Thursday, April 14, 2011

First agility class!

Sorry for the long gap between posts. Vet school finals are on and they're brutal. I've been getting up at 7:30, going to bed at 11:30 and taking very few breaks in between. But tonight we had a study break for our first agility class!

I apologize that there are no pictures or videos. My friend is also in our class with her German Shepherd, and her boyfriend was supposed to be coming as well, so I was hoping to ask him to take a couple of videos of Summit and I. Unfortunately they ran into car trouble so I gave her and Dax a lift, but two big dogs in the backseat and one passenger are all I have room for. So no videos. You're not missing much though.

We started with backing up and looking left and right exercises. Then we got into bar jumps. Summit had already been introduced to these in his obedience class, so he did fairly well until I tried to raise the height of the jump. At the height it's at right now he's not really jumping... he's just stepping. As soon as I raise the height he refuses and goes around. I think I'm going to set up a makeshift jump in the backyard tomorrow as a study break. I intend to find some buckets and I've got a mop or something for the bar. I'm hoping as he becomes comfortable with going over the little jump it'll allow us to start getting more of a running start (right now if I give him too much distance he opts to go around) which should help him to feel he can clear a higher jump. The class is indoors and the room isn't that big, so there's not much space for him to get a good run going. Greyhounds are the best jumpers from a stand still.

We also worked on a series of obstacles. The first one was a bar jump and a table. Both set very low. What I discovered is that the table is not very big at all. You put a big greyhound on there and ask for a down... well, he barely fits! Summit was very good though and had no problems jumping up on it and laying down for a 5 second wait.

The second series was a bar jump followed by a tunnel. After his initial introduction to the tunnel he has no qualms about it whatsoever. It's the only obstacle at this point that he's pretty reliable about not skipping.

The final series was a tire, tunnel, bar jump. Need to work on that tire some more as well as he likes to try to go around. It was set higher than it has been in the past when he's seen it, so I wonder if again he found it awkward.

All in all it was a pretty good session. I found myself having to explain about greyhounds. Seems like I'm always training the trainer when it comes to training a greyhound. She was very understanding though so that was good. She had wanted us to ask our dogs to sit, then stand behind them and use food lures to get them to turn their heads left and right, this is supposed to be the beginning of teaching them how to take direction for which way to go. I opted to leave Summit in a stand and straddle him (he's tall, I'm not, so it's pretty close to being awkward) and she came over and told me that he should be in a sit. Well, I explained that that wouldn't work very well because there was no way he was going to stay in a sit for any length of time. I haven't worked on his sit stays very much because aside from obedience I don't see much point. We'll cross that bridge if we ever want to do more serious obedience. Once she understood she was very understanding about it. Definitely a good sign!


Eliz said...

Sounds like you guys are doing great! Way to go! When it came to jumping I had the same issue, (even though I don't do agility). Recently I went to a Zink seminar and we tried over a different way to teach jumping, it worked great. If your interested you might want to check out Christine Zink's Jumping from A to Z (I think you can find it on

Elizabeth Singleton said...

Yay Summit! Sounds like he's doing great!