Sunday, February 13, 2011

Training Blues

Kai and I attended agility class again this past Thursday. I look forward to going to class because I have so much fun working with my dog. Watching him learn is truly exciting and you always learn something new when training dogs. It is never the same for every dog, they are truly individuals no matter how much they may look alike.

Kai is doing well in agility class, I think that most of the problems are mine. I am new to agility having trained in obedience for over twenty years the world of agility is something I am still getting used to. Also the fact that I must use a wheelchair to get around severely limits my ability to keep up with Kai and also to perform many of the maneuvers that the other handlers can do almost without thinking. So with quite a few things Kai and I are struggling. The other owners and their dogs are doing so much better than we are at several things, the most obvious one is Kai's arch nemesis the weave poles.

Kai started out doing very well with weave poles but as the guides disappeared he started having more and more trouble. Last summer and fall I did not have a wheelchair ramp so getting out of the house to practice was extremely difficult so I was not able to work with Kai on the weave poles much at all. This winter of course outdoor practice is out of the question and indoors I have absolutely no room to put up a set of weave poles and run Kai through his paces.

Now the lack of practice time is showing. While the other dogs in his class seem to be very proficient at the weave poles Kai is struggling to get the concept. This week we had to go through the weave poles twice during the course and Kai did not complete them totally on his own even once. We were able to get time to concentrate on the weaves at the end of the class and we were successful going through the poles when he is on my left side several times. Every time we had a major party and the rewards were many. Doing the weave poles when he is on my right however are another kettle of fish. He seems to not even notice the obstacle is there!

I need to troubleshoot and figure out what the exact problem is and work to overcome it. It could be that he has difficulty being on my right because of previous obedience training and working as my service dog he is oriented to being on my left. It could also be one of a million other things. I am looking forward to spring when Kai and I can use my new wheelchair ramp to get outside at anytime and practice weave poles or do anything else we may want to do. A walk in the spring sunshine sounds wonderful to me now. Wish us luck.


Peggy said...

I think it's because of being on what might seem to him like the wrong side. Maybe he is used to putting on his thinking cap when he is to your right. I'm amazed any dog figures out the point of those weave poles! Anyway, good luck--hopefully one day the penny will drop and he will figure it out! In the meantime, it's supposed to be fun, so have fun!

Pam said...

I'm glad you can show your dog even if you're in a wheelchair. My cousin Connie used a wheelchair had a very smart Cocker Spaniel. she did some local obedience shows with Diablo, but was turned away from the bigger shows because of her chair. It made us so angry. That was in the 1960's - a time of much intolerance.

You go girl!!

Vicki said...

Thanks Pam. I agree that showing with a disability is now much easier than it used to be. I am sorry to hear that your cousin had such a difficult time when she wanted to show.