I soon was doing research online about dog training to deal with this wild hair/hare(?) we suddenly found ourselves with. And quickly fell into the positive dog training realm, which morphed into the clicker realm, which then dovetailed into agility. Well really maybe I found agility when searching “what to do with hyperactive spastic dogs”. This little innocent-at-first-glance dog needed exercise. Like a LOT of exercise. Like at least an hour a day of running like a maniac down the beach, up the mountain bike trails, lapping the dog park (which was generally avoided due to anti-other dog issues), across the street to the empty lot to eat decaying things, etc etc.
I knew what agility was, but it seemed pretty nerdy. I knew about crazy dog people as they were simply an extension of the crazy horse people I grew up surrounded by (sorry to my poor parents who put up with our hobby-cum-childhood-obsession). And so was skeptical. Plus how the hell are you supposed to get your dog to run through those poles like that?!?!? But figured, hey, what the heck. I am jobless and a dork so how much more of a dork can I be by trying out a few of these classes?
We drove out to Escondido to the first San Diego agility trainer I found online. She had a decent website with a lot of content–which in my Marketing-centric brain is usually a sign of at least legitimacy. Our first class was scary, I remember. The trainer was very strict and rather serious, and there were a lot of “rules” and a lot of standing around and explaining of things. Not a lot of action. Which at first was okay because even though we were in a beautiful fully-fenced-in arena, I was still terrified that the second the leash came off he’d be off like a shot. Somehow, between the food-motivation and leash help we mostly managed to semi-keep it together. There was a woman in the class who had a Standard Poodle, and I let Forest sniff his butt, and the lady turned and snapped at me “DON’T let your dog do that!” Eek. Okay crazy dog people.
So, for whatever reason, we kept going. We even somehow ended up with this funny little clique of us three ladies who all started agility at the same time. These ladies were so far from my typical friend circles (ie. they were 10 and 20 years older than me, weren’t wearing Volcom and Vans or have full sleeves or expensive hair cuts) but they were nice and normal and I could dog geek out with them. It was a nice change.
And so we went every week, then I got competitive and went twice a week for a while. And then I got a job. Lame. Well not really for obvious reasons, but it threw my dog and agility-focused days off track for a bit. Now we just drive down to my very serious yet very nice and extremely knowledgeable trainer for lessons every week. The drive is over an hour but I look forward to it, every week.
And now there are heavy dog crates that we drag around and sketchy hodgepodge training obstacles in the patio and dog treats spilling out of the cupboards and freezer and car consoles and pockets and I drive out to places like BFE to go to Fun Matches (when I am allowed by my trainer). This whole silly thing is frighteningly addicting. Thank god P has not only begrudgingly let me appropriate his rightful dog, but tolerated me turning into a crazy dog lady. So far…