Agility training

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

  1. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Wow go Zuma! Really nice JWW run and losing her brain in standard...well it happens LOL She's going to be totally awesome by this time next year, not that she isn't already pretty cool :)
     
  2. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    Much better phrased than I have ever been able to put it! That's Meg in a nutshell. She's gotten better as she's aged, but when I was first training her, if she missed something *once* (weave entry, whatever) I had to do a couple reps of stupid easy stuff like "down" with big rewards. If she was wrong twice in a row, even with no marker or anything, she would quit. I have no doubt a lot of trainers could make it work even with a Meg, but it may take a better trainer than I!

    Gusto could totally handle that aspect of it just fine. He's always right, I'm always stupid. Just ask him ;)
     
  3. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Here is a short RC session with Savvy from last night. I did a few sessions with him yesterday, he's been a bit inconsistent. I took one block away and he got much worse. So I put it back and stabilized it better. That seemed to do the trick because he's doing much better now.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150966547655850
     
  4. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Looks good! Have you started training a running A-frame with him yet? There's a few trainers here that are starting new dogs on running contacts and I've been watching their a-frame training. One is doing the whole yippy-skippy thing, so they are going back down to a flat a-frame. The other is leaping.
     
  5. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Thanks! He really loves it :)

    No a-frame. Well we occasionally do a low a-frame in our foundation class but not very often. I'm using ST's method and she doesn't train the a-frame until the DW is finished. And even then she doesn't do much a-frame training and says you basically will get the a-frame "free".
     
  6. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Panzi -- I think you mentioned regretting missing the Garrett contact webinar thing -- in case you didn't know enrollment is open again today.
     
  7. Panzerotti

    Panzerotti New Member

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    Ha, I know!!! Of course I just signed up for 2 other online agility courses. Unfortunately I really can't justify spending over $1000 on agility courses over the span of 2 days. (Or can I.......:confused:)

    I have Susan Garrett's Foundation Notes though, which outline her 2o2o contact method with pretty decent detail. It still drives me slightly insane though, knowing I'm missing out on this course, ugh!

    Here is Pan looking totally cute working the first stage of nose touches on the contact trainer.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Oh I know I'm sitting here going "well...what if I--- no...okay...what if I---" but just can't justify it :(
     
  9. Finkie_Mom

    Finkie_Mom It's A Red Dog Revolution

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    So today was our Show and Go. And it went horribly. Kimma was SO stressed. She held her startline stay very well, but just sort of walked everything. Whining. I felt so bad. So we did what we could. She did the teeter (which is weird because she used to be terrified of it), and did some super slow weaves, and of course jumps and tunnels and the table. But she was so stressed that she wouldn't take the walk or frame at first? SO NOT LIKE HER. Now about 12 hours later she's finally acting like her normal self - she slept ALL DAY after her run.

    I think I tried too much too soon after moving (she's been stressed a lot since the move 2 weeks ago today - crate anxiety is back and worse than ever, drooling, not eating, etc.).

    Poor dog. I feel like I've failed her :(

    I hope she's OK for our first competition class tomorrow..... Maybe she doesn't like agility as much as I think she does.....
     
  10. Panzerotti

    Panzerotti New Member

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    Don't feel too bad. If you train in a dog sport at one point (or more!) you will feel like you've ruined and/or failed your dog. I've been there. Luckily for us dogs forgive and move on very easily. :)

    It sounds like maybe a combination of stress from life in general with your move plus higher expectations in agility recently. I seem to recall you moving up in class difficulty recently, I think? Maybe try scaling things down for a bit, lowering expectations, just keeping things light and fun.

    I would try going to class tomorrow, but be prepared to not follow along with the class agenda. If you have to, go back to very short easy sequences with high value rewards. It's definitely not worth it to run long sequences with her in a bad state of mind....you don't want her to practice that behaviour.

    From the videos you've posted, I think she really does enjoy agility. All dogs have bad days now and then. Did it recently get warm where you are? I know that I had a somewhat frustrating training session yesterday with Pan due to the sudden increase in temperature.
     
