Agility training

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

  1. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    It is my understanding that the rule is, half the height between the elbow and ground under a year of age. Also goes lower the younger the pup and the large/heavier the breed. Which is why jump bumps are used for pups instead of jumps of any height.

    Airn, nothing wrong with teaching solid foundations to pups, actually it is recommended. But there is a big difference in flatwork foundations and running sequences and piece work. Pups can learn impulse control, wicked recalls, shadow handling (heeling on both sides, at all speeds, walking, stopping, running etc) learning to run past obstacles and tunnel entrances without doing them is far more important at this age/stage than doing them. Plank work and developing a end contact criteria is also excellent. We also don't teach weaves to young puppies. Proofing recalls, stays and working during distractions, something as simple as tugging around other dogs or while other dogs are working. The hardest thing to do, is keeping your pup with you and focused on you in a distracting enviroment. We also want dogs/pups to look forward and not at us when doing agility, so a lot of work in put into teaching them to focus forward, it is called handler v.s task/obstacle focus. There is so much to train which can benefit a pup, regardless of whether you do agility for non competitive or with goals to compete.
     
  2. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    This. Zinga is 10 months now and we've just barely begun piecing things together. She's still jumping 4" and we might do a sequence of two jumps and a tunnel so that I can ensure that I have a really high rate of reinforcement and that reinforcement is in the right place for the exercise.

    We've been doing so much foundation stuff its almost ridiculous! The latest thing we are working on is a table behavior as well as proofing the stay on the table and speed both going to the table and moving off of it. A really fun game that we have been playing involves setting up two low tables about 20 feet from each other and playing quick release as well as impulse control games on them. I think I have a video somewhere of our latest session.

    With all the foundation work we have been doing, I honestly don't have time to work full sequences or even have the desire to do so until I *know* we are solid with that foundation work.
     
  3. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    Guess its time I jumped into this thread.
    I pulled Quinn from agility about 18 months or so ago due to her reactivity. I couldn't get her attention around other dogs enought o reward her with games, she was slow and distracted and it was a constant effort to stop her from flying into a reaction at another dog with a tug or a ball.

    She's not over it all yet but she's much more reliable, a LOT more engaged with her tug, even around other dogs and I've worked hard to link her tug to playing ball (her favourite) and her recalls and control around distracion (yay herding) but she can still get reactive when aroused and around other dogs beinf full on.

    I'm not happy letting her offleash in an agility class yet but I would prefer to teach most of it myself I think anyway and from next week I should have a training buddy I can meet with once or twice a week to bounce off.

    I've decided to go back to the start and re-teach all her foundations. We've been getting back into circle work and started playing around with the tunnel this week so I'll try to get some vid and put it up.
     
  4. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I start usually agility training as soon as a get a puppy, in some form or another depending on the dog. Usually I start tunnels and chutes for sure, "jungle gym" work with low contacts, interacting with things that move/make noise then very low teeter bang game. The age I work them on contacts depends a lot on their coordination. The specifics vary dog to dog and evolve with my knowledge of training and goals.

    I know that jumping and age is a big controversial thing but my dogs do far, far worse in every day life than anything I ask them to do in agility. Savvy was regularly going over the 2' baby gate at 12 weeks and scaled the 4' gate in the yard more times than I want to admit by time he was 6 months old -_- Our back deck used to be open (no railing or sides) and is about 4' tall. My GSD girls would, from I'm sure far too young of an age (under a year for one, not much over a year for the other) run full speed out the door and launch off of it into the yard. Kinda like Deck diving...only there was no water. Every day, many times a day they would do this until they were old dogs . One of them lived to 13+ and the other 14+ with no major orthopedic issues. Actually, they were both much sounder into old age than a lot of GSDs I know who had "physically easier" lives. My Dobe mix, I was 11 and no one told me that puppies shouldn't jump. I had no idea what agility was but I would build jumping courses in the yard for him to do. Starting at 4 or 5 months, I'd get him to jump stuff that was 16"+ high. By time he was 2, he could clear a single high jump that was 4'+. Again, I was a kid and had no clue about any specific training, I just thought tecahing my dog to jump was fun and he seemed to like it a lot. We started real agility when he was 3 or 4 years old and at the time he had to jump 30", which was never a problem. We did agility sometimes several times a week for years. He went on all day walks around town with me as young as 4 or 5 months old many times a week with some breaks. He lived to be an old dog and remained very physically sound.

