Thursday, November 5, 2009

Our First Agility Class!

I can mark something else off my list! Cam and I went to our first agility class last night. We are taking training at Pet Behavior Help (PBH) which is in Chapel Hill, but ironically it is a straight shot and only takes about 20 minutes to get to. Cam was so excited to go!

I was a little disappointed because we didn’t learn anything too exciting. Everything we did was pretty easy. I wanted to get him out there jumping over bars and running through tunnels, but mostly we just learned how to control our dog better. I guess you have to learn to communicate with your dog really well before you can go flying around an agility course.

First we practiced targeting. We were given these circular plastic lids and were told to put a treat on the lid. We were supposed to get them to go to the lid get the treat and them move on away from the lid. Cam liked to pause at the lid a little too long and lick it, but for the most part he did fine. Then we added another lid, so they paused at the first one, went to the second one, paused and then moved on. I think Cam was mostly just confused about what the point of this exercise was. He did it, but with no enthusiasm and kind of just got tired of it towards the end. Then again, I did too.

Next we practiced going through 2 cones to simulate a jump. The assistant would hold the dog and I would walk either through the cones or around them and get Cam to come to me through the cones. We did this at different angles and from different sides. Again, Cam did great. We did have to get behind the class misfit, so it always took a while for our turn because the misfit would have to have several tries. Really it’s not the misfit’s fault. She is less than a year old and just full of energy with a very short attention span. Cam was like that in his first obedience class and it always embarrassed the crap out of me.

Finally we practiced turns. We practiced getting the dog to turn going around our body following the inside hand and then we practiced turning with the dog staying on the same side by switching our inside hand. This was probably the most exciting part of class.

We are supposed to practice what we learned at least 3 times this week.

I guess I am just a little frustrated that things move so slowly. I went back and looked at the classes and it will take forever and lots of money to get Cam to the competition level:

Beginner Agility 1: $110
Beginner Agility 2: $110
Beginner Agility 3: $110
Intermediate Agility 1: $110
Intermediate Agility 2: $120
Intermediate Agility 3: $120
Advanced Agility 1: $120
Advanced Agility 2: $120
Advanced Agility 3: $120

Total: $1040!

And most of the class descriptions say they are designed to be taken multiple times! What did we get ourselves in to?

Maybe we should have skipped up a class? If my dog gets everything we do right on the first try, why am I paying $110 dollars to practice it over and over? I mean I am glad he is one of the best students in the class, but for $110 I want him to be challenged! And I don’t want to spend over $1000 to get a chance to run a course with him. Ugh. Maybe next week will be more challenging.


Sonja said...

Could you ask if they would move you up to a higher level since you have only been to one class?
BTW - My dog would be the misfit. In 3 years, she still doesn't understand that she has to give the toy back to me if she wants to play fetch. She will bring it back, drop it, but then snatch it away before I can pick it up.

GinSpaghetti said...

Here, the two places we have (yeah two, don't laugh!) allow you to make an appt and they basically assess your dog and place you accordingly. I totally agree that it's a waste when he's clearly mastered the basics. Good luck! Wish we had more options.... oooh good old Gville!!! :)

AnnQ said...

Your cute pup is super smart! :-)