In Which Fergus Works Hard For His Treats

October 3, 2010

Today was the boys’ last class of their first five-lesson session of Agility. After skipping next week for Thanksgiving, they’ll come back for another five lessons before Winter break.

Cai has done quite well so far. He catches on quickly, and except for the perilously tall A-frame, he’s perfectly comfortable with all the equipment.

Fergus had tummy troubles one Sunday morning and missed a class. Fergus is also a little nervous around the equipment. I’m becoming more convinced, in fact, that Fergus’s macho stance (he spent the first three minutes today telling off the largest dog in the class) is a cover-up. Poor tyke.

Today we practised the Dog Walk. It’s a set of three planks, the two end ones sloping up to the level middle one. To execute the Dog Walk correctly, Poochie must stroll its entire length, his paws touching the yellow section on both ends. As you can see, in the photo at top, taken at 4:26:29 pm, Fergus is trotting along the Dog Walk, easy as you please, with E.g. loosely holding his leash. He is emphatically not, you will note, repeatedly abandoning ship as he had been at 4:21:29 pm.

 In those intervening five minutes, did E.g. teach him how? No. Did Turtle? Nope. How about the instructor? Not really.

Cai taught him.

Cai’s problem was bouncing along too quickly, skipping merrily off the far end before his feet touched the yellow part. I wasn’t sure how to fix that. Then I watched the little brown Poodle, Lucy, whose humans had been advised to make her sit on the Dog Walk every few feet, to slow her down and build her confidence.

So, en famille, I started Cai along the Dog Walk, and E.g. and Fergus followed on our tails. When Cai stopped, Fergus stopped. And Fergus, trusting Cai, walked all three planks.

Then he walked it all by himself.

Then he walked it all by himself back again, by which time I had my camera out. Ta-da!

The following photos show a new trick we learned today, the Table. You say, “Fang, Table!” and Fang jumps up on it and you throw him a nice raw steak. Eventually you give him the Down command, and he lies down for his porterhouse.

Our dogs know the Down command already though, so here’s the sequence wherein Fergus comes up Shiny:

“Table!”

“Down!”

“Good boy!”