Agility training

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

  1. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,965
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
  2. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,652
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Just Miss Lucy-fur, my wondermutt!
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
  3. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    8,694
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Maryland
  4. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Messages:
    14,011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Illinois
    Home Page:
    Oh, somebody showed me that video in Indy shortly after it was posted online! I thought it was so adorable how he even did some hops through the jump standards... so cute. Little trooper! And so awesome for the club to let people take glory runs with their dogs too.
     
  5. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    Messages:
    3,378
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    5
    Location:
    Michigan
    So, Rider and I are currently in an Intro to Agility class... He's so serious about working that it doesn't seem like he is having fun. I try to be cheerleader, but there is only so much I can do. Tips? Is he just not cut out for it?

    Drive may be part of it (surprise, surprise). He goes through tunnels at a walk, jumps lazily, ect. Srs dog is srs.

    [​IMG]
    DSC_1911 by DJetzel, on Flickr
     
  6. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,965
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    Have you done any foundation work/drive building stuff with him before putting him on equipment? A lot of places unfortunately start dogs off right on equipment and ime it doesn't work so well. You want to build a dog that drives forward on a flat first.
     
  7. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,965
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    Other thoughts....kind of jumbled.

    1. I've seen dogs that really take a bit to warm up to it and really understand the game. Particularly if the entire thing is totally new and they haven't done much work. Especially in dogs that start off a little fearful. That can often LOOK like lack of drive when in actuality the dog is just too worried. One of the dogs in one of my classes now started off the first class refusing to get out of his crate. It was just too much/too new. He learns slower than the other dogs in class because he gets distracted and shuts down easier. So he gets rewarded a lot more. Still gets rewarded after most obstacles. The dog is actually really really fast. You would not believe it was the same dog watching him now (one year into things) versus when he started. And he's has FUN too. He just needs more time and direction and confidence.

    2. Have you tried other rewards? Higher value food? Or a toy instead? I've seen dogs wih meh food drive totally light up when their reward is changed to a squeaky toy.
     
  8. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Environmental Science
    Location:
    Vermont
    If a dog doesn't already "play" with you in training, it is absolutely something you can teach. The more you can get him playing, the more you can build his drive for agility. Being a cheerleader is key, but figure out how he needs you to cheer him on.

    Some stuff that has worked for my low drive dog:

    Best treats ever! And make him work for the food. Hold him back by his collar or chest and say "readyreadyready?" and throw the food out in front of him a bit - when he's excited and trying to get it, release him and use your release word.

    Similar idea, but even better if you can stay "up" enough - combine that with chasing you. Start like above, but when he goes for the treat, you turn and run the other way, calling him. When he chases you, throw the treat out ahead of you, telling him to get it, and turn and run the other way. Lather/rinse/repeat. Teaching your dog to love chasing you is great for agility, especially if you have a slower or lower drive dog you can get out ahead of.

    Definitely try different toys and treats. I've trained two dogs almost exclusively with treats (Gusto will work for tug some), but found a whole new gear in Gusto when I started training using a squeaky tennis ball. If you have a toy he likes, make it JUST an agility toy. Gusto adores his squeaky tennis ball so much, and he only ever gets it for agility, so it retains its value.

    Get him playing with you before he goes near equipment. Teach him fun tricks that amp him up. Spinning, jumping on you or over your foot, backing up, barking (all wonderful behaviors to teach your dog :eek:). Anything that gets him excited. Does he have any cues in the 'outside' world that get him crazed? Meg, for instance, used to LOVE playing "find the kitty" at the barn, and would tear around the barn and hayloft at full speed when you asked her "Where's the kitty?". So now I can get her amped (too much sometimes) by standing at the start line and saying "Do you think there's a kitty out here? Where's the kitty? meow" (sometimes you get to look like an idiot to amuse your dog).
     
