Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12 - Lisa's Musings on (training a pup in agility) and Every Day Life

Since I've entered little Driver in an agility trial in early June, I thought it might be a good idea to take him somewhere other than his backyard to train him.

So, I headed to Dexter where the trial will take place.

And, I learned something useful.

He's not ready to show in agility yet.

Truth be told, I knew that, we haven't done a lot of training in agility -- we've been focused on stand-and-eat-food competition.

And, it showed.

Driver's little puppy brain clicked into overdrive as soon as the leash came off and he was off ....

To say Hi to the other dogs and people in the building.

To sniff every piece of equipment in all corners of the ring.

And, to just generally be a 14-month-old inquisitive puppy.

And although he loves me, I didn't count.

There were other more exciting things to explore.

Sure, he'd come back to me when I called him; well, most of the time, anyway.

But, then he was off doing what young adult male dogs do -- they explore and sniff and generally forget you're even in the same room.

Sure, he doesn't leave my side here, but when faced with a wide-open building with new dogs and people, I just wasn't as exciting.

My friend, Becca, kept telling me -- you're boring. You've got to me more fun -- as Driver headed off on yet another jaunt.

But I've got to tell you when you're being blown off for other people and canines, it's not easy to feel the love.

I just wanted to scream; but that doesn't do any good, either.

Yelling louder, repeating "Come" or "Driver" over and over -- at this point, it's just background noise to the dog.

His mind's on another caper.

So, I did what any good dog trainer does. Grabbed the leash, walked calmly over to him, recaptured him without a lot of muss and fuss and headed back to the ring while Becca barricaded the exits.

There, problem solved.


He still bolted a few times toward the netting that broke the large ring into two smaller ones -- when there was something good going on on the other side. But for the most part, he focused on the jumps and other cool equipment -- for as long as his puppy brain could.

Once we completed a few obstacles in succession, we quit.

On a good note.

For both of us.

So I learned something today. I should have taken him off his home turf before I entered a show.

But now that the check's already in the mail, we'll practice there a few more times before the first Saturday in June.

And even though he probably still won't be ready to show by then -- unless his little brain grows up really, really, fast; I'll do my very best to be more fun.

Besides, the joke's going to be on me, anyway.



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