Agility training

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

  1. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Clicker training the weaves as a shaping exercise is really helping that stress. I think she just did not know what to do (my fault) and training suddenly was not fun. And I think she needs more rewards in long sequences than Summer does. Mia's just a lot more sensitive that way but I am glad I'm starting to put two and two together.

    I am also noticing the clicker is really helping to motivate her and she gets more excited for it. I think she is thinking of it more as a game now and a game she knows how to play.

    Beanie I had an awful week last week training and felt like I sucked at it and my dog was too stressy. I took a week of no training and then was able to come yesterday with a new attitude and new game plan. I don't think my dogs are trial ready but.... We'll see. In just doing gamblers with Mia and not worrying about how we do just that we have fun. I'm pretty sure that Summer will provably go crazy running around the ring but hopefully it'll be fun. I just realize with Summer I don't have the luxury of time to really perfect things if I want to trial. As long as we have fun... That's our goal. I see people around here trialling at all sorts of levels and dogs that don't get off the start line or run out the ring or go crazy doing all sorts or stuff in the ring or shut down or poop in the rig. Etc etc etc. so I wouldn't worry about being fabulous if it were me.
     
  2. stardogs

    stardogs Behavior Nerd

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    Beanie, you know what's best for you, but keep in mind that Pay doesn't have to be perfect, especially not his first time out. Kestrel really wasn't ready for his first trial, but we entered a couple classes just to see where he was. I compete in USDAA, so we did have more options - I entered him only in games classes until this year because I wanted the flexibility they offered, and while he doesn't Q at the amazing rate that Z does, we see progress each time and I'm learning to love running him, even though we sometimes end up as the comedy act.

    Could you enter him just in T2B or Jumpers? Not sure how AKC works when it comes to just entering games type classes, but for Kes, we had the most success with Snooker and Jumpers with Gamblers and Relay also being options before the structure and complexity of Standard.

    I had so many issues with Kes' weaves because he ended up with about 3 instructors during that period of time. When I decided to just shape it (after doing channels, then 2x2s, then frustration quitting for 6 months) it "clicked" amazingly - I think Kes, too, just needed a clearer idea of what I wanted. This trial was our first time on weaves outside of our home practice since I switched technique and I really couldn't ask for much more than we saw given the huge jump in criteria!
     
  3. Flyinsbt

    Flyinsbt New Member

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    If you're concerned about contacts, have you thought about entering just Jumpers, or JWW (not sure which venue you were entering)? Or in Gamblers/FAST you can usually pick your obstacles to avoid contacts, if you choose. I know many people who choose to start their green dogs in JWW only, to get the ring experience without as much obstacle performance pressure.
     
  4. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    He just turned two in May. 25 months.
    I know that's really not old. Technically he would be trialing before Auggie did age-wise, but I also didn't start training with Auggie until he was a year old. I mean, admittedly I have never trained a dog 90% on my own before either, so I guess it's no surprise if it takes longer. And here I go comparing him to Auggie again. He is not Auggie.
    It just feels like it is old, because friends have gotten puppies and some of them have been trialing for AGES - one of them is already in Excellent - and Payton hasn't even trialed once. I know I shouldn't be benchmarking based on other people, but it does make me feel like a big fat failure that I can't get my dog in the ring.


    Thanks for the input guys. I'm not sure what to do. The local trial (the first one he's in, 20th-21st) I did enter him just in JWW. It is indoors and I really don't like to trial indoors there, and for Payton, I really just wanted his first trial to just be easy and fun for him, so no standard. They have a fun run at the club this Saturday, but of course the trial closes on Friday. I guess I could look at the trial as very expensive practice. Get him in a ring. Get him measured by a judge. Stuff like that.

    I entered him in a trial we have to travel for on the 27th-28th, and there was no way I was going to drive three hours and book an expensive hotel (no cheap hotels by this trial) just to put him in a single class, so I did JWW and Standard both. I really should just pull him out of that one, cancel my hotel, and be done with that, because it's too expensive to have him fail spectacularly.


    There's an awful lot of pressure to not fail for a variety of reasons. I'm not exaggerating when I say somebody will be waiting for us to fail because it proves their point every time Payton struggles or fails that I'm a stupid idiot for not giving my dog physical corrections. I've had this confrontation multiple times already and I just don't want to have it again...
    And clearly I have piled all my hopes and dreams that didn't pan out with Auggie on Payton, which also isn't fair or right. There is too much pressure on the dog and too much pressure on me and I really wish we could just play the **** game instead of worrying about other things.
     
