to you. Next time tell them you think your dog needs to go to the bathroom and go outside for a while. Or maybe you should talk to them about the problem. Did anyone else feel the same way? I dont know how receptive they will be but if they are good trainers, they will listen. Diana

Johann The Dog said...

Oh wow, does that bring back memories! Mum and I went through an almost exact same thing in our first agility classes. Mum went through two trainers before we found one that fit us. And we finally went to privates because of all the ill behaved dogs in the class.

Your Mum has it right, she'll stand up for you!! It's a lesson my Mum had to learn too, and it only took her one time, just like your Mum.

Hang in there, it's always a learning experience.

But we are sorry it happened!

BTW - we tagged you....visit my blog for instructions (hope that's OK after all this, yuck!)

Pacco de Mongrel said...

sorry to hear about that incident.. 25 times!! that's really too much... we doesn't need to learn how to master the chute in a day...

but i wouldn't mind jumping 25 times...

agility class in my club is not large and most of the time we can work things out alone...so no hurry and no rush...

next time, make some excuse to avoid facing that kind of frustration...

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Thanks for your supportive comments, Diana, Johann and Pacco! Mom and I really appreciate them! We'll see how tonight's class goes....