Agility training

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

  1. Dizzy

    Dizzy Sit! Good dog.

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    Well. I signed up for beginners agility with Fred. So you will all feel amazing about yourselves soon enough because... Well. Fred + agility will undoubtedly = much swearing and hilarity.

    It will be like training a donkey with a brick for a brain. We call him Pdonkey for a reason (puppy donkey.... Pdonkey).

    We don't start till October so he will be 15 months, and fully recovered too (she says with confidence.......) :)

    Watch this space.... :popcorn:
     
  2. Finkie_Mom

    Finkie_Mom It's A Red Dog Revolution

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    Oh Beanie, PLEASE don't feel like you have to prove yourself to anyone! I run a Finnish Spitz, for crying out loud! We've been relatively successful thus far (part luck, part Kimma being a good dog), but I know it's going to take us FOREVER to get our Excellent title. Let alone Masters! But you have Payton and are a great trainer, and you will find ways to make his training successful. I didn't have classes for a LONG while when I was working recall with Kimma, and it honestly helped I think. We came back to classes more confident than ever, and she worked very well for me (with some hiccups of course!).

    With Jari I'm taking it SUPER slow. All training is super fun time play stuff. And it will remain that way for at least another year. I felt so pressured to start with Kimma for a while, but I'm glad I waited until I was confident and she was really into the game (just before she turned 3). I plan on doing the same with Jari, and hopefully one day he too will be ready!

    ETA - Some of the dogs that Kimma started training with began competing months and months before she did. They got through Novice pretty quickly, but have been stuck in Open for forever. Others we know are phenomenal in class, but have trialing issues. It's never just easy. That's part of what makes it so fun for me! Every class, every trial, is another learning opportunity for you and your dog.
     
  3. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Oh god. When he got the zoomies, I LOL'd.

    I don't do agility, but the first time I stepped into a rally ring I said to myself, "Self, this is either going to be totally fine or your dog is going to be a YouTube sensation a la Fenton. Either way, it's good."

    I'm shocked at how much trash talk there can be ringside at trials. My husband wouldn't even tell me some of the comments he overheard about us at our first trial. But you know what? My dog may have scored a 77, but I'm not crazy enough to be in tears over a single point and none of them get to live with my Squashies so they can all eff right the eff off.
     
  4. Finkie_Mom

    Finkie_Mom It's A Red Dog Revolution

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    Your Squashies is the bestest so they can go suck it!
     
  5. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I've heard trash talk at conformation but not at agility yet. Most people here seem pretty laid back thankfully. Maybe it's because the sport is so new here and the community so small? I dunno, but I like it.
     
  6. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    Darn right! I love it!

    That video of Pirate always cracks me up. I'm always watching thinking "Boy that's a great dog walk. Boy that's a great a-frame. Oh...goodbye, Pirate."

    My most epic of epic agility moments sadly was never caught on film. It was with Meg (as all epic agility moments must be; Gusto will never reach her level of weird). Great, fun, 2 day outdoor trial. Big crowd, end of the day Saturday, the starters/advanced ring was done, all that was left to run was Steeplechase. So of course, everyone has their chairs pulled up there, the jello shots are a-flowing (hey, it is USDAA after all). I'd come down later in the day and only signed up for steeplechase on Saturday, because we were chasing PIII gamblers Qs and that was Sunday. And then I walked the course.

    Oh, hello chute.
    [​IMG]

    Meg, for those of you who don't know, is "quirky". Among other things, at that point in time my Masters level dog was going through a period of chute phobia. That's nice normal chutes. Not this monstrosity.

    I figured it's steeplechase, there are no refusals, just run faster. We got to the chute, she ran around it. I went with my plan and stood there, holding my position. Meg kept coming back to me as she should, then running around the chute again. She circled it 3 or 4 times, jumping over the fabric. I was trying to decide what to do next when she decided the obvious answer was to stand on top of the roof. She stood on top of it, nubbin going as fast as possible, so pleased that she'd found a way to interact with the chute in a way that didn't scare her. The crowd was quite literally rolling on the ground. People still bring it up when they see Meg.

    And the next day, of course the gamble involved the chute.

    Suffice to say we don't trial there anymore, despite the fact that we started constructing things like this during practices:
    [​IMG]

    So there, you can't possibly be more of a laughing stock than we were. You are now safe to trial anywhere, with any dog.
     
  7. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    We don't hear a lot of trash talk at our agility trials. For the most part folks are very supportive and helpful. Folks just tend to walk away if someone starts.

