All the world’s an agility course? Well, my world is anyway! When I learned that the fourth and final challenge at K9 Kamp was whatever I wanted it to be, I knew I had to slide our real-world agility training into the fun. This time it would be with a twist: I would be performing the obstacles alongside my dog!
As we have only a small space to work with at home, from the start of our training in dog sports I had to find creative ways to teach Shiva the standard obstacles and work on my handling. You may be surprised to learn how many agility obstacles can be found on a walk around the neighbourhood. There is no need for expensive equipment when you can find things like rocks, benches, and chain jumps along your daily stroll.
Normally I just get Shiva to perform the obstacles while I run along beside her with a reward. This week we did them together! While my two-on-two-off may not be as pretty as hers, I think I did a decent job of staying on my feet.
After each real-life obstacle, we dashed off to find the next. It was a great chance to practice her heeling and circle work, as well as a great work-out for my lazy-bone self! The only humiliating part came in when I realized how much better Shiva is at balancing than I. My six-year-old former balance beam champion self is howling in shame.
To top it all off, I learned something new this week. Shiva is a pretty tough dog to keep entertained. With a mind that buzzes at hyper-speed it is a challenge retaining her attention. She gets bored pretty quickly and often drifts off to do her own thing (ie. eat garbage). With this K9 Kamp challenge and all the jumping, running, climbing, and two-offing we did, Shiva was forced to look to me for direction. That meant that not only was there 100% less planks this week, there was also at least 50% less mud scarfing! It really shows how a combination of physical and mental activity does the trick to keep a Shiva on task.
Too bad it’s also ten times as exhausting for Shiva’s human!
Things went slightly better with the cat this week. Which means he did more than just lay there and stare at me. Given it was the last challenge of K9 Kamp, I wanted to go out with a bang and at least have a good time. So we abandoned the stair walking, said sayonara to the ball, and instead played a game he actually enjoys: eating kitty crack.
I tried to create a version of kitty push ups, encouraging him to sit and then stand and then sit and then go up on his back legs for the treat. It worked! Sort of. For a minute or so. I’ve learned with the cat, you take what you can get and celebrate even the tiniest of victories.
For weeks just isn’t long enough to get anything accomplished with a cat. It took me four years just to get him to stop attacking my leg.
Did you do anything new with your pets this week? I’d love to hear all about it!