Tag Archives: agility

What are we up to these days?

We’ve actually been doing stuff, but I’ve been too busy/tired to write about it!

Ava’s last class at Ahimsa came to a close in April, which is sad since we all love Ahimsa and the trainers there. Ava melts for any one of them, even if she hasn’t met them. Somehow she knows which people there are the trainers. Wally still has a class starting this weekend but it’s offsite so we may not see our usual trainers. After that we’ll have to see what new classes they come up with! Admittedly, I’m looking forward to not going to Ballard (Seattle) every weekend. It gets exhausting after 9 months.

Wally was going to start agility this month but he unexpectedly injured his back on April 1 (too bad it wasn’t actually a practical joke!). We came home from dog training to find him hunched over, trembling, and desperate for relief; he was fine when we left so we have no idea what happened. We visited our local emergency clinic twice¬†and they claimed he just had bad gas. I, of course, was unsatisfied with this explanation. Admittedly Wally was being pretty stoic about it whenever he was in the clinic, but still. Farts are causing this?!

At the suggestion of our vet (who unfortunately wasn’t available due to travel) we went to Summit Referral in Tacoma and within 30min they had diagnosed a back injury. We don’t know specifically what was injured since that requires an $1800 MRI, but it was likely either a disc or a muscle. He was on meds for a few weeks and now (med-free) is getting some bodywork done once a month by our local alternative vet (he gazes at her adoringly and then he’s relaxed the entire evening). Since he recovered quickly and completely it’s most likely a muscle, but to be on the safe side Wally is now barred from all impact sports.

This was disappointing but not world-ending; Wally will love doing Nosework and Ava can do agility. Which, it turns out, she LOVES. She has so much fun on the equipment and isn’t afraid of anything. The first time she met a real teeter (on the lowest height setting) within minutes she was standing up to put her paws on the elevated end to pull it down. We make an amazing team; I get to finally see all of our work pay off. We’ve started lessons with Susan Perry and we love this game. It’s such an amazing feeling to truly play with your dog and experience the depth of your relationship; all of that happens for us with agility.

Other than that, Ava’s (and her siblings’) first birthday is coming up on June 3 — time really does fly! I can’t believe they’ll be one, they’re all still little puppies to me.

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Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Other Stuff, Training



At the starting line: taking control of your run

Emma, over at Miles & Emma, wrote a great article on how to deal with an agility dog who jumps the start line and essentially forces you to begin your run before you were ready. While this is directed at agility dogs it definitely applies to all disciplines and even to the casual trainer who doesn’t compete. Allowing your dog to decide when he can end a behavior causes it to disintegrate quickly into worse instead of better.

I have a really hard time with this because I think “crap, if he breaks before I say ‘OK’ then the whole thing is ruined!” So then I quickly blurt out “OK!”, which is more an ego band-aid then an actual cue. At that point Wally has already ended the behavior so not only did I weaken the behavior, I also weakened the release! Ugh, training is so complex. ;)

Check out Emma’s article below and make sure to watch the linked videos!

Don’t Jump the Gun! Start Line Practice, Refining the Release from Sit/Stay


This is what Wally is probably doing right about now

This is what Wally is probably doing right about now


Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Training


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A novel way to tune body awareness


Teaching your dog body awareness is incredibly helpful, no matter your sport. In showing it helps the dog to stack and gait properly. In agility it helps your dog to maneuver through weaves and maintain balance. In obedience it helps your dog to stay in alignment with you and perform commands precisely. But how do you teach body awareness?¬† There are lots of ways, but this is one that I hadn’t thought of! Susan Garrett turned her pups annoying habit into a core strengthening exercise that fine tunes balance and makes him very aware of what his body is doing. Check it out!


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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Training


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As you can see it is Wally’s destiny to be #1; it’s right there on his chest!

Wayne keeps saying “Oh yeah, he could totally win BOB from the puppy class.” Way to get my hopes up Wayne! Oh, and turn on the pressure. :-p If we can keep up the good work I don’t doubt that we’ll be competitive, and it would be SO COOL if we won BOB at our first show! Not to mention all those coveted points we would win!

The other day I got this glimpse of Wally as an adult and realized “Whoa… Wally is going to be someone to contend with.” Suddenly I pictured him cleaning up in agility and earning a UD title, maybe even campaigning around the country if I can afford it. Then he shoved his head under my arm, mouth open and tongue lolling, and the vision disappeared leaving a silly Wally-dog in it’s wake.

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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Wally


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My superhero

Sometimes Wally is shockingly handsome. It always takes me by surprise that he’s so blatantly gorgeous because most of the time I think of him as overwhelmingly adorable. The kind of adorable that makes me grit my teeth and squint my eyes as I scratch his ears while he flops on his side. I took the above photo earlier this week when we went to the fairgrounds for some romping and I swear he looks like a superhero.

Today we stopped at the Mudpack Agility Trial in Port Gamble to visit friends and get Wally out for adventure. At first he was predictably annoying, barking at every dog and trying to play with them all. We saw another Border (not nearly as handsome as Wally, duh) and then a couple of women let us introduce Wally to their 4mo Cocker puppies. The Cockers weren’t too impressed and the male actually bit Isaac on the leg trying to get Wally! Wally did really well though and settled down into a nice, non-embarrassing puppy. He also got to meet Chica, our trainer Noel’s Chihuahua, which went off without a hitch.

It’s going to take a lot of work and visits to place like Petsmart, but we’re determined to have a Wally that’s calm and pleasant around other dogs. Mostly he needs more confidence and lots more exposure, plus a lot of tasty meat treats. Yeah, no lousy liver for Wally. The only thing that comes between him and another dog is pure cooked meat. Right now we’re using smoked brisket. The title ‘Little Prince’ goes to Sir Walter Greendown.

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Posted by on July 16, 2011 in Wally


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