Yet One More Post About Agility

So, Sunday.

Thanks to everyone for their amazing support! When Sunday morning came, I will admit I came up with multiple excuses to bail. One of the reasons I didn’t was that I didn’t want to let you all down. I knew you were rooting for us and I couldn’t ignore all your kind words of encouragement. When we got in that car, it was in large part due to you. It’s a lot of power you all have over me, apparently. I trust you will use it responsibly.

The agility fun match was just as much fun as I predicted it would be. My only real disappointment is that we were unable to attend the three-day training weekend due to work getting in the way. One only has so many opportunities to train with someone from the Canadian World Agility team. The few minutes we had with her on the weekend were awesome. I felt more motivated than I ever have just being in her presence. After a brief shaping session, Shiva can now even boast to have been “trained” by a world-class handler. Pretty special, I’d say. Fortunately, she will be back in August for another full weekend so hopefully we will be able to get out for that. I’d hate to miss the action twice!

Before anyone gets excited, however, I will say right out that we didn’t run any courses. No full courses anyway. In fact, we pretty much spent the afternoon like this:

It’s my fault. I was nervous. Too nervous to even think of trying to gather my nerves, let alone expect Shiva to focus. It’s okay. I don’t feel bad about it. I know I made the smart choice. Sometimes the most important work is behind the scenes. Everyone kept saying how well she was doing, how calm she seemed, what a good dog she was. It was really encouraging. No one thought it was weird we were just sitting there, watching and rewarding our dog for her attention. Many of them have seen her in action before – they know of what she is capable!

At the end, as the others drifted out, one of our instructors suggested we try a few jumps. There were still enough people and dogs in the building to serve as distractions, but not enough to make her lose it completely. She did well. After a few seconds she decided to make her own fun, as usual, but I still got some real work out of her. And I made a few more discoveries of what I need to work on.

1. Keep moving.

2. Balance fast action with slow control, keep her guessing.

3. Reward, reward, reward.

Thus, we don’t have any fun photographs of me ripping my hair out. I do apologize.

We were boring this time and set her up for success as much as possible. It was impressive how Shiva could lay right beside a tunnel while other dogs were running through it without taking her eyes off us. That wouldn’t have been possible even four months ago. Tunnel sucker.

Our goal now is to attend as many trials as possible and just hang out. Now that I don’t have to worry about her jumping on every single dog she sees, she may gradually get used to offering behaviours in new, highly charged environments.

Next stop, Canadian World Team?


21 thoughts on “Yet One More Post About Agility

  1. What a great experience for Shiva! And what an amazing job she did!

    I plan on doing the same thing this summer – goto many trials, but enter very few. It’s a tough environment for some dogs. I think Shiva is on the path to agility superstardom!


  2. Sounds like you had a great time. That’s amazing that Shiva was able to focus on you in that environment.

    Over the years, nearly every mistake I’ve made with my dogs has been related to two things: Not trusting my instincts or taking things too quickly. It sounds like you avoided both those mistakes. And your weekend was well worth it.

    BTW, when I watch agility, I can see that working with a fast dog is especially hard. It’s makes handling so much harder because you have to operate so quickly. You’ve got yourself a dog that will challenge your training abilities all the way because she’s able to move so quickly. You certainly don’t shrink from a challenge, do you?


  3. That’s fantastic. Step-by-step progress is awesome, especially when you’re consistent and persistent. It grows really fast! Congratulations! Sounds like a fun and educational day.


  4. That’s so awesome. Way to go, Shiva! Setting her up to succeed isn’t boring at all; it’s genius! You’ll know when you’re both ready!


  5. Well, if you ever do make it to Canadian World Team, you owe all your fellow bloggers and supporters free tickets 🙂

    Just allow your self to… be. Watch, participate, practice, fail succeed, and just ENJOY it. In my life, I’ve only regretted the stuff I DIDN’T do.


  6. Hooray! What a positive day to add to your “plus” list for agility events! I am thrilled to hear of what a good time you had. It sounds like you made each other proud 🙂

    new foster dog at


  7. Isn’t it amazing when just the simple fact of being there makes all the difference. When you are really able to notice the progress she has made and enjoy yourselves right where you are at and be OK with that?? I think it is awesome. Sometimes I find those are the best moments ever, just taking it all in.

    Glad you went and had such a good experience. Enjoy it!!


  8. Frankie is very like Shiva, easily distracted and somewhat excitable. So it’s very encouraging for me to read that Shiva was so good. And well done for listening to your instincts and just observing. There’s plenty of time for trials when she’s ready and then you won’t be so nervous because you’re sure she’s ready:)


  9. Congrats Kristine! I read this on my BB and silently cheered that you went. Even if it wasn’t a full day of agility it was still a step. I am so impressed with you and Shiva! She certainly has come a long way. I don’t think my Jasper could sit outside that tunnel and focus on me!


  10. I think it’s great that you focused on Shiva and made sure you gave her every chance to succeed. That is probably the best thing you could have done that day. It will be fun to see pictures of her doing agility when she is ready.


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