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Dreading agility?

April 11, 2010

As many know, Miki and I finished the first level of agility at the Calgary Canine Centre at the beginning of the year. Aside from when Miki was attacked by a large German Shepard in the last class, it was great. I looked forward to class each week as Miki was a superstar at accomplishing each piece of equipment.

For several reasons, I’ve moved to K9 Express on Monday evenings now. Miki and I started our first class on April 5. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as fun or carefree as the previous session had been. While Miki and I started off quite strong, with about 20 minutes left in class Miki got overstimulated and I couldn’t get her to concentrate for the life of me. After I got frustrated, I fell apart and the rest of the class was pretty much a wash.

First off, I think K9 Express’ Level 1 class went beyond where we did at the Canine Centre. So I’m starting at a bit of a disadvantage right off. As well, several of the handlers (that is what us owners who direct our dogs through the agility course are called) are experienced in that they’ve handled dogs before, and are just training a new dog. So I’m a newbie who doesn’t have as much training as everyone else. Great. Not to say that the facility or its instructors are bad – they’re doing a great job. It’s not Miki’s fault either – it’s a new place and she’s learning new things. This is my failure to truly appreciate what my role is as a handler, and how much work I will have to put in to make things work.

Was it all that bad? No. Especially since I can learn from the experience. We weren’t the superstars we were in previous classes, but isn’t that what life is all about? Going beyond your comfort zone is the only way to really expand your horizons.

My plan for this week?

  • Walk Miki before class to tire her out a bit
  • Maintain my composure (for good or bad) so that I don’t excite Miki more than necessary
  • Show up to class early to ask the instructor for tips

Either way, agility classes will make or break us. I’m crossing my fingers for the former.

Anyone else have an experience where you got put in your place? And how you overcame it?

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