Sheryl's Alaskan Malamutes - Sebastian - Agility
Alaskan Malamute Lovefest
Sebastian - Agility
All home agility equipment purchased from AffordableAgility

Sebastian on recall
Sebastian on recall

1st Agility Class - June 20, 2005
First we worked on the dogs following us while we ran backwards with a treat in either our right or left hand. Sebastian was all wound up and did well, but was distracted. He loves it over there and was dying to play with everyone. I'm not sure if he was following me as instructed or pacing off some energy :)

Then the big dogs & little dogs were separated to work on tasks. Sebastian is the tallest dog there, but not the biggest. There's a St. Bernard (Max) who is really well filled out and has about 20 pounds on Sebastian. Also in the big dogs is Ruger (boxer), a border collie (Parker, I think), Baaber (poodle - not foo foo), and another boxer.

Ruger's mom was in basic obedience with Sebastian & I with one of her other boxers. Sebastian was "talking" and quivering with excitement and she said, "I remember that sound, but it's coming from a bigger body".

Jennifer worked with the big dogs and our first lesson was the hurdle. No rungs on the hurdle to start out. We had to run over it with our dogs, saying jump as we went over. We did that a few times, then put the dogs in a sit/stay at the hurdle, went over it ourselves and call them to us, also saying jump. During that session, Sebastian went over the hurdle, came to me and then kept going. I stabbed at his leash with my foot and missed and then a dive at the leash and just missed. Jennifer gave me points on the dive. I told her it was instinct from my softball days and diving for the bag. We collected him, no problem and that session continued.

We did that several times, then we had to run with them having them go over the hurdle, calling jump, while we were running on the side of the hurdle.

During all this we had to switch off with the dog on either our right or left. Obedience trained dogs are on the left, so this was an additional challenge for many, but Sebastian really didn't care, he wanted to run and jump.

Then we had the first bar of the hurdle added and we went through all the steps again.

Next, we needed to add our "sign language" into it, by motioning with our hands (essentially throwing our hands towards the hurdle) and saying jump to have them go over. That one is going to take work, as Sebastian's focus wasn't sharp (other "people" were going through HIS tunnel on the other side of the big pen and he needed to keep an eye on them). But, we made progress and I know with lots of repetition we'll get that one down.

Next, we switched the big dogs to tunnel work, and the little dogs went to the hurdle. They started out with the tunnel completely collapsed as most dogs weren't used to it. I had all I could do keeping Sebastian in a sit/stay at my side while others went through. When it was his turn, I called tunnel and let go of the leash and through it he went, turned around and went through again. Jennifer let them know that Sebastian has his own tunnel which is why he's on board already with that.

Jenn kept pulling the tunnel out longer each time until full length for the dogs to go through. Max had the toughest time, being almost Sebastian's height. The tunnel is 28" in diameter and Max looked to be about 30" at the shoulder. He got lots of extra time to get him feeling comfortable going through the tunnel. Most of the dogs didn't mind going through the tunnel, and started getting good at going through it, rather than around it. The pace picked up and we had to run to meet them at the other end.

Sebastian was really chomping at the bit, and was a tad put out that others were using his tunnel. Several times he'd run through and just lay in it at the end, blocking others from using it, the brat. But, not each time, just to keep me off balance. Then one time, he flew through and Baaber was loose at the other end and Sebastian flew at him to play and the chase was on. I knew Sebastian was fast, but the speed he was pouring on running around the big pen with Baaber was really something. All tasks for everyone were suspended until we collected them. Ruger's mom stabbed at Sebastian's leash with her foot and got him. She stood on it with both feet and couldn't believe that she was going to be upended if I hadn't grabbed it further up. "He is so strong", then she turned to Ruger and said, "You're easy". :)

Few more runs through the tunnel and then we got our printed homework assignments, which are tasks to get the dogs to focus on us.

Next week, more hurdle & tunnel and introduction to the tire jump.

I waited for all the others to leave, and let Sebastian "tunnel" a few times without having to share. He came loping up to me and Sharon said, "you big lug" giving him a pat, then he went to Jenn and did the big roll on her feet and gave her the belly.

