Its the New Style.

So, last night was our first night at the “new trainer’s”. Wow. It was so different, overall in a good way. So funny just how opposite people’s methods can be. And I think I am really fortunate how I randomly stumbled into my first trainer to teach me the basics.

My regular classes go like this; Show up to gorgeous, immaculately groomed agility facility. Wait outside of gate until prior class exits AND you are specifically told to come in. Leash/lash up dogs in doggie parking zone. Get info/news/opinions/tid bits from week prior (this is usually helpful info, but sometimes when there are 6 or 7 people in a class it stresses me out b/c I know any talking means less training). Go walk course with trainer. She usually suggests what she would do as we are walking course, but minimal directions or dissections on body position or handling minutiae. Everybody goes back, runs the course. When you run the course, if you screw up, you can go back and do that part, but once youre done youre done, cause there’s a long line waiting for their turn. If you screw up, you may or may not get specific input on what happened. If its clear handler eff-up, you may even get a very strong correction from trainer. If its ambiguous, you may get nothing at all. Class ends promptly on the hour, and everyone is ushered out. Since I go to the Late Late class, usually I can corral her for a few minutes of questions (which I inevitably have). If they are related to agility in general, I get good answers. If its related to “Why is my dog crazy?” I usually get blank stares. Which to her credit I guess isnt really her problem.

She is very cut-and-dried, and she has been teaching for a long time. So I understand that she has things down to a system. However, there is minimal warm fuzzies. Which is fine 90% of the time, but when I am really struggling and think I will off myself for being the crappiest handler in the world, a little encouragement would be nice. Once in a while. But again, I think we made the absolute right choice to start out with.

So, the “New Style.” First impressions anyway. Agility “field” is in backyard of a cute little beach house, complete with sitting area with patio furniture. Lots of trainer’s dogs all about, corralled on the deck, in the house, peering through windows at you. Only 2 other people in my class last night, including a 3lb Chihuahua. Freaking adorable. Everyone settles in, trainer plays and cuddles with student dogs, compliments Forest on his stunning good looks and athleticism. Asks if we specifically chose him from the pound as an agility prospect (hah! If only I knew then…).

We do small yet very intense sequences–Ack. Serpentines and threadles and push throughs, oh my. And yet all was very casual. Talk of Pam Anderson’s hair. Pete happened to go with me, so while I was going he was drilled by dog ladies about “what breed? what pound? how old is he? how many teeth does he have?”( Pete is a sport, btw.) So I ran my not-so-pretty drills, and I got encouraged, and dissected and very specifically told EXACTLY where to put my feet, and point my hands, and I need to be WAY closer to the jumps, and its okay to be ahead, and oh my god my head might explode. But it was good. And if I effed up, I did it again, and again, and by the end I wasnt freaking out about wasting time. Because we went over, way over, and everyone seemed to be perfectly happy.

We learned a lot. And it was good. I think we’ll be back. I hope I’m not jinxing myself by going to 2 different trainers immediately before my first trial. Not that I’ll remember anything when I am out there anyways…. Hah.

Oh, and looks like we’ll be doing some lure coursing this weekend. Run Forest Run.