After earning 4 doggy degrees in his first year, it was time to up the ante and find a new challenge for Sprout. And so three months ago we enrolled in an agility class, and then another, and another… and now we are HOOKED! Here’s a taste of what we’ve been up to…
Agility, BTW, is basically an obstacle course for dogs, with the handler cuing their pup over jumps, through tunnels and weave poles, and onto other obstacles, all while racing against the clock. And it’s not just for the big dogs – even pint-sized pups like Sprout can dominate the agility course, with itty bitty jumps, of course. The sport is growing in popularity and is as fun to watch as it is to compete.
Speaking of watching, here’s Sprout mesmerized by the best of the best competing at the 2017 Westminster Agility Championships. This is literally the only time Sprout has ever paid attention to the TV. And as you can see, he’s not just watching – he’s cheering (and jeering).
Right now, we’re still learning how to tackle all of the different obstacles in agility. Here’s Sprout figuring out the A-Frame, which is basically a 5-foot-high frame for your dog to run up and over. Sprout’s like barely a foot high, so he was understandably a little nervous. We took it slow, and after a couple of sessions he got up the courage cross over the top!
We are also learning how to communicate with each other on the course. In competition agility, you can’t touch your dog or the obstacles, so everything comes down to your voice and body language. Trust me when I say this is much harder than it looks. And it is definitely just as awkward as it looks.
So, for me, the hardest part is not messing up the course. For Sprout, the hardest part is having to wait his turn. Here we are, watching (and whining) while another dog runs the course…
We are total beginners and make mistakes, but we are learning from them and, most importantly, bonding and having a blast. And yes, this is me running into a jump in order to avoid tripping over Sprout. Apparently small dogs getting underfoot is a common beginner problem – we’re working on it!
Agility is a physical and mental challenge, so class is usually followed by an afternoon of well-deserved napping. I’m pretty sure Sprout’s dreaming of one day making it to Westminster and winning it all. We have a long way to go before we’re ready for any sort of competition, but we can’t wait to share our adventures along the way!
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