Sebastian loving his tunnel November 2004
Sebastian loving his then new tunnel November 2004

2nd Agility Class - June 30, 2005
Our Monday class was moved to Thursday this week because of Monday's rain. Seems that our Thursday class was in Hades because of the Humidity!! Low 80s but disgustingly humid.

We got there a bit early and Sebastian tunneled just fine, did the hurdle on the "jump" command for Jennifer and nosed around & played with the other dogs like a gentleman. He and Maxwell (St. Bernard) got treats & major "good boys" for nosing each other and accepting each other very nicely.

We worked on hurdles first, running along side them with the leash. Sebastian did fine and we took several water breaks. Jennifer added a second hurdle which he ran around the first time, but jumped over the second time.

Then we moved to the tunnel, which he did fine the first five times, but plopped himself at the end of it every subsequent time, not coming out for a treat but (the brat) only when Jennifer called him.

Next we did the ladder fully laid out on the ground. Sharon explained that this would be tough for the dogs, have them walk through the ladder slowly, because "dogs don't realize they have back legs - their back legs just follow the front ones and it takes some time for them to use them independently".

We went through the first time with Sebastian making about 30% of the ladder, meandering around it the rest of the time. He made it through 100% of the time on every subsequent trip, as we went slowly with me holding a treat directly in front of his nose. From my observation, while some others ended up getting through it, he's the only one that did it 100% from the second time onward. It appeared to me the big dogs did far better than the little dogs, especially little "diva" dogs.

Then we added a task. We each got a little plastic 'can lid' that they had to touch with their nose on the command 'touch'. Sebastian did every time, but I think out of curiosity more than obeying a command. Then on our way through the ladder, that can lid was at the end of it on the ground which they had to touch with their nose.

The reason for this is that when the ladder is inclined/declined, on the way down a dog's inclination will be to jump off the ladder, and not walk down it. So, if they have to touch their nose to something, they will walk down with their nose down. Conditioning a good habit.

Jennifer pulled each of us out of the ladder session solo, to work with us on tunneling immediately followed by the hurdle, which Sebastian did fine, but slowly. I didn't ask any speed of him because of the humidity.

Then she introduced us to the tire jump, which was set at the lowest level. I put Sebastian in a sit/wait on one side of the jump, and from the other side offered a treat calling out "tire" - he came right through. I didn't think it would spook him and it didn't.

We were among the first to leave, as the big boy was really dragging and I knew he'd want to get into the airconditioning almost as much as I :)

I ordered an "Agility in a Bag" kit that includes tunnel/chute, hurdles, tire jump & weave poles. Because they're so lightwight, they're affordable, but it means I can't leave them out for the big boy to destroy. I know we'll make some progress once the stuff gets here and we can work with it every day. Great mental stimulation for him, and for Cinnabar who will go through everything too (but I'll pull off any added hurdle height as he's too young to be putting that kind of pressure on his hips).

Sebastian July, 2005 - inspecting the new barrel
Inspecting the new barrel

Sebastian tunneling through the barrel
Tunneling through the new barrel

3rd Agility Class - July 11, 2005
Another Monday evening scorcher with the humidity.

We got there early hoping to get some time with the tire jump and just getting him settled. Unfortunately there's a Puppy Kindergarten class ahead of us and they've got 20 in this class and they all needed to chat before leaving. We walked around outside on the dog walk and practiced our sit/stays as they didn't need to hear him whining to get in there right next to the fence :) He did very well because we had to do this for 15 minutes or so. I did move him up and let him whine when I thought they could be moving on out and making space for us :)

Only had a few minutes before class started, got him off leash and we were doing fine. Only other one in there was a toy poodle who was cool. A woman came in with what looked like a 15lb Chihuahua (don't really know the breed - bug eyes and brown) and made a fuss about me getting Sebastian under control when her dog went after him. I told her he needed to run a bit, but she wouldn't pick up her dog but sat front and center with him on the ground and he was the problem. So, I grabbed Sebastian's leash and we did a little warm-up that way. What a nasty little dog.

