A message from Lizzie’s handler, Lyn Pearce.
I must have the biggest brags ever with Lizzie!! She was scared of everything when we came to CFS. I was not even ever going to try her at agility. She is 3 years older than Mr Darcy and was always scared of everything new and many old things. Going for walks she would not put her dainty little paws on anything that looked different to the pavement or grass, despite putting roast dinners in the middle of scary things. I decided I would give her a go at the fun. She was scared of everything as predicted. I got her over jumps first although 600’s were always scary. Tunnels next although that took a few weeks. The tyre was never truly conquered, although she would do it randomly. Now, contact equipment was the real challenge. It took months for her to ever attempt the dog walk. The A frame not so bad and once she got the A frame she enjoyed that one. The dog walk was the scariest thing ever!!! After finally getting her over it, with some help from you Le at summer camp, she did it for a few months, always hesitantly and there were always loud cheers in class when Lizzie did the dog walk, but then one day she stopped in the middle and freaked out for some reason, then she began shaking, then the dog walk began wobbling!!! Oh dear! She froze there in the middle and would not move! That was the end of Lizzie on the dog walk. After many months of patiently trying to get her on again she finally did it once again. She got a jackpot for this effort. She was back on the Dogwalk again!!! But alas! She would only do it east to west but not west to east!!! After many, many months of patient persistence and jackpots for getting it right, she finally went the other way again. I finally had Lizzie going out of her way to do dog walks!! She loved them!! Who would have thought!!
Next to be conquered was the seesaw. I never in my wildest dreams thought Lizzie would do a seesaw. I used to give her the opportunity to do it but then just run past it as it was just too much to expect from my scared little girl. One day she decided she was going to go to the end like all the other brave dogs. She did this once and never looked back. This also became one of her favourites!!!
Actually, her real favourite is the weaves. She learnt to do weaves very quickly. Still trying to teach Mr Darcy🙄. She goes out of her way to do weaves. She does have her own style and thinks the object of this obstacle is to not touch a single pole (because of course things that move are scary!!!!) So she very carefully moves in and out without touching them! Clever girl!
Some of Lizzie’s funniest moments were the times she would run at an obstacle with all the confidence in the world and at the last minute put the brakes on and refuse it for some reason. Often the tyre. This was her least favourite.
She was so good at one stage that I actually swapped Lizzie and Mr Darcy’s classes and put her in the advanced class. She even seemed ready to trial. So I entered her in one. Alas!!! Although she enjoyed it at lessons, those jumps and tunnels at the trial were just as scary as if she had never seen one in her whole life and she refused every single obstacle! We decided to keep it fun and not enter any more trials. Actually we did one some time later just to see how she would go. Same result!!
Seeing Lizzie conquer her fears was and is the most heartwarming experience I have ever had at agility. Mr Darcy’s titles are fantastic but to see a dog do what Lizzie has done is the most amazing experience I have ever had with a dog. She went on from agility to conquer many things outside of agility too such as walking on metal plates etc in the footpath, and all sorts of other different surfaces which were so scary before. She is a much more confident dog than she was prior to agility. I get teary just thinking about this. She is a sweet girl and this journey with her has been beautiful.
Sorry this is so long Le, but when you asked for training brags I just had to write this.