Agility training

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Panzerotti, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Very cool :) Don't worry too much about the left side thing -- as she works on the right and gets rewarded for doing so, she'll figure it out. Just make sure that you make a conscious effort to work on that side :)
     
  2. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Why is your trainer having you run sequences, even short ones with a dog that clearly has a jumping problem? What do they say? How about some one jump exercises and back chaining lines of jumps or slowly teaching him how to wrap (at speed) a jump and keep the bars up and not go around? Where are you and what are you doing or not doing?

    Sorry but if the dog doesn't or can't jump it shouldn't be doing sequences IMO.
     
  3. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    Kind of the pitfalls of a group class I guess in that it's not very individualized. The beginner class was all hand holding. One jump stuff, or one jump and tunnel, with jumps always about 4-8" high (for him, shorter for the little dogs). This is only the first advanced beginner class I've been in, so I don't know what the structure is. Knowing this trainer it seems to change a lot every week so I wouldn't be surprised if we did jumping stuff next week, or focused on contacts, or whatever. Most people have been in the advanced beginner class for a while, while we're the newbies, so the existing people are more advanced than we are. It would be nice if there was an advanced beginner that was in between this class and the other. The instructor does try to keep in mind the skill level of the team and change things as needed, but again, it's not a private lesson or anything.

    I also did break it down greatly for him. There were two jumps, but we went slow and he was rewarded after each jump, so I helped him out alot. I think they were at 12", but need to go down next time. He has never knocked a jump and hasn't refused in weeks, just seems a little confused about what he's supposed to do and jumping it wasn't his first instinct. He does jump it now though - it was only in the earlier beginner classes that he went around. He's very fast and confident with the other equipment, but jumps he's just not. I imagine it will come with time and in 4 weeks won't even be an issue, but it's something I hope to work on with him between classes so he gets the hang of it sooner.

    ETA: The instructor has generally been very good about changing things if a dog has issues with jumps. If a dog knocks a jump, the height goes down for that dog for the rest of the lesson. If the dog refuses or is confused, they are set up to do it correctly. So it's not like she's ignoring the issue and pointing us at full sized jumps, but it's still frustrating to be in a big class and not necessarily get to work on what you want.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  4. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    It shouldn't be the pitfalls of a group class, it should absolutely be individualized and if someone is struggling then the exercise is broken down so the dog and handler are successful.

    If a dog knocks a bar, the question is why? Lower the height doesn't teach the dog anything, do they do any bar proofing? Which teaches a dog how to keep a bar up.

    As for your other question, you don't just put a dog back and forth over a jump. Dogs are taught how to wrap (decel, come in tight to the base of a jump and turn while they are jumping) or how to jump in acceleration and jump long for straight lines and keep the bars up. Front crosses before and after a jump, rear crosses and backsides just to mention a few and the most common. And how to jump on a slice (across the bar at an angle) and how to threadle a jump :) At least 50% of all agility courses are jumping skills, so it is very important part of the training.
     
  5. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    Like I said, it was broken down for him. I helped him through each jump, rewarded each step. And it was only two jumps. So we did those things and he was successful - he took every jump and didn't knock any bars down, so he's gaining confidence and understanding. In my original post I was just mentioning that he's not as confident at jumps as he is at everything else. We've only had 6 classes, so it's not surprising.

    Not something we've discussed. The only dog who dropped a bar basically walked into it accidentally, and the height was dropped for her. I only had 6 weeks of class, so not enough time to get to everything yet. The instructor has mentioned the importance of teaching dogs to jump correctly many times, so I'm sure we'll do more exercises geared towards this.

    Sounds like a lot of the things we've worked on already. Glad to know the class is on the right track.


    Maybe I'm just not explaining things well? I don't mean to imply that it's some free for all class where they're throwing new teams out to do sequences with no foundation work or broken into smaller steps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  6. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    It doesn't sound to me like Watson is having trouble keeping bars up. Watson doesn't know where his take-off point is (most likely) or is otherwise not a confident jumper. Auggie didn't (doesn't) drop bars either but he isn't sure of where his take-off point is and he's definitely not a confident jumper. The only bars that normally came down with Auggie were over triple-jumps, because Auggie's guess-and-fling jump "style" doesn't give much room for error over a large jump.

    Lowering bars won't answer the question of where the take-off point is but it will make the question easier to begin to answer; it will also prevent him from STARTING to drop bars if he continues to struggle, which depending on the temperament of the dog can cause them to become less and less confident and exasperate the problem.


    Personally I would probably pull from the group class and work on a jumping program for a while. I can't even begin to imagine how I would effectively do a full on jump program within a group setting. It's enough of a PITA to have to reset jump exercises between Auggie, Georgie, and Payton and I'm only doing that on my own time. I suppose if I had a class full of dogs that all jumped the same height...
     
