So this week after a nine month hiatus, I decided it was time for Riley and I to return to the agility field. As I made the long hour and a half drive to our lesson, I was dreading what would happen when we returned. Would Riley run around the field like a crazy dog? Would she refuse to work for me and not take any jumps? I wondered whether the treats I brought would encourage her to work. I wasn’t bringing a back up treat so this could be a very bad choice. So you can imagine what a mess I was by the time I arrived! lol
As always, Riley is the smallest in her class. There were about 4 Border Collies, 1 Lab, & 1 Sheltie,breeds which you would normally find at an agility trial. Now in the past 9 months of my absence I have not been a good trainer for Riley when it comes to practicing our agility skills. Other than pulling out a set of jumps about 3 weeks ago and letter her jump for approximately 10 minutes , we haven’t trained at all, so I wasn’t expecting much. The class we were dropping in on (since they are at the end of their eight weeks) is a foundation jumpers class, the last class she took before getting hurt. So I thought it would be great to kind of have a refresher before moving on a bit. After warming up a bit, we started of with one jump sequences. I was so proud of her as she just jumped over the little 8 inch bars when asked. The night continued up to 3 jump sequences and she loved it. She was happy, bouncy and exuded this little bit of excitement but kept everything under control. With only a few short breaks for water and a little play time, she was like the energizer bunny!
Towards the end of the class our instructor brings out a practice chute. Last year Riley refused to go through the chute every single time. so I thought this time it would be no different, especially as she ran up, in part way and turned back around. I kept my spirit high and cheerfully urged her to go back thru and she did!!! After that first time she followed up with 2 perfect runs through, never again to refuse the chute!
Last year I was wondering if Riley enjoyed going to agility classes. As my service dog I was looking for a release for her to have fun while being by my side. I think I got my answer the other night. The eagerness, joy and her outstanding obedience and performance proved to me that she really loves it!