Run, Finn, Run

Wednesday evenings in February have found Finn and I at the All Dogs Gym training facility in Manchester, NH. We are taking Beginner’s Agility, Level 2 for the second time. This is not a bad thing – we had to take eight months off for my foot to heal after surgery and it just seemed like we would be better served to refresh our memory a bit before moving up to Intermediate.

It’s a small class – three teamsĀ  (and then one team had to drop out when the handler fell and broke her arm.) As a result, Finn and I work nearly 45 minutes at jumps, tunnels and contacts, another 10 minutes practicing weave poles (LOVE the 2×2 method introduced by Susan Garrett) and an agonizing 5 minutes on that darned moving board called the seesaw.

The fact that there is only one other dog on the floor at the same time as Finn has been really good for us. He sometimes gets the zoomies – which takes a lot of floor space – and I don’t have to worry about him running into a bigger dog. He also craves attention, so the fact that he has either the Trainer’s (Auntie Michelle) or the Assistant Trainer’s (Aunt Tammy) total focus for a full hour – well, it’s his idea of doggy heaven.

For me it’s a bit different. Let’s just say I seldom get the zoomies anymore – at least not in public – but I do have to kick it into high gear to keep up with Finn. Unlike Indy, he is very willing to go off and try an obstacle on his own without direction from me. And unlike Cima, he is very willing to ignore directions if it means he gets to keep moving – fast – around the course.

Bottom line for me is that I need to get into shape, because for the first time ever (except when I trialed with Indy’s brother Trango or with Cima’s half-brother Reid) I have to run to keep up. And I have to handle differently – which will be the biggest challenge of all. Before his little head pops out of that tunnel, I have to be in position and calling out the next obstacle or he zooms right by me. I have to stay further away from him, or I “push” him past the place I want him to be.

I hope I’m up for the challenge – I look forward to the day when we can work as a real team on the course as opposed to a fast, grinning little dog running excited circles around his slow, panting handler.

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