We just got back from another Agility class, and boy did we have fun. Nell completely amazed me tonight. Just so you all know, the book 'In Focus' really has done wonders for Nell. All the targeting we've done, as well as working with direction, and shaping, she's really blossoming a lot faster than I had anticipated. For the first part of class she was really wanting to go to the other dogs to play, but she's getting better at focusing on me. After working for about 20 minutes, she's almost completely focused on my 100%, and after about 40 minutes, we were working with her off leash, staying at my side and doing the obsticles that I direct her to. It is so awsome. We had to do the first half of the class on leash, but then as her focus was becoming near perfection, I was letting her go off leash more, and she stayed with me and not run off to the other dogs.
We started the evening doing our warmups with her running along my side, switching directions with her turning towards me. Then the Asst. Trainer said she was doing very well, and was ready for the next step, doing the same thing but with the dog turning away from me. So we were going back and forth, but it took a little for her to understand that when we switched directions, she was to turn away from me instead of towards me. She finally caught on, so it's a new thing we get to practice.
Then we got to start on the weave poles. We started with 2 poles, just to get the dogs used to going through a couple poles. And we were using shaping to do it. Nell did very well, and the Asst. Trainer was really commenting on how well Nell was learning everything, and at how fast she was learning. She was amazing tonight.
After the weave poles, we then moved onto the Dog Walk. Nell was asked again to be the demo dog, lol. She was the demo dog all night, lol. She did great on the dog walk, we walked over it slower, as she was a little unsure, but did well. Then on the 2nd time, she wanted to fly over it, lol. She knew there was a treat waiting for her on the other end, lol. We did the Dog Walk 3 times.
After the Dog Walk, we then moved onto the Teeter. Nell again was unsure the first time over it, but then had no problems the next 2 times. It was great. By this time, she was working for the most part off leash and under full control. I was really happy with her performance.
After the Teeter, the Trainer then gave us all a challenge. We had 3 obsticles to do. We would do 1 obsticle 3 times each. Then moved to 2 obsticles 3 times each, and then 3 obsticles 3 times each. The first obsticle was the Shoot. We all did the Shoot 3 times, on both sides. I did it on the right first, then the left on the second time, then back to the right. We could do it any way we wanted, just had to do it at least one time on each side. Then we were to do the Tire and then the Shoot. So we all did it 3 times, again on both sides. Then she added the Tunnel. It went Tunnel, Tire, then Shoot. Nell did excellent. She did miss the Tire once, she snuck under the tire, lol. But we corrected it. And the next 2 times she did it perfect.
Overall, she did wonderful tonight. I was really happy. And the trainer really had a lot of good things to say about her. Then when the class was done, instead of taking her to the car and then go back in to help pick up, I just clipped her to the clips they have to hold the dogs, and I had her lay down and stay. She got up now and then, but then finally just layed down and stayed, watching us pick up all the equipment. I could never do this before, as she would always want to pull on the clip and bark. But she's come so far. Now I just have to figure out some other ways to work with her on her on/off switch, especially towards the beginning of the class.
Then, as we completed the obsticles, we would walk around the dog walk and back to the end of the line, with Nell at my side. She was actually at my side looking up at me, with a smile on her face. It was a good feeling, and she was off leash. When I stopped, she stopped. When I moved, she moved. This was a first for her, and just blew me away. So I highly recommend others read the book 'In Focus'. There's just so much good information in there. And fun things to work on to gain more focus. And best of all, it's not one of those expensive training books either, it's actually pretty cheap.
Because of my work hours, and a change in the kennel clubs schedules and the trainer adding another class to her training, I can't do the Agility I. So not sure what I'm going to do next. She added a class called Focus First!, which I'm thinking of maybe taking Chloe to. But I don't want to take anything away from Nell either, and with the hours at work being cut, it's getting really tough on me as well. But we'll see.
Last thing, they are having some Agility Trials coming up over in Moses Lake. They are having their trials on Friday and Saturday, then Sunday is for the Wenatchee Kennel Club. And I've been asked if I would like to go and help out. Nell wouldn't be able to compete, but they would like me to go to see how things go, as well as helping with different things, like changing jump heights, or being the leash runner where you take the leash at the start line and run to the finnish where the dog will complete the course and give it back to the handler, and another thing is keeping scores. She said the hardest one is the keeping the scores, she said it can be a real headache, lol. So it's another thing I have to think about, and try to figure out what to do with Betty if I decide to go. Will let you know what happens......
