Sunday, February 25, 2007

Chutes and Ladders

Baloo had her first agility lesson last Wednesday. Maybe I should say I had my first lesson, I think this class is going to be more for my training than hers. For Baloo, it is going to be all about building confidence. She is not very confident, and is generally at high alert for new things, moving things, looming things, crashing things.

The class is pretty big, about 25 dogs with their people. There's another Rhodesian Ridgeback who happens to be quite calm and does whatever she's told. Hopefully Baloo will learn a few things by being in the presence of greatness. Anyhow, we split into subgroups to work more closely with an instructor and get individual time on the equipment. The first equipment for Baloo to try out was the tunnel. Baloo is afraid of tunnels. She wants nothing to do with them whatsoever. Of course, the other 3 dogs in our little group all loved the tunnel. For Baloo, we worked on just taking treats from the mouth of the tunnel and reaching in a little bit. In the meantime, I need to find a tunnel to get her used to running through. I have to help her fall in love with tunnels. After the tunnel was the weave poles. Again, not real fond of walking among all those sticks. But we managed to walk through. We didn't weave, just passed through the poles. Weave poles would be easy to build. Practicing Sit/Stay and Release was next followed by walking on a plank. Baloo did excellent on the plank, which will eventually be raised to a see-saw. The final exercise was a ladder, lying on the ground. The dogs were to walk inbetween the rungs, to help them become aware of their back feet (pick them up). Baloo refused to step into the ladder..."why walk in that thing when I can so clearly and easily jump over, mom?"

We've got our work cut out for us, and I am really looking forward to it! I think I am going to learn a lot about patience, and I'm really looking forward to the challenge!

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