Just as class started, Sebastian slipped his gentle leader and gave me a growling hard time about it. My boys love to be the center of attention, thanks, buddy! We got that back on him and got started.

We started out with the hurdle and tire jump. We ran beside them, holding the leash and called "jump" for the hurdle and "tire" for the tire jump. Then Jennifer moved the two jumps closer together and we did it again. Then she raised the tire jump and we did it again.

Sebastian got himself tangled in the tire supports on one of them and I'm sorry you missed seeing the 125lb baby whine. His love, Jennifer, helped us get him untangled and we did the tire right away (back into the saddle, so to speak), and he was fine.

Then we had to put them in a sit/wait in front of the hurdle, move to the back of the tire jump, hold out a treat and call "jump" and then "tire". He did both the first time, but from then on not consistently. I've got to find a way to make it more interesting for him, the repetition bores him. Maybe some roast beef lunch meat along with me doing a jig or something :)

At various stages he was in grumpy mode, pushing boundaries with the growls. Later, Sharon said I was being too soft with him and I realized I was not being like I am at home, too worried about the crowd, I guess because unfortunately there are children there and I'm concerned that the "cut the shit" command is going to pop out of my mouth. However, I'll get edgier with him as Sharon suggested, he's in his 2nd puppy phase and pushing boundaries.

We took over the hurdle/tunnel from the little dogs and Sebastian got very excited. Suddenly waiting his turn was an issue, and then the big surprise. He had to sit/wait at the tunnel entrance, oh that was tough. Through it he went, but we didn't get a direct "tunnel" "jump" out of that pass. When we switched up, we did get a few "jump" "tunnel" passes, with him hanging out at the end of the tunnel and sometimes coming out for me, but always for Jenn.

His butt really started dragging at this point, we had lots of water breaks and I brought a water bottle for him which is as close to his hose as I could get there. He loved it and was even happy to stand under it letting it soak his face.

Because of the humidity I was very glad when we went out to work on the ladder (laying flat on the ground) like we did last time. That was preparation for the dog walk, which is an inclined board with wooden rungs on it, meeting a flat surface, then the declined board with wooden rungs. The board they have is smaller than competition and way too narrow for the big dogs, especially Sebastian (no Max at class so he was the "big" guy of the large dogs).

This made no doggie logic to Sebastian because he could straddle the thing from end to end (even the raised middle), and it was only about 8 inches wide. We'll have to work on this quite a bit and hope they get the larger planks in soon.

We took a break from that to have our solo time with Jennifer. We had to "jump" "tire" "jump" "tunnel".

The first time through he did the jump, but I messed him up on the tire by being in his way. When I took him back to start over, I said "my fault" and Jennifer said that's what she wants to hear because some of the folks always blame the dogs and they're just learning :) We are there for fun and to learn.

The next pass we got "jump" "tire" "run around the jump" "tunnel" :) Progress

We just did it one more time slowly and got "jump" "tire" "knock the bar off walk through it" "tunnel" "place" "sit" "down" and that was enough for me, I didn't want to ask any more of him in the heat.

My agility in a bag showed up on Friday and we've got the barrel outside for the boys (Sebastian goes through, Cinnabar just watches), and I've got the hurdle and tire jump setup for him. Was too muggy on Sunday when I set them up for him to do anything but sniff at them, walk thru the tire and lay down next to the hurdle, and run up the stairs when he thought I was going in, so he could get in the air conditioning again :)

Agility Practice Recess Called Due to Humidity
Agility Practice Recess Called Due to Humidity
no interest in hurdles or tire jump in this heat

4th Agility Class - July 28, 2005
Class was cancelled last week because of the humidity, and was rescheduled from this Monday to Thursday night because of the humidity.

Thursday night was almost non-humid, certainly enough so that it was enjoyable.

We started out being paired up and working on two activities together for 5 minutes, then moving on to the next set for five minutes.

