Archive for Agility class

I need a stupider dog

or perhaps she needs a smarter handler?

Tonight was our first agility class in a looooong time due to snowmaggedon.  One of our sequences contained an off-set serpentine.  I didn’t support Bella’s motion enough on the first try and she pulled in towards me making it a threadle.  So I reset and tried again.  

The problem is my dog is a sheltie who often patterns after a single sequence.  No matter what I did I couldn’t seem to convince her to take the other side of the jump.   Everytime I tried to indicate the correct side she would give me a look that seemed to say, “No, YOU are wrong!”   Eventually I ended up just completely changing my handling plan to include a blind cross on the advice of my instructor and Bella gave in and took the wrong (according to her) side of the jump. 

This is something I think many people don’t realize about these smart herding dogs.  They learn fast.  This is all good news if you are a perfect handler, but let’s face it that’s just not in our human nature.

Tonight’s class was a good reminder that I need to convince my dog to follow my cues regardless of previous sequences.  Just because she can pattern, doesn’t mean she is allowed to ignore my body language.   Thankfully Bella is easily persuaded with a stinky dog treat or two.

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