Agility Practice and a Cooling Swim in the River

I’ll start out this post with some lovely photos of Beanie tackling the agility long jump in our back garden today – I think I’ll be getting one of these printed and hung on the wall!









Sunday’s fun agility session at the racing put both Beanie and I back in the mood for a practice session. It was too short notice to hire the agility barn, but as today’s course plan shows, you can actually fit quite a good course into our tiny, postage stamp garden!


It was a tricky course in places are there were two points where there were different possible routes. I had to make it clear to Beanie with my body language what way I wanted her to go (something I’ve not had much success with so far), and she had to pay attention.

  • After the first time over the long jump she had to go through the tunnel (4), but the second time she was to go over the jump (10)
  • After the first time through the tunnel she was to go through the weaves (5), but the second time over the jump (11)

Anyway, enough rambling. Here’s the video of Beanie in action and as you will see we didn’t do too badly :

We’re still not doing much jumping with Biggles. We’ll hold off on that until he’s a year old. However, we do give him the occasional little go, and we do quite a bit of work on commands and directional controls. Until recently it was hard work – he got so excited he simply couldn’t pay attention. But he’s doing really well now – in many ways he’s easier to work with than Beanie as he doesn’t have her strong independent streak. When he does start agility properly he’ll make fast progress!





It wasn’t just in agility that we made progress. After a very energetic walk in the park we decided to go down to the river to cool down. Louise (Tess, Clara and Tara’s owner) had suggested that we try throwing Beanie and Biggles favorite dried fish snacks into the river to encourage them in for a swim (although Beanie is an excellent swimmer she likes the pool heated to at least 29 degrees and tends to avoid rivers). As you can see it was a big success (Thanks for the tip Louise – now we can wash the mud off BEFORE we go home !):


This might look like a kiss at first glance, but in actual fact Biggles has found a leaf and Beanie wants it!

We came across this in the middle of the park:


There didn’t seem to be anyone around so I’ve no idea what it was all about. But I thought it was quite funny.

9 Replies to “Agility Practice and a Cooling Swim in the River”

  1. Lisa

    Will you be going back to your agility training club to train Biggles. I am thinking about enrolling with my poodle. Can you tell me anything about it. Or would you consider doing agility training lessons for people?

  2. Susan Post author

    Hi Lisa,

    We trained for about 8 weeks or so with Carol from Clear Run Agility ( I highly recommend Carol – we learnt loads from her. Including lots of tips for dealing with difficult dogs such as Beagles.

    However, we hit a stage where the class environment wasn’t working for us. Beanie kept wandering off and ignoring me – a combination of the class being too long, and the class spending too much time on the wrong things (for her).

    We find now that frequent 2 minute sessions work best for us. But our plan is to go back to Carol when we’ve got the basics sorted out as we’ll need her to move us forwards.

    I don’t think we’ll take Biggles at a year old as we’re likely to run into the same problem in classes with him. What I’d like best is private lessons but Carol isn’t always free to do them.

    We don’t plan to compete (we don’t fancy having the dog hanging about in crates all day at competitions) so it is just for fun. But I do want them to be the best they can be.

    I really am pretty clueless about agility. And in fact I am worse than average when it comes to giving directional controls – I have real problems with it. I’m certainly not qualified to teach anyone! We just muddle along together :)

    As far as I know Poodles tend to be fantastic at agility – certainly the ones I’ve seen.

  3. Lisa

    Thanks for that Susan. When you say, they hang about all day in crates at competitions – is that not a bit cruel? Surely you would want to have your dog with you?

  4. Susan Post author

    I wouldn’t say it’s cruel – it happens at dog shows too and people say their dogs are content. But I know ours would hate it and I don’t think it’s good for active dogs to be cooped up in crates too much – especially before and after vigorous exercise. Our dog’s physio did mention that most of her customers are agility dogs. She says it does seem to be hard on them and it could be due to lack of adequate warm-up and cool down.

    We’d planned to take Beanie to a competition to let her have a little go in the practice ring. But as dogs weren’t allowed in the arena with spectators we were told the norm was for them to stay in their crates in the car until it was their turn to compete. And I was told that it was typical that you’d be hanging around for up to 9 or 10 hours. That put us off.

    Our dogs are always with us. It’s not just for them – we like it that way too. But also I like to make sure they get a good warm-up and cool down before doing any activities and it sounds as if that’s a bit tricky at competition.

    But I expect a lot depends upon where you compete. I’m sure if you picked your events carefully you’d find competitions where you and your dog could hang out together all day.

  5. jessica p

    have you tried looking for fun agility classes? I used to go to one and it was fab. Very safe and fun for the dogs and no pressure to compete.

  6. Susan Post author

    Beanie and Biggles both started out from a very young age with a vet aproved fun agility class held each month at their obedience club. It got them off to a great start but they’ve outgrown it now.

    It’s tricky. I don’t really want fun agility but I don’t want competition oriented stuff either. I think I need to get private lessons.

  7. Lu

    Hi Susan
    At agility shows you are allowed your dog around the rings all day if you want (as long as you have an entered not just a pet you brought along).
    Yes, they are long days but we intesperse the competing time, with walks, playing with other dogs, sitting having picnics with doggy friends, and the dogs also need their time to rest…so this is where the cages come in. Having them ringside all day is alot for them to take in, there is alot going on. Also, most shows are over two days so folks bring their caravans and make fenced in gardens around them…like a home from home for the dogs! :-)
    Mine zonk out in the van when I’m busy walking course etc. The doors are always open so they can get plenty air and can also watch the world go by if they want. Agility dogs get used to this lifestyle, the dogs spend more time with their owners than maybe you realise at the shows. :-)
    Why don’t you go along to a show and get a feel for it? There is a KC show on 27 & 28th June at Eglington Park, nr Irvine. Fantastic walks, lovely place for a show. You could then get an idea of the life of an agility dog. :-)

  8. Susan Post author

    It’s just not for us Lu – even your positive description doesn’t appeal :) The actual agility we love, but we’re not even that keen on classes let alone competitions!!!

    What we really want is a field. We’re trying to buy one. Then we can just hang out with friends and practice what we want when we want – flyball, agility, lure coursing, racing….you name it! No travelling, no waiting!

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