Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Paying Attention - Agility Creates a Bond

I can’t explain the feeling I get when Trooper and I run through exercises at Agility class and do it correctly. I get so excited and I can tell that he is happy - besides just getting a lump of yummy food. He gets lots of love and ‘good boy’ and “yay”. =D

When he doesn’t do it right it’s rarely his fault as I keep learning. Learning my body language and how it affects his behavior is fascinating. I am forced to really get in tune with exactly how I move and what I do with every part of my body, from feet to hands to head. When I step even one foot in the wrong direction it can give him the wrong message and cause him to go off course.

At our last class we worked very hard - mostly me trying to control my habits. I tend to talk a lot and I’m supposed to be quiet - for each jump I tend to say “jump” or make kissy noises. Bad human! I am only supposed to show him, guide him, with my hand movement and body language.

We went through jumps over and over and over again. Three jumps in a 180 degree turn. And the instructor kept moving out the middle jump so he had to move further and further away from me. Boy was it hard. I love that Trooper was so focused and didn’t get bored. Of course the hot dogs help. :)

And even as we were working so hard he wanted to go on the baby teeter again and again!

Of course he’s not supposed to be looking at me, he’s supposed to have his head down and looking ahead. But again, it’s my fault. I’m supposed to say get it and put the food on the get it plate. Trooper focuses on my hands because he knows I’m going for a treat. Again, my fault.

But we got to graduate to the big boy teeter!!! It’s much different than the baby teeter and makes a louder noise. We started off slowly - a table is placed under the teeter so it doesn’t go down all the way and Trooper can get used to the noise. He did really good!

Looking at the photos my mother in law took is so much fun. I get to see how he’s moving and where he’s looking. I love seeing him looking at me for direction. Malamutes are so independent and stubborn that it thrills me to pieces that my boy looks to me and wants to work. I can’t thank That Mutt enough for mentioning agility training on her blog one day. It’s given me an entirely new relationship with my dog and that is beyond valuable.

Not to mention the fact that he is plum wore out when we get home!

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