Monday, March 2, 2009

Foundation Work

We had great session last evening with Aurora. Thankfully, I had started a notebook when Cosi began agility classes two years ago. Either during class (if I had the time) or right after class I would write—in detail—the exercises we did and the goal of the exercise. Anna is eager to begin working with Aurora in agility, and it was fun to read the notebook and share this information with her.

The other funny piece of this activity was my four dogs all trying to get into the act! There would be Anna trying to get Aurora to touch a target. Next thing you know, there are four pointed noses (three shelties and a poodle) poking at the same target (a clear lid I got off a peanut can). We laughed at the differences in muzzles. There was Aurora’s lack of a nose on her little pushed-in face and my dogs’ long pointy noses.

I learned a valuable lesson here: Keep working the foundation games. Just because you went through them once doesn’t mean you’re finished. I’d forgotten what enjoyment the dogs get from these simple games. I’m definitely going to put them back in my regime of games to play even while waiting in line at a trial.

Here are some of the games we worked last night:

Touch a target - hand touches or touch an object like a lid or a pantry door knob

Perch work – Aurora was so small, we used a very thick Yellow Pages phone book. To up the difficulty we put a yard stick in the book so she would have to step up over it. This game helps build body awareness. Aurora has to use only her back feet to move around the perch.

Plank work – I have a plank that is about 4 feet long. First we worked on getting Aurora onto the plank with all four feet. Next we’ll use it to teach a 2o2o position.

Go out – We used the laundry basket to have her leave Anna’s side and go out around the basket. I reminded Anna she can use any number of items on the walk (a tree, a hydrant, a flower pot). This is fun stuff to work at the park.

People often think beginning agility work means jumping and working with obstacles. These foundation games are the building blocks that make the obstacle work that much easier for the dogs. Plus with winter (and snow today!) here, these are easy games to play indoors with not many props.

1 comment:

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Good reminder about not forgetting the foundation work! Thanks!