  11. Finkie_Mom

    Finkie_Mom It's A Red Dog Revolution

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    Yes it has gotten to be pretty warm here in the last week. Not sure if that was messing with her, though, as the thing was indoors and it was still early morning so not warm yet....

    Oh yeah, tomorrow at class I'm going to reward for smaller stuff. I think in this class (we moved up but it doesn't start until tomorrow) we do more full courses, so if that is what we start with, I'm going to ask to take it down and do every few obstacles or something like that.

    It's funny, though, because I usually get nervous at stuff like this, and I was totally calm today LOL. I had no expectations really, but I figured that if anything were to go wrong, it would be that she would zoom around like a crazy thing - not be super stressed and slow! At least I'm figuring this all out now before I try to trial her... My husband took video - I will have to see if any of it came out (I forgot my camera, so it was on his phone).

    I just feel so bad that she got that worked up - it was like she was a different dog :(
     
  12. crysania

    crysania New Member

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    I feel you on this one. I had a somewhat frustrating trial on Saturday due to the temperature change. My girl is FINALLY starting to run courses instead of trot through them. On Saturday, we went out for our first one and I think she was just so overheated and stressed that she wanted to do nothing. She absolutely refused to jump or work with me. We did get her cooled off and had two decent runs (one Q, one not), but then on her last one she was so hot again and I couldn't get her to drink or cool off beforehand, so she went out there, did a nice startline stay, and then wouldn't even move. When I went back to her she rolled over and then got up and crawled into the shade. The heat and bright sun is not a thick-coated black dog's friend, especially when they haven't shed out their undercoat!
     
  13. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    This is all classic stress behavior. I don't think it means she doesn't like agility, just that she was stressed when you tried to run her. Since she seems to enjoy it from the training videos you posted, my guess would be she found the setting to be stressful.

    Unfortunately, continuing to try to run them in that state just makes them more stressy (I think as people, we tend to think it will help them see it as fun but for dogs, they don't generally see it that way). Sometimes getting them in a favorite obstacle can improve their mood. For example if your dog is stressy but loves tunnels always, send them through the nearest tunnel and see if they feel better. But if not or they don't have an obstacle that generally makes them happy, don't continue the run because what they remember is "trials = stress".

    One thing I would suggest for an inexperienced dog just starting to trial is don't leave them at the start line. Instead walk in with them, rev them up (if they like that sort of thing) and run with them them. IME if a dog is slightly anxious, leaving them in a stay while you walk away seems to increase their stress. It gives them time to think about how worried they are, notice scary things and having to perform a behavior which requires they do what they aren't inclined to do (stay in one position), while you aren't there to support them....it all adds up to a lot of stress before they even take the first obstacle.

    Panzer gave you a lot of good advice :)

    Heat affects all dogs differently. My hairy black dogs often don't seem worse for wear. Whim ran 8 agility runs this weekend as happily as ever and the temperatures were the highest they've been all year. Savvy (light color, thin coated dog compared to the Belgians) notices the heat more and definitely needs to acclimate to it more. When it first started to get warm he would run with his normal enthusiasm when I was training him but would actually tell me he was done at a point which is very unusual for him. So with him I had to scale back on the time I worked him, so we were done before he got to hot to want to work like his normal self. That was about a month ago and he's much more acclimated to the heat now, even though it's hotter than it was then. IME If dogs don't spend a good deal of time outdoors in the spring and summer, they may not ever fully acclimate to the heat especially if they are used to AC. And being too hot can definitely add to stress at trials. Some dogs this weekend were definitely running slower than usual and I would guess it was due to the heat.
     
