Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tunnel Relays, Puppy Training, and a Junior Handler

Michele, Portia, & Honey Bear
Relays are one of my favorite agility training methods, though I've never heard mention of them outside of Flyball. They are very effective, fast moving and lots of fun.  The video below will show that clearly.

A few notes first:  Training a puppy is one thing.  Training a child to train a puppy adds another dimension of difficulty, even with my neighbor's 10 year old daughter, who has a strong affinity for animals and an intense desire to work/play with them.  Most kids can't stay focused on anything for long, are somewhat spacially challenged (left/right, distance, coordination), and easily distracted, as are many adults.  By any standard, Portia did amazingly well.

This, our first lesson, was on Mardi Gras day, and we were fortunate to have her mother running the camera.  I was well pleased with Laura's ability to keep her mouth shut when her daughter acted silly, didn't catch on to something right away, or if I corrected a mistake.  That is hard for most mothers to do.  Also, very pleased with Portia's and Honey Bear's enthusiasm lasting a full 30 minutes (tunnel relays AND Introduction To The SeeSaw (next post).

Honey Bear (aka Winnie), at 4 months and 3 days old, has meandered thru the straight tunnel in my back yard several times on his own, but has not worked with me or Portia on the below, or ever done relays.  I call him to me several times a day, but have never "sent" him to anything.  He shows absolutely no fear of either the full-length tunnel or full-height seesaw from the first attempt.  As with Maxie, he gives his full attention if there are Cherrios involved. 

Portia had no idea I was teaching her too, as I told her she was just "helping me train my dog".  And come to think of it, that's much like Beginner Agility students who think their dogs are the ones coming to school, and they're just holding the leash and dispensing treats.  HA!  Little do they know.

Here's the video:

Introductory See Saw training followed immediately, and I'll report on that in my next post, still part of the Fat Tuesday experiment with encouraging Portia's interest in dogs.  Both exceeded my expectations again. 

1 comment:

Alice said...

Fry does it again! Teaching the neighborhood children. You go Milady Fry. Thanks, Alice