Baggage Agility and a Big PQ This Morning

So I recently stumbled upon a great online group; Baggage Agility. Its a Yahoo Group created for people who do agility with their rescue dogs. The timing of me finding this was quite appropriate as lately I have been struggling a bit with having the only “baggage” dog in Monday night class.

They have something they have coined the “PQ”—ie a “personal Q”–and they consistently notify other posters of these events. Its a super-positive online environment from what I can tell, which is refreshing.

So, in that spirit, we had a HUGE PQ in our household this morning. We are lucky enough to be living in a place that has a well-fenced and gated courtyard. Our dogs and my Aunt’s dog are all welcome to go in and out of the house as the “yard” is secure. Somehow this morning Forest escaped. This luckily doesnt happen often, but when it is its a 19 alarm firedrill. There is a reason this dog was in the pound and I am convinced it was because he is a runner. If he does not want to be caught there is no way he will be caught unless he is cornered with no way out. Which I hate doing, but most often it is the only option in lieu of him getting squished by a car. So this morning we were prepared for the usual dog hunt up and through alleys and around and in outher people’s private properties.

Instead things took a most unusual turn. I headed out back to the alley where I could hear him barking. I saw him right away, about 100 feet down the alley. He looked scared. I called to him, as happily as I could, anticipating the cold shoulder and a bolt. Instead he looked relieved to see me and came bounding straight to me, immediately. I was in shock but quickly collected myself to throw a big ol’ party. Unfortunately I hadn’t had time to grab any treats, but believe me, he got stuffed when we got back into the house. What a champ!!!

Now if we can just get him to do that ALL the time…! Working up to it… Very happy with our guy today!

Valentines Day = Rabbit Tails, Minced Hot Dogs, and Freeways

I am lucky I have a significant other who cares as much about Valentines Day as I do–which is basically nil. Or maybe I should say he is lucky he has such an apathetic girlfriend as myself. Or maybe that’s just what happens when you’ve been together for a million years. Minimal in the smarmy gushy department.

So, I got up early, stuffed Forest in the car and headed an hour North to Van Nuys for a Fun Match. It was held in a really nice park. The park was huge and we were well out of the way of other goings on, which was great. It was noticeable how just plain nice the people were who were running the whole thing. They did a “debriefing” for everyone first thing , they were mostly patient (except for one of the ring guy who was kind of bitchy, but I think that’s fairly normal) and overall very accommodating to those who were new to the trial scene—which seemed to be the majority of the people there. They also had three rings running at once.

Agility-wise we did okay. Its pretty marked how well Forest is handling the obstacles—contacts, teeter, weaves (sorta/mostly)—our main problem is overcoming the focus factor. I find myself battling internally with the rate of reinforcement. I know I should up it, but I just want too badly to do at least most of the course without having to stop and treat constantly. However, I need to set some goals (for myself) before our first trial in April I think. Slow down, over-treat for now, then work back up to not treating in time for the trial. Only two months away, but I think I can make myself do it.

In the way better than okay department was that they had lure coursing set up as well. I had never seen one in person, so was excited to check it out. The second I saw it, I said “This is SO on.” As soon as Forest got up to the fence and caught sight of the dogs and the lure, he went nuts. I didn’t want to over do it, so we only bought one run (after our first Standard run, but before our remaining three classes). It was amazing. It only took him about 5 seconds to turn on to the lure and getting totally revved up—the girl said “he looks pretty ready…” She hit the button, I let him go and he exploded off like a shot. It was so cool. He went full throttle the whole way around, I love watching him run like that. Unfortunately we don’t have the right venue to do it very often.

When I see this dog run, I think that there is no way he doesn’t have some sight hound in him. It is such a cool thing to see. I actually ordered a doggie DNA test off Amazon last week. I am going into it knowing that it will be sketchy at best, but its really more to cease the bickering between Pete and myself over whether or not he is a Min Pin mix. If it comes back Mastiff and Bassett Hound then we’ll both just shut up.

I told Pete about the luring, he was bummed he missed it. We will keep an eye out for that again, we may be hooked if we get to do it too many more times. I cant wait for the images. Forest is SO sacked out right now. He may even still be tired for tomorrow night’s class which would be perfect!

One more hectic week at work then I may actually be out of the woods for a while. Looking forward to it.