Sebastian was paired with Sam, a white toy poodle, and we started with a hurdle and tire jump - each taking turns at it.

I brought cut up hot dogs for treats, and I'll let you in on a secret - Hot Dogs RULE as treats!

Sebastian did great and was extremely cooperative. Jump, tire - no problem. Our next activites were the dog walk, ladder and pause box. The dog walk we're blowing off until they get their wider one. He can straddle it and it's only 6" wide, so we're blowing it off for now, and Sharon has no problem with that. He did great with the ladder and after our first attempt at the pause box, did great every time. The pause box is just an area they have to enter, sit or down and pause for 5 seconds.

Our next activity was 3 hurdles in a row. Put him in a sit/wait and started running and called jump once I was beyond the 2nd hurdle. No issues at all. I kept the repetition of the activites to a minimum to keep boredom at bay for him.

Our next activities were hurdle/tunnel/hurdle and again, no real issues, because hot dogs RULE! I can't even begin to tell you how focused on me he was. As the evening went on, he got fewer treats, but he didn't know that. What he knew was that I still had hot dogs in my hands, and I was his best friend.

Then, we learned a new activity - the weave poles. The poles are set fairly close together and the dogs must weave through them. To get them used to them, we had to get them to enter the course from their left, and just go down the middle of the poles, which are set maybe 12" apart. I kept the treat near his nose and we had no issues at all. I asked Jennifer if he was really learning when I had the treat so close to his nose, and she said yes, not to worry about it. The command is "weave"

(Sebastian proved to me that Jen was right, when we learned going through the ladder - which helps them independently coordinate their back legs - I just kept the treat at his nose about 6" off the ground the whole time. But, he's got that down so well, that when we went to get a drink of water, the ladder was on our way and he intentionally ran right through the rungs of it on his way to a drink - no treat involved).

After that, we all took a break outside the fence, while one at a time we each went through the course. During our break time, Sebastian got himself tangled in his leash a couple times and was variously growling at the leash or woo-woo baby talking to it. What a baby he is sometimes :)

We had to do the following: hurdle, tunnel, hurdle, tire jump, dog walk, ladder, pause box, weave poles, 3 hurdles.

They started out with the little dogs first, who are going to have a surprise next week when they must do it all off-leash. It seems sometimes that the little dogs are almost lifted over a jump or dragged into the tunnel with the leash, so some of them they may be surprised at their results when no helpful leash is involved. The other thing that is tough for some of them, is that their owners say that treats don't work with them. Sharon & Jen went through a list of goodies with them, but each of them said, no, no, no, they don't like those. Wow, but it got me wondering what food they eat on a regular basis, probably not dog food, if they turn their nose up at those goodies. But, I digress.....

Most of the little dogs had some issues, but one went through just great and off leash. Then they started calling for the larger dogs, who all went off leash and did very well. Both Ruger (boxer) and Parker (Border Collie) are great with the hurdles, which they set at about 24" for them - they always seem to have room to spare on the jumps. They left the two big guys for last. Max (who turns out to be a Burmese Mountain Dog and not a St. Bernard) went before Sebastian and did really well, and gave his mom a big slobbery kiss/hug at the end of the hurdles. Maximum was off leash.

Sebastian was up last, and we went off leash. He came right up and did a sit/wait at the starting hurdle, and began when I called jump. Then I called tunnel and he went in, but didn't get his butt down far enough and started pulled the end of the tacked down tunnel with him. Jennifer lifted the end of it over him (and gave him the 'get your hiney in there' command) and he came through great. I called jump and over he went, called out tire (and threw a hot dog treat through it at the same time) and through it he went. We walked next to the dog walk, he walked straight through the ladder rungs like he was supposed to and sat/paused for 5 seconds in the pause box, when I called out "sit/pause". I called let's go and was surprised when I beat him to the weave poles, but Sharon laughed and said, "yeah, right, let's go - he's in slo-mo - he's a gonna get there" . I called weave and held the treat in front of his nose and he went through both sets of poles without issue. Then a sit/wait at the hurdles (which were set at about 24"). I called jump and over he went - "jump" and again he went over, then the final "jump" and over he went. A final hand signal sit and down and he got his last hot dog treat.

