Friday, April 17, 2009

starting from scratch

My agility teacher invited people to come out and play today, since she happened to have the day off, it was gorgeous out, and they had moved the agility equipment outside for the season. So, I decided to bring Oreo over to see how he would handle being on an outdoor course.

Well, it was like starting from scratch. He was running all over the course randomly, not even looking at, or for me when I called him. Thank goodness it was fenced in, his recall was horrible. I was frustrated. It was very windy, things were blowing, the manure truck was in the nearby field, dogs were out....I think Oreo was on stimulus overload. He just did not feel secure.

My teacher suggested bringing Oreo in the building to see if he would work for me there.

In the building, Oreo was able to focus a bit better, but he still seemed "off". Once he gets in that zone, it is hard to get him out.

I brought him back down to the field, and just sat with him, feeding him chicken whenever he turned toward me when I called his name. Still, he did not want to take his eyes off the "poop" truck.

So, I brought him back in the agility ring, started running around randomly and throwing his ball. Finally, he was somewhat focused on me! He appeared to be relaxing, or maybe he was just getting tired...

I started running him through very short, 3-4 obstacle, sequences, and rewarded him big time.

What impressed me most was every time we got to the weave poles, he was completely focused and did all 12. However, on the dogwalk and A-frame, he paused on the top to look around.

I left feeling overwhelmed, and a bit frustrated. However, I'm glad I went today. I would have hated to have his first outdoor experience there as a class.

I'm hoping that next time will be easier, and he won't be so freaky.

freak boy at the agility field
normal dog, tired dog, back at home
I am going to work on calling his name, clicking and treating for the next few weeks. Hopefully, that will help. Oreo knows the word "look", and that works really well when we are out on our morning walk, and I want him to turn immediately and focus on me. For some reason, I forgot to even try that cue this afternoon at the agility field. I wonder if that would have worked. Darn, wish I had tried it.


Diana said...

Dont feel bad, sometimes that happens. It must be in the air. Miley was crazy in the back yard today. She running what ever course she wanted. Diana

LauraK said...

I can't remember how I found your blog- probably just randomly clicking on other people's blogs, but I really enjoy reading it! Your shelties are beautiful. I'm a little jealous that you are doing agility outside and you have flowers and green grass. Currently, in Colorado we are getting 1-2 feet of snow :(

Josh and Jess said...

Oh, just look at your beautiful daffodils! Spring has really sprung over in the US, hasn't it? :)

Dawn said...

Weird. Katie was "just off" on Friday night too. Poor Oreo, so much to look at, so little time! Loved the mental image of him stopping at the top of the A frame to look around! Such a smart boy!