Hershey's First Agility Class - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Hershey's First Agility Class

Well first night of agility for Hersh and I thought I had made a mistake. We arrived a little early and walked in to the arena. It is a large horse arena with a huge clanging door that bangs when you walk in. That scared the begeebees out of Hersh right there. It is very, very loud in there with people and dogs every where you look. He started cowering under a bench right beside us. I tried soothing him and comforting him and distracting him by offering him treats. Now this is a dog that will turn himself inside out for treats. He wouldn't touch them. I thought this should be interesting. I have never seen him so scared. So I carried him into the arena where we would be training and walked him all around the equipment and let him sniff and explore as much as he wanted and kept talking happy talk to encourage him. The class began and the first thing was a jump. I couldn't believe it. I had Ollie with me to and decided to have Ollie go beside him and go over the jump and Hershey followed right after Ollie. Big good boys all around. After 3 jumps he wanted the treats and was acting pretty happy. He then did the weave poles great and then came the tunnel. I thought, no way, but he was a champ and went through without hesitation. At this point he is really proud of himself and wolfing down the treats like crazy. By the end of the night he was having so much fun I was amazed. When we went out the big clanging door to leave he couldn't have cared less. Hurray it is going to be fine.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 06:41 AM
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Way to go!!!

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 08:27 AM
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That is so great! What a champ!

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 08:31 AM
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Awesome! And it sound like you handled it JUST right! Sympathetic to his needs without "coddling" him. We don't have the clanging door OR the smells of a horse arena to deal with where we train, but Panda was pretty worried the first time we went. It's a HUGE high-ceiling place, very loud and echo-y, and as it is part of a big industrial building, lots of loud machine noises from behind the wall. There was a class before our private lesson, with all large dogs.

Fortunately, I thought she might need some time to acclimate, so I got there a good 40 minutes before her class, and brought her crate along. We walked all around the building, and I let her sniff everything she wanted to. She was very spooky, tail down, eyes huge as she looked around. But after about 20 minutes, she was getting her mojo back. I let her take a rest in her crate, and when I took her out for her lesson, she was ready to go! The second time she still needed a LITTLE "look" time, but settled very quickly. Now, after about 6 lessons, she swaggers in like she owns the place!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Karen your environment sounds really similar to ours. Very loud echos everywhere a, and strange people and dogs everywhere. Panda sounds like she adjusted really quickly and is a real little trooper. You have done this so often though, you probably knew exactly what to do. I was just sort of going with my gut. When I signed Hershey up in beginners, I also signed Ollie up in the same class. I did that because Hershey had shown a tendency toward skitterishness in the past. I thought having Ollie, someone familiar showing him it was ok would be helpful. Ollie is beyond laid back so I thought he would give off a calming vibe. It really got Hershey off on the right foot last night. He took one look at Ollie going over that jump and just followed behind. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly their attitudes can change if you find the right formula, I wish I could read him that well on everything else when I need to adjust his behavior.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 01:51 PM
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By the end of the night he was having so much fun I was amazed. When we went out the big clanging door to leave he couldn't have cared less. Hurray it is going to be fine.
A loud ARF, ARF too yu amigo Hershey! Good job! Yu wanna play chase mi sum time?

su amigo, Ricky Ricardo

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 02:31 PM
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Karen your environment sounds really similar to ours. Very loud echos everywhere a, and strange people and dogs everywhere. Panda sounds like she adjusted really quickly and is a real little trooper. You have done this so often though, you probably knew exactly what to do. I was just sort of going with my gut. When I signed Hershey up in beginners, I also signed Ollie up in the same class. I did that because Hershey had shown a tendency toward skitterishness in the past. I thought having Ollie, someone familiar showing him it was ok would be helpful. Ollie is beyond laid back so I thought he would give off a calming vibe. It really got Hershey off on the right foot last night. He took one look at Ollie going over that jump and just followed behind. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly their attitudes can change if you find the right formula, I wish I could read him that well on everything else when I need to adjust his behavior.
Well, remember, although Panda isn't what I would "seasoned", She has been in classes at another training facility since she was 12 weeks old, and has shown in conformation and followed big brother Kodi around to various competitions as well. So she's probably seen more than Hershey has. You handled things very wisely!


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Karen, you are right he has had no organized training prior to this. I socialized him well, but looking back I should have taken him to some other forms of organized training. I still give Miss Panda big cudos for soldiering on though, every new experience is scary. You and your pups are such a great inspiration for us all here on the forum. I think for me the big thing I have taken away from your previous postings is constant involvement with the dogs and teaching in a fun and patient way. It always struck me watching your videos how happy the dogs are and that stays with me when I am trying to teach mine something. I want them to want it and enjoy it and feel good about themselves when they do something right.







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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 09:29 PM
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Awww, thanks. As Ricky's Popi says, if my dogs aren't happy, I'm not happy. I love training and showing, but if my dogs weren't having as much fun as I have, I wouldn't do it!


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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