I was extremely pleased with his progress in learning, and having fun with the stuff. Now, the real poser - hot dogs again next week to keep his focus, or will that bore him and I should mix them with something else? :) And wouldn't it be great if that was my toughest issue of the week?? :)

Sebastian in his tunnel November 2004
Sebastian in his then new tunnel November 2004

5th Agility Class - August 1, 2005
Another humid Monday night, not as awful as some, only mildly sweltering if that's possible.

We ran into Daisy & her mom with their Puppy Kindergarten certificate, as that class was just before ours. Daisy is the black lab who started in Cinnabar's PuppyK class, but had to drop out for scheduling reasons. She of course, asked about Cinnabar. Daisy has grown, but Cinnabar is now 22" at the shoulder, longer, & thicker. But, labs are good play partners for a malamute, so hopefully they will meet up at Obedience Class.

Sebastian was sweet to Daisy but was talky the whole time because he was excited and wanted to get started. Once we got inside the fence, we did a little practice of jump, tunnel, tire, ladder, weave & jump. Then some water and wait for the rest of the class, being talky the whole time. Didn't want to do to much, as I was already dripping in sweat, & figured Sebastian needed to save a bit of energy.

They had us start out with practice on the course, which we did. Sebastian was doing really well, even got a "good boy, Sebastian" from Jen when he was doing the tire. He has issues with the pause box though. It's a metal grate and he'll sit on it, but won't lay down on it. Best I could do was to get him to sit next to it, with his front down on it (so he could get the hot dog in the middle of it).

After 10 or so minutes of that, they had everyone go outside the fence so we could do the course one at a time. The new part this week is that we would be timed going through the course, keeping in mind that you are only competing against yourself. And it all has to be off leash. They started with the big dogs first, and Sebastian was up first.

Sebastian did a sit/wait at the first hurdle. I called jump and over he went. "Tunnel" and in he went. He got 3/4 of the way through, found something interesting in there, turned around and went back (the whole tunnel was shaking and popping out at the sides wherever he was in there - much laughter from the crowd) and came out the other end.

I dangled a hot dog treat in front of his nose and said "let's go" and he followed leisurely and jumped the hurdle when I called Jump. He step-jumped through the tire, not expending any extra energy. The ladder wasn't part of the course we were supposed to do, but he ran over and did the ladder, then added another part to "his course", a drink of water and then the roll on the ground. Then of course there was somehow energy to run to the fence to see Max, who was happy to see Sebastian.

Hot dog treat dangled and we headed to the pause box, where he rolled around next to it and then headed over for some more water. I called out to Jen "how we doing on time" and everyone had a big laugh at that. Sharon said she had a feeling that Sebastian wouldn't be alone tonight in being unfocused and not into it.

Next, the weave poles. Sloppy, but we got thru the first set. In the second set, he layed down between two of them. I grabbed the end of his halter and he grumpy growled, but got up and out from between them and rolled around on the ground some more. I rubbed his belly and called his name, which ususally gets him cranked, but not this time, of course. He got up and followed me over to the hurdles.

Put him in a sit/wait at the hurdles. He sat facing the crowd and not the hurdles and was very talky about the whole thing. But, when I called jump, he went over (they were set at about 18"), and over both of the next two.

He finished with a flourish when I gave him the sit hand signal and then the down hand signal. We had the whopping time of 3 minutes 42 seconds, and the distinct honor of putting the rest of the class at ease because they couldn't possibly do worse :)

When we left the course, Ruger's mom said "Sebastian is always entertaining". Yup, the class clown. I told her, he likes being the center of attention, but obviously doesn't need to be the star :)

I took him down to the end away from the crowd because there were little kids there, including toddlers. He was talky and still turning heads because of it, even though he wasn't in the spot light. Finally got himself settled, but we had to deal with kids coming up to him wanting to pet him including the toddlers, whom I told that Sebastian was too big for them and their parents finally got them. I did take him away from the crowd for a reason, didn't I? He could just be side-stepping looking at me and knock them over like a feather. I think the toddlers need leashes :)

Max did well on the course, but ran around a few jumps instead of jumping, same with Ruger and Parker and Misha. Sharon was right, everyone's focus was off. Their time however, was in the 1 minute xx second mark area, and Misha was 57 seconds.

