Friday, February 15, 2008

Danny was a dog on Valentine's Day

This is a dog-blog. Today's pictures show some dogs (not ours) on agility obstacles.

Did you have a good Valentine's Day? After eating a spaghetti dinner, Danny and I went to our first dog agility training session. The first night was people only, to discuss clicker training, go over the rules of the course, and "syllabus". Only two trainer(s) dogs were briefly present for demos, a muscle-y pug who looked like the Men In Black dog and an Australian Shepherd. At one point, the trainer had one person pretend to be a dog and one be a trainer with clicker, demonstrating the procedure of clicking for attention and reward. Danny volunteered to be the dog, which was smart 'cause he got to move around continuously while the rest of us had to sit still between shivers on cold stone benches on a windy frigid night. Danny even wagged his tail, but was slow to get the idea of where he was supposed to go. Course, the volunteer 'trainer' had no idea of what to do, either. It will be funner next week--and possibly more chaotic with our real dogs who won't have any more clue as to what they're supposed to be doing than we will.

One cool thing about dog agility competition is that it is open to all breeds and mixed breeds. And you see them all--from Chihuahua to Great Dane to agility superstar breeds like Jack Russells, Welsh Corgis, Australian Shepherds and Australian cattle Dogs, Malinois, Golden Retrievers, and the master of all dog sports...the amazing Border Collie.

We had wanted to train our cattle dog, Chili, but her poor little body isn't cooperating between the hip problem and the mantle of agility dog is falling on our talk-y amber eyed Catahoula, Ginny. 'Hoola's are generally pretty good at agility, being smart, fast, natural jumpers, and very, well, agile dogs. We're going to put up some equipment in our yard and work with Abby and Chili at home, just for fun, while doing our weekly 'homework' with the Ginzer.

This week, we're concentrating on the sit, stay, down, come commands. I didn't think she knew them, but I practiced with her yesterday in a separate room from our other dogs and she did them perfectly a half dozen times. Somebody must have trained her along the chain of previous owners before we got her from Catahoula rescue.

We can't work Ginny with Chili in the room, since dominant dingo girl nips poor Ginny for the rewards. Understandably, hapless Ginny can't concentrate with a pushy cattle dog nipping her in the throat every couple seconds. Abby doesn't give a rat's ass what Chili does most of the time...she is half Rottweiler, after all. Nothing Chili does can hurt hurt her and she knows it.

So, we're looking forward to our Thursday night agility group. What fun to be with other folks who think wearing dog hair on your sweater is high fashion!

PS After dog class, we came home and ate a lot of my giant Valentine's cookie! Yum. Ta for now.

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