Bailie and Madison started beginning agility classes this month. Both of them love to play in our tunnel here at home and were thinking agility would be all about tunnels. After their first three classes, they have learned there is a lot more to the sport of agility than running through a tunnel!
Since Bailie is three, she is taking a Foundations of Agility class at St. Paul Dog Training Club. So far she seems to really like it. Each week they add one or two new items to learn about which keeps it interesting. Jumps are still kept real low at the 8″ or so height. The items they learn about one week are then expanded upon in the coming weeks.
So far they have learned jumps, the A-Frame, tunnels which were short and straight, then long and straight, and now curved, table, and the walk it. When it is time to learn a new piece of equipment, Bailie is a bit timid, but once she does it, she keeps going back to keep doing it over and over again. Last week Mom also started learning more about front cross, double cross, and how important she for keeping Bailie on track.
Right now we think Bailie will want to continue on and eventually compete in the sport after a good year or more of training. Mom likes the idea of running and getting her own exercise with this sport. We’ll keep you posted as the class continues. This first one is ten weeks long.
Little Madison is too young to be doing “big dog” agility, so she is starting out in puppy agility and just loves it! Mom loves it too because Madison has so much fun and all the equipment is miniature and so cute!
Madison’s class is very similar to Bailie’s class, just on a smaller scale and a bit slower. The A-Frame seems to be a blast for Madison. She always wants to run over it! We are lucky she isn’t usually afraid to try new things.
It’s hard to get photos in class as Mom is always working with Madison, but she did shoot this super short video the other night of her on the A-Frame. It looks all white because the beginning of the video is white, just click to play.
Learning to sit and wait is a big deal in puppy agility. Because Madison has done sit/wait since the day we picked her up, she is awesome at it. We use it all the time for photo shoots, so it is super easy for her to do, even at only 5 months old. They usually practice with the dog on one side of the jump, and Mom on the other walking away and then giving the release word.
Puppies in general have issues learning to coordinate their back end and legs, but when you are a long breed like a GBGV, it is even more difficult. Before doing the jumps, the puppies had to master walking through the ladder in the background. So far Madison is doing pretty well learning where her back end is as you can see as she went over the jumps.
The teeter has been the biggest challenge for Madison. Practice started with just walking on a long board which was flat on the floor. Madison kept getting off, and didn’t like it. Eventually the board turned into a teeter and it was a challenge for her. I guess being a puppy and so long it is like the difference between driving a little two door car over a narrow bridge or driving a semi truck. It’s something one needs to practice.
With a lot of patience and work from Mom, including getting down on her hands and knees on the floor next to the teeter, fears were overcome. Madison started to build confidence and made it across a few times including staying on the teeter when it moved. She can be pretty brave when she wants to.
The puppy class is also ten weeks long, and is right before Bailie’s class. Both of them plan to continue on, so stay tuned to see how they improve their agility skills!
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