  9. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Messages:
    14,011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Illinois
    Home Page:
    Agree with BB's post - especially about the chasing! Agility is just chasing with obstacles in between (/Sylvia Trkman.) I played chasing games with Payton all the time as a puppy and it's still one of the games I play a lot with ALL the dogs now. (Bonus, it's also useful to teaching a recall!)

    When you say you try to be a cheerleader how do you mean? I found that trying to cheerlead with Auggie - constantly yammering at him, clapping, and basically pleading for him to come on, put a lot of pressure on him instead of doing what I wanted, and had a negative affect. Auggie runs fastest when I just stop yapping at him and run - because it is a chasing game!
    High value rewards and frequent rewards is appropriate to build value to the game, but in many cases, effectively nagging the dog like I was doing... not so helpful. It puts pressure on the dog instead and results in slower, more tentative, worried performances.

    What does he do with enthusiasm? Fun tricks like BB said, does he chase toys, balls, food toys?
     
  10. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    Messages:
    3,378
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    5
    Location:
    Michigan
    Oh, thanks for all of the responses! Right now, I'm using a variety of different treats, including chicken, hot dogs, and FreshPet pieces. All are really slimey and good, and are the highest value I have found for him so far.

    He does really like squeaky balls (though only when they are squeaking :rolleyes:), maybe I will bring that out next time and make it an exclusive agility thing. I've worked with the ball before while doing following and front crosses, and it helped quite a bit! Tug is okay, but only once he is already amped up, and his interest fades quickly.

    We have done *some* drive building through Nosework, but I don't know if I am translating it to agility correctly. I will definitely try the chasing! We have been working a lot on following on both sides, as well as just fun front crosses and that seems to get him happy, so the chasing game sounds fun! We are using lids at the base of the a-frame, and at the ends of tunnels, so I've been doing a similar, throw the treat on the lid and send type thing. He seems to be building more drive for the lid now.

    It probably doesn't help that this is my first real experience training a dog for agility, and training a newb dog who can already be driveless in certain situations.
     
  11. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,965
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    Ime nosework and agility are really seen separately by the dogs. Nosework 'drive building' is all about the search and building up the drive to search through distractions/distance/duration/etc. the dog leads nosework very independently so it doesn't do too much to build drive for playing with you. Or at least ime.

    I do a lot of game playing with Mia because she is very playful. Things like chase and getting her to drive towards her ball are things that are easy to build up drive wise. Summer has no toy drive and does not understand playing. It seems to scare/confuse her. Now let me clarify that that has grown as we've trained and as I teach her more. But she's still a little unsure. Pushing on her chest totally freaks her out. She thinks you're mad at her.

    I've found she will chase me is Mia is chasing me. There's a place we go to that has stairs and three levels. The dogs love racing with me there. They're on the top level and I'm on the bottom. We play race race race then they get a reward. Summer loves to train and goes bonkers at the sight of food. So we do a lot of tricks to bring her up (although she really doesn't need it much these days) Her favorites are jumping and spinning. Every training session begins with summer jumping like a crazy dog.

    I think he important thing with a dog that is unsure/less drivey is to make everything fun. Even training sit is fast paced. Sit, release really fast, run and chase me, sit, release immediately, treat. I try to incorporate chase as much as possible.

    I also agree with beanie that cheer leading often comes across to the dog as nagging/stressful. Keeping things upbeat is great but you can overdo it with 'good summer. Good summer come on summer!'

    But I really think it can initially just be a lot for dogs at first. If youre only a few weeks in I'd stick with it. Definitely wouldn't assume he's not going to like it. Training style DOES matter though. Summer walked everything at our old trainers but is pretty darn fast these days. Heavy foundations really helped her.
     
  12. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,965
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    Also rewards can be really bizarre lol. One of my trainers has a border collie that goes crazy to tug on a plastic bag. So that is his highest reward. My other agility trainer's welsh sheepdog goes bonkers for air being blown in his face. So I've seen her being a tire pump out so he could bite at air for his reward. One of my classmates (the fearful dog) brings an old house shoe for her dogs 'tug'.
     
