Last night was back to agility after several weeks off. The trainer is using an indoor facility that Liezel and I had never been to. You know when you imagine something only to find it’s nothing like what you imagined? Well, that’s how the indoor facility was.
First of all, we have a lot of snow. A lot of snow in a very small parking lot (or extended portion of a driveway used for parking) makes for difficult parking. The area may or may not have been plowed. I’m inclined to say it was packed down from being driven on and not plowed. Aside from a single light bulb above the door, it was very dark.
Naturally, having never been there and smelling / hearing other dogs, Liezel was immediately vigilant and alert. We made our way into an old, drab building with a lot of barking dogs. A partitioned wall led to a large open area with a doorway to the agility field. Just inside that doorway were the other teams. We stayed in the large open area as to not crowd Liezel but this did not allow for me to hear any of the instructions.
Along one side of the building, partitioned off, was a row of kennels. They contained one Border Collie that barked the entire time. Liezel’s least favorite team with the Aussie was there, but so were a couple other teams that Liezel does not seem to dislike.
When the trainer called for us I put Liezel in a heel and walked through the doorway, past the other teams (within inches of other dogs / people) and into the agility ring. Two separate people commented on Liezel’s heeling! One said, “Wow, she listens really well!” and the other said to her dog, “See how that’s done?” I explained that Liezel is very obedient and a very good dog, she just has a fear of people and some amount of leash aggression.
The course was very tight and did not allow for a lot of movement, but Liezel did not mind and actually seemed to have an exceptionally good time! She ran the course with excitement, energy, and a goofiness that got a few laughs from the other humans. I was really proud of her lack of concern with the Aussie who barked at her while she ran.
The course went tunnel, A-frame, table (5 second sit), tunnel, tire, jump, tunnel, and weave poles. In my opinion she earned an A+! She requires a bit of guiding in the weave poles when they’re on my right, but she ran through them perfectly when I turned around and they were on my left. The trainer commented that most dogs have a preferred direction for the weave poles. Funny little creature.
Off course Liezel’s behavior was really good. She had two reactions. One was toward the Aussie. I noticed he stares at her and that’s how it starts. He stared and then barked, she barked and lunged. Easily stopped, and the remainder of the night I made it a point to step in front of her if he was looking in our direction.
The second reaction was interesting. A woman walked through the doorway toward us. Liezel approached her and targeted the woman’s hand (apparently looking for a treat). I saw the woman kind of cup her hand around Liezel’s muzzle and I commented to my husband, “Wow, Liezel let her touch her face.” The woman walked into the bathroom, and immediately walked back out and toward us. Liezel reacted with a bark and lunge. She was corrected and the woman walked passed without further issue.
That same woman came out on the course, leaving the gate open, while Liezel and I were finishing up our last run. I had rewarded Liezel so she knew we were done and she walked up to the woman. I heard the woman say, “Thank you for the kiss,” so I assume Liezel licked her. I was making my way toward the open gate to close it when Liezel made a beeline for it. Luckily I got it closed before she made her way out – into the small contained area with the other teams. If she had gotten out before I could have closed the gate, I don’t think anything would have happened, but why chance it?
We left without further issue and on the way home my husband commented, “She sure seemed to have fun tonight.” I think we’re both glad to be back in class, even if the facility isn’t ideal.
Until next Tuesday.