Biggles had his first and only agility lesson almost a year ago and did so well that we thought he might be the agility star in the family. He’s certainly capable and judging by the speed his tail wags he seems keen. But when we try to teach him any skills he just doesn’t get it. It’s not that he can’t do what you’re asking of him – it’s just that he seems to look at you as if to say “OK, when are we getting started on the fun stuff then?”. It goes a bit like this:
- Throw the ball over a jump – Biggles jumps after it tail wagging furiously. Reward him well.
- Throw the ball over two jumps – Biggles jumps after it tail wagging furiously. Reward him well.
- Do it again – Biggles sits by your side, tail wagging like a propeller but does nothing. Then he snuggles up close to your leg and makes himself comfy.
OK, he’s bored (although he doesn’t look bored). Move onto something else.
- Call Biggles over a jump. Biggles jumps, tail wagging furiously. Reward him well.
- Call Biggles over two jumps. Biggles jumps, tail wagging furiously. Reward him well.
- Do it again. Biggles sits looking at you excitedly, tail wagging like a propeller but does nothing.
This isn’t completely out of character for Biggly Boy. During games of fetch he lets Beanie go get the ball. After she’s dropped it at your feet he picks it up and instantly drops it then looks at you as if to say “I did it too!”. At lure coursing he makes a beeline for the home straight and lies in wait for the lure so he can grab it on the way past.
It’s not as if he’s got a short attention span. At Heelwork to Music classes (which he loves) he’ll give me his undivided attention for a solid hour and he never seems to get bored.
We’ll give it a little bit longer – maybe we’ve just not figured out how to motivate him. But I’m beginning to think that Agility just isn’t his thing.
Beanie on the other hand is coming on in leaps and bounds in agility (literally) – despite next to no practice in the past year. Obviously skills from other activities are transferring to agility. I set this course up for her yesterday morning for the first time. She hadn’t practiced it – or anything similar yet she managed it first time. We still need to use a ball as a target to send her away from me, but not for much longer the way she’s going!