Yesterday morning, I pulled a toy out of Oreo's toy box that we haven't played with in a long time. I realized it was the toy I had used to teach Oreo the weave poles.
It got me thinking about how we started out in agility. Playing agility in the backyard. No classes. No rules. No technique. No criteria. Just playing a game. We may have been doing it all the wrong way, but oh, what fun we had.
Were we still playing now? I couldn't remember the last time we did agility with a toy.
As a teacher, I think sometimes it pays to go back to the beginning. I can't tell you how my high school students' faces light up if I give them some of that thick lined paper from first grade, and let them practice their handwriting, or a whole page of easy addition and subtraction problems. They love it. A sense of nostalgia, it's easy, and they know they will be successful! It provides a good break from a stressful assignment.
The past few days, the weather has been great. Cool and crisp. Even Misty has been more playful. She loves winter!
So, I pulled out a few jumps, a tunnel, and brought the "weave pole toy" outside to see how Oreo would react to a "game of agility". Back to the beginning.
No training. No specific sequence. No startline routine. No verbal commands. Just run, play, fun. We made lots of mistakes, broke some rules... it was a blast. Oreo LOVED it.
I went inside to get the video camera, which usually gets Oreo in the "oh, it's time to get serious, we're working for treats" mode. But this time, he still wanted that toy! He wanted to keep playing.
This reassured me that Oreo does love the game of agility. Hopefully, with time, Oreo will be comfortable enough in a trial setting to display some of this joy!
For now, we'll keep on playing in the yard.