Friday, November 5, 2010

Trying Something New

I know nothing about agility. Let me repeat that: N-o-t-h-i-n-g! But Bizz is such a high-energy dog, I've always had this dream of us running a course together.

This isn't a case of a mother wanting her child to grow up to be president - I think Bizz is actually really well-suited to agility! Well, there is the tiny little detail that she's reactive. And she hates wet grass. But we're gonna give it a try anyway. Not to mention, I think learning agility will challenge me as a trainer. After all, I've never tried it!

We're not just going to show up to a trial and hope for the best! Oh, no sir/ma'am! We've got months of practice before that!

1) J's gotta build us some agility equipment! I was looking online and found this cool site, which provides detailed instructions on how to build your own...everything! We're gonna start with the awesome adjustable channel weave poles. Not because that's the way you're supposed to do it but because I have this terrible habit of getting really excited about something new and starting things not in the beginning, not at the end, but kinda in the middle. I'm sure I'll be blogging in a couple weeks about how I made a huge mistake and should have started with something more simple. Until then...

2) B's skills assessment. She's my fast-as-a-whip, will-work-until-I-pass-out dog. She LOVES to work! Bizzle's skillset is as follows:
  • Targeting - objects, but more importantly, she'll target my hand which is what I'm going to use to get her to move on, over, under and through objects.
  • Sit
  • Wait
  • Recall & Drop - I recall her, issue the cue "Drop" and she lies down until I release her to come back to me, continuing her recall.
  • Over
  • Under
  • Up - land on top of an object
  • Tunnel - go through the tunnel
  • Go-Go-Go - this REALLY pumps her up. I yell this and she kicks it in to 6th gear! It wasn't anything she and I worked on. I would just yell it when she was running really fast and I'd even make her chase me during one of her need-for-speed outbursts, yelling Go-Go-Go! Pretty soon, it just started to mean "go faster!"
 3) While J is hard at work on the weave poles, B and I will refresh her "tunnel" (which we found at a toy store for 20 bucks!), her balance board (it's just going to be a large piece of plywood balancing on top of different unstable objects).

I'll be documenting our progress with video and posting them on the blog. I've been really wanting to do this with her for some time and I'm excited to start - even though winter's right around the corner! Doh! (pssst - we might have found a new training space...stay tuned!)

If anyone has any pointers for a beginner's agility team, please share!


1 comment:

  1. sounds like a great idea. All of my dogs love agility. We just do it for fun and focus. Couldn't say I have any tips, I used clicker training, commands, and hand signals and yummy treats to get them to do it. Good luck! and remember to have fun!!