Chispa does agility – The Bang Game

Oh no, Daisy is doing agility with her 5 month old puppy! Hey everybody! Look!

Nothing so exciting as all that, I'm afraid. Plus, I've been doing agility with Chispa since she was 8 weeks old. You know, every step we TAKE together is one of us “handling” the other. We move through time and space together all the time. Quite often, these days it's Chispa behind me, toy in her mouth, front paws wrapped around one of my ankles, OR toy in her mouth nudging at the back of my calf. And, she's been jumping off the couch for some time now, as well as displaying her acrobatic skills. Just yesterday, after our morning walk, I took Chispa and Frodo over to the Agility Hall to do a bit of training. Frodo did what he always does; he ran through the door and jumped the divider so that he'd be waiting for me when I got to the arena. This time, I just happened to make it to the door in time to see CHISPA follow him OVER the divider, with ease and grace. Eek!

Chispa can clear this divider with grace and ease. Am I in trouble now!

Chispa can clear this divider with grace and ease. Am I in trouble now!

Chispa has only been out to the arena a handful of times, and each time, it's just to tug, or play chase (preferably she chasing me), or to work on the little behaviors she's already learned in the house. We don't go to classes, but I do make sure that my puppies get experience in different environments, primarily upstairs in the house (where most of my videos are filmed), in the back yard, in the arena, and at fun matches and shows where they're along. Clearly, those few times in the arena have gotten her excited for more. So, prompted by one of my fellow puppy owners in the discussion forum for this blog series, who beat me to the punch with the Bang Game, we had a little fun with the seesaw.

In addition to the Bang Game (handout and video below for premium subscribers), I've been working on some of Chispa's behaviors with a toy as a reward rather than food. Just about all the behaviors that I teach are started with food. We play with toys a LOT, but up til just a couple of days ago, play was play, and tricks were for treats. For some reason, it just felt right to me that when we were tugging, I got the toy, and asked Chispa to wave her paw, and when she did, I excitedly presented the toy I had just taken from her. To be fair, she RELEASED the toy to me, when I put my hand in her collar, which is the way my dogs learn to release a toy. I haven't documented this one, because it happens fairly organically, and I don't even think about it. But, as that's the purpose of this blog, now that I'm thinking and writing about it, maybe I *should* detail that one as well…

In any case, I realized as I did this, that this was the first time Chispa had done a trick for a toy instead of a treat. It was a whole new level of FUN, and we are already having a blast.

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