Every so often Beanie’s training club holds mini agility sessions, and as it turned out Beanie’s debut in the Intermediate class landed on just such a night. The usual equipment was there – hurdles (nice and low, safe for pups), rings to jump through, some widely spaced poles for weaving and a tunnel.
The first time round the circuit was pretty uneventful. Beanie did well enough, though she had to be kept on lead because the dogs in this class were all new and exciting to her. As Susan and Beanie returned to their seats, another newcomer to the class – a really well built Boxer called Cooper – had his turn. He did well until he reached the tunnel, which he just wasn’t keen on at all. Attempts to coax him through verbally fell flat, so extra snacks were deployed along the length of the tunnel to tempt him in while each of the other dogs had their turn at the rest of the course. Eventually, it came round to Beanie again, only this time she had to try it off lead. So, Beanie was put in a sit and the lead was unhooked from her collar.
Now in retrospect it seems pretty obvious what was about to happen, but still… the sheer speed of it! I think “Shock and Awe” is the term the US military like to use. Anyway while Beanie sat before the first obstacle, looking a little distracted, Susan took position at the other end of the run, ready to call her. As soon as Susan made the call, Beanie darted straight across the course and into the tunnel. A fraction of a second later she emerged from the other side, having hoovered up every single one of Cooper’s treats in one smooth, continuous sweep. Her little face was a picture of joy! She couldn’t have been happier if she’d been the first caveman to hold a barbecue. That tunnel was a blummin’ good thing, that’s for sure.
Well, the dog rota continued, and all the while Cooper remained wary of the tunnel. Treats were again laid out to tempt him, and again when Beanie’s turn came there was a lightning raid on the tunnel. It must have been like magic to our little Beagle, a blue canvas-covered Tunnel of Plenty that would never disappoint.
A few minutes passed and again it was Beanie’s turn. First port of call was the tunnel, naturally, but this time she took didn’t come straight out. The tunnel started shaking a bit, so there was clearly something going on in there. I watched expectantly, but to my surprise it was a human that emerged first. Cooper’s owner had apparently crawled in there in a further attempt to assuage her dog’s fears. She looked kind of harassed, and was holding a treat in her hands. Not for long though. Beanie came charging out of the tunnel and snatched the treat, and possibly a finger or two from her hand. Our pup almost had a relieved look on her face, as though she was thinking “oh thanks – I thought I’d missed that one”.
That was kind of the end of the agility, and poor Cooper still hadn’t conquered his inner demons.