Saturday, March 5, 2011

Boot Camp or Watch Tibby Run

I took Tibby to a puppy agility boot camp today at On the Run Canine Center.  It was a fun class, but it was also a long tiring day.  We left at 9 am and got home after 5pm.  The class was an hour and 1/2 long.  The rest of the day was driving.  It was interesting to see so many puppies all doing agility activities.  The puppies were all 15 months and younger.  Most of the activities were things we had done in our Foundation class.  I liked the way the instructors explained everything.  I also felt that we got a lot of personal attention, even though there were 20 puppies there and there were 5 puppies (including Tibby) in our group.  Tibby had fun, because she got to eat lots of steak, sausage and tilapia.  An hour and 1/2 is a looooong time to have a class.  By the end of the 2nd 20 min. section I could see that I was loosing Tibby.  By the 3rd section, she didn't care about treats (except the steak) and she was not interested in playing tug at all.  She usually loves to play tug, even with other dogs around, but she had this glazed look on her face.  She was way over stimulated.  The last section was with a low dog walk, tunnel, pause table and some other stuff.
  At this point Tibby decided to make her own fun. 
Uh Oh.
 The dogs were supposed to go through the tunnel and stop on the pause table.  Ok, so Tibby does it the first time.  She didn't really stop all the way on the table (went off the other side), but she was under control.  The teacher said to really get the dogs excited. 
So I did. 
The other dogs trot or walk nicely through the tunnel, some make it on to the table, some don't.
Tibby tears through the tunnel like a rabid wolf and then takes off at top speed past the table and then does a huge looping zoom around the training area.  Thank goodness for fences or she would have run through the whole building.  Now Tibby is on one side of an A-frame and I'm on the other.  Everyone starts yelling, "Go the other way!  Go the other way!"  I'm confused - the other way around the A-frame?    No.  They want me to run away from Tibby.  And then in theory she is supposed to notice that I'm not playing and run to find me.
 Hmmmmm Ok.
 I'll try anything once.
 I go across the room and she doesn't notice me.  I call her and she runs over to find me.  But then I find out, "No.  You shouldn't have called her.  Next time don't call her."
Now if they thought Tibby was fast the 1st time, well they haven't seen anything.  The next time through the tunnel, Tibby pulls out her moderately high super sonic speed.  I'm on the other end of the tunnel thinking that I'm ready to catch her.
 Um, no. 
At that speed only super heroes can catch Tibby.  I can't even see her, she is so fast.  She zooms around and around and I run in the opposite direction.  Except I have to keep changing direction, because she is zooming around the whole room! 
Oh, yeah and everyone is yelling helpful suggestions. 
Finally, I catch her.
The teacher says, "Ok, that worked.  Get in line and do it again."
Really?   Do I have to?
Tibby if course thinks this is the BEST GAME EVER!!!!!
I can't be mad at her, because the look on her face when she was running toward me was pure, PURE happiness.  I wish I had a picture of it.  She was even doing her crazy run - it's kind of like a squat/bunny hop thing- she only does it when she is being a 'naughty girl'.  She does it before she bites my pant legs when she thinks we are going for a walk - when she is super, super excited. 
Then she sits down and waits patiently, in line, for our turn.  So.......what does that mean?!?  She can be calm, but really wants to zoom?
Honestly, the other dogs in our group either walked or slowly trotted through the tunnel.  That made Tibby look even crazier.
The 3rd time through the tunnel was even faster than the 2nd time.  Aaaaaand she wouldn't come back.  The teacher finally stepped on her leash, because the 'run in the other direction' thing wasn't working. 
So that was our fun day at puppy boot camp.


Ricky the Sheltie said...

I would've loved to have seen Tibby doing her happy zooming all over the building! We do agility to have fun with our dogs and she was having FUN - although it was really not with you - LOL!!! Sounds like a great class but so far away - don't know how you cope with all the driving!

The photos of Tibby are super cute - especially the bow in her raincoat!

Catalina said...

It was both the best and the worst part of the day. Best because Tibby was having fun! Worst because everyone was yelling helpful suggestions.
Driving is just a part of living here. If you want to do anything fun, you have to drive to do it. Anyway, driving = agility and no driving = no agility. Finding the time to go is the hard part.

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

I 'm really glad and you went and had some fun! Speed and attitude are the most important things you need in agility from the start. Work on criteria later :)

Running away and actually hiding does work for a lot of dogs. you would probably have to try it in a less crazy environment though so she's not getting any external reinforcement for zooming other than just the joy of running.

It's hard to focus that long for a puppy so I think you guys actually ended on a really good note! She had fun and learned agility was about running! No just to add yourself into that equation :)