Saturday, June 28, 2014

Agility Workshop: Foundations & Fun Tricks

Buster and I are serious about Agility so when we saw his instructor at Dog-Gone Fun was offering a 2-hour workshop for beginners, we signed up real quick.

There were two other people in the workshop, both of whom had more experience than us, but we held our own.

We worked on handling (directing our dogs with our hands) as well as accelerating and decelerating. We get into a runner's stance, leaning forward with legs apart and bent, and this is the body signal to let your dog know to accelerate. Then we stand upright with legs together to signal deceleration.

When it came time to having our dogs back up onto an incline Buster fell apart. He refuses to back up straight, or to get on that incline. We ended up having to put barriers on both sides of him so he couldn't curve his body. Eventually his back feet made contact with the incline.
We've been practicing this on the stairs at my house. It's a little difficult because of how little space there is. But he's put his back feet up on the stairs, although not consistently. He seems very stressed when we try to practice it, too. His ears go down and he wants to get away. We'll see how he progresses.

Not Buster but an incredible likeness

We also did some exercises where our dogs had to step onto a paint can and into a box. Eventually our dogs should put both front paws on the paint cans and then step in a circle around it, as well as putting all 4 feet into a small cardboard box.

This workshop has given us a lot to work on. We're progressing very slowly in Pre-Agility and doing things Buster and I can't practice at home, so we're glad to have more things to work on. The goal of the workshop was to teach our dogs body awareness and conditioning.

I also told the instructor that we are serious about competing and she said that it takes at least a year. I told her we were interested in participating in the Triad Dog Games next year. We have a lot to work on in that year, though. But Buster and I worked hard and excelled at obedience and we will work hard and excel at this.

With some equipment at home to practice on we will definitely progress faster. Check my other blog posts for instructions on DIY agility equipment.

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