The start of an addiction?

It was a pretty quiet weekend around here, nothing too out of the ordinary to write about.

On Saturday we took a trip to the dog park and surprisingly found it empty. Other than a strolling couple, Shiva had the whole dog beach to herself. Every other time we’ve gone to this particular park it has been packed with people and dogs. This is a blast, don’t get me wrong. It’s fantastic to watch Shiva zoom around with five or six dogs in her wake, ever the centre of attention. However, a quiet Shubie is an entirely new experience.

There aren’t too many places in the city where Shiva can run off-leash without others around to distract her. Since we don’t have a fenced back yard, we don’t get a lot of one-on-one off-leash time outdoors.  It makes it difficult to work on things like fast recalls on a regular basis. On Saturday, though, she shocked me at how well she was fetching a tennis ball. Apparently once she’s got the zoomies out of her system, there is a retriever in her after all!

After a little while a yellow lab joined us, going back and forth between leaping into the water after a stick, and playing with Shiva. There was a steady stream of new dogs arriving the whole time we were there, but never more than one or two and they all got along really well. Running, barking, diving into the water, and just being their wonderful doggy selves.

As is usual, off-leash Shiva loves the world and doesn’t have a single moment of insecurity. It makes me wish we lived within walking distance of the park so I could take her there more often. There is the forest by our house that is off-leash friendly but not everyone who walks through there is and because of that we usually only go early mornings. Now that spring is here and the fish are biting, the forest is usually filled with people sans dogs. Through the trees, we can’t see them and people just pop up in front of us on the path. As Shiva is still wary of strangers I don’t like to put her in a situation that may stress her, not to mention the peaceful fishing community, out.

The next round of agility classes start this next weekend, so it’s not like there won’t be a lot to keep us busy. Shiva amazes me every day with how well she’s mastering the weave poles. Just a few minutes of practicing every day in our living room has done wonders. The one obstacle that was worrying me the most is becoming a lot more fun now.  Hopefully we won’t embarrass ourselves too badly during this Saturday’s Weave Pole class. She’s doing brilliantly with the first two sets of 2X2s but I still need all the help I can get. Five more days to practice…

We’re also signed up for an obstacle familiarity class on Friday nights starting this week. Shiva’s never seen the large contact equipment, other than a few passes at the teeter during obedience last fall. It should be really interesting to see what she does with it at first. I love putting a new object in front of her and watching her brain try to figure it out. It’s sometimes hilarious and always fascinating as she offers different things. Her default lately is jumping on top of whatever it is, which may or may not be a good thing. Either way, I’m sure our trainer will get a laugh out of it. Shiva is nothing if not a class clown.

The more we work with the equipment, the more I love it. Shiva seems to really enjoy it as well. It’s hard to tell other than by the way she falls asleep so much faster after we’ve done some training. The agility world in this city appears to be small but very involving. After only a few months, I’m so grateful we’ve been able to stick our noses through the window.