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esmed
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17-03-2010, 09:26 PM

Monty's Agility Progress Thread

I've decided to start agility with Monty and wanted to create this thread to show our progress, explain what we've done/learnt each week and hopefully give others hoping to start a heads up on what to expect.

I'll try not to waffle on too much, i expect future weeks will be a lot shorter than week one as well as i want to include the build-up in week one!

(Mods, if this should be somewhere else please let me know or move it!)

So..............

Week One - 17.03.10 - The First Lesson

I spent my day at work day-dreaming about dogs jumping over jumps, running through tunnels, weaving and climbing A frames fluently. It all seemed so wonderful until I tried to imagine Monty doing it and suddenly it seemed like a nightmare! However driven by thoughts of the OH saying "he'll never be able to do it" I pushed the negative thoughts to one side and tried to look forward to it.

En route home I stop at Tesco for a large lump of Edam and some steak - if Monty is going to do anything then cheese and steak is always a good start.

I arrive home to my usual bouncy, boxer welcome and was pleased he seemed in good spirits despite a long walk this morning by OH's mum. I had an hour and a half to kill so the steak was cooked off and the cheese diced (with a very drooly dog at my side but that goes without saying!!).

Time ticked by and then it was time. It was almost like going on holiday:

Cheese - Check!
Steak - Check!
Tug Toy - Check!
Dog - Check!

We were ready! We set off and arrive at training destination which was set in a barn at someone's farm about 10 minutes from our house. Nerves were starting to kick in now as I watched the jumps, benches and tunnels being assembled.

I meet Pauline who will be our trainer for the evening and we also meet a nice chocolate lab who will be training with us in the beginners group that evening.

The barn is split in to two halves and one half is pure beginners and the other is for folk who have been going for a few weeks and have passed the basics!

Monty at this stage is immensely excited and just wants to explore everything!! I, on the other hand, was thinking "Expect nothing and then you might be surprised"!!

We were asked to warm up by walking our dogs round the ring, trotting up and down and let the dogs see the apparatus. It was at this point that Monty picked up his first negative mark and he hadn't even started! What did he do I hear you ask? Well he decided to cock his leg up the side of the jumps and i was informed that if he did this during a competition he'd be disqualified - I had wondered why you never see the dogs at crufts stopping for a pee!!!

I felt pretty embarassed at this point and even more nervous. We continued our warm up and I get Monty well away from any poles that might need marking!

Warm up finished and it was time for training. We started by spectating Izzy the choc lab as she'd had a couple of sessions. She was very focussed on her owner and i was suddenly swamped with feelings of "oh my god, Monty is nowhere near that well behaved!" and "would anyone notice if I snuck out"!

We watched for 5 minutes and now it was our turn. First session - getting a feel for jumps and commands for coming over them. We started at one end with Monty facing the jumps which had been laid down at one end so diagonal to the upright sections. I had to get him to wait and stand at the other side of the jump and call him to me.

This he did no problem and got a reward and all seemed good until I released the little b*****r had taken the treat then disappeared to play with the other dog. Amazingly though I called him back and he came first time - this was having a positive effect on him!

The jump training continued and we built up to get him to come over two jumps but still with me standing inside the jump track. He was doing well although still losing concentration a bit but I let him off as it was all very new and exciting. I was told to use a word other than "come" when getting him to start jumping as he associates "come" with recall and he may think i want him to come out of the circuit so we used "go". I got a bit confused and still used "come" but we'll get past that.

The jumping goes well and Monty starts to get the hang of doing two and following my movements through, i was starting to feel a bit proud of him!

We take a break whilst Izzy tackles the weaving posts. They didn't throw us in at the deep end though, the posts were spread about half a metre apart instead of being in a straight line. When our turn comes I am asked to get Monty in a sit and stay facing the poles whilst i stand in between them and show him the potential reward! I then lead him through slowly with titbits and reward at the other end. He stayed within the poles and this seemed a good start.

Then we tried it with me stood at one end with titbits and Pauline at the other and got him to come through from each end. He was pretty good at this and stayed within the poles. Pauline then said as he gets to the end of the poles i should run backwards to encourage him to keep moving and not stop at the end. His focus was also improving at this stage and he was listening to me and coming back when asked. He was starting to show promise.

We take another break and swap with Izzy who got to do the tunnel and a lap as she was more experienced than Monty.

Our session finally finished with Monty practicing both jumps and the weaving poles again and he did both fairly convincingly.

It was hard to believe an hour had passed by but I felt pleased and hungry for more. Monty looked happy and almost disappointed at being led out of the ring. We had a quick chat with Pauline and she encouraged me to work on his "sit and stay" this week as she said he'll need to do this whilst I get a head start on him as he can obviously run a lot faster than me!

So homework for this week is some sessions on the canal or at the park where I will get him to sit and wait whilst I walk on a bit and then build up how far I can move away from him. Should be good fun!

I absolutely loved our first session and was glad i managed to get over my nerves and enjoy it for what it was. I'm glad i also didn't expect too much of the first week and the trainers were great in not putting too much pressure on.

We're now back home and both pretty tired! Monty is at full stretch on the sofa snoring like a trooper and I feel pretty tired too!

We will return next week and hopefully we'll get to do the tunnel as I think that will be a big challenge!

Thanks for sticking with us this far for our first week's progress - I promise that future week's will be shorter!!
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lilypup
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17-03-2010, 10:26 PM
Thanks for starting this thread, I can see it being better than an episode of Eastenders!

Great to hear what goes on and what is expected of you. It sounds like you both had a wonderful time and what a great way to channel energy, again for both of you!

It's certainly making me think about starting something like this with Lily as she is food orientated and has masses of energy. (when she's away from her sofa! )
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IsoChick
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17-03-2010, 10:28 PM
Sounds fab! I keep meaning to start with Max, but haven't managed to get there!

Just imagine how much he'll concentrate and focus on you eventually!!
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esmed
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17-03-2010, 10:37 PM
Originally Posted by lilypup View Post
Thanks for starting this thread, I can see it being better than an episode of Eastenders!

Great to hear what goes on and what is expected of you. It sounds like you both had a wonderful time and what a great way to channel energy, again for both of you!

It's certainly making me think about starting something like this with Lily as she is food orientated and has masses of energy. (when she's away from her sofa! )
I'll take your word for it on the Eastender thing as i dont watch it!!

I always find my main reason for nerves or not doing something is that I don't know what to expect or worry too much but i'm so glad i overcame that tonight and went through with it.

Originally Posted by IsoChick View Post
Sounds fab! I keep meaning to start with Max, but haven't managed to get there!

Just imagine how much he'll concentrate and focus on you eventually!!
I hope so, it would be lovely if he had more concentration or wasn;t so easily distracted by other dogs!
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Moli
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17-03-2010, 10:37 PM
Sounds as if he did very well...clever boy...
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Ben Mcfuzzylugs
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18-03-2010, 12:08 AM
Aww sounds great!
I know what you mean about the nerves but you will be amazed how quick they start to love agility and focus more on you
My two start crying in the car as I turn off the main road

Sounds like a good class, not pushing too much at once

and dont worry about him peeing, most dogs try it to start with - all those upright posts! At the fun class we went to there was lots of dogs using the tunnel as a pee place too - they stay in there for ages then trot out all happy

In our first class there was a wee dog, Puzzle, who always did zoomies round the class, so much so we now say of any dog who is doing that that they are 'doing a puzzle'
Then with Mia I have the 'doing a Puzzle' dog, its so embarrasing when the class is waiting for you and your dog is doing crazy laps! But we all have such a giggle

Great idea to keep this diary, I look forward to the next episode
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liverbird
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18-03-2010, 01:46 AM
what a brilliant thread
sounds like Monty will be very good at agility
well done to both of you, looking forward to reading the next episode
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Hali
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18-03-2010, 07:58 AM
I'm looking forward to a weekly up date on this thread

Really good start, though I had to laugh at him peeing - as soon as I read 'Monty picked up his first negative mark' I just knew what he'd done

So glad you both enjoyed it
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esmed
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18-03-2010, 08:58 AM
Originally Posted by Hali View Post
I'm looking forward to a weekly up date on this thread

Really good start, though I had to laugh at him peeing - as soon as I read 'Monty picked up his first negative mark' I just knew what he'd done

So glad you both enjoyed it
You obviously know him too well!!

Thanks for all the kind words guys, I'm chuffed that people are interested in reading about our progress each week.
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CLMG
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18-03-2010, 09:06 AM
Great thread and I'm so pleased you and Monty had a great time I will look forward to your weekly updates

My (22 year old) son does agility with Jack and they both love it to bits, so much so that Christopher is now in training to become an instructor, and loves it as much as actually competing, and he says he feels immense pleasure and pride watching the new ones come along, and being able to overcome any problems that arise, his aim is to get the new dogs and handlers ready to compete, even if it's only in the allsorts jumping class for our club show in September
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