  5. Flyinsbt

    Flyinsbt New Member

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    That's really frustrating that you have to deal with that, and I certainly see why you're feeling over-pressured by the situation. (and somebody thinks you should use physical corrections for agility? WTH? Do they like slow dogs?)

    Anyway, if you feel that it's just too much, I can sure see why you'd want to just wait to start trialing, and it won't hurt if you do. If it were me, I'd probably pull from the traveling trial, because yes, that's a lot of money, and a lot of pressure. But I'd probably run JWW at your local trial, because I really do like to get my youngsters out early and let them get used to the experience, while my expectations aren't high. That may not be the best choice for you, though, you have to decide that for yourself.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Oh man... I'm not sure my entry went through for the trial. I brought my paperwork but forgot to write in their usdaa numbers so I emailed them on Thursday but I guess she didn't see my email? She emailed me asking for hem late Friday on the closing date but I didn't see it till now.

    Kind of bummed. :(

    Eta: well I have confirmation emails that they're entered. Hopefully we are.

    Note to self: be more organized and don't waffle on a decision for weeks until the closing date for the trial.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  7. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Well, I asked my mom's opinion and she told me I should keep him in the trial here and she will go with me and try to run interference. But she agrees on pulling him from the other trial because it's expensive.
    I told her about a trial in Indy in mid-August I was thinking about, because it's closer, I like Indy, and the hotels are cheaper, and she said she would go with me to that one too, so I should enter it. That one closes after the local trial, so if it's REALLY a disaster, I can pull from that one too.

    and I decided to enter Auggie in jumpers one day in Indy, because he really likes that club and I think he'll have fun. And then he gets to go under the guise of actually being an entered dog. And if Payton does terribly it's okay because I will get to run Auggie and nothing else will really matter at that point.

    So... I guess I'll keep him entered here. and just see what happens...
     
  8. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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  9. Flyinsbt

    Flyinsbt New Member

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    A good thing about USDAA is they aren't as rigid about things like closing dates as the AKC is. I mean, in a sense, it's a good thing that the AKC has very specific criteria, because it eliminates a certain amount of wondering. But when you tend to procrastinate, a little wiggle room can be a good thing.

    So if you're confirmed, I'm sure you're entered. Have fun!
     
  10. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I don't know why everyone thinks their two year old dogs need to be heavily trialing? Two is not only "not that old"....2 is barely past puppyhood at best. Savvy is just a few months older than Payton and has only gone to a handful of trials and I wasn't really taking any of them seriously. More just putting him in because there was stuff he could do and Whim was going anyway. Honestly, it shouldn't matter what everyone else is doing anyway. I see a lot of people get into Excellent super fast with their young dogs and then struggle when the holes in their training start to be come obvious.

    Your mom's suggestion is a good one I think. Look at taking him into JWW as a way to see where you're at in your training and what you need more work on. But mostly, have fun with your young dog and don't expect him to do anything but be young and silly at his first trials. And be silly with him. If he fails epically, laugh and tell him he's very funny. Some of Savvy's runs have been him being wild, getting fault after fault looking somewhat possessed...and me laughing a lot and calling him a nut. And then some, some he's been amazing. And that's how it goes with young dogs :)

    As for the person who is ready to pounce anytime your don't succeed. #@& them. Seriously, why waste your time worrying about what one miserable person thinks about you, your dog and your training methods? So not worth your time and energy to give them the time of day, let alone get upset over having a confrontation. Seriously, I would just totally ignore her and pretend like you don't see or hear her if she speaks to you (I've dealt with my share of such people, seems to come with being a young person involved in dogs...). People like that, you could have a World Champion and they'd still be talking about how your methods don't work, your dog is horrible and blahblahblah. You don't have to prove anything to that person or anyone else.

    I really look forward to hearing about Payton's first trial :)
     
  11. CaliTerp07

    CaliTerp07 New Member

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    I'm pretty sure in some venues you can't even enter until the dog is 18 months. 2 years is a BABY!

