Friday, September 24, 2010

"My dog is an agility class flunkie"

Yes, it's true.

And I've been in mourning for the past month.
Not really. Just taking another blogging break.

So yes, Agility Class Number 3 was our last.
Ace was officially kicked out, banished, expelled....
or as the trainer tried to put it nicely in her email "not welcome back".

Class number 3 started the same as the last two.
Even with 2 separate hours of Frisbee chasing, Ace was a hyper mess going into the building.
He jumped and twisted on his leash, growling randomly at the other dogs.

We did "crate training" again for 20 or 25 minutes.
Ace had made a little progress but not much.
He spent most of his time pacing and watching the other dogs.

We then moved onto "the tunnel".
The trainer held our dogs while the owners went to the other side of the tunnel and called them through.
Ace was at the end of the line watching all the other take their turns.
He would jump and spin on his leash and then look back at me as if to say "let me go! I want to try!"

It was finally Ace's turn.
I handed him off to the trainer and went to the end of the tunnel.
Before I could even finish calling his name, Ace shot through the tunnel.
I reached to grab his collar and he immediately dodged to the left, just out of my reach.

Ace ran straight over to the German Sheppard puppy.
Remember how I told you about the puppy that barked non-stop from the beginning of class to the end?
I've also mentioned before that Ace doesn't like it when dogs bark. He avoids them at parks and on walks. I've noticed he looks at them at times like he's puzzled by them. He sits there and tilts his head to the side and then looks to me as if asking "why is he making so much noise?"

Anyhoo, Ace bolted over and attacked the barking German Sheppard puppy.

I ran over and grabbed Ace as fast as I could, pulling him off the now yelping puppy.
The puppy's owner was knocked down in the process.
The trainer was there by my side in an instant.
"You never told me your dog was violent!" she blurted out accusingly.
"He never has been!" I said.

After apologizing profusely and inspecting both dogs (no injuries)
Ace was banished off to the corner of the room to calm down.

I was shocked (and extremely embarrassed)!
"Ace! What is wrong with you?!!" I wanted to grab him and give him a good shake so he would snap out of this crazed dog guise.
He just continued to jump and pull on his leash with what seemed like "let's do it again! let's do it again! that was fun!" attitude.

The trainer allowed us to give it another try at the end of the class.
"Are you sure?" I asked while I watched the other owners step defensively in front of their dogs or literally pick them up in their arms.

Ace tried again to cut quickly and slip past me.
But there was no way that was going to happen again.

After apologizing one more time to the German Sheppard puppy owner, I went home defeated and exhausted.

The Hubby and I talked that evening.
I told him I didn't want to do the class anymore.
I didn't like the way Ace behaved when we were there.
I didn't trust Ace while we were there.
I'm not sure I trust Ace at all anymore.

I got up the next morning and decided to email the trainer and let her know we wouldn't be coming back.
But there was already an email for me in my inbox when I logged on.

She was very nice. She explained their "no violence policy".

I totally agreed with everything she said.
But it still sucked.
It's hard to explain.

Have you ever been ready to break up with someone? You're actually on your way to "end it". And then suddenly, out of no where, they dump you.

And now, all you feel is how bad you want that person back?

That's kinda how it felt.

She offered a couple "private instructions" to make up the difference in the money I spent.
And we did those.
And Ace was his normal self.
Perfectly behaved.

I figure, at least she knows that I'm not some irresponsible dog owner. One that never bothered to train her dog.

Ace continues to learn new tricks.
When a dog walks by our house, Ace sits quietly in the yard and watches them walk by.
When we pass a barking dog on our walks, Ace still looks at them like they are crazy but other than that seems to ignore them.

I have had him off leash to play Frisbee at the park by our house.
We always have an audience of clapping kids and a maybe a couple of adults with dogs here and there.
Ace ignores them all. He is completely focused on his "job".

My reasoning for the classes in the first place, was to give Ace some physical and mental outlets.
I'll just have to do something different.

Just so this post isn't a complete "downer" I thought I'd share this video my cousin, Kristin sent me.

This will never be Ace.....and I'm okay with that.