Then the little dogs went, and as I predicted last week, many of them had issues off leash, except Murphy who did so well last week. Murphy's focus was also off, but not like the others. Getting them into the tunnel was an issue, and then once finally in, getting them thru it. Jennifer blocked one end of the tunnel so they had to get through to the other end. There was alot of running to the fence to see folks. They were looking up at their owners, but not really comprehending what they were doing, or what was being asked of them. They did the jumps when the owner jumped over it, but not on command so they're not understanding what's asked of them. That was my fear when I saw some of them using the leash to essentially drag them over the jump, or into the tunnel.

One of them had a time over 4 minutes, so Sharon said thru the fence "you won't be last", to which I said, it would've been ok if we were - we're only competing against ourselves and I've just got to find a way to make myself more interesting to him when he's off focus. Hot dogs didn't rule this week, they were interesting to him, but not like last week. They were great for outside the fence, keeping him in a down/stay next to me and not being overly talky, distracting others.

When everyone finished, we had opportunities for a second run. Two others went and it seemed a bit cooler, so I thought we'd give it a go. We sure couldn't do worse, right?

Sit/wait at the starting hurdle. Jump/tunnel/jump/tire - not at a fast pace, but doing it. Then ladder and meander, then pee. Ok, that's what had him off track. Got him to the pause box - totally uninterested, ran to the fence to see Max, then starting to get him back on track and nope, a big pyramid poop. Jennifer said, "ok, I'm stopping the clock" :)

For some reason that seemed like a good moment to end class. Go figure..

Next week, we can use treats as bait, but they can't get the treat until they finish the course. I'm praying for a cooler Monday evening next week, as they all seem to do better when it's less humid, especially my class clown.

Sebastians home agility course
Sebastian's home agility course August 2005

6th Agility Class - August 15, 2005
No class last Monday during the thunderstorms, and no rescheduling to Thursday because of the heatwave. Thank goodness the wave broke for today. Temperatures were in the 70s for class, even though it was still very humid.

Sebastian was very talky and a bundle of energy when we got there, so we walked the course and mingled. Ruger's mom was lovin' on him and he obliged her with a slobbery kiss and 'furred' her up pretty good. She loves making him talk. Sharon said this was the worst year for shedding she remembers. He gets brushed everyday, and there's essentially nothing to take off him, but it still comes out.

We started right out going through the course individually. Little dogs went first, and Samantha, who was over 4 minutes last week, was under 2 minutes this week. The other little dogs were much improved. Murphy was exceptional with 32 seconds and he did some of the jumps twice (back & forth) because he was getting ahead of his mom.

Big dogs up next, everyone had some issues, but essentially did well.

For Sebastian's turn, we headed to the starting hurdle, and he made a detour to Jen, while she was adjusting the tunnel. She gave him some pats and he was prancy and she accidentally stepped on his foot. He was a big baby about it, until she started hugging him and he just leaned into her - "love me, Jen, I never get attention". Then it was time for business.

We started out fine with jump/tunnel/jump/tire but started meandering after that. I was talking to him the whole time, waving hot dog treats, trying to make myself very interesting and he got back on track but was not expending any unnecessary energy. Sharon said he was flipping me off. We did ok with the weave poles and on the final three jumps (18") he only gave the necessary energy to barely clear them. However, we had a much improved time of 1 minute 42 seconds (an improvement of 2 minutes from last time).

Sebastian was very talky outside the fence. Max's mom took him off for a pee break, and Sebastian got talky "where's Max going", same thing when Ruger's mom took him off. He was just a big ole goof ball and enjoying his self-designated role as class clown.

