Last night was our first agility class at our new training facility, Camp WannaQ. (I just figured out what the name means…definitely had an “I see what you did there” moment)
Okay, if this isn’t already a saying regarding dog training classes, it should be: “If all else fails, just pretend you know what the hell you’re doing and just maybe your dog will pretend he knows what the hell he’s doing, too.”
First, let me start off by saying that Gatsby did very well. He continues to surprise me every week. We knew we would be starting with the new place this week, but we still had one more class left in our 10-class package at ZoomRoom so we went ahead and had Gatsby attend Agility 2 last Saturday. And man. I’m glad we did that.
I mentioned last week that in Agility 2 at ZoomRoom, we worked off leash more and worked on stringing together obstacles, as opposed to just taking turns doing one obstacle at a time. For comparison, in Agility 1, we typically did weaves, A-frame, tunnel, and a jump (either the regular jump or a tire jump). We did those one at a time. However, in Agility 2, we would do something like: A-frame, table, dog walk, table, a jump, tire jump, another jump, and finally, table. In other words, Agility 2 definitely has you working on actual course work and foot work (for the handler) versus getting the dog acquainted with an obstacle.
(Bear with me, as this post is pretty long.)
So, it’s a group class and there were about 8 dogs there last night. Four small dogs (which includes Gatsby) and four big dogs. It was a mixture of dogs. There was a Sheltie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (who had a major case of the zoomies last night), some other random small dog, a GSD, a golden retriever, and a pitbull mix of some sort (her name is Tulip, which I find so cute). We started off with the weave poles. This is Gatsby’s weakest obstacle thus far. It was only 2 Saturdays ago that we started doing the weaves off leash with him. He does okay if the poles are spaced apart at about 8 inches, but the weave poles last night were definitely the narrowest he’s ever done them. And of course, we had to do it off leash since this was Level 2. The trainer knew that were new to the group but she said, “Oh, I think he’ll do fine. Let’s just try it.” And I’m standing there thinking, “Uhh, I don’t know about this…” I had images of him completely ignoring me and running around, riling up the other dogs, causing a ruckus. Luckily, he listened (SO glad he responds to “Touch!”) and although he needed some coaxing and several tries to get him to enter the poles correctly, he did okay. A solid B/B+ in my opinion.
Next we did the collapsed tunnel (or chute). He’s never done this at ZoomRoom so, since everyone at the class already knew how to do this, I pretended we knew how, too. And it worked! …well, our trainer did have to hold up the collapsed end just a little bit so Gatsby would think it’s just a regular tunnel.
Next, we worked on jumps. He tackled a new type of jump. I don’t know what it’s called, but I think it may be called an inverted jump? Okay, I really don’t know. I might have made that up. Anyway, we did a sequence of tire jump, regular jump, “big jump” (this is what I’m calling the new jump), and another jump. Gatsby’s favorites are the jumps so we had no issues with this part.
Finally, for the last part of class, we did 2 different sequences. The first one went like this: A-frame, tire jump, jump, “big jump”, jump, and curved tunnel. Again, we had to pretend that we knew how to do curved tunnel. It didn’t work as well this time around though, as I had to do a tiny bit of coaxing at the end of the curved part of the tunnel to get him to go in. But hey, it only took one try.
The final sequence was the same as the first one, except, instead of the curved tunnel, we did dog walk at the end. Gatsby had never done the dog walk at a height higher than waist line, let alone do it off leash. But last night, because you know, we were pretending that we’ve been doing Level 2 for a while, it worked. He walked that dog walk like a boss. I was so proud. (And relieved.)
He and I both had fun and he was listening SO SO WELL. He didn’t bark once and thankfully, did not have the zoomies. We’re going to be practicing a lot for the next 2 weeks, since our trainers will be out on vacation and we won’t have class again until after the 4th of July holiday.