Attempting Agility

While we were staying at Best Friend Holiday Retreat, Czar and I spent some time on the agility equipment.

Agility is one of those dog sports where dogs follow a circuit of jumps, weaves, tunnels and ramps, all off lead, in the order called out by the handler. Mostly, border collies and Aussie shepherds dominate agility - its made for dogs bred to work at a distance from their handler and so, breeds used for sheep herding have a genetic advantage. In contrast, arctic breeds have been bred to be independent and curious. Whenever a husky or Mallie pops up on YouTube in a successful agility trial, husky people go nuts sharing it round, talking about the connection the handler has with the dog, the attention span of the dog, its ability to recall and not run amok. Of course, there are YouTube clips of huskies running amok too, and we share those just as avidly, with a rueful laugh because we know a little bit of the frustration!

Because Czar still has limited recall, I haven't tried him out on agility equipment at obedience, where there is no fence and the distraction level is really high. So I was thrilled that Best Friends offered a fenced agility yard and we had the place to ourselves. The circuit was a small one, with two tunnels, two jumps, a bridge ramp, and a hoop. There were also a couple of old metal drums that I treated like small tunnels, until J pointed out they were probably made to be stood on. 

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I started out luring Czar through the tunnels by tossing treats through them. Badly. I can't throw. We'd done a little jumping at obedience, and he is constantly improving, knocking the rails down less and less. I lured him onto the bridge and rewarded him at the top, and he was fine with that one. Gradually, he got the idea. Then we tried a string of these elements together. Wow!!! Two tunnels and two jumps done perfectly!! 

Of course, Murphy's law, it was never that good again.  

No, buddy, go IN the tunnel.

No, buddy, go IN the tunnel.

Hey! This way!

Hey! This way!

Watch our Facebook page to see videos of me running like a maniac and Czar prancing happily around, loving agility.