A New Class! (already?)

By a stroke of luck, we found a new class to go to! With a new trainer, too. It’ll be interesting to see how things work out. There’ll be three two hour classes, and boy oh boy, was last nights’ class fun!!!

We started out saying hi, as usual. This is a much larger class than the last one, with three shelties, a standard poodle, a terrier mix, another mix, and Quick. Everyone liked Quick- he is charming, in his big-boy-clumsy way. The trainer commented on his thoughtfulness, and asked if he was a worker. Yep, Quick’s handled sheep! She said he acted it, and that made me wonder what sheep herding in general has to offer the herders of agility. It requires perfectly divided focus, and I’ve noticed a change in Quick since his first time herding, way back when he was a puppy. What do you think? If you have a herding dog, do you think herding sheep would help their agility? Do you do it as well as agility?

We started the night out with restrained recalls. Quick tried to kill me by running around in front and tripping me, but other than that, he did great! The trainer explained how important it is to have someone who the dog likes holding them by their chest, not their collar. My friend Elise (Phoebe’s mom) held him, and he didn’t make a sound beyond eagerness. It was like a whole new dog! We are still going to work on that friendliness to people holding him thing though. No excuse for bad manners.

From there, we moved on to shaping 101 things to do with a box. Quick got picked to go first and be the example, and I was so proud! He offered so many things so fast I could hardly treat him fast enough! He sat. He laid down. Stood up, spun around, spun and laid down, offered me his paws, one after the other and both and… have I mentioned how much I love operant training? Because I do. While I feel command training has its’ place, operant training is just so FUN! It’s something I can imagine myself doing on a rainy day with a cooling tray of oatmeal cookies to share with Quick.

After the boxes, we got to play with tunnels. I doubted Quick, and he failed. My trainer pointed out that I was turning back to him, and I needed to keep going and trust him to go in and know what to do. I did, and lo and behold… the unmistakable thunder of happy dog paws behind me through the tunnel! He made it through it at full length. He’s making me so proud. We had some difficulty with me pointing into the tunnel. It’s too early to point yet.

We then played on a lowered, blocked teeter. Quick’s blessed with normal sized paws on his abnormally large body, so it wasn’t too awful. He still didn’t know his feet were there, but straight on, straight off was best for him. We’re practicing on picnic benches and wood guard rails.

All in all, I’m so glad we found a new class to attend, and I was thrilled with how much we got to do!

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3 Comments on “A New Class! (already?)

  1. My current agility trainer has another Corgi in a differnt night’s class, and he asked me if my corgi was doing herding – and I said he’d done some informal herding test, but that was all.

    This agility trainer said that the other corgi is doing herding, and seems not to be progressing in agility as he should, and perhaps the trainer wondered if herding, and the dog ‘thinking’ on his own is making it more difficult for the dog to do agility where he has to not ‘think’ on his own, but follow directions.

    Don’t know if this is true, but at one of the herding instinct test my corgi did, the herding instructor said she didn’t like her herding dogs to do agility, she wanted them to do obedience.

    so there ya’ go — guess it depends on the dog and the instructors and the handlers.

  2. I do herding with my Border Collies as well as agility, and it has totally made a difference with them. Cedar, my girl, is able to handle distractions and “scary” situations much better than before we started herding. I would unequivocally say that herding has helped her to become the awesome agility dog she is today!