Sunday, September 18, 2011

Agility and Socialization

Autumn is setting in and this time around I'm really looking forward to it. Today's weather is stormy and raining and Bella doesn't want to be outside more than she needs to be. At least not on her own.

Two weeks ago I started an agility training course with her.  Unfortunately last week's session had to be cancelled but we're heading back tonight for more. When we showed up Bella was very tense and on edge and couldn't stop staring at the other two dogs, a Chihuahua and a Papillion. Towards the end things were getting better and I'm curious about what tonight will be like.

Yesterday we did get an unexpected few minutes of agility training. I took Bella to a small breeds dog exhibition where the instructor of our agility course was present as a part of an agility introduction. I had the only dog at the time and Bella surprised me by giving me her full attention. That was great! Even my fiancé who was present had a change of heart about Bella's chance of success in this sport.

The small breeds exhibition was a fun event. I went to one last year and Bella started by barking her lungs out before finally calming down a little. This time around I had prepared for another barking session and as we walked into the building she was filing her claws trying to pull me in faster. In we went and surprise, she remained alert but calm. No barking, no silly behaviour. Hurray!

I've become better at seeing when to stop an encounter with other dogs and when it's alright to allow them to meet up. I have had to be very picky because Bella has had some unpleasant encounters and I'm trying to socialise her to stop the insecurity. There was only one bad run-in which happened to be with Bella's full sister from an older litter. Owned by my colleague who says hers is Border Terrier aggressive. No harm done it was just a bit of growling that quickly subsided. After the event Bella hadn't barked once. I'm so proud of her!

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