We took turns for a second run through the course, and I said I think I'll leave him on leash this time. Ruger's mom protested saying they have more fun watching him off leash, please don't take away our enjoyment. So, we went off leash, but I got a whole hot dog out of my cooler, with Sebastian "helping" me pick out the right one. He kept his eyes on that hot dog. I stuck it in my mouth and shook my head at him, teasing him with it and he followed me very closely to the starting hurdle.

Man, was he sharp, I just kept shaking that hot dog at him, switching hands with it, calling out the commands and just talking to him the whole time, and he just kept getting sharper. He did great with the weave poles and completed the final 3 jumps energetically, clearing them with room to spare. He sat without command after that, and I sunk to my knees and stuck the hot dog in my mouth. He did a down/stay without command, eyes on the hot dog and when I said "ok" he grabbed it from my mouth. We got lots of laughs and applause, but the amazing thing is that our time was 53 seconds.

Sharon said, "I always love watching you two together, but you have no idea how funny that was from our perspective seeing you shake that hot dog at him". I did have him focused on me, though, didn't I? No flipping me off. And all it takes is me looking silly :) Malamutes learn quickly and get bored just as quickly, so I've got to make it interesting to keep boredom at bay for him and not worry if I look silly. Besides, they all enjoyed the show. Making 20 or so people laugh while he's focused - mission accomplished with a bonus, I say.

Sebastian jump from a Sit/Wait
Sebastian jump from a Sit/Wait August 2005

7th Agility Class - August 22, 2005
Glorious weather at last, just what summer should be about.

In addition to hot dogs, had some liverwurst & roast beef as treats and also rolled the hot dogs around in them so they smelled 'special'.

Sharon snapped a bunch of shots of the dogs completing various parts of the course on our practice warmups. I anticipate we'll see some of those shots on our certificates at graduation next week.

This week we have 5 seconds added if they refuse an obstacle, or knock down a rung on the hurdles. We have an automatic 5 seconds added for the dog walk, they've still got that thin one and it's not worth risking injury to the big guy.

Sebastian was really focusing on me as I was getting the treats ready for the treat pouch, and we were called on to go first.

Sit/wait at the starting hurdle, then jump/tunnel, oops ran around the next hurdle. Back we went and over he went, then tire, then walk next to the dog walk, then the pause box, then the weave poles. He was doing ok on the first set but then laid down. Sharon told me later that was my fault because I was waving the hot dog too low to the ground. Got him up and went to the 2nd set of weave poles. This week this set was setup so we actually had to weave through them and he did great. Then on to the final hurdles. Jump/jump and oh, no around the final one. Ran back put him in a sit / wait and called jump and ran with him and he went under the rung of the final one. Lots of laughs from the crowd, he just wasn't ready to give up being class clown. Actually, I think he was telling me I set them too high for him at this point.

Our time was 1:04 with 20 seconds added for knockdowns & the dog walk.

Then the other big dogs went, Ruger was giving his mom a time, and she couldn't understand it because she brought a cutup hot dog. But, she got a cooked one. I gave her one of our uncooked ones and Ruger started being more focused. Max, the other big guy in class, did well after some tunnel issues, but on the dog walk he set the thing flying as he finished going up the ramp. That's my issue with it, too narrow. Misha did well, as did Bobber (found out last week that he's a Portuguese Water Dog, not a poodle, what do I know of these other breeds?). Parker, who missed last week had issues, but completed the course. Then the little dogs, with improvement by all, with issues at various obstacles for some.

Sebastian was very talky outside the fence while others had their turns. I put him in a sit/stay the second another dog started the course and held a treat for him and didn't say "ok" until the dog completed the course. So, we had some 1 minute sit/stays and some 3 minute sit/stays :) Ruger's mom was lovin' on him and he showed her what a 'leaner' is, same with Murphy's mom. Wow, 125 lbs leaning into you is something if you're not ready for it. Ruger's mom wants to be in all classes Sebastian is in because he's such a character. Sebastian & Max got to say hello a few times, with Sebastian dying to play but that's not why we were there.

