I just can’t stop raving about my puppy and nobody except agility people really understand so you’re going to have to listen to it here.
The other day I took a tunnel and some wings down to the park. I wanted to do Silvia’s pretty simple wing – tunnel – wing cik/cap/tunnel drive exercise. I thought: he’s great at driving to tunnels, he’s great at driving to cik/cap, let’s combine the two.
Well… I think what happened was that he’d come out of the turn fairly wide (my bad, time for some re-wraps) and then run past the tunnel. It blew my mind- why is he running PAST the tunnel!? Then I realised that the only tunnels we’ve really done have been curved tunnels which involve me standing still and sending, not running alongside. So when I start running alongside, he’s thinking: “Wrapwrapwrap and RUNNING YAY!!!!!” and it was the cutest thing because he’d do the wrap, run along the tunnel, then send out to wrap the wing at the other end. So we did some tunnel stuff… Then I was at school early this morning so dragged out a tunnel, made it straight and used nearby bushes to wrap him around… And suddenly he could do anything I asked. Hitting the tunnel entrance from a hard angle while I was running? Check! Wrapping and running into the tunnel? Check! Doing stuff like this (using a threadle arm ALA Justine Davenport)? Check!
(Loki’s path in the blue)
And I’m really making sure that even if he finds something difficult, like when we did the above little sequence thing and he went in the tunnel straight after going around the bush that I’d still reward him, every time. Just the rewards for doing it the ‘right’ way would be a bigger party, and I’d have made my handling more obvious in the meantime.
But you know, it’s just so nice to not feel any stress about him. I think that’s the main thing, and one of the huge differences with him and Lu. It’s so natural and easy for him, and he does it so quickly and with so much drive that I don’t worry about how he’s going to go later on in sequences or anything. He’s so responsive and seems to just ‘get’ this stuff that I don’t feel any need to train anything. Everything we do is just cos he loves working and we can go out and have FUN playing around with this stuff. He’s just a really cool little fellow.