Gwynn and I have been taking agility classes for the past few months. Shocking, right? I bet, based on my absenteeism in dog-post-land, you assumed I’d gotten rid of my furry buddy. Considering how remiss I’ve been in posting at all, you could also make the judgement that I’ve also gone away. Perhaps we both went ‘to the farm’.
We have been doing agility, though, and, if I do say so myself, we’ve been improving at it. If any of you in the Toronto area are interested in doing some classes yourself, I highly recommend All About Dogs. They also have doggy first aid classes, rally-o, disc-dog, flyball and other classes, which I’d bet are just as good as the agility. They are all about training in steps, so that the final performance is how it should be. They are also all about making sure the dogs are enjoying themselves. Gwynn is in love with Renee. She is a fluent speaker of Dog-ish, and can do amazing things when she takes one of the dogs in the class for a demo of an exercise. I completely believe that the levels of training in dog agility are mostly for the owner.
Agility is a great way of continuing your dog’s obedience training in a fun way. You might not be practicing anything very obviously command-like, but it’s in there. I’m finding that our agility training is improving things so much outside of class for Gwynn and I. He pays a lot more attention to me when he’s off-leash, his recall has improved drastically, and we are overall working better as a team.
I’m learning a lot about what my body language is telling Gwynn. Very little of what I’m saying as we go through the course has any impact on what Gwynn is doing. It’s my own fault in guiding him when, despite my enthusiastic shout of “Tunnel!”, he follows me along the outside of the tunnel. In the same way, when I shout “Table” while directing him (properly)towards the tunnel, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he does the tunnel anyways.
Having a weekly class has also encouraged me to do more training at home (sorely lacking at times). We’ve been working on our tricks as well, and Gwynn, I must say, is very enthusiastic in playing dead. Not terribly good at acting… but definitely enthusiastic. You’ve never seen someone fake-get-shot and fake-die with such a huge grin on his face until you’ve seen Gwynn do it.
My sister came with me to last week’s class, and videotaped some of our runs. And then, with the magic of her Mac laptop, she fancied up her videos for your enjoyment. I now have a Youtube channel. Just understand that it might be under my email, but it was set up by my sister, who took the video, laughed most of her way through the filming of it, formatted the video and posted it on Youtube for me. Pretty much the only thing I did was come up with an alternate name when it turned out the channel name “Gone for a Walk” was taken!
Check it out: