Friday, July 23, 2010

Lucky's Training History To Date

Lucky waiting for Daddy to throw the ball.
I enrolled Lucky in her first formal agility class in June 2010, with LCCOC. She had already taken 3 Obedience classes, up to Advanced Beginners, and one Beginners Rally class. We were allowed to skip Intro To Agility because I had already trained her at home, up to running full height equipment. I was told she had to be doing 6 weave poles, though, which I didn't understand since that hasn't always been required of Beginners.  No problem, I worked with her for 3 weeks with the 2x2's, 5 minutes each morning, and she does 12 weave poles already.  Not too fast, but she walks thru them.

Unfortunately, our 6 session Beginners class had no other dogs enrolled! While the first 4 lessons were an equivalent of 4 private lessons (with Cheryl W.), there was no social interaction with other dogs and handlers, no rest between turns, and it was often 100 degrees, so within 15 minutes Lucky was hot, tired, and finished. I believe this temporarily demotivated her.

Cheryl didn't make the 5th or 6th class, so Lucky got lumped in with the Advanced Beginners class, which meets at another part of the field at the same time. They have a new instructor, Sandy R., who trains her dacshund, Tango, in the same Monday night Competitive Handling class Maxie and I are in. Unfortunately, she hasn't been given a plan to follow either, so she pretty much runs her AB class thru the same stuff we do on Monday night. That's way over Lucky's head. Last night, Loralie H. taught the class because Sandy was out of town, and while she also broke down the competition course into segments, it wasn't remotely what a beginning dog needs. Again, Lucky learned little and found it demotivating. And it was HOT!

NOTE TO THE CLUB: If there aren't enough students enrolled, don't hold the class! No sense tying up an instructors' time for just one dog, and I think the isolation demotivates the newer dogs. They, like school children, thrive on one another's company, and taking turns.

Another hurdle I am encountering with Lucky, which I went thru with Maxie as well, is receiving little feedback, or worse, discouraging feedback, from instructors. As I was leaving class last night, Loralie remarked that

"Lucky will never make an agility dog!"

I was shocked!  Poor Lucky, damned at 18 months of age, before she even begins, by someone who has given her one poorly planned out lesson. That phrase will never stop ringing in my ears. And now I'm determined to prove Loralie wrong.

So as you can see, Lucky has not had an upbeat introduction to formal agility lessons.  No matter.  She is doing very well at home, and is going to hold her own in Agility.  Look at her, just one giant muscle.

Loralie also mentioned she didn't like teaching students who aren't interested in competing. Conversely, I feel they are the bread and butter of our club. Besides which, it took me 2 years to catch the competition bug. I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from getting out to our classes and trials! This comment from Loralie has spurred me on to learn how to teach the Intro and Beginners classes. I am eligible to teach classes now, since I've put multiple titles on Max, and I am looking for something constructive to do with my time.  This is something I believe is important.

Loralie has scheduled a new Intro class for Saturdays, 9 a.m. and has invited me to assist. We'll see how that pans out.

Wow, now a flood of memories are coming to me. So much water has gone under the bridge since 2008, trying to mesh with the leadership of this club, train Maxie, learn a complicated sport, grapple with my health, and stay upbeat about the scene. I don't know how to catch up on 2.5 years of dog training and club experiences, and also roll out the current events. I'll have to rely on flashbacks, notes and side articles, as well as recent news. I'll have to feel my way.

This Google Blogspot system isn't all that easy to work with either. It is taking me awhile to learn how to edit, arrange, upload, save, etc. Like, where the hell are my images stored??????

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