Team Bichon is in the making! (Sorry no photos)
You may recall, my Willy has been taking Agility classes for almost 2 years now; ran in his first competition in October. Willy is now age 9, and even when he moves, I can keep up with him, silly boy.
Riley - who joined our family in July, at age 6 - has completed Introduction to Agility, and is now in class. Intro to Agility is a 6 week class introducing the dog to each obstacle. Riley is fearless, curious and a quick learner. She excelled in this class and is now running 6 obstacle sequences with a treat only at the end of the sequence! She is FAST, I am going to have to learn distance handling with this girl. She is currently in Willy's class with another newbie, just till year end as then classes will get sorted out based on level and dog height, and I expect she will run an hour prior to Willy's class.
Tasha is currently in Introduction to Agility! Tasha is my puppy mill rescue, born and raised in a cage in Missouri and rescued when she was almost age 5. She has completed 3 manners classes, and does lots of socializing. She was allowed to sit in and observe Willy's Agility classes from Sept 2011 through May 2012. Now age 8, Tasha took her first class last week. The rest of the class are large breed, one is age 3 the rest are about 1 year. It was so interesting to have Tasha in this just 6 weeks after Riley took the same one.
For this first class, we had 2 obstacles out: the ladder, which is not used in competition but used in training to get the dog to think about where she is putting her back legs, and the training tire. Tasha had NO curiosity about the obstacles and no interest in getting near them. Quite the opposite she was afraid of them and I went through well over 2 cups of small training treats (cut up hot dogs, and bits of cheese) during the one hour lesson. The ladder is flat on the floor, and the object is to get the dog to walk along placing all 4 feet in each "slot." It is made of PVC white piping, very light weight. Tasha did what I call the giraffe neck, stretching to reach the treats I placed in the first slot, but getting her to actually place a foot in took over 15 minutes. By the end of class she was comfortable going back and forth!
The training tire also took some time and lots of treats. Again with the giraffe neck routine. The instructor thought perhaps she would put her 2 front paws on the tire to reach through for treats on the floor on the other side, but NO WAY was she touching that tire! When she FINALLY went through, the whole class erupted in applause, and I thought Tasha was going to pass out in a faint from all the noise lol.
My goal with Tasha is to build her confidence and have some fun. I plan to proceed with her to the next level of class when she is ready for it. I do not plan to take her to competitions, I'm not sure she could ever reach that level and ENJOY it. I spend lots of time making life FUN for this girl.
Go, Tasha, go! Try it out and see if it is fun. I hope it gets to be great fun for you by the end of the classes! Mum won't let anything scary happen, I know that for absolutely sure. Could you please have her give you a big hug for me because you accomplished TWO obstacles in your very first class! Yay, Tasha!
Yay, Willy and Riley! Go, Team Bichon go!