From the Editor

Something New

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My Miniature Poodle, Jäger, loves to run, jump and climb, and he has endless energy. Naturally, I thought agility might be his idea of a fabulous time. You never know until you try, so I signed up for an eight-week introductory fun class to see how he liked it. I’ve never trained a dog for agility, but I’ve always admired the incredible teamwork that exists between agility dogs and their handlers.

This past weekend, we attended our first class. The instructor set up low bar jumps and helped us encourage our dogs over them. We also practiced hand targeting with our dogs, using our body language as a cue that we were about to slow down, speed up or change direction.

The last thing we did was introduce the dogs to a short practice tunnel. Jäger thought the small tunnel was great fun, and was bounding through it in no time.

The class instructor also set up a long tunnel so we could see what the dogs eventually would run though. Because she didn’t want to push the dogs too quickly, we didn’t start teaching the longer tunnel that day. Jäger, however, had other plans.

As class wound down, Jäger started poking his head into the long tunnel. I dropped his leash to see what he would do, and he walked right in. The instructor was at the other end of the tunnel, and she encouraged Jäger to trot out. I was thrilled to see him investigate a strange piece of equipment so boldly.

Hopefully, our future sessions will be as positive as the first. I haven’t decided if I want to compete in the future. Jäger and I will just have to see where our training takes us.

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