Fantastic and really fun day of agility training with Pinot yesterday! I will share some video below.
We’ve been working skills, handling and equipment for a year and being that Pinot is my very first agility dog – I am exstatic about where we are! It really has been a totally adrenaline filled and addictive journey! I can see many, many more agility dogs in my future 🙂 The new year 2012 will hold the next adventure for us: our first competitions! I can’t wait to get to our first trial! It will probably be chaotic and crazy – but amazing FUN nevertheless! Here’s a video from yesterday’s training session.

//www.youtube.com/get_player

I am really looking forward to the upcoming Lynda Orton-Hill agility workshops we have signed up for, we’ll be working and learning over three days Nov 18-20, 2011. Will have to share more about what we learned, after…

The learning we have under our belt to date is a big complilation of skills and coaching from a ton of different sources. I have been trying to absorb information and “stuff” about agility for a good three years..reading books and magazines, watching DVDs, watching people compete and train both live and on youtube (tons of good stuff out there!) and talking to agility trainers, competitors, etc.

By the time I got Pinot (two years ago) I had a good idea of where to start and what route I wanted to take. We’ve obviously learned together, side-by-side and many times I have had to pause and go back and ask questions before continuing on with our training. But it’s fun to be where we are today!
Her first year was spent just building important foundation skills without obstacles; circle work, tricks, body awareness, and basically learning the ins and outs of how to  “run together”. Last fall and over the winter is when we really started teaching jumping skills, working on contact behaviors and slowly and gradually combining all of it into short sequences and introducing the other pieces of equipment. Weaves were not introduces until this past spring.

Last year I hosted a “Backyard Agility seminar” twice – bringing in my good friend Catherine Thomas, from New Brunswick to come and coach, teach and help myself and others interested in agility, to get off on the right track. She basically uses the Greg Derrett and Susan Garrett handling system of handling, so this is the one I have been tryinig to learn and use as well. When she was out, we basically designed a “plan” with desirable steps to teach and achieve over the winter months: some focusing on small little behaviors (such as what’s  needed for the 2on 2 off contact), others being handling skills – getting the dog to understand pinwheels, 270s and such….and this “list of skills” is one I have referred back to many times.

A lot of our training has been done in really small spaces as it’s tough to get access to large pieces of land for training in Banff and Canmore. About once a month I have thus tried to get out to Kim Boyes’ Hyper Hounds near Okotoks for privates or semi-privates to add to our “homework” list and get help with my handling, as well as have opportunity to practise on all of the equipment and as of lately; start to do full courses. I have also been going to a different facility about once a month where I can just pay a fee to use the space and equipment – there’s no teaching or coaching – you just work by yourself.

I’ve managed to get in on a couple of other agility workshops also: last December: Justine Davenport was in Calgary for a “Double Box work” seminar, which Pinot and I took part in. A video from our work at that seminar can be found here:
Pinot, Dec 2010 Double Box work seminar It’s fun to look back at stuff like this now and really see how big a difference a year of training can make!

This fall I got to see Anneli Hilton in “Distance Skills 101” (seminar), which was all about starting to work: yeah, you guessed it: Distance!
There are more influences, but this gives an idea….There’s a great saying about kids that goes something like “It takes a Village to raise a child”…I think the same is true for raising Pinot to become an agility dog. I have many people to Thank for her progress and our learning together. And OH how much fun the journey has been!

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