Wednesday, September 2, 2009

back to the beginning

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.


Ricky the Sheltie said...

Looks like you two had lots of fun! Thanks for reminding us that agility should be fun and we should remember to "play" agility. That's what it's really all about.

Jules said...

Can you bring the toy to class and use it at times? Not all the time, but to remind Oreo you two are having FUN?

Sara said...

Unfortunately, Oreo doesn't show much interest in toys at class. He's too busy keeping an eye on everyone.

Although, I was able to get him to catch his ball while he was waiting his turn last week. That made me really happy.

I am going to keep trying each week to get him to play at class. I really want to focus on lowering his stress level as much as possible, so he can relax and have fun. He's getting better, so I think we'll get there with time.

Dawn said...

Awwww...Oreo is having so much fun, and what a great work out to boot! You have a very good point. We need to make time for FUN in our lives! Thanks for sharing that thought, and the very cute video!

madcobug said...

I liked that video. Oreo was having a great time. Helen

Diana said...

Looked like lots of fun. Every dog is different. Im sure Oreo will find the fun at class and trials because you care so much and try so hard. Plus you always put your dog first. Diana