Friday, February 26, 2010

Teddy and agility

As mentioned in previous posts, Teddy started agility this year. I'm doing this not for the glory of winning, but because I'm trying to give Teddy the confidence he needs to live a happier life. I had to keep reminding myself of that at the first few classes, because I felt like I was torturing Teddy instead of helping him. At one point, I asked the instructor if I was being cruel by making him do something he clearly wasn't enjoying, and she said since he wasn't running out of the ring and was still taking treats, I should keep trying. And I'm glad we stuck with it. The first few classes were rough, and I was sweaty and exhausted at the end of the night. For a few classes, I brought Ranger with us, and when Teddy seemed especially nervous, I would bring Ranger into the ring and have him do the obstacle. Once Teddy saw Ranger doing it, he instantly felt more comfortable and would copy whatever Ranger did.

The last class is a run-through of a course, in front of the entire class. I was very nervous about how Teddy would do. We had been able to put 6 obstacles together the previous week, but would he be able to do 14 obstacles, in front of lots of people? Would he move freely from one obstacle to the next, or would I have to carry him? If there is one thing Teddy has taught me, it is to always keep the faith. He exceeded my expectations. The entire class was cheering by the time we finished. No, we didn't break any speed records, and we skipped a few of the obstacles he hadn't been trained on, but he did everything I asked of him. He ran (trotted quickly, really) next to me, went through the tunnel like he had been doing it all his life, and walked on the dog walk like it was no big deal. We had the chance to run the course again, so I did, just to prove to myself that it wasn't a fluke, and he did even better. He seemed to realize what we were doing and did the first 4 obstacles with very little prompting from me. So we signed up for another session, which starts next week. My little champion! We may win a ribbon yet!