|The cutest puppy in the world|
For those of you unfamiliar with agility, this is an obstacle course for dogs. They fly over jumps and through standing tires, run across dog walks, A-frames and teeter-totters, dart through tunnels and chutes, all in the name of fun. (Never seen it? Check this video out on YouTube ***disclaimer: I have no idea who this dog is, and am in no way affiliated with this particular competition***)
My first experience with agility was back in the '90s with my first dog. It was a lot of fun, so when we got another dog, I put her in a class. Bad idea. Why? (1) She hated car rides and would hurl. Nothing more awesome than cleaning up dog puke. (2) Everything on the field (aka the other classes, dogs, birds in the sky) held more interest than whatever I wanted her to do. This meant I'd say jump and she'd jump. I'd say come back, and she'd run around the two acres, through the other agility classes, until she tired out, me giving chase hollering, 'come back, come back.' Do you know how long a shepherd mix can run? For-freaking-ever. Yeah. Not happening. If I wanted to run, I'd stick her on a leash and go for a jog. But when we got The Kraken last year, I decided to make another try. Third time's a charm, right?
After some research, I found a school fairly close to my house. Classes were held outdoors next to a horse field. The atmosphere was relaxed. The Kraken was 11 months when we started class, which meant she was still in the hyper phase of absentmindedness. Classes were at night in February. Remember, I'm in Texas. February is practically spring. At any rate, agility is supposed to burn energy and calm down an over-exuberant dog. In theory.
When we arrived for our first night of class, bright lights on tall poles illuminated the field with a radiance not seen this side of the sun. The temp was mid-fifties, perfect for a night of dog training. I opened the back door of the car. The Kraken refused to get out. I coaxed. She gave me a no-way glare. I picked her up and sat her on the ground. She took a sniff of air and took off toward the gated field. As we made our way to the class, her ears perked up. Then she ran to the end of her leash, almost pulling me over. Why? Bugs! Loads of bugs! And scents! Enough scents to entice a dog for hours. And did I mention the horses? (Who the heck puts a dog school next to a horse pasture?) We lined up with three other dog/human teams and were the only ones there who just wanted to play around. Everyone else was SERIOUS. They wanted to compete. Their dogs sat at attention, even the six month old. My dog? Well, The Kraken chased bugs. Did I mention the abundance of bugs? She suddenly forgot how to walk on leash and perfected her military crawl. Toward the horses. And the bugs. NOT the equipment.
When it was our turn on the equipment, I tugged on the leash. She laid down and rolled onto her back. I scratched her tummy. She flipped over and tried to exhibit her landscaping talent (aka digging for bugs). I picked her up and carried her to the piece of equipment. She freaked out and rolled over. I shrugged, picked her up and went to the back of the line. As soon as her feet hit the ground she crawled after a moth. Embarrassing. But her military crawl looked great and garnered tons of comments and accolades.
The second class she seemed to like a couple of pieces of equipment (probably because they had moths flitting above them. Low fat treats). Then came the first round of rains/sleet/snow and we didn't have class for five weeks. By the time we returned, one of the teams had dropped out. Another one forgot to show up. Which left two teams. That's when The Kraken started liking class.
By the end of the third class, she LOVED the dog walk and A-frame and would actively dart over them whether or not they were the correct obstacle. Then more rains came and class was hit or miss. Sometimes the instructor would hold a class and only The Kraken and I would show. So we got a lot of private lessons for the cost of group ones. Awesome!!
Now, The Kraken is one of the top dogs in our intermediate class. She HATES the teeter totter because it moves but loves the other equipment. She gets so excited when we go to class, once she sees the place, she starts whining. And she refuses to leave, which means I have to carry her back to the car after dead-lifting her from a military crawl (she tries to crawl away from the gate, go figure).
Agility rocks. If you've never seen it, go to YouTube or look at #dogagility on Twitter. Lots of fun!!!
What kind of activities do you like to do with your pets? Has anyone else out there tried doggy agility?
DEMON KISSED coming soon to an online store near you!
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