    Lol, I was running a fun match and a bunch of folks told me about a woman (I know her and wasn't surprised) that was trash talking people running their dogs. Easy fix, her entries were denied at future fun matches.

    That is the thing I love about agility (at least up here) min trash talk.
     
  8. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Omg, has anyone NOT had a dog do the zoomies at a trial?

    Years ago when I was getting Bobbi ready for his first trial, everyone was taking bets as to what he would do first. Jump on ring crew or the judge. We were almost finished a nice clean jumpers run and he took off across the ring, leaped out of the ring and blasted on this poor man's lap sitting ringside at his crates, mugged this guy's face with his tongue and raced back to me. As he raced back to me, he noticed the judge standing in the ring. That fast he leaped up into her arms, slobbering her face. She put him down, cracked up, Bobbi rejoined me and we finished out. As I left the ring I over heard someone say, 'Well there is one jrt that can't be accused of being aggressive' lol.
     
  9. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    There actually isn't much around here either. It's a few bad apples, but ironically they tend to be the ones who aren't really doing anything spectacular themselves. The kindest people to me have generally been the "big name" people, at least for our area. They have nothing to prove, they aren't insecure, and they like seeing people do well.

    What I do see in our area a lot (and I'd guess in a lot of dog areas) is people offering advice that wasn't asked for. I rarely see it being offered in any way other than an attempt to be helpful, but I know from being on the other side that it can feel hurtful at the wrong time. I truly don't think it is meant to be unkind though, at least in 90% of the cases.
     
  10. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    Okay, so I need some help from you guys. I have an agility lesson this weekend with a great trainer. I've taken one other lesson with her before, last summer, and one seminar. She doesn't always handle the way I would choose to with Gusto at this point, but she's never had an issue with me saying that (asking me if I've proofed his contacts against blind crosses, I just said I don't want to do those with him yet since he likes to duck behind me, we moved on cheerfully). What I LOVE about her and her dogs is that she does a fantastic job motivating them, keeping them playing with her, and running fast. And she does it with some physical limitations, which, given my lack of speed, is helpful to me.

    The other times I've worked with her it hasn't been in private - a group at the seminar, and my other lesson was a semi-private where I kind of let the other handler take the lead. So I know it is going to start with "what do you want to work on", and I'm not sure exactly what I should be asking for.

    Gusto's obstacle skills are generally good - his weave poles need more proofing for sure, but I know that. What we need is help increasing his speed, both over the ground and over the obstacles, and tightening up his turns and stuff, since he's still kind of "baby-dog loopy". He doesn't "pick up" nicely from front crosses; I don't know if it is my timing or reward placement or what. This is all assuming I get the dog I usually have these days, and not Silly Baby Dog who needs to go spend an hour sniffing the fence line.

    Is there anything specific I should be asking for? Wording things a certain way? I know that words like "drive" get thrown around, and half the time everyone means something different. Do I give that whole speech, or should I just have a quick answer on hand ("I need to work on handling").

    I'm excited; I like this trainer, and she will be back in our area again in August for another round of lessons. But I always feel like such a babbling idiot in situations like this - or I clam up and give one word answers. Or both!

    Any advice?
     
  11. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    ME! We'll see how long that lasts. If summer repeats this last weekend's class then we definitely will.

    Here's my boring update:

    Tonight was the first time I really decided to work 'weaves' at home since having my realization I suck at training weaves and then stopping to figure out what I'm doing.

    I've realized my dogs understand shaping and that clickers are motivating to them. So I have brought out the clicker. My trainer had also independently suggested shaping the weaves for my dogs since they were struggling.

    Summer is doing 3 poles now with a few inches of space between them and it is going well. I did 2 sessions tonight and she was very happy and trying to go with some speed. Overall very good session. I'm pretty sure it's not the best way to train weaves but 2x2s were just not working for us (me in particular). Maybe it'll be the best method eventually for me once I get more experience. So if we don't have the fastest/most reliable weaves I'm just not sweating it.

    With Mia... I am still seeing some fallout from pushing her too hard and confusing her and getting frustrated by the weaves. Last night at class she was happily doing 2 poles but tonight in the yard (where the 'worst' happened from her experience) she was starting to stress after the first rep. So... we decided to play instead. :) We did some chase games and I used the clicker to keep her engaged. She was stressing by sniffing and just disengaging. I'd run to one side of the yard and she'd chase me, click, treat. Run to the other side, click treat. Run again then ask for a hi five or spin, click treat. By the end of the session I had a dog that was happy again to play in the yard and not worrying. I don't think we're even going to approach weaves at all till after the trial and it will be sloooowly.

