We piled up (four people + Gwynn + one hatchback = one back seat down and a very effective new way of going on trips with Gwynn!) in the car and headed downtown (ish… it’s on Queens Quai, near Rees Street) for some free agility at Pawsway last Monday night.
The building is long and thin and entirely dog-friendly. There is a cafe at the front, where you can grab food indoors with your dog. There are interactive and informative displays about dogs and cats, and there is a small shop for dog and cat toys, treats and equipment. You continue down this long narrow building through more pet displays and a pet memorial, and come out into a two-storey high room with a big rubbery mat on most of the floor and (if you’re there at an agility time) agility equipment set up. They had a ramp, two jumps, a teeter totter, a suspended hoop/tire thing, a curved tunnel and a straight tunnel. Unfortunately for us, the curved tunnel had to be taken away after our first (picture-less) run-through. And entirely my fault, I’m ashamed to say. Right after I tossed a treat into it to lure Gwynn into going through, the woman walking me through the agility process gave me a horrified look and said “We don’t put treats in the tunnel! It distracts the dogs who know how to go through the tunnel and makes them stop and sniff around!”
Oh. Well, that makes perfect sense, and is really quite obvious if I had actually used my brain at all! *Here I am, feeling like a complete noob and thoroughly embarrassed*
And the next dog to run through, with tons of agility experience, did just that – she stopped to investigate the lingering scent of liver-treat. So they took the tunnel away. I figured they’d spray it with a cleaner and bring it back, but I guess they didn’t think that would work, so we lost the use of the big tunnel for the rest of the class, making me feel even more sheepish about it. I could just crawl into a tunnel and die! I’ve learned my lesson, I swear!
The people there were helpful, walking me through all the obstacles and giving me tips on how to improve my luring Gwynn through the course. Gwynn handled everything like a champ, and definitely got really into going over the equipment. He quickly got the nick-name ‘Leggy’ by the staff, since we had to raise the jump height every time it came up to our turn, and then lower it when our turn was over.
Gwynn picked up on what we were doing so quickly that the staff recommended that I start labelling what we were doing for him, so that he would recognise things and be able to do them on command. He was surprisingly focused, considering how much he loves dogs (and how many dogs were in the room, to start off with), and was really doing well.
He also fell in love with one of the staff, whose hands smelled so strongly of bacon treat that he wouldn’t believe that she didn’t have any. This happened midway through our run-through – he swivelled away from the course after the first jump and then sat right in front of her. She backed off and he very carefully squat-waddled closer to her, so that he remained mostly-seated while approaching her. “Please, I’m sitting! Just give me the BACON!” When he is especially hopeful for treats, his posture improves even more, and he takes up less than a square foot of floor-space. My grade three teacher would have approved of his posture. She once suggested to the parents of my class that they should strap rulers to our backs and their own for a few hours every evening.
The building is great – lots of exits for getting your dog out to do his business, and lots of ‘oops’ mop-and-buckets (for if he doesn’t warn you early enough about his business needs) and plenty of fresh water dishes.
They have a ton of organized events – small dog and large dog off-leash play times, agility, Rally-O, and a variety of other activities. They have certain times set up for free sessions, and the rest of it seems fairly inexpensive.
The only thing I’m not impressed with? Their website. Their online calendar doesn’t clarify what times classes are free, and what times they are paid for, and they don’t give the prices anywhere that I’ve been able to find. I was lucky to find out that they have free sessions through Meetup.com, and to find out when one of those sessions is. I have no problem paying for classes, but it’s nice to know beforehand. I’ve emailed them through their contact line, but haven’t heard anything in response yet.
The location is beautiful, tucked in right next to the water, with a wave-walk right next to it. Parking is a bit sparse, but there is a pay-parking lot at the corner of Rees Street and Queens Quay that has plenty of parking available (though expensive – $15 flat rate!), and is about a block from Pawsway.
I’m definitely going to be trying it out again, though next time I’ll try to take advantage of some of the other things in the area – go for a walk afterwards and enjoy being at the waterfront, and maybe grab a snack at the dog friendly cafe.