Thor and I have been playing agility in the backyard for months. On August 7, we attended a pre-novice agility seminar with Abbie Tamber. I was so proud of Thor who showed off some good beginning skills! I learned that he has good impulse control with food (something we had worked on) and very poor impulse control with toys (which we had NOT worked on). So we have been working with toys which has turned out to be much harder. Thor will now sit in the presence of a toy, even if I wave it. He will take it and release it on cue. Hooray! I was very pleased with how well Thor paid attention in the presence of other dogs/distractions.
Yesterday, we had our first formal agility class. It was in the building so the other dogs were closer than they had been outside at the seminar. This was hard for Thor who really wanted to play! In his exuberance, he pulled me to the ground (but only once!). He displayed his love of tunnels and exhibited a bit of zoominess but came back to me very quickly. He had trouble walking straight through the ladder, probably because we have only played 101 Things to Do With a Ladder, where Thor is rewarded for anything he does; there is no criteria. In class, we were asked to walk our dogs from one end to the other. Hard!
After class, our instructor Kathy emailed me with this comment: "You and Thorry did great yesterday, he is a LOT of dog but sooooo responsive to you - great job!!"
I was delighted that Kathy read Thor so well! She is a gifted instructor, and we are lucky to be in her class.