Hello hello, and welcome to Teacher’s Pet, a column on all things training! Every other #TrainingTuesday, Brussels.Sprout, will share his how-tos for learning new tricks, updates on his own adventures in agility competition, and his favorite tips for helping you and your pup bond over training.
More Adventures in Agility: How Puppers Got His Groove Back
It’s been nearly a year since we last chatted agility, so we are way past due for a pupdate. I’m still taking classes on the reg, and have finally mastered the teeter AND my weave poles!
A few months ago, I started competing. In the beginning, it was a lot of fun and I did really well – at my first agility trial, I qualified in 6 out of 6 runs!
But now it’s time for real talk, guys. I started getting “trial stress,” which basically means I got overwhelmed with the experience of competition – new places, different equipment, loud sounds, weird smells and lots of bigger dogs – and I stopped having fun. This made mom worry and feel bad, so she and my trainer came up with ways to help me adjust. I’ve been going to “mock trials” so I can practice agility at new places while getting lots of treats in the ring and listening to recordings of agility sounds so I can de-sensitize. And at trials, mom is more conscious of monitoring my stress level, giving me lots of treats throughout the day and leaving the chaotic arena between classes so I can have a quiet rest with her in the car.
Guess what… it’s been working!! I’m excited to say this past weekend, I went to a competition and while I only qualified in one of my runs… I. Had. FUN!!!
So that was my first run, and knocking a pole down meant I couldn’t qualify. And then I got scared by the pole rolling towards me, but I pushed past my fears, kept going and nailed the rest of the course. A+++ for effort.
And here I am flying through my second run! It was a strategy class where you have to make up your own course to get points and complete a “send bonus,” which means I go do the obstacles on my own while mom waits behind a line 10 feet away. I did the send bonus perfectly and got 65 points even though I only needed 50 to qualify! #proudsproutie
That was my last run of the day, and I was starting to get a little tired. As you can see, I was a little hesitant to start- the old Sprout would have turned and walked out of the ring (srsly), but instead, I gave it a shot and sailed through most of the course. I didn’t want to do the last two obstacles, but I blame mom b/c her clapping ended up scaring me (she apologized profusely). Even though I didn’t finish, I went home with my head held high. I still need some more support to get through my stress issues, but I think I’m finally back on the path to success!
Stay tuned for next Teacher’s Pet – I’ll teach you how to do one of new my fave new tricks!
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