Downeast Dog News

Ask Bammy, an Advice Column for Dogs by a Dog

About Some Canine Agility Adventures
By Nancy Holmes | Feb 01, 2017

I am a Carolina Dog, a breed that long ago owned Native American people.  We were designed by natural selection to be so intelligent and physically superior that we survived without human help.  My great-grandfather was caught from the wild.  I can offer advice based on the natural instincts and attributes of wild dogs.  In addition, my adoptive person and I have had lots of training classes and other experiences.  Some humans call themselves Mom or Dad of their dog, but I refer to my human, tongue in cheek, as Boss.  Much as I love my human, I admit she has many of the same odd notions as most humans, so I can relate to other pet dogs with problem humans.  Send your questions to Downeast Dog News!  If I can’t help, at least I can offer sympathy, and we can have some fun talking about our amazing humans.  Bammy, PO Box 135, Newcastle, ME 04553, or email:


About Some Canine Agility Adventures

I love the game of canine agility.  Going over, under, and through obstacles is almost as good as zoomies.  But Boss is so slow!  I’m trying to teach her to give me clear long-distance signals, so I can fly around the course without waiting for her.  If I don’t take too much time to sniff, we can usually run fast enough to please her with some of those ribbon things she hangs on the back of her chair.  At trials I get applause for my brilliance.  Considering Boss’s confusing signals to me, I can tell you I earn every bit of it!  One time she told me the number of the obstacle instead of the name of it!  I was supposed to read the number on the little sign and take that jump?  But her feet were pointed that way, so I guessed, and for once, her feet were actually headed where we were going.

The audience likes it when I stop on top of the A-frame to get a good view and let the crowd admire me.  Boss is pretty funny, too, running back and forth, desperately calling to me and pointing to the ground.

One time I made everybody laugh by making a bee-line directly from the start-line to the low table that serves as the finish-line.  I thought that was a brilliant idea, but for some reason, Boss didn’t accept it.  She insisted on us going all the way around the course before I could jump on the table again.  Everybody was laughing and clapping.  I can tell when she is not as happy with me as she pretends to be, but she patted me and gave me chicken bits.  So I may try that again.

Another bright idea I had was a way to go over the see-saw faster.  It would be really dangerous for most dogs, but I knew I could jump far enough to do it safely.  I ran up the board until it was tipping down, and then I made a flying leap, so it wouldn’t hit me as it came back up.  It probably saved close to a second, and fractions of a second count in agility.  But Boss yelled “No!”  The judge’s whistle screamed, and the whole place sent up fear pheromones.  I haven’t done that again even though it seems to be just the sort of thing that should be rewarded in agility competitions.

There is one obstacle that baffles me.  Some crazy human lined up a row of vertical poles that the dog (but not the human!) is supposed to weave through.  You always have to start by passing your left ear by the first pole even if you are approaching from the opposite side.  Absurd!  And if your stride doesn’t match the distance between poles as you zip through, you are not allowed to skip a pole to keep the rhythm going.  Boss has been practicing this with me for all of nine years, but it is so pointless that I still don’t bother to do it right.  It just seems to make a mockery of my natural ability to fly through the woods like a deer!


The Ask Bammy column is intended for humor and entertainment. If your dog has behavioral issues please contact a veterinarian or professional trainer.