Agility is everywhere!

Hi, everyone!  MP here!  I know a lot of you do agility training (and trialing) with your dogs.  Tucker & Phoebe have also trained in agility, although we've never trialed.  The truth is I am just not a person that enjoys doing anything competitive in front of a bunch of people, because I'm both a little on the shy side as well as pretty competitive.  I'm less shy than I used to be but I'm still pretty competitive, and the reality is that those two traits don't mesh especially well, particularly when you add a living, breathing, thinking, feeling creature (i.e. a dog) into the mix.  This is even more true when those dogs are sensitive as Tucker and Phoebe happen to be.  You can ruin Tucker's whole week by looking at him cross-wise.  Phoebe is a bit more emotionally resilient when it comes to criticism, whether real or perceived, but nonetheless Brussels are known for being a bit sensitive, so it's something I have to watch with her as well. And that, honestly, is the main reason why I never wanted to approach the sport of agility as anything other than something fun to do on a Tuesday night. I never wanted to introduce an element of competitiveness into it, because I didn't want my natural impulse to be too competitive (and to get upset when things don't go perfectly) to compromise something that is far more important to me than any awards, or any more initials on the end of my dogs' names.  That, of course, being my relationships with the dogs.  

Doing agility for fun seemed like the perfect compromise.  It was something the dogs really enjoyed, something I really enjoyed, and something that allowed them to exercise both their minds and their bodies simultaneously, while also strengthening the bond I had with each of them, as just about any type of "work" that humans and dogs undertake together almost can't help but do.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, we haven't been to an agility class in several months now, mainly because the Saturday morning drop in class that we used to really enjoy going to no longer exists, and our previous Tuesday class switched to Thursday, and now starts earlier, which makes it harder to get there after work without making myself a frazzled wreck by the time we pull into the parking lot, which is hardly conducive to a positive experience once we arrive.  

This makes me sad, because it's something I really enjoyed, and I know the dogs did, too, so we're looking into another agility club whose schedule might work better for us than our previous club, but meanwhile I have been looking for ways to incorporate some of the fun of agility into our regular routine.  Fallen logs can make a passable dog walk, traffic cones placed a little closer together than usual make a very usable set of weaves.  

In fact, right at the office where I spend what my friends and family feel is way too much time, we've found a few different ways for the dogs to use some of the skills they developed in agility class on a daily basis. 

Allow Phoebe to demonstrate:

Here Phoebe stands atop one of the many brick railings that encircle our office building.  She is abiding by her "wait" command but is focused and eager to descend the other side of our impromptu A-frame.

And here she is starting her descent.  This particular railing's incline is pretty steep, but nothing compared to an A-frame.  Plus, the spaces between the bricks offer her plenty of traction.
 Down she comes ... 
Safely down! 
Hey, this is pretty high!  How'd I do, Mom?

This is where she'd jump into my arms, but it's really hard to take a picture of that and be ready to catch the dog, so you'll just have to use your imagination!  But suffice it to say, her nickname is not "the flying monkey" for nothing!


Remington said...

WOWZERS! Great job! Yes, be certain to catch the "flying monkey".

Amber DaWeenie said...

Phoebe, you need to grow some wings so that Mom can take more pictures. :o)

GreatGranny said...

Wow. Phoebe, you were brave being that high and jumping to Mom.
xoxo Kassey

Foley Monster and Pocket said...

Great job Pheebs. I could never do that.

Scrappy said...



That looks like fun, flying like a monkey!

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

That looks very scary, Phoebe! You are very brave.

What a good idea to incorporate things Tucker and Phoebe like to do in daily life when you can't get to agility. Frankie would be up for something like that, Beryl would just look at me and ask me why on earth would I think she'd enjoy walking down a brick railing:) And she certainly wouldn't jump into my arms .... thank goodness:)

Old Kitty said...

Oh Phoebe! Aren't you just adorable?!?! Well done you!! Yay!!

Awww it's so sweet that Tucker is such a sensitive soul too! Awww! We hope you find a fun agility course near you soon! Take care

Carolyn said...

Maybe MP should get another pair of arms, or tie one of those motion cams to her head? Just saying ..... ;) Great job Phoebe x

haopee said...

Hi MP. You're not the only one feeling that way with competing. I also feel uneasy doing something in front of other people. In fact, it even makes it tougher when your performance doesn't solely depend on you alone.

By the way, may I know what Phoebe's breed is?

Good job, Phoebe.

Huggies and Cheese,


47 said...

I would love to compete, but Rocco does the teeter-totter crawling on his elbows with his eyes shut. It takes about 10 minutes. Can you imagine? ;-)

snoopy@snoopysdogblog said...


You sure are a flying Monkey - you're great at agility!! Me thinks you can practice it anywhere!!

Have fun buddy,

Your pal Snoopy :)

Christine said...

Humphrey loves Agility, We too are trying to balance Life and Agilty availability. We have had to build a mini course, everything except the Teeter, and the walk!! Keep trying its worth it!
Humphrey is still to young for trials, and weave poles. Humphrey is at a disadvantage as he is handler challenged.

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

Agility is super fun for a lot of dogs--so glad you got to do some again! I'm not a huge fan of competitive stuff either--all comes from a childhood fear of being forced to play ball sports--but fortunately there's plenty of other ways to get into agility.

Sam said...

Though I am pretty competitive in agility, I totally understand your perspective on not wanting to compete because that's very much the way I am with horseback riding. For me, learning to ride a horse and hacking around a ring are all I need to be satisfied. I really don't have a desire to show or compete.

I don't there's any right way or wrong way to do it - Tucker and Phoebe certainly don't mind not competing, I'm sure!

Tucker The Crestie said...

Haopee, Phoebe is a Brussels/Yorkie mix, as best I can tell. That is what the rescue I adopted her from listed her as, and there seems no doubt about the Brussels part, but not sure about the Yorkie part. Though the blue/gray hair at the crown of her head does seem to suggest that. It's funny, though, the Brussels people we meet always see the Brussels, but I've had more than one Yorkie person instantly ask me if she was a Yorkie mix.

Sagira said...

Learned something new today, didn't know you guys did agility. It is a great idea to just make some of your own agility while you're out and about.