    Lucy is 9. NINE. We've been doing this for nearly 5 years. We're fiiiiiiinally getting steam and starting to see success, but it's been a very, very long road. I spent many nights crying to Zach that my dog was broken, there was no point to this, and why was I pouring thousands of dollars and gazillions of hours into the black hole of my dog's attention span. I coveted my friends' dogs who were boring ol' steady eddies and just did what was asked the first time around. I still do, some days.

    People at my trainer who started a year ago are now trialing. And seeing more success than lucy and I do. It hurts, not going to lie. I feel like I'm doing everything right, but that the dog I picked to do this with had a deck stacked against her. We've worked SO HARD.

    And then at the end of a long day she curls up in my lap and kisses me we snuggle and I tell her she's the best dog ever because really, she is the best dog ever even if she kinda sucks at paying attention in agility. I got her first and foremost as a pet and a companion, and she's stinkin' awesome at that.

    (Side note: I think the longer you wait to enter him the more anxiety you are going to build up in yourself.)
     
  12. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    This, especially the bolded parts :)
     
  13. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    I give this speech to my students ALL the time and it starts with the very first class they take with me and they will continue to hear it from me throughout their training.

    "You can't not compare how you and your dog is too anyone else. Everyone struggles at one level or stage or another. You might be struggling at one level and be the rock star in the next and then have it flip back again. It is a waste of your time and energy to keep score."

    I also fired a student from training, she always made little snide comments to the other students. Spoke to her about it, told her to please stop. She didn't, she was told to leave and not come back.
     
  14. yv0nne

    yv0nne Vizsla mom

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    In Canada, AAC, you can't even enter until 18 months. Penn will be entered when she is old enough but only in a few classes& only because I'm already running Briar& she comes along regardless. I have no high hopes LOL!

    Just enter, do your best& smile. Even if people get to you, smile. Don't let them know or they win their game!
     
  15. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Lol Cali I am just now STARTING out with my 9 year old dog. And she still can weave lol. I honestly don't care if we never title. This last year and a half of agility training with her has been amazing and wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
     
  16. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    I understand the pressure part. Zuma started with a group of dogs who passed her up a while ago. I have to keep reminding myself that I can't really compare Zuma to their dogs because they trial much more than I do AND Zuma is Zuma, not Blazen, Torch, Wager or any of those other dogs. We have our own problems to push through.

    My boss recently asked me when I was going to debut Zinga. I shrugged, said we were taking our time and probably won't be until late winter. I train my dogs myself with input here and there from my mentor and I get that need to prove yourself. However, anyone that is worth proving yourself to should understand that training dogs is not black and white and that every team goes through a different path.

    So I don't worry about it anymore. My dogs and I will go out there and do our best even if there are prying eyes unraveling our every move. We will have fun and be a team that novice handlers aspire to solely for that reason. I would much rather be THAT team, then the team that stresses because it didn't go perfectly.
     
  17. Flyinsbt

    Flyinsbt New Member

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    I started Pi in his first trial at 18 months old. This was not because he was ready, it's because it was our national specialty weekend (all breed trial), and I wanted to bring him out there. He was... enthusiastic, but astonishingly, he actually managed a Q there:

    [YOUTUBE]w7f_DvyOSxQ[/YOUTUBE]

    I'm sharing the qualifying run because I think it's actually funnier than his NQ's. It was as dirty a Q as a Q can be. He had no idea what he was doing, there was a ton of luck involved in this Q.

    5 months later, dog almost 2 years old, having inexplicably found our way into Open Standard, there were undoubtedly people wondering why on earth I was running this dog:

    [YOUTUBE]SHQEnjOLx8I[/YOUTUBE]

    And trust me, while exaggerated by the venue, this was pretty much what I got from him. Lots of distraction, and wandering off. Meanwhile, at this same event, a BC who is almost the exact same age as my Pirate won one of the ISC classes. I could feel bad about the fact that my dog is clearly so woefully behind. Or I could give up, and vow not to compete with him again until he's perfect.

    Thing is, he's not that dog. Or any of those other dogs that come in and excel from the get go. He's just my Pirate. And I truly believe that with a dog this stimulated by the environment, the only solution is to get him out there until he gets used to it. Could be wrong about that, that's just how I view it. So maybe I look like an idiot for awhile. Maybe everyone thinks I'm a total loon for running this dog. But I'm going to do what's right for me and my dog, so I just kept at it with him, and laughed at his ridiculousness, and now he's coming together.

