I also am training Bess for agility! She took to it like she takes to most things, with spunk and enthusiasm! I do have to say that I think Bess will end up having faster times than Heffner. She's already sharper on some moves and just likes to get down and dirty. She also has the advantage of being smaller than he is, so it takes her less time getting into, going through, and getting out of the tunnels. This will definitely be a HUGE bonus!
Bess has had a few different agility instructors along the way. All pretty good for what we needed. Not everyone was a perfect fit, but we were able to pull something from everyone. So far, Heffner's instructor Kathy has been the best fit. Now it's just a matter of me figuring out how to run two dogs who are quite different!
Tonight was agility practice with Bess. We just practice general sequencing and trying to get her to move away from me a little bit. Right now she sticks pretty close to me. I'm not too horribly concerned, but I do need to get her comfortable working a little ways off of me. On the flip side, I do have an easier time sending her away to obstacles that she finds fun like the tunnel, dog walk, or teeter.
She's also picked up on the weave poles waaaaaay quicker than I expected. It took me a little bit to figure out how to make it clear to her what I wanted. Once I found what worked, she got it super quick and is actually now weaving (surprisingly fast) through 12 upright weave poles! I taught her differently than I taught Heffner. Unfortunately I now also have a different command for the weave poles with her than I do Heffner. That'll get interesting when it's time to trial both of them at the end of the month!
For Bess, I started by luring her around each weave and treating her when she came back to me. The command I used was just "weave." It's a little hard for me to explain it in writing and easier to show it, but I'll try. I did this method for every single pole. After a couple times of that she was totally catching on and whipping around the poles. Then we took a break and did some other obstacles. Next we came back to the weaves and she got treated after every two poles, with the command "weave" used for each pole. We kept taking little breaks so that she wouldn't get burnt out and she was still getting lots of praise for doing so well. Then we'd come back and just keep increasing the number of poles she had to do before getting a treat. And now, she can do all 12 with a treat at the very end!
Her very first trial will be at the end of the month down in Corvallis, OR. I have both her and Heffner entered all three days. The venue happens to be NADAC, which isn't my favorite, but I'm willing to give it another shot now that I'm better informed and have entered my dogs accordingly. NADAC has a LOT of tunnels in their games courses. Heffner especially just really can't do that many tunnels, especially when we're doing 5 runs in a day. Bess could probably handle it, but I think even that will be pushing it with her. However, this time around I'm not entered in all of the games courses and they also have an "interesting" class called Hoopers that they're offering Fri. evening. It's a course entirely of these talls hoops that the dogs have to go under. I think it's sort of a lame "obstacle," but oh well! At least it's not a tunnel! I'm hoping that there will be a photographer there as well so I can get some shots of Bess out on the course!