Wow, it's been awhile since we've added anything to this section! Parker is still taking some agility courses and seems to really love it. It's incredible to see how it has boosted his confidence. He still has a lot of confidence to build, but he is doing outstanding, and we are really enjoying watching him as he learns and as that "lightbulb" goes off every week!Here is one exercise we worked on -- sending your dog to a location.The goal of this exercise is to do a single lunge with your foot, which "sends" the dog to the obstacle, which is in this case a chair. He is to run around the chair, and then back to the handler.This is Parker after about 5 minutes of training.
So far we've gone through obedience classes, tricks classes and even passed the CGC. So what's next for our Parker?
We've learned that it's best to wait until 18 months old before beginning with agility, mostly because goldens are still growing up until this point and it's best to be easy on their joints until they are fully mature. While many begin earlier, we figured we'd start Parker with agility at the 18 month mark.
But what to do in the meantime? At this point in time, Parker was only a little over 14 months old! Parker had a 2 month break from classes during fall while his family romped around Europe. There's always more obedience classes, but we've heard of dogs really exercising their brains, developing a certain confidence about themselves with agility. The problem? We wanted to wait until we knew it was absolutely safe for him to do so.
So when the opportunity arrived for Parker to be introduced to agility with just the basics, we jumped! This class's goal is to build attention and work on the teamwork aspect with you and your dog! PERFECT! With this class, they are introduced to the equipment but not forced to be jumping all over the place. What a great place to start!! This was the kind of foundation we were looking for.
When we started, we mostly just worked on quick exercises like building attention and teamwork, getting your dog to be excited and interested in you.. targeting and excited recalls (double-recalls and triple-recalls... I just made that up, but I don't know what else to call it haha). We learned body language, body pressure and started introducing obstacles like the tunnel and layering it with other things such as the A-Frame (among other things)
Anyway, I could be a nerd and go on and on about the different things we learned, but instead I will show a photo because those aren't quite as boring.
One obstacle we found was the teeter. Parker is somewhat leery of weird surfaces so after weeks of practice of walking around on boards in the living room, finally we got to a point where he was able to do this! So by the time we learned the A-Frame and the dog walk, Parker wasn't nearly as nervous as he was when he'd started out! We found opportunities everywhere to practice with him walking on different surfaces... even once at the beach!
I've been really bad about taking pictures, but it's been a great experience so far! I'll try to get some photos of the other equipment he's learned so far, but for now... that should suffice.
Bottom line is, we are very proud of how he's progressed through these classes!! And this is just the beginning. This is not to say that we think it will be easy -- if anything, this has proved to us how hard we are going to have to work -- but Parker LOVES to exercise his brain and please his people... and we are quite proud of him!