How I wish I brought a camera to my new agility class today! Our class consisted of two shelties (Oreo and a sable sheltie) and two collies (a sable and a blue merle like Misty).
It was herding dog heaven. A family reunion of sorts.
There were also supposed to be two border collies, but their owner had hurt her back, so they couldn't make it. I hope they make it next week.
Immediately, I felt more comfortable in this class, simply because I was surrounded by all these luscious furballs with long snouts. Also, I knew if everyone dropped their leash, my dog would be safe.
Right away, this class was immensely different from my previous course. Everything was done in a "singsong" voice. The instructor took the time to get to know our dogs' names. Safety was a top priority. Things were taught at a much slower pace, and with more detail and explanation. The instructor made sure to praise me when I worked Oreo on my left side. I appreciated that.
How I wish we had come here first.
Oreo started the class a bit nervous around the other dogs, which is typical for him. By the end of the class, he was touching noses with the other sheltie, Sparky. It was quite sweet. Plus, Oreo was doing obstacles without me even giving him a command. I was merely walking him by a tunnel, and next thing I knew, he was inside it, and then hopping up on a nearby table. Clearly, Oreo was feeling comfortable here, which was the reason I signed him up for a class in the first place. I wanted him to be comfortable doing agility around other dogs, and in places besides our backyard.
Oreo and I have some homework to do this week. We have to learn how to get him to touch his nose to a plastic lid when I say "target", and to touch his nose to my palm when I say "touch". The "touch" will help when I am trying to get him to certain obstacles, because he will learn to look toward my hand as a guide. The "target" will help ensure he hits the yellow contact zones on the A-Frame and dogwalk, as the lid will be placed on the ground at the end of the obstacle. For example, he will stop at the end of the dogwalk, his back feet will still be on the obstacle, front feet on the ground, and nose on the lid. We'll also be working on jumps with a front cross, which means I have to cross/spin in front of Oreo, and try not to trip over my own feet. I swear Oreo has the easy job.
Right now, Oreo is taking a nap. So, our homework may have to wait until tomorrow.