  13. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,089
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    7
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Agree with what has been posted so far. And if your dog is slow, DO NOT run sequences. Get him excited, chase, chase etc and do one easy obstacle, make sure your information is clear, that your information (body language) is clear. Don't make 'sigh' sounds, fast way to stress a dog. Doesn't matter what he does as long as he is happy.

    All the fun games, toys, tricks have to be solid away from agility and reliable in other places before combined with agility.
     
  14. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    Messages:
    3,378
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    5
    Location:
    Michigan
    We have two more classes left in our Intro. I'm almost thinking about taking a foundations class online, no obstacles or anything.. just drive building and whatever else they teach in a foundations. Or, just working by myself with drive building on the flat and doing some makeshift jumps and such... Or, do I go onto the continuing class and just see how it goes?
     
  15. DenoLo

    DenoLo New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    401
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    MA
    It took about 8 months for Lo to actually find her speed. It's all a confidence thing for her- once she understood the game and got confident on all the equipment, that was when started getting speedier and visibly having more fun.
     
  16. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,089
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    7
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Another excellent resource

    There are many very experienced and successful agility folks here and many that are new to the sport or thinking about getting into it.

    Here is a link to an excellent resource with tons of info. The page I linked is the Visual Dictionary :)

    I hope it is useful for those that haven't seen this site before.

    http://baddogagility.com/category/visual-dictionary/
     
  17. Babyblue5290

    Babyblue5290 Happy Meal. Yum.

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    16,079
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for all the advice on what to look for during the competition class!

    It's an outdoor area, though they have a barn when it get's too cold. The class was fun to watch, it was their first week. There where 5 students, two BC's, a papillon, a poodle mix, and a lab. They all did pretty well, though one of the BC's wanted to just follow his nose to the fence closest to the horses :rofl1: lol The poodle was just a bit nervous about going fast with the A frame so the owner and instructor both decided to use heavy treats/rewards to build it's confidence on it. Which I really liked.

    I have a question. The tunnel did have two bags tied together at either end, not blocking the entrance/exit, to make sure it didn't move. Everything looked good, but I wasn't sure about the A-Frame or how it was suppose to look? It basically was two long boards with a metal pole that slid into slots in the middle (top of the A) to keep it together and then I think 2 or three sets of chains to keep it from flattening out. Does that sound right?

    All the people seemed really nice, we talked as they watched others do course and all seemed very supportive. Everyone was constantly "good job!" "There is it" and seemed like they where having fun. :)

    So I think it's going to be a good class, Talon will start in June, barring any schedule problems! :)
     
  18. Raegan

    Raegan Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Giant Miniature Schnauzer & International Toller o
    Location:
    Fond du Lac, WI
    Yahhh, first agility trial of the season tonight! It's going to be a disaster, Marsh hasn't seen equipment since October. :rofl1: Tonight it's only Tunnelers and Hoopers, which in one way is good since the obstacle performance isn't very demanding, but on the other hand that means my handling is super important, and well... at least Marsh will have fun.
     
  19. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,965
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    Ran Summer today. Summer is the best, most consistent, most willing little dog I have ever seen. I seriously do not think you could find a better 'starter agility dog'. I love running with her, even if we have a very short career. I'm really glad I took the leap and entered my 8 year old dog into agility classes. It's paid off in spades. <3 Love this dog.
     
  20. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,965
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    Kind of bittersweet today. The good news was we ran our first full length novice course and the girls did amazing. Mia had a few bobbles but Summer was just almost clean. She missed her last weave pole. We tied for first in our in-class competition. :D

    The sad news is it looks like my class may be disbanding for good. I'm super sad about that and not sure what I'm going to do. We're breaking for at least a month and then we should know for certain. I'm going to try to get in a private lesson or do some drop ins or SOMETHING during that time. This is when it'd be really nice if I had a decent yard. Urgh I don't want to go a month without agility. The girls are coming together nicely.
     

Share This Page