Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Puppy Agility!!

I had to snap the photo above this morning -- all three dogs trying to fit onto the same dog bed! lol Luke is doing so much better with Secret these days. She is still in love with him and trying her hardest to make friends. Luke now puts up with all of the nose kisses, but I don't think he likes it. ;o)

They are all tuckered out today from our late night at the dog center. Secret was very good in her kennel all night. The children of one of my students were playing with her for a while, but she apparently decided that she didn't like the son very much and started barking at him. Hmm. Unfortunately I hadn't been able to watch to see what started it, but it seems like odd behavior from her. I tried bringing her into the arena to learn to stand quietly with me, but she proved to be too much of a distraction to several of the student's dogs, so she had to go back into her crate for the rest of the night. On that note, she will likely not fit into Kaiser's crate for too much longer! I have been leaving the little crate at the dog center and have had her in my parent's medium-sized crate at home. Soon I will either have to buy another crate or start bringing the one from home, I guess.

It was about 8:30 before Secret got to come out to play, so I guess I'm lucky that she was even awake at that point. She always comes out wanting to play tug, so I started with that. For some reason she tends to lose interest in it fairly quickly, and we end up moving to treats. When I brought out what was left of Kaiser's treats (Natural Balance food roll cut into cubes), she went nuts for it. I've never really "treated" her with much more than her kibble, so it was definitely something new & amazing for her.

We lucked out, in that the "puppy agility" equipment was set outside of the arena, so I grabbed it and brought it onto the mats for us to play with. This is essentially a short tunnel (about 2'-3' long) and the baby dog walk (about 8" off the ground with short planks). I couldn't have asked for anything better at this point! I also had several hoops set up in a row as part of the course we ran in class, so I also incorporated these into our training session.

Secret's work on the baby dog walk was comical at times. It became evident very quickly that she has very little spacial awareness at this time. There were several times when she was trotting merrily along the top plank when her body would suddenly veer sideways and she'd find herself on the floor (always with a very surprised look!). Thankfully this didn't seem to throw her off too much and she was always willing to try again. Her balance improved greatly by the time we finished. I lured into a two-on/two-off position each time and she did great!

Secret really wasn't sure about the hoops at first, but she really started to get into it when I started to throw the treats through them. By the end of our session she was loping happily through three hoops in a row without needing a reward in between. She was also able to go through the tunnel without a thrown treat, so in the end we connected the tunnel, dog walk & hoops. This was the first time I've seen her get excited about anything agility related, so I think it's definitely time to start using better rewards for her to keep it interesting and fun.

I also made sure to practice her "wait" command in front of the obstacles, which was definitely hardest for her when I had the tuggy (at first, while she was interested), and then the "good" treats -- but she did great and seems to be figuring it out.

I let the dogs run loose while I was packing up all of my stuff (had to bring crates home since we don't have class until after our MMBC NADAC trial) -- they really enjoyed being able to rough-house and run on the mats. We just really can't do much of anything in the back yard right now thanks to all the crusty snow back there.

I thought all of that play time would zonk them out once we got home, but Secret was in no hurry to go to bed. I thought she had gone potty outside when we got home and thus was not being terribly attentive -- end result being that we had a potty accident in the house. Sigh. First one in about a week! Obviously the fault is with me for not making sure she went outside before we came in.

My class is taking off next week for the holidays, so unfortunately we won't have any more opportunities to play at the dog center for a couple of weeks. We'll just have to do what we can at home!

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