Thursday, June 26, 2008

Disastrous Agility Level 1 Class 7 (final class)

Last night was my final level 1 agility class. It ended up being a disaster. We got there early in the pouring rain and ran into the building (very hot and sticky) to try the chute. Darn if I didn't want to go through it again - even though I did it three times last week on my own. I only went through if mom held it open for me. I then waited in the car as usual while mom helped set up. The final class was a simple course with all of the equipment we have been working on. The sequences were not fancy. The order of the obstacles was: tire, broad jump, tunnel, a-frame, table, weaves (we set up 6 poles without wires for me), chute, jump, panel jump, jump, dog walk, and jump. There was a lot of waiting around for it to be my turn. Mom and I straightened out the chute each time one dog finished the course, and I got a treat for helping with that and we also tried to play some sideline games. Finally it was my turn. Mom wanted to try just having me run the course without treats and stops. We should've been able to do it with no problem (except the chute). Mom lead out past the tire and said "Ok, Ricky, tire!" I flew through the tire and then walked over the broad jump. We went back and tried the broad jump again. I walked it again. (Mind you, we have one set up at home and I jump that now at least 80% of the time). Mom gave up and clumsily sent me into the tunnel. I came out and blew mom off and ran over to the two instructors in the middle of the ring to see if they might have a treat for me. Mom came and got me and came and got me (I was sure the instructors had treats!) and after a couple tries, I went over the a-frame and to a sit on the table. After a good wait on the table I went sailing through the weaves. I then refused the chute until mom held it up and called me through. Then we did the jumps, the dog walk and the final jump.

After the class was over, we found out that the instructors were recommending that we take level 1 again! Because I can't do the chute by myself and I'm not confident enough on the other obstacles (?) Mom was pretty upset. The next class starts 3 weeks from last night so that would mean 12 weeks until we might get to level 2! Three months. And really the chute is our only problem. We have been learning a lot on our own and didn't learn much in the class. Mom couldn't bear to do it again. She tried to appeal to the instructors but our class instructor sent over the level 2 instructor to talk to us and she said if I couldn't do the chute then I couldn't go to the next level because I would hold back other dogs. End of story. Mom didn't sign us up to repeat level 1 so now we're not sure what we'll do.

We think we need some private lessons to maybe get into a higher level class at another training club. We know too much for beginner classes but not enough for advanced. Money is a problem right now so mom may just work harder at training me by herself.

I have to say that there is really no excuse for me blowing mom off on the course. I have a feeling that mom is not going to let that slide - I may be in for a lot of work on focus and teamwork (I have always been an independent pup, but I'm not sure I'll be getting away with too much of that any more!). Mom also knows that there could've been some value in repeating the level 1 class. But she didn't agree with the teaching methods (especially when they contributed to messing me up about the chute in the first place). And no one warned us that we would have to be held back if I couldn't do the chute on my own.

All in all, quite a disaster, but in the big scheme of things, not really.

Gotta zoom!



Diana said...

Ok, First dont feel bad. Everyone has days like these. You go home feeling like, " why am I doing this, I suck!" But then next time every thing goes great. So dont be hard on yourself. Everyone has an obstacale that gives them problems. Dont focus to much on it. Take a break from it and then start again. Go back to the begining with the chute short and let him be successful. Can you go to the training area a couple of times a week? Can your husband go with you and help? It really is an obstacale that needs two people in the begining. Bring different treats. See which one gets the best respone. Salmon or liverwerst works great. As he comes through give more than one treat if he shows any drive. Vary the treats. Most of all have fun. Next time you have a run like that and the dog messes up an obstacale just keep going. You dont want your dog to worry. He knows when you go back and make him do it over , that something was wrong. You dont want him to worry, so keep moving on. As people we always want to do the course correctly, but that not always best for our dogs. So go do some thing fun with your dog today. Next time things will go differently. hope this helps. Diana

Johann The Dog said...

I have to tell you that I've had a lot of classes like that, and Gracie has had many, many more.

And the next week, we do our best ever.

If you could do privates I highly recommend get to do what you need work on, and you get so much more accomplished.

I don't think I could have ever competed only 6 months after starting training if I hadn't had privates. I learned so much faster that way. I love challenges.

Our privates ended up being nearly the same cost, and we got in about three classes of work done.

But I do understand your frustration, you read Gracie's post, LOL!!!!

Some days Mum wonders why we do it at all, and then we'll get 1st place, and boom we are back in action! Mum calls agility an emotional roller coaster!

Hope you have a good weekend! And hope we get over there to see you guys sometime this summer!

Woofs, Johann

Pacco de Mongrel said...

we faced lotsa problems learning the obstacle too, during the initial stage...

chute and teeter is one of them...

we practise chute at home by drapping a blanket over a stool and practise on it everyday...