This week was the last day of Riyo’s second try at beginning agility class and this time around there was no inexplicable “come-when-called-by-stranger” requirement, so he graduated! For our class graduation, they set up a full agility course and each dog had their turn on the course just like a real competition. I was completely confident that after Riyo’s stellar performance at the outdoor adoption event on Saturday, he was going to completely blow away the rest of the class.
The big dogs went first and one after another, the dogs went through the course, skipping a couple obstacles here and there, and at worst disappearing at cheetah speed into the field behind the course. I was watching the performances feeling 100% cocky because Riyo was going to cruise through that course and put them all to shame pretty soon. He’s already a pro you know.
Finally, it was our turn, very last as he is the very smallest. Saving the best for last, of course. So we go to the starting point and I take Riyo’s collar off, noticing, but ignoring his panting and generally weird expression. He was going to snap out of it in just a sec and impress everyone with his agility splendor. So, I tell him to “stay” and walk confidently past the first jump. Look at that perfect stay! This is going to be good. “Ok!” I say with all the enthusiasm I could squeak out, and here he comes for the first jump!…..and there he goes…skillfully avoiding the first jump altogether and running straight past me and the second jump. WHAT? Wait! Riyo! This is not impressing anybody. Ok, let’s recover, we can do it. “Come on Riyo!” I say in my annoyingly high pitch “I’m-going-to-convince-him-that-this-is-fun” voice. Let’s go run across the dog walk! It’ll be great! Ok, “Walk it!” And…….he goes through a tunnel instead and heads off toward his crate at the other end of the course, but we’re only half way through!
This is far from impressive. As a matter of fact, I think we’re making the cheetah dog look good at this point. I go and retrieve Riyo and skip over to the table. Ok Riyo, you can do this. “Table! Table! Table!” I’m really squeaking now. Whew, ok he’s on the table, never mind the down stay. Let’s go to the a-frame! Ok, we can redeem ourselves here. This is impressive. Little Riyo climbing the A-frame will make everyone go “OOohhh!” So “let’s go Riyo! Walk it!”….and there he goes past it and me, and over the next little jump. Train wreck. One cool obstacle left, the ring jump before the last little jump at the finish line. Please, can we at least do the ring? With all the squeaky excited puppy voice I can muster I make a try for it. “Ok Riyo let’s go, ring! Jump!” And……there he goes past me, past the ring, and straight to the last course jump at the finish line 15 feet ahead of me. He stops at the jump, hops over it, flipping me off with his tail as he went over. “I’m done, that’s it! BYE!”
How did he graduate you ask? It’s a no fail class. Everyone passes.