Friday, February 26, 2016

Expect the Unexpected

Life has continued to be wacky the last week. The snow all melted and we had gorgeous almost 60 degree weather over the weekend. We got in a 6-mile day between our two walks on Saturday. It was windy, but the skies were blue and I didn't have to wear boots or gloves. It was beautiful.



Barley was actually tired out for the first time in months and she was all smiles the entire time we were out in the fresh air. Soth was equally happy to bask in the sunshine, too. 


Then as quickly as the sunshine came, the cold weather was back and we were back to short little walks between freezing rain showers and between cups of hot chocolate. Barley's back to her wild self again. She's been getting the zoomies the first time I toss a toy for her and racing around all of the stacks of boxes (we had an unfortunate incident with one of the remaining wine glasses that hadn't yet been packed last week . . .).

To top that off, we had a sub in agility this week--and it was our very first agility trainer, who saw Barley at her very worst. I was excited to show her how well Barley's been doing with agility and with keeping her classmates out of her mouth. We succeeded at showing her one of those two things.

Our trainer didn't know the other two dogs that were in class that night, and one of them is very new to agility still, so I think she just assumed that Barley doesn't know very much. For some reason, she was convinced Barley doesn't really know the weaves (before she'd even seen Barley try them) even though Barley's was the first dog in our class to get them down over a year ago.

We had kind of a wacky entrance to the weaves and I wasn't approaching them well, so Barley was trying her best to figure out what I wanted her to do and it wasn't pretty. Thinking Bar didn't know the weaves, our sub told me not to correct her and sent us back to the basics of helping Barley figure out the weaves. We've worked with enough agility trainers now that I've just kind of decided that when it's just for one week, I'll smile and nod and just go with it--and maybe we'll learn a new trick or two--but I won't get too worked up about approaches that don't work for us. So, our sub had me walk slowly next to the weaves without giving Barley any verbal or hand cues to help her out.

Of course, that confused Barley because that's not how we ever trained the weaves. The sub took my place and had me watch her while she let Barley figure out the weaves. But Barley was still confused--she'd go through two and then just stand there and wait for a treat. When she realized she wasn't get one, she'd try another one and then stop for a treat. When that didn't work, she finally just sat down beside the weaves and wagged her tail and stared at our trainer. I couldn't take it anymore and started laughing, which then gave my classmates permission to let out the laughter they'd been holding it, which led to our sub laughing--and as soon as Barley realized we were all laughing at something she'd done, she decided she needed to be as goofy as possible. She spent the rest of the night goofing around. She'd go over a jump or two and then play bow at me or try the weaves and sit down in the middle or approach a jump and then just stand there in front of it wagging her tail.

Our trainer probably thinks that we've regressed since "graduating" from her intro class, but the one time that Barley thought about going over to see what her classmates were doing during her turn, she came back to me as soon as I called her, so it wasn't a total failure. Plus, we all got a good laugh in, which was refreshing on a dreary, rainy day.

Someday, I'll learn that when it comes to the weather and to Barley I need to just embrace the unexpected because neither one of them seems to be totally predictable.

Happy FitDog Friday everyone!


26 comments:

  1. At least you had a few great weather days. Bailie is a bit like Barley in the class thing. She trains at my level, the only reason she doesn't have titles is because she hasn't gotten a test spot yet, but her new trainer has her training at the beginning level. Bailie keeps screwing up but it is because she is doing things she doesn't do anymore. Mom hopes she passes her NW1 test in April and then she will find her a new class. It's hard when the class/instructor/dog don't mesh.

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    1. I hope Bailie can get a test spot soon! It's a bummer that Barley didn't get a chance to show off for her old instructor, but at least we were amused and she wasn't stressed at all, so for one week it was ok :)

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  2. 6 miles - I am so impressed. I would like to get up to 4 - we're at 2 now and Harley's dragging LOL

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    1. 2 is still great! We usually do 3 a day, but sometimes in the winter you just have to take advantage of the fresh air and sunshine because you don't know when you'll see it again! Barley's also part border collie, so rest isn't really in her vocabulary.

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  3. One thing that we have learned from our training is not to change out trainers. Nothing against other trainers, but normally it sets back our training so we avoid it. Laughing is good, but I feel badly that Barley was confused by the different trainer. We got the lovely snowstorm so back to winter for us until this weekend...lol.

