Monday, July 9, 2012

Bandit's Agility Debut: Thoughts on handling a Novice Dog

This past weekend was Bandit's first taste of "real agility". This was the first time he has *ever* worked anywhere other than my own agility field. I was a bit nervous, and so was Bandit. I'm not one to post much about training adventures, but Bandit has been one of the most fun dogs to train, and I've learned a lot from him. He is my first dog to take from scratch and teach running contacts to. I was excited to see what they were going to be, and hoped my training had paid off :-)

Bandit is a pretty polite little dog, but with a ton of drive. He is a real thinker, and wants to do things right, but isn't afraid to make a mistake. He reminds me a lot of Ty with his "business-like" manners around the agility field :)

Going in, I expected nothing but for him to chase me around a bit and take a few obstacles, and as long as he was happy, we'd leave the ring excited and happy and get tons of cookies :-)

Thursday morning we ran Standard. He was WAY more nervous than I expected, and he refused more obstacles than I thought he would, but his contacts were AWESOME :-)

Jumpers he was already MUCH more confident, but he was still focusing more on my than actually jumping. Not a bad thing, just not what is "normal".

Over the next 3 days, a loud, obnoxious, focused, fast little sheltie appeared before my eyes. He NEVER barks during practice, and by Sunday, he was barking while waiting for our turn, watching dogs run, offering me every trick he knows and getting PUMPED.

He held all of his start line stays, hit every dogwalk and aframe contact, and only mis-judged one see-saw ;) Some refusals I went back and let him have another try at, some I just kept running. Some refusals were caused by his chasing me, some a lack of confidence, and some just plain me forgetting he's 15 months old :-) With the weaves, I didn't make him re-attempt until Sunday. Prior to that, any attempt at engaging in the weaves was more than enough for me :-)

He was SO brilliant, and I am so pleased with him. I entered him purely for the ring experience and it so paid off. I'm so excited for his next trial: HATTIESBURG. 5 days of agility in a 2 ring trial. A huge, NEW experience for him.

Here's some video footage :)


  1. Good weekend for baby dogs. You and Bandit looked amazing!!

  2. Sometimes I wish I could go and watch everyone!