A brief attempt at Agility

When I moved in with him and BD one of my first ‘nags’ was to look into training BD better. I wanted to solve (yes I was young and naïve) his fear issues and get used to him being around a lot of dogs. I did some research and pulled up a couple of groups that offered help with aggression. There were two that I finally narrowed my search down to, one was a local group and the other was a good half hours’ drive away, but instantly I knew that she was the lady I wanted to work with. He decided that he would pay for the training, and so he had the final decision as to which lady we would hire and we went with the local trainer.
Our first meeting with her didn’t go particularly well. She turned up on the wrong day which majorly upset me as I was out and so the training session happened with him and her. I had wanted to be there from the start, so I wasn’t playing catch up but that didn’t happen. From then one we had a mixed relationship. I would meet her for one session and come away feeling very positive and impressed, and then the next session would make me doubt her techniques and whether or not I should go back to her.

Having met with us three times she announced that we should enrol BD into her agility class. In hindsight I think she is an agility nut and her answer to everything is ‘take up my agility class’. Anyway, the first time we went down was really positive. It was lovely to be in a group of people who knew there dogs, where BD could interact slightly and learn new skills. BD loved it. You could just tell that he enjoyed the challenge and I loved working with him to learn a new skill. Worked got in the way and so he didn’t join us very often and agility became our thing and I loved it. When after weeks of trying BD managed a spiral of jumps I don’t know which of us were more pleased.

However, the more time I spent with the club and this lady the more unhappy I became with her methods. She would spray her dogs with water if they barked – not something I agree with. And when BD was bitten in one of her classes her comment of ‘Well that’ll teach him’ had me seeing red. Especially as at the time he was mid jump and the dog came at him. The other dog owner had offered to leave before the incident, but the trainer encouraged her to stay saying it would do BD good to focus with the two there. To begin with they were just running at each other, with a little barking. I am so annoyed that I didn’t challenge her. I should have removed BD from the situation before this happened but I didn’t I let him down. After the bite, despite our success of the spiral jump, I left never to return.

However I want to return, I would love to enrol BD in some agility courses as I would be great for our relationship and would get me out the house once a week. But it’s a case of once bitten twice shy. So what do you think? I know a brilliant lady who does one on one training, but it’s going to be expensive and a bit of a drive which with the purchase of the house I don’t know if I can afford. Plus one on one does nothing for his socialising or me meeting the dog loving millionaire I am going to marry.

I am once again turning to you for guidance and words of wisdom!!

5 thoughts on “A brief attempt at Agility

  1. can you go to the one you originally liked? Or maybe do a basic obedience class just to rebuild the bond and get BD used to being around dogs again? Sometimes certain dog clubs will have drop in agility, that you can just go to when you want to, as well. Good luck with BD. My dog has issues too, not sure why but it is definitely a huge stressor in a relationship as well.

  2. I would check out the agility classes without BD first and see what you think of it. They should be happy for you to go and observe if you talk to them.
    Working together in a fun way will help make other training easier.
    You could see the other trainer occasionally when you can better afford it. If she gives you good advice you probably need weeks to work on it before seeing her again.
    Don’t feel bad about what went wrong in a previous class, just learn from it. We had some difficult experiences at puppy classes and it is difficult to stand up to the trainer even when you’re sure.

  3. Sounds like fun. I know Pierson likes agility because we do it in the backyard. But I doubt he would do as well as BD in a group setting.

    Finding a good dog trainer that you can connect with is very important. If you meet a new dog trainer, be up front with what you like and don’t like. For example, if you mention the water spraying and she swears by it, then you may not want her to help you train. On the other hand, you want to be open to other methods. Give them the opportunity to explain their method. If their logic makes sense, go with it. If it doesn’t, go with your gut and find someone else.

    Personally, at first glance I do not care for the water spraying either. However, it is a much gentler method to distract a dog than other methods are.

    As with dogs snapping at each other… this is how dogs communicate. That lady shouldn’t have said what she said. And she should have done something to put that other dog more at ease. Separated him from the group, perhaps, so that he wasn’t as nervous. Keep in mind, though, that when dogs snap at one another it is simply a way one dog tells another that they don’t like what the other is doing. When Maya was a pup and rushed another dog with a little too much excitement, it scared the other dog and he reacted by snapping at her. He didn’t attack her. He just snapped and told her how she made him feel. She learned her lesson and never rushed another dog again.

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