Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Willow update

In addition to her Wednesday training at Intermediate Obedience, she's also started a Beginning Agility class on Mondays. Last week was mostly orientation, but this week, she finally got started on the equipment. Already she's tackled two of the tunnels, the A Frame, and a wobbly board that will help her get ready to go up on the teeter totter in time. She is also working on a game we call "Zen and the Art of Golden Retriever Maintenance" and a drill that teaches her how to run to a mat on command.

But she chose to tackle the first tunnel in spectacularly golden retriever fashion. The first time around, her teacher took the leash, and I stood at the opposite end of the tunnel with a treat in my hand. There was another treat in the tunnel to help entice her to go inside and make it through. The dogs ahead of her in line to try the tunnel were all shy, nervous types who very gingerly tiptoed into the tunnel and were reluctantly persuaded by the treat to venture all the way through and into their humans' arms.

Not Willow. She wasn't scared of the tunnel, and she was very excited by the treat. But she was really excited about the possibility of getting to socialize with the teacher. So she charged into the tunnel and grabbed the treat that was in the middle. But she figured, "Eh, well, I see Isabel every day. Not so exciting getting to socialize with her. But, well, here's a NEW PERSON! MY TEACHER! Much more fun to hang out with her!" So she... ran back out through the start end of the tunnel to socialize with the teacher. After more treats came out, she could be persuaded to run back through the tunnel and into my arms when she saw that I had a treat and that her teacher didn't. After that first time, it seems like finally my little social butterfly is getting the point of tunnels.

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