Hello everyone.
Lexi is now a Puppy Class Graduate!!! We finished up class this week. The last class was mainly a fun class. She started off by going over the things we'd learned sit, down, stay, leave it, and come. Then she set out some obstacles. They had to walk over rods, a bumpy board, through a hoop and a well, wide hoop or short tunnel, jump up on a platform, and then under and around a wheelchair and a walker.

Lexi was great! I'm telling you, nothing phases this dog. Well, I guess that's not true. It took him a few days to get used to the school bus. And for a while he didn't want to walk away from the house. But he did great in the class. The teacher's helper told us we should get him involved in agility because he just went right over, under, or through whatever we told him to with no nervousness whatsoever. I'm considering it just because it looks so fun.
Then it was time for prizes. One of the things they'd done was to have us keep a "socialization checklist" where we checked off all the things they'd been exposed to. It had everything on it from "men with beards" to "fireworks" to "people walking with different gaits". The women who won the prize for the most items
checked off admitted she'd marked off "exposure
to farm animals" because they passed some cows
while they were driving. Humph!
But *we* won best trick! We were supposed to
try to teach them a simple trick. My daughter took that to heart, so she and my son taught Lexi to
jump through a hoop, and to run through a tunnel.
He performed like a champ! She had the hoop
several inches off the floor, and he was springing through it like a pro! I was so proud of both of
them daughter and puppy. Only two other
people had done tricks one dog was supposed
to crawl, but didn't. The other was supposed to
touch something, and I guess he did. So we didn't have much competition. Still, I was happy for
DD, because I know she was proud of herself too.
Bizby
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in thread "bizby40" (Email Removed) whittled the following words:
Hello everyone. Lexi is now a Puppy Class Graduate!!! We finished up class this week. The last class was mainly ... didn't have much competition. Still, I was happy for DD, because I know she was proud of herself too. Bizby

YAY for Lexi. Will you continue with advanced training?
Hello everyone. Lexi is now a Puppy Class Graduate!!!

Congratulations to Lexi and you and DD!!!
The teacher's helper told us we should get him involved in agility because he just went right over, under, or through whatever we told him to with no nervousness whatsoever. I'm considering it just because it looks so fun.

Fun. Yes, it is that. As one of the agility people here, I should also explain to you that it is completely addictive. And fun. And frustrating. And exhilerating. And addictive. And fun.
It is also an incredible way to build on the bond with your dog. We have two dogs. I run one in agility and my DH runs the other. Both dogs love us more or less equally. But when we are doing a lot of agility (between classes and training and trials), there is no doubt which dogs "belongs" to which of us.
Little story here..
I had a great opportunity this summer to watch a teenaged girl I know run her Golden in her first real agility trial. She had taken beginning classes with us way back when and we always thought she showed a real aptitude for working with dogs. Also was great at taking direction. We left those classes so had lost touch with her. She had been involved with 4H programs and had progressed but had never done a real (in this case, AKC) trial. The 4H leader convinced her to start some real lessons with a local agility trainer, who assured her she was ready to trial.
She only signed up for a standard run, one day out of the four. Had a fairly large cheering section of her family, the instructor and many of his other students. She was almost the first dog to run, so we all got there early to support her - and her even more nervous mother. She did just fine. The dog got a little bouncy and she got a little off her game plan. Did so very many things right. She came out of the ring - just glowing - saying "When can I do it AGAIN!".
Addictive, I tell you. Further proof - DH is considering selling his fishing boat because fishing season and prime agility season coincide.
Judy
Spenser - Carbor Talk of the Town, OA, OAJ, NJC, NGC Sassy - Can CH Carbor Back Talk, NA, NAJ
in thread "bizby40" YAY for Lexi. Will you continue with advanced training?

We haven't decided yet where to go next. They have a puppy agility class, and a puppy obedience class. The problem is time. Between work and kids and sports and scouts, we're really stretched thin. So I think we'll take a month off to let the sports wrap up, and we'll keep practicing what we've learned so far. Then we'll see where we stand. I'd like to though. Lexi responded so well, I'd hate to get lazy and have him lose what he's learned.

Bizby
Hello everyone. Lexi is now a Puppy Class Graduate!!!

Congratulations to Lexi and you and DD!!!

Thanks!
The teacher's helper told us we should get him involved ... whatsoever. I'm considering it just because it looks so fun.

Fun. Yes, it is that. As one of the agility people here, I should also explain to you that it is completely addictive. And fun. And frustrating. And exhilerating. And addictive. And fun.

