[Written by Mrs. McG]
OK, so Lucy and I won’t be heading to the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge anytime soon.
With Miss Lucy’s pre-August-2004 life a mystery to us, we have freely indulged in all sorts of speculation. Since she’s likely a Border Collie mix, I had wondered if she might have done any agility stuff in the past. Well, I think that’s been answered.
The Fayette County Humane Society held a fundraiser on Saturday, June 2nd, at the Peachtree City Dog Park. One of the many attractions brought in for the event was the Doggie Fun Zone, a traveling agility course specially designed so that dogs with no experience can run the course. A typical agility course contains a number of obstacles such as jumps and tunnels scattered about an area, and the handler must direct the dog through the obstacles in a specific pattern. Doggie Fun Zone had a definite course laid out with mesh fencing, directing the dog (and handler, sort of) through a maze that contained the jumps and so forth. There was also a lure line running through the course—a white cloth on a cord that would hopefully entice the dog to chase it through the obstacles. All in all, a pretty cool setup, and some of the dogs were barreling through the course for all they were worth.
Lucy chose that particular time to act like she knew how to heel.
Baby gates were set up between the sides of each obstacle and the mesh fencing, to ensure that the dog didn’t go around an obstacle. Handlers, however, were cautioned to go back and forth over the mesh as needed rather than over the baby gates. So I was doing quite a bit of awkward swinging over the mesh, while encouraging Lucy to stay on course. (Do as I say, not as I do.) The lure was of almost zero interest to her, and she was very content to wait around until I had finished my gymnastics to find out where I wanted her to go next. But to her credit, she didn’t balk at the tunnels as some dogs might—if she could see me calling her on the other side, she would happily trot through, and then continue to stick right with me until the next obstacle.
Our not-exactly-blistering run was capped off by Miss Congeniality’s noticing a group of dogs she wanted to meet just outside the Fun Zone, and she hopped right over the mesh fencing, missing the last tunnel. Honestly, instead of a cloth, I think the very best lure for her would have been one of the other dogs running through the course at top speed!
But, we’ll be ready for ‘em next time. Lucy doesn’t have any “fetch” instinct that I can detect, but we’ve been quite successful with a game called “Get The Treat!”, where I throw a dog treat across the yard and she runs after it, then comes back to me for another round. Not “fetch” exactly, but it’s a start. Maybe I’ll start tying the treat to a white cloth or something. We’ll get this figured out—she’s a smart girl, not to mention the best doggie in the ‘verse.