Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Agility Paradox

As I've been writing about for the past month and a half, Teddy and I are working through the Ruff Love program. We are still in phase 1, and I expect to be until at least April. I'm in no hurry to rush him through the program and half do it like I did with our foundation training. I'm not going to make that mistake ever again. I learned my lesson the hard way.

Teddy and I have had a break from agility training for about the past month. This was due to bad weather and me being out of town, etc. So, when we pulled into the a parking spot for agility class last night, Teddy started excitedly barking when he realized where we were. I didn't know if this was a good or a bad sign. He was a bit over the top when he saw his old friends both human and canine. So, I warmed him up with some attention games to try to get some focus. We also tugged and I pulled out the "good treats". I bought a couple of those Skinneez toys that don't have any stuffing, which Teddy is crazy about. Here he's holding the mini raccoon. I didn't realize there were bigger ones until I went back to the store, and I bought a bigger leopard. They are great because you can wad them up and stick them in your pocket. Please don't look too closely at the unkempt poodle. He's overdue for a haircut. You can also see in the picture that we are continuing to wear the head halti. As his face grows out, he is developing a noticeable groove where the halti sits across his nose, poor boy. But I digress......
Much to my surprise, we had the best class that I can remember for a long time. We worked on threadles and various short sequences. It's not the exercises that we did that made it a great class and it's not that we did everything exactly as planned, but that we were really working together. Teddy was a happy, bouncy dog, not interested in zooming off, but really trying to play with me.
One of my biggest issues is my nerves. When the leash comes off, I worry that Teddy will start zooming. When I worry, Teddy picks up on this and thinks that something is wrong. When he senses something strange with me, he doesn't want to play agility (or anything else), which makes him zoom. Zooming is more fun than hanging out with mom who is acting weird. Thus, my agility paradox: the worrying about my dog zooming will only increase the probability of my dog zooming. I can only relax when I see my dog playing the game with me (ie not zooming), which will decrease the likelihood that he will zoom. It's a catch 22. Someday I want to make a video and edit together a bunch of his zooms. It's really funny when it's not you.

I was ecstatic that we had such a great night on the agility field. It feels so great when you and your dog are working together in sync. I don't know if it was because Teddy was glad to be back, the treats, or all of the Ruff Love work that we have been doing lately. I just hope that we can stay in this groove and make some progress.


Pam said...

It is so great when you get some time that you feel in like a team. People who haven't gone through this or what I've been going through with Lucky don't understand how good it feels to be a team. Congrats on a great practice !

Theodorable said...

Thanks Pam!! You are so right. I'm just hoping that all of our progress doesn't fall apart the next time we trial.