-) That's why it seems appealing. And DD did so well with him in class, I'd love to have her continue. The problem, as I explained to Diddy, is time. But I really think we will at least sign up for the puppy agility class. I think DD and Lexi would enjoy it so much. And I can maybe get DH to agree to the expense if he sees it as an activity for DD rather than for "the dog".
Bizby
Addictive, I tell you. Further proof - DH is considering selling his fishing boat because fishing season and prime agility season coincide.

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
The thing about agility is that it is just not a static sport. It goes beyond the fact that most dogs love it and it becomes self-rewarding for them (agility becomes its own reward to the dog).
Agility is addictive (at least to me) because it's a constant mind game. Chess on speed. It can't get stale because things always change. Training methods, equipment, courses, the way you handle each dog, etc. vary not just a little, but wildly. The very fact that agility is easy in many ways yet infinitely complex under the surface is part of its fascination.The few people I know who actually don't like agility are those who don't like change. The ones I personally know who are like this are all competition obedience people. They train what they train, they train it a certain exact way that hasn't changed much over the past 15 years, and they expect a certain outcome, forever-and-ever-amen. They want to take a dog, train it a couple of years to the Utility level, then have a good expectation of going in the ring and gettin high-190s and going right up the line Novice to Open to Utility all in 3 tries each.

To them, the fact that agility courses are always different is maddening. And the fact that they simply aren't going to be able to expect an instant Q, even if they've trained for two years, is just too much. And realizing that it's usually their fault when the dog doesn't Q? Anathema. I've had a few say "I can't wait to get his AX so I can quit this, I can't stand not Qing all the time."
Their loss.
We were supposed to try to teach them a simple trick.

While everything else you and yours did with Lexi is great, this is fantastic. It's fun and wonderful what one can accomplish with puppies and I'm amazed that more of your fellow students didn't train at home.
Congratulations to you and your kids.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
Agility is addictive (at least to me) because it's a constant mind game.

When I first started classes with Spenser, DH thought it was a very nice thing for me. Good to have hobbies, you know. Sometimes he went along to class to watch and talk with dog people.
Then I started trialling and he kept watching. He got so he wanted HIS turn to play. He was pretty sure he could do it as well or better. So we got Sassy. Who is as different from Spenser as a littermate can be.

And THEN he got hooked on the challenge of it all. That every class, every trial, every run there is something to be learned about you and/or your dog. The combination of spending time playing with your dog AND doing something that requires constant learning on your part has him completely hooked. How do I communicate the course to any dog and especially to THIS dog, why did it work, why didn't it work, what's the smoothest way to run that combination?
I really thought that he would get way more interested in earthdog competitions. A chance to do in competition what he has done with dogs all his life. Prove that his little lap dogs are actually pretty tough. But I'm the only one who shows any interest in getting at least JE titles on the dogs. Didn't do a single earthdog test this year - they conflicted with agility trials.
See, earthdog has no mind game there for him. His friends think it's nice that he has another hobby but everyone thinks he's mostly doing it for me. WE know better. He may be even more addicted than I.

~~Judy
I think DD and Lexi would enjoy it so much. And I can maybe get DH to agree to the expense if he sees it as an activity for DD rather than for "the dog".

Can you do AKC trials? (When you're ready.) AKC has a Junior Handler program that can earn her some scholarship money. Check out www.akc.org . I imagine that having a sport that requires regular, self-starting work on her part, and especially as an individual, will also look great on a college application.The young girl that I told you about had been doing a 4H program. Maybe there's something like that in your area? The day she competed was the first time her father got to watch her. Her parents got to see what a great environment it was - believe me, she had a large support group helping her through the logistics and discussing what went right and what went wrong and what she could do differently next time. The original plan was for her family to leave the trial right after she ran - Dad had taken off time from work and they were packing and leaving on vacation that evening and they were about two hours from home.

I kept running into them around the rings for hours afterwards. Seems Dad wanted to stay and watch more. Maybe have Dad take her to a class once in a while - or eventually to a show-n-go in your area.
I gotta mention also - the kids I see doing agility are absolutely great. Not just great at agility but also great kids. They spend a fair amount of time on weekends with adults - many of whom have kids older than they are. They learn to handle themselves in what is basically an adult setting. They learn patience from their dogs. The instructors I know LOVE to teach motivated kids - they have no preconceptions and are willing to try things - so the kids gain another adult mentor in their lives. It's a great activity - wish it had been available when my daughter was young.

~~Judy
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