  7. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    I don't have any other options for classes and this club is the most well regarded place with 1.5 hours. I don't have my own equipment or area to train or knowledge to train agility. So if I don't stick with the beginner classes offered I don't do agility. At this point I'm just going to go with it and see where we are at the end of each session. As long as there are improvements, and no major issues, I'm going to keep trying. Not that I don't appreciate the advice and suggestions, I do and I'm putting them to use (I'm in Jess Martin's foundations class right now) but I can only work with what I have here.

    Every time I post about agility I feel like I'm told to drop out because my class is no good, but it's what I have. And it honestly seems closer to what you all are recommending than maybe I'm describing it as? :shrugs:
     
  8. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Has anyone ever done a foundations class concurrently with an advanced class? Mia's drive is just not where it was 6 months ago in agility. In other things its fantastic. I've been toying with outing her in a foundations class after tricks class wraps up. I've never taken foundations with my current instructor so maybe it would be a benefit?

    I've been shortening our sequences and seeing much improvement. I think it was just too much. But a revisit to foundations would be good or maybe I should just do that in my own outside of class

    I had this issue in summer years ago when we went too fast too quick. (She was popped into the competition class way prematurely). Starting over with foundations really helped.
     
  9. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Well Webster took a Novice/Open class last summer just to get some group ring time in and so I could work on a few things. This after he had earned his MACH so we were razzed a lot by our instructor, who we knew well lol. But there was space in the class, it was right before a class I had Mira in so I could take both in the same night with one trip, and I was able to work on the stuff I wanted to.
     
  10. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Are you and your dog having fun? If yes, that's all that matters. The rest will fall into place.

    From your descriptions, I don't think there is anything wrong with that class. It's a group class and if you have only been doing this for 6 weeks, then of course your dog is going to have some issues to work out. We aren't there to observe the class, the instructor or you, so there is no way we can give you very accurate advice about whether the class is good or not.
     
  11. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    I'm not saying to quit the class because it's no good. Rather, speaking personally, if I could look back in time and I saw Auggie starting to struggle with jumping, I would have stopped taking regular classes with him and addressed his jumping before I carried on. Yeah, it means "not doing agility" - in so much that people think unless you're doing sequencing and the other sexy stuff you're not "doing agility" - but hot **** I wish I had "not done agility" all those years ago if it meant I could have fixed his trouble THEN and not had all the struggles and tears and problems and nasty things people said about me and my dog. Struggles that I'm still working on right now at this very point in time with my most special, wonderful little dog who I would give ANYTHING to be able to run without having to worry about his jumping, even if it meant I spent time years and years ago "not doing agility" with him. I spent a year already not doing ANY agility work at all with him except for a handful of days here and there, and I'm tackling it now with a fresh perspective and a belief that I CAN train him and I CAN fix this. But the reality is that maybe I can't, and maybe for the rest of Auggie's life we will be not doing agility. And it sucks. Because I love Payton but even more I love to play agility with my little Auggie. So yeah, speaking personally, if I saw my dog having a jumping problem, I would hit the brakes and stop doing the sexy stuff until I resolved the jumping problem. But it's probably different when you haven't spent six years shouldered with that battle.

    And I definitely wasn't saying your class is no good just from a general perspective; I was actually trying to back you up by saying that as an instructor I can't even see how I would effectively teach a full jumping program within a class setting.


    Never concurrently but I don't ever find a problem in going back to foundations. I feel like in agility the answer is usually found in foundations, haha.
     
  12. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence! We are having fun. This is the most driven and engaged I've seen Watson in a class since nosework. He loves anything that's physical and involves running, and he was getting bored with the same old obedience and rally stuff. I'm having fun watching our teamwork improve on a weekly basis too.

    I guess I meant not doing agility in the sense of not doing it ever. I don't have a place that offers jumping specific classes (which I would be more than happy to take!), and I don't have the resources or experience to train it myself (even with an online class). I did buy the Suzanne Clothier book you recommended and I'm excited to make some jumps and work on some stuff at home, but I need that assurance of someone watching us in person every week and helping me along. This is the only place that trains people to be competitive in agility, rather than just "fun" classes, and this particular trainer is one of the two who does most of the beginner classes, so I trust that she will be able to help us be successful. She really is very conscious of what each dog/handler is struggling with and helping us to get the most out of the exercise, even if every dog is working on the same basic equipment for that class. This is the most basic level we can take classes in (we're really not doing anything sexy at this point ;-), so we'll just have to roll with it. Watson's had a year of "foundation" type training (more for obedience, but the recalls, stays, impulse control, etc are the same idea) and he's bored with it, so we needed to move on for a bit. So far he LOVES the challenge of trying new things and with the exception of jumps, throws himself into it. He's even starting to think that following my directions is more interesting than running away to pee over other dogs' pee, and for an intact teenage boy that's saying something :lol-sign:

    Thanks for sharing your story about Auggie. I'm really sorry your special little guy is struggling. I hope you can figure out how to get through it so you two can run agility together again. I do understand how these things can snowball and things that seemed like small problems suddenly become a major issue.
     
  13. Sekah

    Sekah The Monster.