    Obviously, I no longer jump my puppies the way I did my Dobe mix. But some jumping is an early part of their training and I really think it's good for them. I start jumping young and gradually raising the bars as they get older. The age I start depends on the puppy but usually by time they are 12-16 weeks they have down some very low (2" - 4") jump work. I'm not talking every day or lots of jumping but it's part of their early training. It often starts with me having them chase me over really low jumps - a fun game :) I think they can learn most of what they need to know at lower heights anyway. Whim had only started jumping 20" shortly before her first trial and at her second trial, she measured into 24" which we had barely practiced at all. She went under the 24" practice jump :O But she Q'd in everything that weekend, no issues at all with the extra height on the course.

    So here's some of what I do for foundations. I really like the wrapping stuff, it's fun and easy to do with dogs of any age. I think wrapping uprights and wings was one of the very first things I did with Roust and it's something he finds to be very, very fun! The contacts, Roo has not been coordinated enough on until recently to do much of. This is Roust between 7 and 10 months:

    [YOUTUBE]RJlYs6rsbCc[/YOUTUBE]
     
  5. katielou

    katielou Slave to the Aussie

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    Abe had his first big trial march 9th & 10th at the Seattle kennel club show!
     
  6. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Good luck Abe! We want video :)
     
  7. katielou

    katielou Slave to the Aussie

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    Oh I am sure there will be. So many people that know him found out and he is going to have a whole cheering squad there!
     
  8. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    Excited to see videos of Abe! What venue?
     
  9. katielou

    katielou Slave to the Aussie

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    AKC

    Obligatory lower case
     
  10. DenoLo

    DenoLo New Member

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    We're doing our second trial end of February in USDAA. Still trying to decide if I want to do just Snooker, or Snooker and Jumpers.
     
  11. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    I don't really consider anything black and white.. it depends on the dog. My breeder had no problem with him jumping occasionally and he loves sequences, so I'm not going to stop him. I ask him to jump a whole lot less than he does on his own, still. He's been working on foundations for 4 months, and has a perfect recall, great focus, 2o2o behaviors down, etc. It'd be silly not to start doing small sequences at this point, imo anyway. And I'm training with an AKC agility judge who knows a lot about pups and training, too, and she doesn't let us get too ahead of ourselves. ;)
     
  12. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I took a "less is more" approach with Gusto's agility training early on, and I'm pleased with where we are at. It doesn't mean it is the only answer, but it certainly worked for us. We did a Performance Puppy class for a couple of months - restrained recalls, some circle work, targeting, tons of crate games, body awareness stuff. We did a few tunnels here and there, but he was probably close to 10 months before he saw anything jump-like other than a jump standard for working wraps. We did a bit of plank work, but he didn't see any actual contact stuff until about that age as well - and then mostly a teeter between two tables. Weaves at a year.

    It amazes me how quickly the other stuff comes together. It's one of those things I always heard and agreed with and thought was mostly hooey :D Gusto is still such a baby dog - he's pretty wide on his turns, and occasionally gets frustrated and leaves to sniff, but I'm absurdly pleased with him. His first trial just left me hungry for more! He's going to his second trial at the end of February, and another in March. I just made reservations for a motel for regionals in July :D He'll still be a baby dog, but I want to go to the party anyway!
     
  13. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Sounds just like what I'm doing with Zinga! Bits and pieces, making sure they are thoroughly engrained before moving on. There is just soooo many different things to work on, I want to be sure I'm taking my time with it. Not only that but this is allowing me to go back and re-do some things with Zuma at the same time. Fantastic review for her!
     
  14. DenoLo

    DenoLo New Member

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    Is it possibly the same trial we're doing at the end of February? USDAA? If so it will be our second trial too
     
  15. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    It is USDAA; we'll be in NH.
     
  16. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Gusto is so awesome :) your doing such a great job with him.
     
  17. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Zinga and you as well, brillant :)

    How do you like the Trkman's foundation course? As you know, I am doing her online puppy class now with Punky (first week). And then we'll progress to the foundations in the spring, plus my first lesson with Jess will be in 3 wks. Can't wait for her to meet my little brat and to get some feedback :D
     
  18. DenoLo

    DenoLo New Member

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    Oh bummer, ours is in MA. Maybe we'll run into you guys some day.
     
  19. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    We'll be in Trkman's foundations class together!! I'm planning on signing Payton up in the spring too. =>
     
  20. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Great!!! will be good to see a familiar face :)
     

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