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Candy Agility


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I decided to take Candy to the Richmond SPCA's Agility Fun Nights starting last Thursday. I have been getting concerned about our inconsistancy of late on the agility field. It was suggested to me that perhaps she was burnt out and needed a total break from it. In our recent trials, she has either been terribly slow and lacked focus or over the top fast and out of control.
The SPCA has a very large indoor room with agility equipment, Candy has always been happy to play indoors at All Dog Playskool so I decided to test the waters.
Well, she is having a blast! Our first night there, only two others dogs were present, one barked at her but she ignored him for the most part. I kept her well away so there would be no need for her to feel defensive. This past Thursday, SEVERAL additional people came with many, many more dogs. Some of the dogs barked quite heartily throughout the session. Luckily, the room is big enough we did not have to stay too close to the barkers.
Candy was happy, relaxed, quite willing to run the course with me and even dragged ME towards the obstacles when I had her on leash. We ran the course 3 times, improving our performance each time. For our first run, I just took a 1 obstacle lead out, worked fine. For our second run, I decided to try a 3 obstacle lead out, one thing I have always worked for is a solid wait at the start line and she did it perfectly, no stress and quick response when I called her to start. I decided to run with her from the start in the 3rd run, knowing I might have a chance to keep up with her now that we had already run twice. Worked great.
My girlie does not like to run outside when it is warm, that is my conclusion. She LOVES running indoors with the A/C on.
I take a large amount of treats with me and am working on diverting her attention and asking her to focus on me when the dogs are barking all around her, it is working well. As we were leaving Thursday, one dog lunged at her barking, she responded (briefly) in kind, I quickly got her attention with a treat and praised her for looking at me and moved on.
I am thrilled to see her enjoying agility with me, seeing her relaxed and happy and staying focused. I was not ready to give up on her, I am committed to solving our issues. The SPCA program will run throughout the summer, I plan on going each Thursday night. I am hoping this positive experience will carry over when we enter trials in September. I am also strongly hoping for cool, cloudy weather! 8)

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Wonderful news Carol! Sounds like you and Candy had a great time. I know quite a few dogs who really don't perform well at (hot) summer trials so it's by no means an unusual thing.

In my area the outdoor trials end in April and don't resume until September. Just too hot. We do have some indoor air conditioned trials during the summer but not many....the venues are just so expensive to rent.

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It is indeed possible Candy is picking up something from me. I am one of those who cannot STAND to hear dogs barkbarkbarkbark constantly, she could be picking up on my irritation.
The last time we were at an outdoor trial, in early May, it was not really hot, it was warm with a nice breeze. I AM thinking that perhaps Candy needs more space away from the crush of dogs and handlers and will work on that at our next trial in early September. If I have to carry her to the ring and feed her all the way, I'll do it. Of course she also dislikes me putting her in her crate or xpen, something I HAVE to do when I walk the course.

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