Friday, December 17, 2010

An Eventful Night

Laura at All Dogs was out of town this week and I'm done with Thursday night class, so we decided to go to Riverside.  When we got there things were a little hectic.  Joan, the instructor, wasn't there because she'd had to take one of her dogs to the vet last minute.  The woman filling in clearly didn't know we were new, so I was a little confused, but she set out a sequence and we went second since no one else wanted to go.  It was pretty basic.  The whole course was a big serpentine.  Along the first wall we did a jump to the dog walk, then there was a send out to a tire, then turn back to a jump and weave poles, then a 3 jump pinwheel turning again to an A-frame, jump, chute, and then turn back to a jump and teeter. 

Jonah was alright but neither of us were really settled.  He went under the tire a few times before he jumped it and then he went in a stray tunnel instead of the A-frame.  Otherwise, his weaves and teeter were slow but correct and he did everything else alright.  He was needing me to support him more than usual on the sends, but I guess that's ok in a new place.

Then there was just a lot of waiting, as lots of dogs were having some issues and we'd gone close to the beginning.  Once all the dogs had gone the teacher laid out a new sequence.  The real teacher arrived after the first dog went, and she seemed really great.  Then we were next to go when...the dog on course jumped a jump towards us and then kept coming and attacked Jonah.  It happened so fast I didn't have time to pick him up and get him out of the way.  Before I knew it the dog was on top of him biting his neck and he was trying his best to wriggle away.  Luckily he did get some separation and Joan and the dog's owner were able to grab it as Jonah fled to the door, running straight through a jump on the way.  I got to him a few seconds later as he was trembling in the corner. 

He wasn't the most scared I've ever seen him (he would still eat treats, and he welcomed my comforting him), but he was pretty shaken.  Luckily the dog didn't break the skin--Jonah's hair was just all disheveled and he had a lot of slobber on him.  After checking him out and being generally uber positive with him, we went back into the waiting area of the room and chilled out while other dogs went.  He was especially cuddly.  It was about ten minutes, but he relaxed and was wagging his tail for cookies again as we waited. 

When it was our turn to go again, he got really nervous again.  He wouldn't run and his tail was between his legs.  He'd do one obstacle and then pout and try to leave.  At one point he went into a tunnel and I went to the end but he didn't come out.  He was just hiding in there.  Poor guy.  So, needless to say it wasn't our greatest agility moment.  I had to reward every obstacle individually and just make a big enthusiastic deal out of everything.  Great first impression on the teacher, but oh well.  He was clearly just terrified.

We did a third sequence before class was over and he was better but still generally unenthused.  He would do anything that faced away from the other dogs but didn't want to go towards them.  Siigh.

Anyway, when we left I ran him around in the parking lot a bunch before we got in the car so he wouldn't just get to go directly home.  He jogged along happily on a loose leash and I think it helped us both lose some adrenaline.  By the time we got home he went straight for his new duck and now he looks completely happy and normal.

So, we'll have to see what he's like when we go back to Riverside.  He'll have a few weeks off as we're away next week and they're closed the following week, but I want to make sure he gets over this since we're entered in a trial there at the end of January. 

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