Well, Friday we went through another class. Nell did very well. We even got to try the shoot with the sock on it. She wouldn't go through it, lol. So the trainer held the sock open, and she finally went through. Then she tried dropping the sock when she started going through and she would turn around and go back out the entrance. Ah well, something she needs practice with, but for a first time, I'm proud of what she did do.
We also did a little with the teeter as well. But she got a little spooked from the movement. It's interesting how one week she does just fine, and the next she acts a little like she's spooked by it, lol. We didn't push it though, just tried it a couple times and then started working with something else, didn't want her to start shutting down on it.
As for her focus, she did really good. She's really come a long ways in a short period of time due to the new training we've been doing from the book In Focus. We have been having a blast with the class, and she loves getting out.
Today I took Chloe to her Rally class, and I was talking to the trainer about Nell, and she suggested that I talk to the trainer and ask if Nell is far enough ahead to just skip Agility I and go on to Agility II, as that class is on a different night and is later in the evening, so work wouldn't be an issue. So I'm hoping that maybe she can do that for us. But if not, then we may not do any classes this next go around, and will just work with Nell's focus more at the park, now that the weather is getting better. Also thinking of slowly getting some Agility equipment off Ebay, like the Tunnels, and then make some jumps and other things using PVC that I can get at Lowe's. I borrowed a book from my other trainer on building Agility Equipment from scratch. So I'll start working on that. I found a nice 18' tunnel on Ebay for 49.95 with free shipping, includes the stakes to hold it in place as well as a carrying case for the tunnel for storage. So I got a couple things I can start working on this spring for building.
Well, last Friday Nell had her last Agility class. We can't go on from here now due to my work hours. But the trainer is going to see about possibly changing the hours around for the next class down the road so Nell can go. Til then, we will just be practicing more on her Focus work and working around people at the park. But I did sign Chloe up in the Focus First! class. It's a class for Clicker Training, using Operant Conditioning. Should be exciting. Will let you know if they do change the classes around the next go-around, and keep you updated on Nell's Agility I, if she's able to go.
I just contacted the Kennel Club, and they said they would see if they can work with the trainer on changing some of the times so we can continue. Would be great if we could. Also contacted the gal in charge of memberships, she's going to call me in the next day or 2 to give me some info on what the membership includes. It's only 24.00/yr, and if enough things are offered, I think it would be worth it. Also, I asked on what is required for becoming a trainer, as I feel I could now train Rally Novice and Rally Advanced. I've done enough with Betty to where it would be pretty easy for me. I haven't done much with the Rally Excellent though, might start working on that with Betty next. Too bad she has issues with other dogs, she'd get her Rally Novice and Rally Advanced both on the first try, lol. She's good.
Just read this thread for the firsrt time. Your BC is beautiful, I LOOOVE that first photo
Agility is so much fun, sorry to hear you had to stop for now! Is that the only club in your area? Can you see if there is anyone who offers private lessons so that you can get the work/learning in that you need to move up to the next class?
Well, the schedule had changed again, and instead of Thursday night, it's been changed to Wednesday nights, so we had our first class tonight. It was a lot of fun. We started out with a little focus work, and then we started with some front crosses. We have a different trainer this time, the one that actually does the Competition Agility classes. So it's great, I'm going to love it. After the crosses, we started working on some of the equipment. The first thing we started on is the Tunnels. Nell does great with the Tunnels, both straight, and curved. After the tunnels, we then did the shoot. She's a little afraid of the sock, and will need some work on it. The next thing we did was the A-Frame. Nell was awsome on it. She had no issues with it. After the A-Frame, we then went to the Teeter. She would normally be afraid of it, but tonight she did it really well. We did it on both sides as well, left and right. After the A-frame, we moved on to jumps, which she is just fine with. She loves the jumps. After the jumps, we then went to the tire, and she did fine with it as well. After the tire, we then we started on the 2x2 weave poles, clicking and treating for proper entries with the first pole on her left shoulder (entering the right side). We did it from several angles. It was fun. After this, the class was over. So we had a pretty good night. The trainer was just wanting to get a feel of how the dogs were on the different equipment, so we will start more in depth next week. Lots of fun, and there's only 2 of us in the class, Nell and a Jack Russel Terrier. We had a great night.