    I think if you're true to yourself and your dog, you'll enjoy yourself at the sport, and the people who are worth hanging around will respect you and like you for treating your dog right. But no, you should never feel like you're doing something wrong because other dogs are achieving things faster than yours. They aren't you.
     
  18. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Thanks guys. Seriously. I really appreciate it. And yeah, I know even if Payton had the most beautiful run in the history of beautiful runs it still wouldn't be good enough for this individual. =P But it is one thing to logically know something, and another to change how it makes me feel. The former is easy, the latter much more difficult, and it takes time.

    I have put a lot of deposits in the Payton Bank over his time with me to make him a great DOG, not just a great agility dog, and I know it has paid off wonderfully. It pays off every morning when he rolls around on his back wookie-noising at me to please come tickle his belly. It pays off every time I sit down and he runs over to press himself against me and wag his tail. It pays off every day - not just every trial. He's really a great little goober and I love him and wouldn't trade him for anything.


    Probably. And the more pressure too. More time means more practice means he should be better right? And then if it's still a disaster what have I accomplished, LOL.

    The irony is that I entered him because I was like "I love competing! It's fun! We'll just go have fun!" And now it's become about all the fun I'm NOT going to have instead of just having fun.
    I should just look at it as a way to get revenge on the judge who once wore a big floppy hat and huge bug-eyed sunglasses in the ring and freaked Auggie out so much he wouldn't do the a-frame (his favourite.) Oh, you want to freak out my poor baby dog? Here, enjoy THIS baby dog.
     
  19. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I think we all get stuck comparing ourselves to other teams in one way or another. One of Gusto's "puppy buddies" who we always hung out with at trials (his older 'sister' and Meg were competitors) just got his AAD and is headed into Masters. Gusto still hasn't gotten out of Starters. Sure, we trial a bit less than them, but they've had super success plain and simple. It's a great dog and a great handler and trainer and oh well. I felt a bit of "god, we suck" when I saw him wearing his title ribbon on Facebook, but good lord, Gusto is the same age as Payton. I fully expect to have another 10 years or more trialling him. We have time! He's still younger now than Meg was at her first trial ever. And I can just now start seeing moments where I think "He's really growing up and maturing and we are going to do this!". Most of the time, I think "Hello silly baby dog".

    I know you are a pretty intense athlete outside of agility as well; have you ever done any sports psychology/mental management stuff? It's great that you recognize the pressures and the issues with comparing your two dogs, but maybe there are other things that you could be doing with all that pressure. I just "fake it", which may or may not be healthy, but it works for us. I don't think anyone is standing around looking for us to fail (I hope not!), but there's always some people watching when your baby dog starts coming out. I've had enough people who think Gusto is an intentionally bred sport mix that I sometimes feel that pressure (He's bred for this! He should be doing better!) even when I'm walking out of the ring with my rescue dog who was pulled out of a mattress.

    So I fake it and pretend that what we got was *exactly* what we wanted. He stressed in the weaves and we finally gave up and ran out of the ring? *Have some cookies "oh my god you are amazing did you see that start line what a genius!* If people come up and comment on the run, positively or not, "oh, thanks! We are still working out some things, but he completely rocked his start line and we've been working so hard on that!" Put a positive spin on it. It's good for you, it will throw off the people who want to rain on your parade, and it is the best thing ever for your dog. I learned with Meg to be an amazing actress. Fake happy, fake thrilled, get your dog and everyone around you thinking that run was the best thing that could have ever happened, and then go to your car and slam your head on the windshield and melt down if you need to. No judgement here, I've both been there and done that. But I think if you go in thinking "I need someone to run interference" you are setting yourself and your dog up to be disappointed. Thinking about what those people will be saying is going to keep you from being able to see the stuff that really, really was amazing.

    Another thought, if those people are going to make you feel self-conscious, is what about starting him in a different venue? Go run a few times in USDAA or CPE or something where you don't care about the runs from a titling standpoint and people don't know you or your dog. Get in the ring, figure out where things are training wise, and head back to AKC when you feel ready.

    This makes me so absurdly happy to read given that I don't actually know you or your dogs. Agility helped me find that side of Meg as well, and it's the best reward I could have ever gotten.
     
  20. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    It has definitely been so rewarding to see Summer having fun like she is now. I'm just still giddy she played like she did. She is such a fun dog.

    Still haven't here back abou my email with the usdaa numbers/if it went through on time. Hope so. I want to know for sure!
     

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