One of the things I have wanted to do with Gwen even before we got her was Agility. Now that she is almost 2 years old, we figured we should get to work on that goal! In January I signed Gwen and I up for the Pre-Agility/Tricks class at a local dog training facility. We have gone to 3 classes so far; here is the summary of those three days…
Gwen was a total butt the first day of class! It was like she had never been in public! Oh it was embarrassing. She didn’t want to walk nicely on the leash and she was so excitable that she couldn’t hold in her barks. She did listen just enough when we were doing introductions to show off her two good tricks (bang! and sit pretty). I decided after that first class that we had some homework to do and it didn’t even have to do with what we were learning in class.
Gwen and I went to the Sportsmans Warehouse with friend Betsy and her dog Hershey and we just practiced walking around with distractions and other dogs (Hershey). It really helped a lot!
The things we learned/did in the first class were: walk nicely on the leash, work on “creep” (Gwen didn’t get that one), walking over poles, “paws up,” going thru a hula hoop, getting on/in things (e.g. Trash can lid, boxes), and overall just seeing where all the dogs were at. This is the first class we have taken with this lady and you could tell that a lot of the other dogs had been in her classes before…
The second day went better than the first. Gwen walked nicer on her leash, though I still had to make a makeshift no-pull “harness” by looping her leash around her belly.
I don’t really remember everything that we did that day since I went home and proceeded to fall deathly ill for a couple of days. Needless to say we did not practice too much the following week.
Gwen was such a little super star! It was the first time that the equipment was set out. We weren’t allowed to take our dogs on the dog walk or a-frame until after class began but we were encouraged to work them around the obstacles while we waited for everyone to show up.
I arrived early and was one of the first dogs in the ring. I walked Gwen around and started making her do her do basic obedience things to get her mind focused. I think having her the a bit early and before all the other nervous energy dogs got in there was key. Gwen was focused and wanting to please.
When it came time to take our turns going over the dog walk and the a-frame, Gwen got on the dog walk like a pro. She was so eager to go forward…we were supposed to walk them across but Gwen had other ideas! The trainer lady asked me if Gwen had ever seen/been on the equipment before and she had. The dog park we frequented in Charleston had a full agility course. Gwen was so eager to show off on the dog walk that when I went to make her sit and treat her after she crossed it, she turned back around and headed back across!!! The trainer lady said, “Corgis will do this all day long. She’s like a kid in a candy store right now!” And that’s the truth!
The A-Frame was a bit harder for Gwen. In the past (at Sky Dogs in Charleston), it was harder to get her to go up and over it but she eventually did it. In class it was a bit slick so she had a little trouble getting to the top. Had to scrabble to get a toe hold but she made it! On the way down she thinks it is easier to just leap off the middle…which is bad. The dogs have to touch in the yellow area at the bottoms and Gwen doesn’t think that’s very cool. Of course we haven’t gotten to that part yet but I can just see how this is going to go. Oh brother.
My little super star and a female Aussie decided that lunging and snapping at each other would be a good thing to do…now we know who to keep away from in class! (The other dog started it.)
Overall, I think Gwennie is doing very well and will eventually turn into a great agility dog if I can keep up with her! She is so eager to do everything and do it all fast that we are going to have to continue to work on the focus and slowing down. Fast is slow and slow is fast.