Originally I was taking Glory to agility classes and she was doing well at it... but Bullet comes first since Glory is Kevin's dog. When I decided to take a small break from Schutzhund I thought agility would be beneficial for Bullet and I. Sorry Glory! I've only budgeted one class per session and that means Bullet.
For the dog, agility is good for physical balance and control. It's upbeat and the dogs must remain responsive to you no matter how excited they are or how fast they are going.
You must be very aware of your own body language and how you are communicating to your dog. It trains you to see how much your actions affect them.
We're having a blast, my handling is improving and Bullet is doing great on all the equipment with no issues. His weaves are coming along really well, the teeter is at full height and he's tipping and banging it on his own, his targets at the contact zones are controlled... so far so good, what more could I ask for?
How about some quiet?
Bullet likes to bark. And whine. And just plain breathe heavy. This agility thing is so much fun!
Now I know that barking is allowed in agility, but I've decided to work on keeping him quiet for a number of reasons:
The more he barks the more frantic he gets. The more frantic he gets the less he concentrates. The less he concentrates the more mistakes will be made. We're still building the foundation of this game, now is the best time to nip this in the bud. If I choose to wait I don't know how successful we'll be.
He's loud. Very loud. So loud I'm afraid there will be situations in the future where he'll need to hear a command and won't be able to if the noise continues the way it's going.
We've made "Quiet" the focus of the last three classes and I HAVE seen progress, much more than I expected to be honest. This success has given me hope that if I continue rewarding "Quiet" it will become reality. Bullet has always loved his voice and barking is encouraged and rewarded in Schutzhund so we're working against a noisy foundation. Agility is a very different game though and as long as I stay consistent and clear to him I don't see why we can't succeed at this too. I must stay patient. Wish us luck!