Recently I’ve been feeling like Maisie might need some one on one time. Annie has demanded a lot of our attention since she came into our lives and Maisie now has to share our time. She thought Annie would be a new playmate, and even though Annie has no desire to play with Maisie (or any toys for that matter) I love Maisie’s determination because every day she tries to get Annie to play with her.
Newfies are working dogs, and they have natural instincts that need to be stimulated. Maisie is a very active Newfoundland. She’s a “petite” Newfoundland weighing just under 90 pounds and she loves to run, the faster the better. She also loves to jump. She has been the easiest dog I’ve ever trained (aside from the fact that she doesn’t like to put things in her mouth–she doesn’t like to retrieve, won’t bring in the paper, pick things up or help bring bags in from the car. All jobs my other Newfie loved and needed to do every day). I have reached the conclusion that water rescue work is not in the cards for her (because it involves putting things in her mouth) but I think I have found the perfect activity for us. 3 weeks ago we started a beginner agility class!
To say that she gets a lot of attention in class is an understatement. The trainer has worked with dogs of all sizes, even a Great Dane, so he knows what her limitations may be and gives us great tips for success but I think he is surprised by her willingness to try everything and how well she is doing. Everyone we see is completely entertained by the fact that she is in the agility class. She shoots through the tunnel with absolute joy and she’s doing really well with the weave poles. Granted these are beginner weave poles that are akin to a child’s bike with training wheels vs. a racing bike. She loves it and we are having a lot of fun. So much fun that this week I couldn’t control her barking.
Maisie has never been a barker. She only barks when she wants to play (and when she’s watching TV but that’s another post) and that may be once or twice and then she’s on the move. We have trained her not to bark at other dogs when we are sitting on our front porch and we haven’t had any issues with that in a very long time. This week in class she was beside herself with excitement and started barking to distraction when the other dogs had their turn. None of my usual methods worked and she was an absolute nuisance!
The tunnel was set up close to the edge of the ring where we were sitting and every time another dog went through she was uncontrollable. She loves the tunnel and wanted to join them so badly! I finally walked her all the way over to the other end of the room and that only helped a little bit. It really put a damper on my experience and this week our homework will be dedicated to correcting this. Hopefully next week she won’t be so loud, after all, we still have lots of tricks to learn!