Saturday, August 17, 2013

Mr. Ein's Return to Agility!

Poor neglected blog!

What to start with?
Mr. Ein's success at the agility trial last weekend of course!

When Ein ran the agility course at Glen Highland Farm with enthusiasm, my mind couldn't help but wonder what would happen if I took him to a CPE Trial and entered him in Fullhouse.
A few days later I was mailing off for his ID number.

I entered him in Fullhouse and Jumpers.  These are two of my favorite classes and I considered them to be fairly do able.  I wasn't sure how things would play out with his anxiety.  Ein can freeze up pretty quickly at rally trials.  And since he has barely touched agility equipment in nearly a year, I was keeping my expectations low.  I quit agility training with Ein because it was difficult to pull enthusiasm out of him for the sport, and he was anxious about equipment more than he was happy about getting to play.

I entered him in Specialist, which allows him to jump 8 inches below his required height and also gives him more time.
Even though, as a shortie, this guaranteed Ein a jump height of 4", he still had to be officially measured.  And Ein did NOT love being measured.  Ein doesn't love to be touched by people, let alone a male judge and a horrifying metal contraption!  He stood entirely diagonal to the table, shed a pound of hair, and measured at 11.5" tall.  Done!

Fullhouse class came first.  Fullhouse was all level, so I had to walk a plan for both Ein and Molly - and my two dogs are as different as could be when it comes to agility.

Since Ein is in Specialist, and Level 1, he needed to earn 17 points in Fullhouse.  (While also completing at least three jumps, two "rounds" and a "joker"/contact.)
The outer ring gave Ein 20 points, so we just went with that!
As you can see in the video, there was a lot of running around obstacles, but it didn't matter to me.  My boy was clearly having fun running around with me, and that is the whole reason that I entered him in this trial.

Next up was Jumpers.  This was was more fun and Ein did a lot less jump run outs with this.  Video for this as well, but I especially love how he ran towards the tunnel without being asked.  He wanted to run in there!  Much of our issue when we trained for agility was that I did a whole lot of begging Ein to do obstacles and though he would do them, I could see that he didn't want to and was only obeying me - not enjoying.    Also, I got to do a front cross!  (And then I forgot to do one after number 7 like I should have.  Sigh, what will we do with me?)

And so, Ein earned himself an agility title: Level 1 Fun (Specialist)!  I know we didn't win the European Open here or anything, but I could not have been more proud of my little red dog.  I feel like people think I am an absolute lunatic when I say that Ein did/does not enjoy agility.  Watching him now, I have to agree: maybe I am.

Moral of the Story: Let your dog choose what he loves to do.  Back off and give him his space when he needs it.  Never give up on him.  Don't be so serious.  

What's next?  I don't know.  I don't have an Agility Agenda for Ein other than "just have fun". (Wait, isn't that the point of agility in theory anyway?)  I think that we may try Standard, next.  

The Finest Einest CSL1-F

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