Batman is my irritable, impatient 13-or-so-year-old Chihuahua mix… not exactly the kind of dog who’d be interested in agility or any other canine sport. Though he’s been “helping” me with group and private lessons for a long time, I never considered doing anything competitive with him. But a year ago we took a Rally class with Frankie Joiris, which reminded me that, beneath the grouchy exterior, Batman actually loves to learn with me.
We’ve been practicing rally for several weeks, mostly in the hallways of my apartment building. As many trainers can probably attest, the dog has caught on much more quickly than me. I’m still struggling to learn what the various signs mean, get my footwork right, and not confuse my right and left (which is probably a lost cause). Batman, however, got the hang of things after a few sessions.
Given Batman’s age and health, I’m treating our rally trial as a sort of bucket-list item. Whether we continue to trial after that will be entirely up to him. But for Bat, practicing rally has given him a new dimension to his routine (you should see him lose his mind when I pull out his “rally” collar). And for me, it’s a wonderful reminder that my seemingly demanding, lazy old man still has a lot of energy to burn and excitement for life.