We took a second run through the course, but I messed him up at the beginning trying to start on the other side of him. He was doing fine, but I ran into him in front of the tunnel. So we started over. It was really getting dark, but we still did ok. He grabbed the hot dog from me at the weave poles and I had to run and get another one, as he wasn't fooled by me pretending to have one. We finished up fine with 1:20.

Graduation next week, I'll miss the classes, but start with Cinnabar in Obedience next month.

Sebastians Agility Class - Tire Jump Set for Little Dogs
Sebastian's Agility Class - Tire Jump Set for Little Dogs

Sebastians Agility Class - Hurdles & Weave Poles
Sebastian's Agility Class - Hurdles & Weave Poles

8th Agility Class - August 29, 2005
We beat out the thunderstorms in low 80s humid weather.

Had hot dogs & liverwurst for treats.

Because the week before was no humidity, we were able to get some practice in on our little home course, which was fun. I was even able to get Cinnabar through the barrel, which was difficult because I've got to look through it holding out a treat and not have Sebastian in the barrel with me trying to steal the treat. But, we got there. Cinnabar also went through our little tire jump at home.

During our warmups put Sebastian in a Sit/Wait for the hurdles and snapped a shot, but he was too fast for me and I've got him between hurdles. He was rammy during warm ups and when I grabbed his leash coming out of the tunnel, he picked up speed heading for some of the other dogs and brought me down, the brat. A Sit/Stay with liverwurst offered as a reward for several minutes helped settle him.

Sebastian was first up on the course. I had a hot dog in each hand. Sit/Wait at the first hurdle and then we were off. Jump/tunnel/jump/tire, around the dog walk, perfect down/stay at the pause box and then the weave poles. Some issues missing some which we repeated, & he laid down at the end of the first set, but was up and running for the 2nd set and then the final 3 hurdles perfectly. I have to crowd him at the last hurdle so he jumps it and doesn't run towards me around it. Then a sit and down/stay and he got both hot dogs that had been waving at him through the course. Our time with knockdowns was 1:28 and we got high praise from both Sharon and Jen because he was so sharp with the exception of the weave poles. I'm evidently still amusing to watch, waving the hot dogs like a conductor, and grunting out "eh, eh" for corrections.

Max was up next and they needed to nose touch and say hello before we left the course. Max's housemate was there to cheer him on. He's a large Great Dane, at least 36" at the shoulder and made Sebastian look like a pip squeak. Sebastian wanted to play with him but he needed a bit of time as Sebastian is still fairly puppy like in his direct approach. The Great Dane was a big baby. You should've seen him drag his daddy to the fence when Max was done and coming off the course. So cute.

Then the rest of the big dogs, Ruger, Parker, Bobber, Mischa. With the exception of Mischa each had some issues but did well. Then the little dogs. All had issues, but still had improvement from the week before. I did see lots more hot dogs in use this week.

We used liverwurst outside the fence to keep the talky boy quiet. He was very good. Tilly's mom said he sounds so sad when he's talky. Guess you'd never know he's a spoiled boy to hear him talk about it :)

Our second run through was also a good one, still issues at the weave poles, but he's so long I've got to work with him to swing out wide and then back to get through. However, our time was 1:08 with knockdowns & the dog walk, so more progress.

Ruger's mom said he's influenced the other dogs because she saw more clowning going on :)

They're starting followup Agility late in September. Sharon said to be patient for photos, and that she does have a great one of Sebastian. The next Obedience course starts in October for Cinnabar, which is perfect as I've got to get a September appointment for him to be neutered. He doesn't need to be a cone-head for class :)

Sebastians Agility Class - Hurdles From Sit Wait
Sebastian's Agility Class - Hurdles From Sit/Wait
Too Quick to Catch over the Jump

Sebastian - Jump from Sit/Wait Sebastian - Jump from Sit/Wait Sebastian - Jump from Sit/Wait

10 month old Sebastian - down/stay with hand signals only
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Hudsons Malamutes - my breeder of choice

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