Lizzie had her first agility class tonight.

December 21, 2007

Tonight was Lizzie’s first agility class at Paws for Applause and we had a BLAST. Because of the holidays, this wasn’t a normal class, but I think we’re really going to enjoy training out there. We started class with some heeling (on leash- beginners is entirely on-leash although you drop the leash for some obstacles, etc) and then did a sequencing game.

There were sequences of 2-4 items, and there was everything on the course except for an a-frame, although at lower levels, and some sequences had parallel items where you could take whatever version your dog was comfortable with (for example, there was a baby teeter about 4″ of the ground, a bigger teeter about 8″ off the ground, and a 1′ one and you could take any of them for the same amount of points). You did the sequence, and if you did it correctly, you grabbed a package off the ground by one of the obstacles, ran it back to the pause table, put your dog on the table in a sit or down (bginner 1-2 did sits, beginner 3-4 did downs) and they had to stay while you turned around and put the present under the table and an ornament on the tree. Food/luring and clicking is allowed/encouraged. It’s a training game. You had three minutes to do as many sequences as you could and couldn’t repeat sequences without having completed all of them.

Lizzie hasn’t had any real formal training beyond the stuff we played with last week, so two of the otherwise easy sequences were out for us because they had long tunnels in an S-curve (which I knew she wouldn’t go all the way through) and another two had weaves, and I didn’t want to even THINK about luring her into weaves. There was one with a baby dogwalk and then a closed chute that we thought about but decided not to take because I didn’t think she’d do the chute. We successfully completed all three of the sequences we attempted though without a single error! The first sequence was a teeter, a jump, a short tunnel, and another jump; the second was just four straight jumps; and the last was a pinwheel of 3 jumps. I was SO proud of her! 🙂

She did a really good job of ignoring her playgroup boyfriend, Monarch the papillon and seemed to really have a blast. I can’t wait till nxt week!

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A Busy weekend…

December 10, 2007

We have a saying in Texas – “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.” This weekend was a lovely (my voice is dripping with sarcasm, in case you don’t have the font “Dripping with sarcasm” to tell what I said there :P) example of it. Last Thursday, our weather was brisk and dry, in the low 60s, with a nice brisk breeze- it was downright chilly when we left the park on Thursday evening. On Friday, up in the 80s! Saturday, it was nearly 90 F! In December! Yuck! Yesterday and today have been downright chilly- in the 50s, with rain and biting winds. A few hours north, in Tulsa (where a major agility trial was held this weekend), they had terrible ice storms.

I spent Saturday with my gaming group, and Lizzie had a friend come in to let her out for lunch while I was gone. Kay called me to tell me that Lizzie had been very good for her- she fed her lunch and took her out for a potty break and then put her back in her crate. Lizzie right back to working on her chewie, and I got home 3 hours later, around 7. The first thing I did- as any puppy owner can tell you- is opened Lizzie’s crate and prepared to rush her outside for a potty run. I opened the top door and put my hand into the crate (I didn’t even stop to turn the lights on 🙂 and… no puppy.

Cue panicked human. “Lizzie!? Lizzie, where the heck are you?” There was no obvious destruction, and I searched the whole living room when she didn’t come when I called her- I was sure she’d electrocuted herself on the Christmas tree or something. Finding nothing, I went into the bedroom, expecting to find my computer cables shredded or something. Luckily, she’d done nothing but shred part of my rosemary plant (on the floor by the window) and then go to sleep on my bed (which I didn’t know she could jump up onto, and thinking about it now, she may have been too busy trying to scale Mount Bedspread to get into much mischief. Heh.) Cue HUGE sigh of relief. This is one smart, sneaky puppy!

Tonight we have an evaluation with Bonnie Sykes Norris at Paws For Applause, a local agility training center with a great reputation for working with non-traditional breeds and bringing puppies along slowly on foundation training- introducing low contacts, tiny jumps, and the self-control, courage, and enthusiasm they’ll need to be excellent agility dogs. Bonnie was recommended by our friend Martha, whose greyhound Nike is pictured several times on the PFA site. Nike is a neat dog- he’s a show-bred greyhound, the first I’ve ever met, and he’s a total doll. He, and his papillon ‘brother’ Monarch are some of Lizzie’s favorite dog buddies. (The tug toy and ball Lizzie is playing with in last week’s photos are both toys Lizzie has stolen from Monarch.)

Lizzie is 5 pounds now- I can’t believe how fast she’s grown. She’s gained a pound in just over 2 weeks.