Agility training

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

  1. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    Do you mind shooting me a PM with the name? I ask because I had some interesting experiences with a trainer who was running a cocker at the time (although she certainly runs other breeds as well, so I'm guessing not that person).

    I find it interesting that I've never been on the receiving end of "Must Run BC", because I do hear from a lot of people that they are told that, even locally. I wandered into agility with an 18 month old Mountain Cur rescue who spent some classes hidden under a table while I ran the trainer's dog instead. She turned out just fine :cool:

    We have one local trainer who runs strictly BC (which in itself doesn't bother me; if it is what you love to live with and own, you should certainly have them). My issue is with the flipping through dogs. "This one is too soft". "This one doesn't have enough drive". If you are a regular competitor and that is your thing - I guess go with it. I think you suck, but whatever. If you are a professional trainer? I think you are useless. Because people like me are going to come to you with dogs that are soft, that have distraction issues, that have no drive, and you need to have answers. "Well I had one like that and I got rid of it" isn't going to fly with most owners. Meg was so soft she would crawl out of the agility ring on her belly and refuse to re-enter if she imagined a correction; Gusto will glue himself to a spot on the dirt that smells good and keep sniffing. Neither one of them is leaving, so I want help learning to work with them, not the name of your breeder.

    The "big names" (relative for all of us, I'm sure) who fawn all over every dog and get creative trying to work out solutions and cheer on our little successes thrill me. There are such wonderful people out there being incredibly successful. I agree that most of the stupid snippy stuff I see is from the big fish in the little ponds. It must be rough to go through life being so bloody insecure with yourself.

    To paraphrase Beanie, the winner is the person who goes home at night with the dog they love beyond all reason. If it takes you an extra year or two or ten to reach the level you want to reach, who cares? Those little snippy people. If you never get there but have a wonderful, educational, inspiring time with your dog, those are also the only people who are going to care. Meg's huge championship ribbon hangs on the wall in my room, and I smile every time I look at it. I smile just as big when I watch my 9 year old dog bound happily through the woods, or rest her chin on my leg when we are laying in bed, or when she wiggles herself into a blur because I'M HOLDING A COOKIE AND SHE WOULD LIKE THE COOKIE NOW PLEASE. Agility is my obsession and is a blast, but only because of my partners. I can't imagine wanting to share the journey with anyone but Meg and Gusto.
     
  2. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Oh I'm sorry about Punky. :( I hope she improves. That would be horrible.

    My trainer is good. She's said she only wants BCs from here out but with a side of malamute, lol. She started with malamutes and then went to a lacy, then a belgian, and now has a border collie and a viszla. So she's definitely got a few types of dog covered! I do think that helps.

    I hope I didn't sound too whiny. I do really appreciate these last posts. Really and truly and there is some great advice there. I was just disappointed after our first trial went so well. I actually went into this last weekend thinking it was very likely Summer would title. Didn't happen but oh well.

    I think there's a few different issues. 1. Mia was afraid of the judge since she got measured. The second run looking back on it, it seems like she saw the judge mid ring and then that's when she stopped and didn't want to run. He was a very tall man (nice but she's weird about that stuff) She's done being measured so maybe that will help? 2. I think she's already getting ring-wise. She knows there's no treats in the ring. 3. Summer.... she's losing her endurance the last couple years and also is still not settling in her crate at trials. I'm not sure what to do about that. Her first run wasn't slow, it was just that she missed a bunch of obstacles and was kind of crazy. Jumpers day 1 (run 2) was a bit slow but not god-awful like it felt. The biggest issue was she left to go say hi to a member of the ring crew that was talking to someone out of the fence. Gamblers day 2 (first run) went fine but we missed the gamble. Jumpers (run 2) she was worn out. I don't think she has the endurance to stay awake 2 days straight barking and being excited and then running agility after that. Maybe I should only enter her in one run a day for now.

    Maybe I should step away from USDAA too for a bit? It's almost all sporter collies it seems. I thought about TDAA to try a more compact course especially for Summer but was recently told TDAA was for people who couldn't handle 'real agility'. Sigh. I may still try to enter one. It may be a good fit for an older, very small dog.

    We're also going to do some conditioning. I've slacked this last month.

