Class #7

I didn’t post for class #5 and we couldn’t go to class #6 because Belle was in heat but lemme tell you about class #7.

We were a small class this week and one of my instructors was not there. We had an addition to our class this week, a corgi named Max.

DSC_0051We started with the chute (closed tunnel) which Belle notoriously does not like. But we made some big progress tonight. At first she went half way in, backed out, then followed me around the tunnel. So my instructor folded up the chute and fed her treats while she went in the tunnel, but after every treat Belle backed out. She did eventually go through the whole chute but only once I was at the end.

I am beginning to wonder how long it will take her to run through the tunnel without me at the end of it.

DSC_0099After the tunnel we split up to work on the weave poles and the dog walk. We worked one on one with my instructor at the weave poles and alone at the dog walk. This was the second time that I worked with Belle off leash and I’m still very surprised that she didn’t run away from me. I was not the first to go to the weave poles so I worked on come with Belle while we waited for our turn. She is getting better with that off the leash. Not 100% better but certainly better than when we started taking agility class.

This was Belle’s first time with the weave poles straight on. When we first started with this obstacle we simply walked through them, getting the dogs used to going through the poles. This was the first night that we weaved. AND WE DID IT OFF LEASH! Did I mention we were off leash? Because I’m very proud of her.

I walked up to the poles, with Belle first on my left, then on my right. It was easier to guide her on my right, but she followed much better on my left. When we were on my right, she kept walking up to my left side. I can’t wait to add the second segment to really get her going.

DSC_0138From there I worked with Belle on the dog walk and the pause table. I kept her off leash here too because I want to work more with her off the leash. I was very impressed that she listened and didn’t jump over the small partition that segregated us from the rest of the room. She was attentive, and looked to me constantly for direction.

Something she simply did not and would not do about seven weeks ago.

DSC_0152I even worked with her on the pause table, since the last time we were in class she sat on it like a chair, her two front paws on the floor and her big ol’ lab butt on the table. She was a little fidgety, not nervous but not still either.

Then I went to sit with my class while we waited for everyone else to finish with the weave poles, before we all moved onto the A-frame.

DSC_0072Belle loves the A-frame. She takes it at a gallop–we just have a stopping issue, but I found if I start saying stop when she comes over the top that she stops by the time she hits the contact zone.

DSC_0085We also walked around the class with our dogs tonight, something we haven’t done up until this point. In retrospect, I should have asked why. I assume to get the dog used to following us. Or running with us.

DSC_0205We finished with a jump. This jump didn’t have a pole like the other jumps we’d done. Instead, it had a wall for the dogs to jump over. The first time Belle went over it, the jump was too short for her, so she walked over it like Godzilla walked over Japan. The next time, my instructor raised the jump for Belle and she smacked her paw on it.

She’s ok. It didn’t seem to phase her in the slightest. So we came around and jumped it again and Belle skipped over it, all the time wagging her tail.

And before we knew it, class was over.

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(I will post videos and pictures with this post later, I just wanted to get it up)

By J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her masterโ€™s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessicaโ€™s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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