Agility – Progress Update

Beanie and Biggles don’t get to show off their agility skills at competitions because they’re far too norky to be trusted off lead in a strange place with lots of distractions! So, from time to time I like to take a little video of their lessons just to show the world that they are actually getting very good at agility!

This little video really doesn’t do Biggles justice. He did lots of wonderful rounds but daft mum kept bungling the filming. His weaves are coming along great and he’s getting very reliable with 12 poles. Last night his entries weren’t so good but Paul and he practiced today and it’s looking great now! Next time we’ll make sure we show Biggles at his biggley best!

Swamp Thing

So I’m in our gym room doing an exercise to help fix all those years of being huddled over a keyboard. It involves lying face down with my arms stretched out to the side and held just a few inches off the ground for 90 secs. The Bigglet is doing his own version of the exercise and is lying down alongside me, keeping his chin just an inch off the ground by resting it on his front paws. Suddenly I feel something furry brush past my feet, then along my leg and my side. I try to sneak a glance at the stopwatch to see how much time is left, but my view is blocked by a Beanie head. She’s all excited and waggy, and I know what’s coming next. She carefully straddles my right arm, curls her front paws round it and launches into a vigorous humping.

Yep things are totally back to normal in our house. Chases..

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Tail pulling…

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And of course sock theft..

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To help our pups cope with the heat of all these activities, we’ve got them a couple of Ruffwear “swamp cooler” jackets. They have a great reputation for keeping dogs cool even in really hot conditions, but I couldn’t help wondering how Beanie and Biggles would take to wearing permanently wet jackets. As it turned out they didn’t seem to mind one bit.

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Agility trainer Carol suggested we try putting a lead on Biggles to help him find the right path through the weaves. It works great, but occasionally things do go wrong!

Beagle Zen

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Kibble on paws, but no-one’s snacking until they’re told. Beanie meditates on both pieces at once; Biggles is strictly a one-kibble-at-a-time boy

The two weeks of NILIF (nothing in life is free) were up some time ago but we’ve kept going with much of it, because together with the various self control exercises it’s worked wonders for bringing our two Beagles into line. We’re still hand-feeding them (it’s nice for them and us) and they still have to sit and/or perform a trick when crossing a boundary, but we are now inviting them up onto the sofa and into our bed for a cuddle.

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Back in our bed on a morning, just where a Bigglet should be!

The aggression Beanie showed to Biggles seems to be thoroughly behind us now, though our boy still seems to lack confidence in some situations. We’re working to build him up, but we need to do so selectively because he is after all a Beagle boy; give him an inch and he’ll grab & tug it until it’s considerably longer, and probably full of holes.

They say it’s much easier to tell a mischievous Beagle to do something good than to stop doing something naughty, and I think that’s why the discipline of the baskets works so well. It took a bit of firm handling and patience, but now we can put a stop to lots of troublesome behavior simply by sending them to their baskets. Finally we can have TV dinners in peace, yet still invite our pups up for a cuddle when we’re ready!

The benefits of the NILIF programme have also spilled over into our agility training. Beanie is much less likely to go off on a poo hunt at the start of each session, while Biggly Boy is now able to follow commands at a greater distance and is very close to weaving unaided.

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Biggles loves jumping almost as much as Beanie now!

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And jumps are great for other things too :)

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Beanie has her eyes fixed on the next obstacle as she slinks over the jump

The only thing that isn’t quite back on track is play between Beanie and Biggles. Having said that, they’re having lots of play sessions with us right now so maybe they don’t need to let off steam with chases and wrestling on their own. Also despite the odd clear day we’ve had a lot of rain lately, and Beagles generally don’t like getting wet. Getting smelly and disgusting: yes, getting rained on: no. Anyway, hopefully they’ll return to playing together as we head into spring and summer and they spend more time together in the garden.

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