Daisy is a very active dog and I do struggle sometimes to keep up with her. I wanted to find something that might channel her love of running and her abundant energy. Agility seemed to be the answer. I’d seen it on the TV and I’d been to an agility festival where the dogs and handlers seemed to have a great time. So with slight hesitation, I booked us on to a 6 week beginners agility course.
Now I’m not the fittest of people, and exercise doesn’t come naturally to me. But I wanted to do this for Daisy. I realised just how out of shape I was, and I realised just how fast Daisy was! I was totally out of my depth the first couple of weeks, but as I kept at it, small achievements were worth it. I managed to get Daisy through a tunnel, which I had never been able to do before. I was so proud of her!
There have been times when I have thought to myself that I can’t do it, that I’m not the sort of person that does agility. I have thought that I’m not good enough because I haven’t always given the correct signals to Daisy, which has resulted in her being confused as to what I wanted her to do. However, I have also found that small things mean a lot and that I get so much out of seeing Daisy being focussed and having fun.
I was really conscious of the fact that Daisy barks a lot when she’s on the lead around other dogs. I thought the club were going to kick me out. But they didn’t mind, and said that it just shows she is excited and getting into it. That made me relax and not worry about it. In turn, I think that this has helped Daisy to be more relaxed. Because of her tendency to bark at other dogs, I have to work hard during the hour or so to keep her attention when having a break. She is very easily distracted. Thankfully, she is really food-orientated, so I probably get through a whole bag of treats in one session!
I’m not the most confident person, and I have found that I have had to challenge myself mentally and physically to do agility. But I would say that the more I do it, the more I realise that I don’t have to be perfect, Daisy doesn’t have to get it right all the time, and that it is as much about having fun as anything else. I have really noticed a difference in the way Daisy responds to me since starting to agility. Her focus on me has improved greatly, and I feel the bond between us has got stronger. I am really proud of how much she has worked. It takes a small distraction for her to run off and play, but she chooses to stay with me. Well most of the time anyway!
For any owner that struggles with focussing their dog, or that wants to strengthen that bond, I would really recommend agility. It challenges your dog mentally and physically. It will also challenge you as an owner. But I would say that you will get so much out of it, and your relationship will blossom!