  14. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    You've recieved some really good advice already, but I just wanted to say that it happens to everyone. :) Keep in mind that agility is a game, so to help build her confidence make sure to do things that she finds highly rewarding and not to push the big stuff for a while. She'll get there :)
     
  15. Finkie_Mom

    Finkie_Mom It's A Red Dog Revolution

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    Thanks for the added advice, SaraB! Yeah, I have to keep remembering that we're both totally new at this LOL. Here's the video from our run yesterday. She's totally trotting LOL. It wasn't that bad now that I'm watching it from an outside perspective, and she is looking at me for direction a lot more than I remembered. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oH9b24n8UY

    Here's the second sort of run - I tried to do just more jumps and random things versus trying a course, and I even threw in some hand targeting because she likes that a lot. She also does love weaves, so that's why I keep doing those. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFckPFdiluw
     
  16. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Finkie - The videos are very helpful!


    I think her first run in the first video was really pretty good for her first time ever in this sort of setting. She also doesn't look nearly as stress-y as I was expecting from your post. She remains fairly responsive through most of it - I'd say she's looks to be responsive more often than she's not.

    Watching these videos, I would say the biggest factor was just that you might have over done it a bit, especially if she was hot. It isn't hard to want to do more after your run because it's fun and you want to get your money's worth but it's always best to quit while you're ahead :)
     
  17. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    My instructor tells everyone that for their first trial, you run out, do a few obstacles, call it a day and run back. Stop it while it's still fun. If you can tell that she's stressed on the start line, do one obstacles and run to the exit cheering to give her super awesome snacks.

    Even once you're more comfortable in the ring, she's adamant that you shouldn't go back and fix things for quite a while. The dog needs to understand that agility is AWESOME and there is zero reason to be stressed while working, because only good things happen in the ring.

    ---

    In my training life, a few friends and I have started Friday night training sessions, rotating our (tiny little, city sized) backyards and sharing equipment. It's so eye opening to see the holes in a new location, even when there are only 4 dogs and no stress. SO VALUABLE. Lucy's such a spaz in new/distracting environments that we're struggling big time at trials. The equipment is easy, the courses are cake, but the fact that there are other dogs makes it really difficult, so we're trying to work through it.
     
  18. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    This x 1 million. Clean courses don't matter, having a happy dog that loves to trial does.
     
  19. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Started 2x2 training with Payton and Georgie this weekend. Had a small issue with Payton, I figured I would start with a toy because he likes toys best... forgot that I have him trained to sit nicely and wait when he wants a toy. *facepalm* I tried to wait him out figuring he would try something else. NOPE. Apparently I have done my job a little too well. Glub glub. So I got some cookies and started that way. After a little bit with the cookies I switched to the toy again. Still had him stall out on me once or twice but he was already in the gear of "oh we're playing with THOSE things" and quickly figured out I wanted something besides him sitting and staring at me going "OH PLEASE OH PLEASE THROW THE TOY OH PLEASE OH PLEASE." I think we'll be okay now... I hope so anyways.

    I had to ask my mom if she had been working with Georgie on the 2x2s in the basement because Georgie got the first stage almost immediately and was running through the first two poles with lots of speed and enthusiasm from all kinds of angles. I seriously thought my mom was cheating and had already done the work with Georgie. She told me "No!! I didn't do ANYTHING, I don't want to mess it up!" I still half think she's lying LOL. Georgie isn't as quickly shaped as Payton is which is why it's even more surprising that she was so successful so quickly. She is finding ways to impress me when we're playing agility stuff though, maybe because outside of the context of agility she is not as impressive LOL. She is definitely Auggie's niece when we are doing agility work.
     
  20. Finkie_Mom

    Finkie_Mom It's A Red Dog Revolution

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    YES you are all SO right. I used to think that way about stopping while it's still fun (especially when I started 2x2 weave training), but since we had been doing so well in class, I honestly didn't even think of just doing a bit and calling it a day. My brain went in to full course mode, as she's never exhibited these issues before.

    Tonight she was still really weird, but we broke everything down. She STILL avoided the frame at first and tunnels :confused:? I dunno. Her weaves (including some difficult entries) were still fine, albeit slow and when she did do the frame a couple of times, her contacts were good. Teeter was also good and she did a nice (and fast!) serpentine.

    We have a couple of weeks off and during that time, I'm doing no equipment training. I'm hoping that I can repair the "damage" I've caused by pushing her too hard :(
     

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