Eddy the part lab/part something smaller than a lab slobbers over his handler as he waits impatiently for his turn. Once instructed to go, he scrambles over the ramp, leaps over the jump and gallops through the tunnel as fast as his stubby legs will go. There must be a little bulldog in there somewhere.
He’s so jubilant when he exits the tunnel he just keeps on going. JJ and I watch as he completes two laps around the training area. On his third blast by us, still grinning ear to ear, his handler finally corrals him. Our instructor reminds her to be ready when Eddy tears out of the tunnel.
You see, we’re supposed to be ready and direct our dogs to the next obstacle. We’re all in training, dog, and human.
Eddy just loves to go fast. The obstacles, including the teeter totter and weaving poles, are simply part of the fun. Keeping up with him runs his handler ragged.
JJ is a bit of an old soul, a thoughtful dog, not one to take risks. I hoped to boost his confidence with agility class. He graduated from level 1 after only a couple classes.
In level 2 agility, JJ finds the tighter weaving poles and the teeter totter a challenge. Fifty percent of the dogs in class consider that teeter totter unsafe and jump off as soon as it moves. But JJ is the only one refusing to squeeze between the poles.
I, his handler, cannot remember which hand to hold the leash in. I’m thrilled when I get to lay the leash down at the beginning and take him through the obstacles without it.
I, his handler, constantly hold treats in the wrong hand, or upside down when they’re supposed to go right side up. For the poles, success depends on keeping your hand inverted with the treat on their nose as you pull them through. Wait, that’s wrong, maybe your hand isn’t inverted.
You get the picture. JJ flounders at the poles and the teeter totter and I flounder at treat and leash holding.
We’re both really good at the jumps, table, dog walk, ramp, and tunnel. However, moving up to level 3 agility requires mastery of the teeter totter and poles and keeping my right and left straight.
Oh boy, we may be stuck here for awhile.