    I definitely want a herder next but it's not for agility. At least not primarily. I've just missed having one around and the breeds suit me well.

    The past few days have been awesome. We've had a lot of hiking fun and Mia is crazy and funny playing ball. I don't think we've been doing enough of that lately.
     
  3. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Ditto all over to what ado said. It can all be over so fast. You never know what the future holds. Treasure every single run, even the crappy ones. Sometimes especially the crappy runs, haha.

    I know how it feels to be disappointed, oh boy do I LOL. But I also know how it feels to come out the other side of it and realize this is not the point of this sport; and the sorts of people who will say nasty things about you and your dog, the sorts of people who think "why don't you just get another one?" like the only thing that matters in a dog is how they do in the agility ring, the sorts of people who obviously feel that way about THEIR dogs because they're telling people they don't even know these things... well, I feel sorry for them. They don't get the same joy out of things like BB said - watching your dog run and jump and play. Your dog curling up next to you on the couch. The little things that really mean so much and make up so much more of our lives with dogs than agility ever does.


    I think you should try TDAA and stuff what people think about it as a venue. Enter for fun and for experience, for both you and the dogs. If you have fun runs around you, go to them and use food and toys in the ring. In the meantime, keep working on building Mia's drive for the game and the transfer of value. Agility is the reward, not a cookie. Don't feel bad about Summer visiting ring crew. Georgie just discovered there's ring crew also, but I'm not worried about it. Eventually she'll figure out they aren't going to pet her or coo over her so she'll stop. Novice dog stuff! It happens, you train and work through it, and you get better. Auggie had some issues with judges a time or two, specifically one lady who was wearing a huge floppy sunhat and sunglasses, standing RIGHT near the a-frame and kind of looming at him (from the perspective of a 14" dog.) It affected him for a few runs and then he figured out the judge wasn't going to get him or anything, and away we went.
    The not chilling in the crate thing is a novice issue too. My guys ALL spent a lot of their early trials just standing in the crate staring around. Payton worked a lot of that out of his system as a puppy, thankfully, but went through a round of it again when we first started trialing because suddenly he knew OMG SOMETHING FUN IS GOING TO HAPPEN. Georgie gets straight up exhausted and passes out, haha. Flat in the crate and dead to the world.


    Auggie is just going to be entered in jumpers one day from now on. I don't care what he does. I don't care what people think when I run him either. My dog. He was furious he didn't get to play in Springfield so I will abide by the Auggie and enter him just for fun.
    Of course it will ruin his perfect round number of 100 PACH points if he ever Qs again. DROP BARS, AUGGIE. NO MORE QS.
     
  4. iriskai

    iriskai New Member

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    This. I have dogs because I wanted them. I do agility with Mimi because she loves it. I don't have Mimi because I wanted to do agility. I want them to have fun, if they have fun doing agility? Great, let them trial. If they want to run in a field? Awesome, we're doing it. Be lazy on the couch? Well they're going to get to be the best couch paperweights around.
     
  5. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    A friend of mine, who runs a very not-agility-normal toy breed, used to get asked when he was going to get a "real agility dog", as he's a very good, fast handler and a great competitor. He said something along the lines of "I don't have a dog to do agility; I do agility with the dogs I have." I really liked that.

    Good heavens, not at all. If you do, I'm like whiny x 100. I've been really frustrated lately by how different Gusto is in a trial versus practicing. I can't recreate the issue easily to work on it. I've been able to get the same response at a HUGE busy show and go this past weekend, which was great, because I could work though it with toys/food in the ring. Those are few and far between here though, so I think I am going to have to start throwing some trial runs. It is SO hard to do for me, but I have seen it work well for dogs before. Just getting even a hair of what I'm looking for in speed/focus, and ending the run for a party.
     
  6. Finkie_Mom

    Finkie_Mom It's A Red Dog Revolution

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    Here is Kimma's title run for her AX.

    [YOUTUBE]kl0ZXf5NarU[/YOUTUBE]

    I actually showed this to my husband and he was like, "That's not our Kimma - why is she running so slow?" He hadn't seen her run since class months and months ago, so hearing him say that was a real eye-opener. I think we are in good hands now, though, as our new private instructor seems awesome. She and I seem to share a lot of training ideals, and even within the first half hour with her, I was noticing a difference in Kimma. It was pretty awesome.

