Saturday, November 7, 2009

AGILITY, by Mel

If you read what my sister Piper wrote about obedience class, you would think it was a terrible experience, but I didn't think it was all that terrible.  Of course, that's just my own humble opinion. What I liked best about obedience class was getting lots of treats for doing stuff that Mom asked me to do.  Also I really liked getting to spend some quality time with Mom.


So that's why, when Mom asked me if I wanted to go to agilty class, I said yes right away, even though I wasn't sure what agility really was.  Well, it turned out that in agility you get treats for going over things and under things and through things.  It was mostly fun, except for the teeter-totter, which I didn't like much because it scared me.  Here's a picture of a dog doing the teeter-totter.  The way you do it is you walk up one side of it and then it tips, and you then walk down the other side of it.  But when it tips, you feel like the ground is falling out from under you.  And also it makes a loud noise, which is scary.  So I never did learn the teeter-totter very well.  Mostly I just walked up halfway and then jumped off!


But I was fairly good at some of the agility things, like the hurdles, for example.  I could jump over them, and I could also jump through the ring thing.  And I was good at doing the down-stay on the table, and I could do the dogwalk pretty well, too.


Usually I was also good at going through the chute and the tunnel, except sometimes I had to stop in the tunnel to see if Mom had thrown a treat in there for me.  The treat was supposed to encourage me to go through the tunnel, but sometimes it didn't quite work that way.


I think my favorite agility thing of all was the A-frame.  When you go over the A-frame, it's like climbing a little mountain and then coming down again.  I liked to climb the A-frame mountain, and I could do it really fast.  The only hard part is that you are not supposed to jump off  of it too soon when you are coming down.  You have to make sure you touch that part at the bottom that's a different color.


The worst part of agility is the weave poles.  I never learned the weave poles, and when Barry took agility class, he never learned the weave poles either, even though he learned everything else, including the teeter-totter.  The thing about the weave poles is that weaving in and out between them is a dumb thing to do, so there doesn't seem to be much point in doing it.


When you climb up and over the A-frame, or when you walk on the narrow little dogwalk, or even when you go through tunnels or jump over things, you can almost imagine yourself being a hunting dog pursuing your prey through the deep woods.  Or else you can picture yourself as a brave Search and Rescue dog, clambering over the ruins of a collapsed building, looking for people who are trapped in the debris.  But there are no weave poles in the deep woods on in a collapsed building, so that's why it seems silly to do them.

But I guess I just have the wrong attitude about weave poles, because some dogs are clever enough to learn to do them, and these same dogs practice until they get good at doing all the other agility stuff, too.  Then they compete in agility trials and get a bunch of titles to add to their names.  I will never have any titles after my name because Mom does not want to compete in agility, and we just took the class for fun.  Besides which, Barry and I couldn't compete because we are Mixed Breed Dogs -- although I think the AKC has recently changed some of its rules about letting mixed breed dogs compete.

Anyway, I was flattered that Mom chose to take me to agility class, even though I wasn't as good at it as Barry was.  Mom did not take Gabe to agility class because she thought he would just try to snark at the other dogs instead of going through the tunnel or whatever.  And she did not take Piper because she thought Piper would balk at doing anything much, and would just want to go home.  So that's why Barry and I got to go, and the basenjis didn't!

3 comments:

  1. YOU GO MEL!! I love watching the canine agility classes! Sometimes law enforcement put on these type of exhibitions and I loved watching them too. I think most of my dogs (past) went to obedience training and it was always helpful, and they too, loved all the treats. What I really need is a class for Dodi....oh my...not sure there's an instructor who would be the least bit interested in training dear Dodi. LOL!!
    Have a good weekend.
    Love, AP

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  2. Dear Aunt Patty,
    Thanks for taking time to read my entry in Piper's blog, and also for writing a comment. I don't think there are any classes for cats, although I have heard that cats can be trained. This may be a myth, however. You could hire an animal behaviorist, but they are kind of expensive. I'm afraid I don't have any other advice for you. Sorry.
    Love, Mel

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