Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oreo's first agility class

Oreo and I just got home from his first day of school. I must say both of us are exhausted. After saying hello to his sister and a quick drink of water, Oreo crawled under our bed, always a sign that he is really tired.

The class started with us going over a series of four jumps. I thought we would have no problem with this. We do jumps everyday.

What we don't do everyday, is jump with a leash on. Since we are in a class setting, all the dogs are on leashes.

On our second jump, Oreo's leash got tangled on one of the poles, and the entire jump fell apart into about ten pieces.

Oops. How embarrassing. So much for us being the star students.

Eventually, I got the hang of holding the leash higher to clear the jump. Oreo did his part perfectly. Mistakes in agility are always the fault of the handler, not the dog.

Then, we went on to the mid size A-Frame, about 5 feet tall. Now, I was excited. This was an obstacle Oreo had never done before, and was one of the main reasons I wanted to get him in a class.

Oreo really did not like it at first. He tried to jump off at the top, which could have been disastrous. I had to learn to make the leash really small, before putting him on the obstacle. After a few tries, he got more comfortable, but then we were on to our next activity.

There were two instructors, so they split us into two groups. Oreo and I were put in with the "small dogs", which was great, because it was the smaller group and I think we had the better instructor. Also, I didn't have to deal with the scary German shepherd.

The instructor had us run through a hoop/jump combo. Again, Oreo's leash got caught on the hoop, and poor Oreo got stuck. The instructor let me take off his leash to run him through the obstacles. So, that was good.

Then, we went to the "table". The dogs had to get on the table, sit/down, and stay for five seconds. Oreo did so brilliantly. All those hours of hard work paid off. I was amazed how quickly he followed my directions, with all the distractions and strangers around.

Next, we were on to the catwalk. Another obstacle I lack in my backyard. I have been longing to say "Oreo, walk it, walk it...," now I finally had my chance. Oreo excelled at this obstacle. It is similar to the teeter, but it doesn't move.

Finally, we rejoined the other group and attempted the really tall, 6ft A-Frame. I was a bit unsure about putting Oreo on this obstacle, since he really wasn't too sure about the mid size one earlier. Plus, there was no way I could reach the top to help him get over and keep him from jumping off, which would definitely cause an injury.

We went for it anyway. We ran up, I said "Wall Oreo, wall." He went up to the top, tried to bail, I yelled "Help, I can't reach!", and the instructors kept him on and Oreo ran down the other side. Phew.

We tried a couple more times, and each time he hesitated a bit less. On our last turn, the instructor told me, "You have to finish on a good note." So, I remembered my gymnastics days, when I pictured myself doing my vault perfectly in my head just before it was my turn. I did the same with Oreo. We ran to the wall, and Oreo went right up and over the top.

He got lots of jerky at the bottom.

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