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    Trial roundup! Cohen and I had A Very Good Day yesterday. 5 runs. 3 Qs. NO KNOCKED BARS. It's better than we've done in a very long time.

    First run: Steeplechase. Q. 1st place! The course was fast and flowy. Only 6 weaves made it even faster. Cohen stuck her A-frame contacts like a champ. I was hugely surprised when I saw her placement. She placed first in 22-regular, and was second fastest overall, behind a competitor who competes at World's. Not a bad way to kick off the day!

    Second run: Starter snooker. Q. 5th place. This run (finally) earned us our SGDC title. I've been chasing this Q for the better part of 2 years, but due to our bar knocking and "no mom the next obstacle is this one, trust me" it's remained elusive. It didn't go to plan, as Cohen was pretty sure that the next obstacle was X and I'd planned a whole route for Y, but I was able to think on my feet and finish our opening pretty smoothly. Our points suffered for it, but the Q was all I cared about.

    Third run: Advanced standard. NQ. Cohen has apparently decided to start taking kamikaze leaps off the teeter again, so I drilled the teeter on the course a few times and took the call for training. Plus we had some issues in the weaves where she was popping out at the 10th pole again.

    Fourth run: Advanced gamblers. NQ. More kamikaze teeter. Our issue was in the close though. Apparently Cohen was convinced that I wanted her to go into the wrong (awkward, hard to get to) end of the tunnel when the correct entrance was right ahead.

    Fifth run: Steeplechase. Q. Unsure of placement, since I wasn't feeling well and left right afterwards. No weave problems. Cohen nailed a really nice pinwheel and managed to keep the bar up on a fairly tight turn at a jump. Again, lovely A-frame contacts. And FAST! Couldn't be happier with her run.

    Then I went home and OMG SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY! I felt bad for my guests, since the trial went 2 hours longer than I was anticipating, and I was in the last run of the day. It was a good day. :)
     
  14. krissy

    krissy New Member

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    Yay Cohen!

    Gotta love when they think leaping off contacts is a good idea. Kili used to think leaping off the A-frame was the thing to do. Made me heart hit the floor every time. So scary.
     
  15. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Good girl, Cohen! Glad you guys had fun :)
     
  16. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    What a great day! Congratulations!
     
  17. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    I agree with this. I struggled with Frag through group classes for a long time before coming to my new trainer and realizing he didn't know how to jump. We let it go on, rewarded him through agility for doing it wrong, and now he has very little chance of trialing, since I can't take him to classes any longer. Had I realized that then, and knew what I know now, he would have been out until I could find something better to fix this (privates, most likely) and then we would have gone back.

    If your goal is to trial, continuing is not going to help, and will make things worse, no matter how much fun it is. Frag and I had a ton of fun... but that got us nowhere in the ring. If your goal is to just have a little athletic fun with your dog and most likely not compete, then I would not worry about it and I would continue.

    I think we can give you a pretty good idea of whether the class is "good" if it isn't working. That answers the question pretty easily. If they aren't diagnosing and fixing issues, then they are probably not where you want to be at this point in the game.

    But I would be asking the instructor for private lessons regarding jumping specifically. They are invaluable.
     
  18. Sekah

    Sekah The Monster.

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    I had a friend check yesterday's results at the trial today. Turns out we placed 1st in our last steeplechase run too!!! Madness! I knew Cohen was speedy, but it's really neat to see how speedy she can be, comparatively. Now of course the mounting issue is controlling it.

    Also, I need to run faster.
     
  19. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Yay!!!
    Running faster is fun. ;>
     
  20. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    The girls and I have been very busy with agility the last few months. Lots of trials, lots of training. I even started Zip Tie in agility foundations, he's seriously a blast to train. This last weekend the girls had a CPE trial both saturday and sunday. Zuma went 4/8 and Zinga went 6/8. I cannot get over how much fun Zinga is to run! She's really starting to connect and work together with me and I'm really starting to figure out her quirks. I leave every course with a huge smile on my face, so much freaking fun! Zuma is still working on the team part but it is getting better. The first run this weekend (jumpers) she was all over the place, I think she did 2-3 jumps and then completely disconnected. By the last run on Sunday (snooker), she had no problem staying connected even when we had to run past obstacles. So we are getting there, slowly but surely.

    Here are some videos! I only uploaded the standard videos from this weekend because 16 runs are a lot to upload. LOL

    Zuma Level 3 Standard - off course to the wrong end of the tunnel but I loved the rest! I've been playing around with shaping the line to get her headed to the right obstacle rather than doing more invasive handling techniques. The jump after the teeter, you see me stepping into her a bit to pressure her to go wide which then points her directly at the tunnel. I did the same thing with Zinga's run on this course. So smooth.

    [YOUTUBE]1F93cbJjiX4[/YOUTUBE]

    Zinga Level 3 Standard (Saturday)

    [YOUTUBE]DoEQmXjAPdk[/YOUTUBE]

    Zinga Level 3 Standard (Sunday)

    [YOUTUBE]L4x3PucRbvo[/YOUTUBE]
     

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