I ran Lil and Takoda at Lorrie Reynold’s distance workshop Sunday afternoon. Its the first agility event I’ve done since November, due to having sciatica for the past few months. UGH but I’ve been going to a fantastic Physical Therapist for the past month and I’m finally seeing improvement.
Lil was totally jazzed and ran well but my timing was off. I was often too early and called her off obstacles due to my being influenced by Takoda’s early obstacle commitment and longer stride length. My timing improved as the day went on and by the end I felt more in sync. Lil had a great time in spite of my learning curve. I didn’t get any video of Lil’s runs but she was her typical great self.
This was Takoda’s first agility workshop. He has not been in a class setting since November and has rarely run long sequences, so I had no idea how he’d do with a bunch of people sitting along one wall.. just a few feet beyond the A-frame/ Tunnel discrimination. In his day-to-day life, he is living up to the name Takoda means “friend to everyone” in Sioux and I love that quality about him, even if it includes an occasional impromptu visit now and then.
I could not be more pleased with how well he ran. I was surprised he maintained his focus as well as he did so well considering how close people were to the obstacles. He noticed them but mostly ignored them until the last run when he was mentally fatigued… and his puppy brain kicked in. He came when I called but he just could no longer resist wiggling and waggling his way to say HI.
I love how responsive he is to handling yet how committed he is to the path ahead. It makes handling a piece of cake.
Yesterday pointed out to me (again) the huge difference between Takoda and Lil when it comes to distance. Lil is willing and able to do big distance because of countless hours spent training and maintaining her distance skills, which is necessary to keep her confidence level high enough to drive hard when working far away from me. In contrast, Takoda appears to be hard-wired to work at big distances so it didn’t take much training at all for him to be confident working away from me. It feels more like I am just tapping into his Border Collie Brain rather than “training” him to work at big distances like I did with Lil.
This difference caused me to step back and think about what Lil would prefer in terms of distance. Based on Sunday’s workshop I suspect she would prefer to run at moderate distances (15-30′) rather than doing Bonus Boxes distances (up to 80′). I’ll likely still attempt an occasional Bonus Box run with her, but I don’t think she is cut out to run Bonus Box distances run after run after run. This is totally fine with me because Lil is such a fun dog to run agility with, it doesn’t matter to me how we do it.