Icy’s first introduction to a tunnel was way back in August 2014, it was a very short one (6 feet?) at Dog’s World. Ice ran through the thing as if it wasn’t there.
The next time he came across tunnels was during his Foundation Flatwork training in our back yard. The tunnel is now 15 feet long and because its February rain water has accumulated in the bottom of the tunnel. Ice decides that he really doesn’t care for tunnels as he doesn’t want to get his feet soaking wet. He still goes through them but it’s far from full speed. I try and dry the tunnel out as best I can but Ice still doesn’t care for them.
I decided that June was going to be “tunnel month” – I really wanted Ice to enjoy running through the tunnel and I wanted him running them at full speed. So over the last month I’ve tried to include a tunnel into as many training sessions as possible and made sure Ice always gets a reward of some kind for completing them. We did make some progress but he still wasn’t that keen to run them.
Last night in class Ice came across an almost straight tunnel – I handled the tunnel just I would have done with Sky, expecting to be well ahead of Ice as he emerged from the exit in order to complete a blind cross. Well I beat him to the exit, but only just. Ice is now running the tunnels quicker than Sky can and I’m going to have to find a new strategy to handle them as I won’t be able to win the foot race every time anymore.
The one down side to this focus on Tunnels is that Icy is now seeking them out on the course – later on he took a jump and instead of wrapping back to me he found the straight tunnel again even though it was some distance from the jump!