    I will be honest I feel a little like a jerk for letting my 'needing to have dogs that weave' come before my dogs having fun. Lesson learned the hard way. I guess some have to be learned that way.

    Then we did a short play session with each girl and the tug. Summer did good and Mia started really getting into it in the yard, which was great. She was crouching and would jump up and bite at the tug when I'd show it to her. So... no weave progress really but I'm back on my way to a happy dog.

    Next week I'm going to get there early to just do some chase games with Mia. I'm also going to skip weaves at all with her in class for a while.
     
  12. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Sounds like you have a very good idea what you need help with :) Just say that above line and you'll have it covered.
     
  13. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    I don't even know which Kim-zoomie story should be told first... lol

    My girl likes the feel of the wind in her ears, what can I say? ;)
     
  14. Flyinsbt

    Flyinsbt New Member

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    Oh my, that is quite the chute! I can imagine a lot of dogs being thrown by that one! And your story is quite hilarious. Poor Meg, trying so hard!

    My sense of humor tends to get the best of me, so when my dogs find a really creative way to NQ, I can only laugh.

    I had such a moment with Tess this Saturday. Not as dramatically wrong as Meg and the chute, or Random Pirate, but Tess is 7 years old, and a very experienced agility dog. Close to her MACH, had competed at World Team Tryouts, Nationals, and the Invitational. Blah blah blah.

    So I'm running this course with her, outside, in 90 degree weather. Which she actually handles fine, and she's bouncing at the start and eager to run. The opening wasn't a very good one for our lack of start line, so I wind up needing a dramatic call-off from a tunnel (embarrassing, I don't usually need call offs!), but we get past that. She nails a tough weave entry, and works hard to stay in. Coming down to the end of the course, I figure we've got it in the bag, I tell her "table"... and she heads past the pause table to the score table, 10-15 feet away.

    "Hey ma, this one has shade!"

    Well, I guess I didn't specify. And yes, that was her only fault for the run, but I guess if you're going to NQ, you might as well make it entertaining. Though I'm going to have to talk to her, it would have been funnier if she'd jumped on the score table.
     
  15. DenoLo

    DenoLo New Member

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    We've trialed 3 times and every single time we've had one really good one where she's running fast (or well as fast as her little Shih Tzu body can run anyways lol), and "into" it. And then right after that one where I'm feeling all confident, she goes into the ring and walks it, needing to be cheerleaded through the whole thing. We had the entire audience going "YAY LOLA WOOO" on the last straightaway trying to get her to go faster haha. I like to call those runs our "cute but not desirable" runs LOL

    But the thing is, I never saw any perfect dogs or perfec handlers out there, especially in novice.
     
  16. Finkie_Mom

    Finkie_Mom It's A Red Dog Revolution

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    Kimma has only had zoomies on one course thus far, and it was hilarious. I'm anticipating more such runs once she gets her confidence back 100%. Everyone started laughing and I just recalled her as I was running to the exit gate. She followed, taking every jump in her path, quite proud of herself :D
     
  17. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Zuma's whole run is just one massively semi-controlled zoomie.
     
  18. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Sort of agility funny. This is what Mia was doing while I was working with Summer in the yard today.


    [​IMG]
    bad dog by Summer_Papillon, on Flickr

    *whistles innocently*

    [​IMG]
    what by Summer_Papillon, on Flickr[/QUOTE]
     
  19. DenoLo

    DenoLo New Member

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    For what it's worth, I had to use the clicker to shape weaves too. It was really the only way to get her to understand that the poles were actually part of the game. The biggest mistake I made with the shaping though was spending too long clicking for one pole and not increasing the poles fast enough before she got the click. So now she looks at me after each Pole and will sometimes miss one because she's not looking forward. The time she spends looking is gradually decreasing the more she does them and she can do them on one side nicely, so it's not the worst problem to have.
     
  20. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    Felt like I should update on our agility drop in handling class from last night.

    We did a series of three (or four?) drills with the goal of working on lateral distance. First one Recon was sort of iffy on, but he was driving well, I just pushed a little bit too far a few times and blew him past some jumps. His sends to tunnel are doing fantastic and I'm able to keep a lot more space now.

    Second series was AWESOME. Best I've felt out of him, yet. IIRC, it was something like this...

    [​IMG]
    course by DJetzel, on Flickr

    And it was so smooth. No tunnel sucking, no crosses, he drove forward and played tug after. I was squealing so much dragging this little red dog behind me. XD

    Then, you know, everyone in the area started lighting off fireworks and shooting guns and Recon shut down and we kind of wasted the gas in even going. :( Poor guy was hiding under my car at one point, he was so afraid.
     

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