Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We're learning together

Last Monday (January 7) Dog Aunt Wendy came to agility class with Marvin and I and she brought her camera. What a lovely surprise! She took videos.

First run. Oh, things were looking good. Marvin ran enthusiastically and was full of wags. (Never mind the missed contact on the A-frame, oops!) We arrived at the final set of three jumps. "Easy!," I thought, but Marvin was more interested in the treat in my right hand than following the lead of my left hand over the jumps. What I love is how he's so focused, even if it's on the treat. He's right there with me. We finished to applause in the end. Now, look at me at the very end walking back to our seat, ditching the beagle. He's sitting there wondering what to do next! Note to self: Be as attentive to the beagle as the beagle is to you.

Second run. My favorite. We were instructed to run silently ... no verbal direction, just body language. We all discovered that our dogs ran the best this way. Dogs are masters of body language. Note to self: We will do best if I keep my mouth shut! :)

Third run. We ran the course in the reverse direction. After some initial snouting beagle-style it turned out to be our best run. But did you notice all the hub-bub after Marvin did the A-frame the first time? Yes, that was me forgetting what comes next. I remember thinking "forward cross, I need to do a forward cross after the A-frame, before the next jump." Little did I realize I already did the forward cross automatically ... a classic case of thinking too hard and not trusting my instincts. Note to self: Believe in the beagle. Believe in myself.

So nothing was clean, but I've been watching the videos over and over again for clues on how to improve my handling. Marvin knows the obstacles fairly well, it's up to me to communicate clearly and in a timely manner.

But in watching the videos, what actually stands out to me the most is that the boy is having fun.

Mission accomplished!


Blogger Truman said...

Good BOY, Marvin! Very impressive on the agility course. You can tell he's very attentive to you and wants to please you, his mama, oh so much. I think Truman could definitely benefit from some agility training, but I'm afraid he'd wander the course at his own pace, nose to the ground, ignoring my commands completely. But I suppose it's never too late to teach a 3-yr. old beagle new tricks!

January 16, 2008 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger JAZZ AND DIXIE said...

Nice work Marvin! Wonder if we could do as well - don't think so.
We could do the focus on treats part though!
Jazz and Dixie

January 17, 2008 at 5:00 AM  
Blogger Pacco de Mongrel said...

it never occur to us on the method of 'run silent'..

maybe i shld teach my owner that...coz she had been constantly shouting on top of her voice when i run...

January 27, 2008 at 10:13 AM  

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