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Friday, September 24, 2010

Test Drive the Dogs!

When I was younger and well before driving age, my parents would let me go out and start the car so it could warm up before they headed off to work. Even though it was 10 below zero, I loved that moment behind the wheel. It was a thrill, a job I had proven I was capable of handling and for just that one moment, a glimpse into my future.

Later, my role evolved and I was allowed to back the car down the driveway and not long after that, my Dad let me drive his truck around the property. All of these skills prepared me for real driving on real roads.

Training a dog in agility is much the same thing. We start our puppies/dogs off by instilling the safety rules of agility skills. Next we let them sit behind the wheel by sharing the keys of handling and soon they’re backing down the driveway of sequencing. Before we know it, they’re driving courses in the safety of our property…all in preparation for real driving on real agility courses.

This analogy came to mind when I recently took Zulu out for a little test drive in agility class. I have to say, it was a thrill! First, his contacts were amazing. As I pushed, he gave me 2on-2off contacts that were fast, confident and accurate. The timing couldn't have been better as my 2on2off DVD will be available via download next week and soon available for shipping. It was a nice reminder that the training is GREAT and dogs just love it!

But back to my Zulu test, he sequenced with relish and was clearly enjoying himself while working with gusto. I couldn’t help but be proud of his skills and I have to say, it was fun to get a glimpse of our agility future together.

You may remember when a few months ago I took Rouge out for a few test drives on the open road at an agility trial and again at the Stacy Peardot-Goudy seminar. Those times gave me confidence that her visitation days were behind us.

It also means that it’s really time to start driving her like the little race car she is and to see exactly what’s under that sporty hood of hers. So I grabbed my best treats and off we went to race around the agility training course. To my surprise, she was just as hyped about the experience as I was. It seems the more I pushed, the more she gave. Pretty soon I was giggling, she had a smile on her face and we both learned how to burn a little rubber!

The lesson I'm reminded is that there reaches a point in each dog’s training where it’s time to buckle up, hit the road and see what’s under the hood 'cause it’s time for a real test drive. Relish that moment. You're sure to have some great moments and if you're lucky, you'll walk away with a few specific items to work on. 

1 comment:

  1. wow, what a GREAT post! It sure made me think of our "test drives" in agility and our sporty little models I have here, LOL, test drives are always so exciting!