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    1. I don't mind changing trainers too much because we've learned a lot from each one we've worked with, but this trainer hadn't seen Barley in about two years and the last time we saw her, Barley could only do 3 or 4 obstacles in a row without getting distracted and now she can do full courses, so I was looking forward to showing her much progress we've made! I don't feel too bad that Barley was confused because she wasn't stressed at all--she was eager to please, but just not real sure what was being asked of her. One of the other dogs started to shut down a bit, but Barley just decided to go into class clown mode and try different things until she got a snack for something ;) The biggest reason we do agility is so Barley can practice being calm and controlled around other dogs in high energy situations because it helps her so much out in the real world when we see other dogs, so we still got to do that even if we didn't accomplish much actual agility work :)

      I think we're supposed to have spring-like weather again tomorrow and Sunday, but today's in the 20s--it would be nice if it would pick one thing and stick to it so I could get used to it!

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  4. Those breaks in the weather are what let us get through the winter mentally, I think. If it was just steadily nasty weather, we would all go insane.

    I don't know that I would have been as good with the instructor change as you were. Likely, when she said you need to practice the weaves with baby steps, when your dog already knows them, I'd have said, hey, my dog knows the weaves, that was just a difficult entry. How can we work on the entry? But then, I tend to offend people by being pushy or too outspoken. (Don't get me started on how if it were a man saying the same things, no one would think twice- if you are a woman who speaks her mind and stands up for herself, you are pushy, bossy, etc. Grr.)

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    1. I usually like breaks in the weather, but it hasn't been consistent enough for me to get used to the cold at all this winter, so now cold days seem unbearable!

      Our sub trainer did have us work on the entry for a bit, but I screwed it up so many times that Barley was just like "I don't know what you want from me, so I will stand here while you figure it out" and we gave up on the entry so she could have success on the weaves--and Barley decided she had other ideas ;)

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  5. Tough break on the class. But at least you had some good weather to make the week better!

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    1. Yes! I wish every day could be as pretty as these couple days were!

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  6. The weather has been killing me, too! LOL about Barley's agility class. Sometimes all you can do is just laugh and fix it later. That's awesome you were able to! :D

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    1. We had a much more successful time with the weaves this week, so I don't think one weird week phased Barley at all :)

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  7. As always, a fan of the pictures :) And I'm glad you got a laugh in! Hopefully my baby girl will regroup next time haha!

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    1. I think your Baby Girl is going to be wearing her crazy pants for the foreseeable future . . .

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  8. If they were predictable, it wouldn't be as fun... right? It's hard making transitions and switching trainers. We've done a couple of workshops with different instructors and it takes some adjusting to get used to their style.

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    1. That's what I keep telling myself!

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  9. Hope you get some more good weather.That class looks fun though.we have had some good weather this week and managed to get Speedy out for some adventures up on the moors,but it looks like it will be wet and windy next week for us,xx Rachel and Speedy

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    1. Spring can't make up its mind if it wants to stay or go. It seems like we have a day or two of gorgeous weather and then it goes back to below freezing again for the next week and then starts all over again.

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  10. It sounds like Barley enjoys being the class clown! It's probably OK to just relax and have some fun at times. Luke did something unexpected (and fun) when we were working on the crate recently and I decided to just go with it (I'll be writing about it next week).
    The weather has just been insanely up and down this winter, and I've given up on trying to plan anything ahead of time! We just don't know from one day to the next if it's going to be winter or spring!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. I feel your pain with the weather! I never know what type of clothes I need to pull out of the closet each morning--sometimes it's not even consistent for an entire day! Can't wait to hear about Luke's new crate adventures :)

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  11. Memphis does the same thing when we try to do push ups. He knows that "sit" comes right after "stand," so he doesn't get why he should actually stand up and not just lay back down. When we keep asking him to stand before sitting, he rolls over, 'cause that's the other thing that comes after "down" :-)

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    1. Haha! He is so cute. Sometimes when I tell Barley to just sit, she thinks we're going to do pushups and she'll sit then go straight to a down and it takes some convincing to get her to just sit and stay that way.

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  12. Isn't it amazing how a good laugh can immediately change our attitude? I haven't laughed & smiled as much as I did this weekend in a long time (when going to see an old friend). It's a healthy thing to do & I need to do it more often!!

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    1. It is amazing what a good laugh can do! I think the fact that I laughed about it instead of getting stressed kept Barley from stressing out, too. I'm glad you got a good laugh the other day, too!

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  13. Some of my favorite classes to take with Delilah were the drop in agility. We were all just there to have fun with our dogs and socialize. So much laughter in that class. To me that is what it is about, enjoying your dog.

    Glad you 'get' Barley. :-)

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    1. Most of our classmates are just doing it for fun, too. Nobody in our class is super serious about competition even though a few of them occasionally go to trials. We all learn a lot and our dogs have fun, so it's a win-win.

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