Thursday, September 10, 2009

The last four foundation classes

I've really been neglecting my blog lately. I'll really try to update more from now on. Sooo... Some more quick summaries of Wall-e's puppy foundation classes:

Class #4
The puppies practiced doing hand touches with the handlers' hands lying flat against the ground, palm up. (Good boy Wall-e, nice strong touches!) More work on the balance discs. Wall-e got to work on the small disc again, he did great and got all 4 paws on again! Then more wobble board (Wall-e again had tons of confidence), and then the puppies took turns walking over 3 planks that are raised on cinder blocks and placed at 90 degree angles to each other, so the puppies had to turn left and right as they walked or trotted over the plank.

Class #5
Before class we went over to Wall-e's breeder's house for a visit and did Wall-e ever have fun being chased by his 4 month old half-brother, around and around!! I'm surprised he still had energy left for the class! Crazy shelties.

More wobble board, and then the puppies got to become familiar with the tunnel. Two of the puppies (Wall-e and one of the aussies) already knew the tunnel so they didn't have to go through all of the shaping.

Wall-e sure slept good that night after all the excitement.

Class #6
Again some wobble board, and also more perch work (a.k.a. the "elephant" trick, where the dog keeps his front paws on the little platform and steps around it with his back feet). Wall-e did amazing with that! He's got quite a bit of back-end awareness. Also, more tunnel stuff. The instructor had me stand in the middle of the tunnel and send Wall-e into an end of the tunnel only using my forearm (not even my shoulders!). Wall-e didn't quite understand so I had to help him a bit and eventually just gave up and used my shoulders ;) He even jumped ON TOP of the tunnel a couple times!

Last class, sadly...they were a lot of fun, and lots of good info! The puppies started off by being shaped to put their front paws on a Theraball (exercise ball) and walk forward while pushing the ball with their front paws. I knew right away that Wall-e would try to jump on top of the Theraball instead of just pushing it with his front paws, because we do a lot of conditioning at home with him on top of the ball, to build core muscles. He did try to jump on top a couple times, but then he got it, although I didn't make him walk too much at one time. Then the puppies got to play with a very low teeter, banging the end and jumping off. The instructor finished the last class by introducing the puppies to the "baby" chute (with only about 5 or 6 feet of fabric). Since Wall-e knows the chute already (I re-trained it at home last month, but he loves it now), I tried to send him through the flat chute, but he ran around it. He did that at his last fun match too -- I'll have to get him used to lots of different chutes in different environments. So the instructor held it open for him like the other puppies, and he ran through it nicely. She gradually lowered the fabric until it was barely held open at all.

Wall-e loved these classes -- he would RUN towards the door of the building, he wanted to go inside and play! That's perfect because most of his future trials will be held at this venue. By the way, his first trial will probably be May 2010 (that's when the outdoor trials start, and I want his first trial to be outdoors). Or, if Mika goes to Regionals next year, June. Only in Jumpers at the beginning -- those running contacts are tough (but FUN!), so we'll have to keep away from the classes with contacts for a while. It's worth it!


1 comment:

  1. What a great idea to introduce them to all these things so young! I'd never heard of "puppy agility" classes before but these sound fantastic - and fun for puppies - I'm sure much more than ordinary obedience (not that that isn't important) - but seems like a nice chance for pups to get used to working with humans in a more relaxed and fun environment than obedience classes. Wish we had somethign similar when Honey was a pup!