    Jari also did great, too! We did some baby contact equipment with running contacts as well as some short sequences with pinwheels and tunnels. I was told that I need to begin working on tunnel sends ASAP because he's, "going to be too fast." She also commented on the fact that he's pretty confident with life - I'm very happy that I got some good advice about socialization and various things to desensitize him to when he was a baby. It's all paying off so much already!
     
  7. iriskai

    iriskai New Member

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    Taught a conformation class yesterday and brought the Skinnies to play with afterwards. Tried Mimi on the 6 weaveomatics again (playing with different degrees of V right now) and she really does seem to enjoy it. I think mixing this with 2x2 might keep her motivated, but I really need to work on 2x2 and get her entrances down better.

    Worked with Ezra some.. It's crazy how different they are. I think a lot of it has to do with how they grew up (and that Ezra is still very young in terms of a brain ;) ) but the poor boy isn't the brightest cookie in the tool shed right now! He really has no idea how to learn. He relies on me 100% to tell him what to do and is perfectly happy standing there staring at me while I'm waiting for him to offer up a behavior to shape. Sigh. Mimi spoiled me. We'll get there though. Ez starts agility in January.
     
  8. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    I meant to answer your question earlier and forgot about it: Payton was trained with a mixture of weave methods. We started with 2x2s and struggled with it. I went with the weaveomatics and worked there. One we got to a certain point with the WOMs I switched back to the 2x2s, because I felt he could benefit from the adjustments on the 2x2s rather than just opening the WOMs, since they "open" in a different way.
    His weaves are nice and fast if he actually gets in them. In practice his entries are great. We're having issues with him "seeing" the weaves in a trial because he's so high on other stuff. I don't think it's related to the mixed methods, but full disclosure, LOL. Take it as you will! I was perfectly happy with how I ended up training weaves with him.
     
  9. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    I have a list in my mind of the foundation things I can teach Gabby without being afraid I'll break her or teach her things I'll have to modify later but... does anyone else have ideas?!

    I'm going to start 2x2s, teach her about jump standards, and start working front and rear crosses on the flat. I don't want to do anything with quick turning or actual jumping.
     
  10. iriskai

    iriskai New Member

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    Good to hear, I appreciate the input! I'll pull out the 2x2 set I have this weekend and we'll work on hitting the first pole correctly. She's one that shuts down if we're not 'happy' enough (gotta love sighthounds!) and I was thrilled when she offered up running straight through the V'd WOMs without prompting.

    I really wonder how she'd do in the hands of someone who KNOWS how to train and run agility well. She's doing fine with me, but I really think she's better at this than I am at this point!


    I'm starting my boy similar to how I started Mimi, though he's working it out at a different pace. He's learning how to learn. How to offer up behaviors and think for himself. We've started target training (to potentially use for training contacts down the road), sit/down/stay and release words (for startline), and recall to hand for eventual handling use. We've done some work with jump stanchions without poles, turning on the flat and stood on a low board last night for the first time. I'm with you though.. I don't want to 'break' or ruin them due to MY inexperience!
     
  11. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    Watson and I had our first agility class ever last night and it went really well. He was more engaged than I've seen him lately, with a minimum of sniffing and being distracted by other dogs. It went far better than I expected based on his recent obedience classes. And as always, he was extremely enthusiastic.

    I'm really excited to try something new and I've had a good time reading some of the recent posts in this thread. I grew up jumping horses and a lot of the things I liked about that seem to apply equally to agility (except hands off).
     
  12. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    I'm more worried about breaking her physically while she's still quite large! Hah. I definitely haven't done enough target work though!
     
  13. iriskai

    iriskai New Member

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    I've found riding has helped me a TON with agility. One comment my instructor made was that I had very good spatial awareness in terms of the obstacles, and did I ride? Definitely interested in hearing more as you progress! Glad to have another agility newbie here with me. :)
     
  14. DJEtzel

    DJEtzel New Member

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    Wobble board?
     
  15. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    That's good to hear! I figure stuff like correct jumping form, direction between obstacles, and planning how to run a course are very similar.

    Watson just likes it because he gets to move. The boy is sick of sitting still in classes. Haha.
     
  16. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    How about working on her forward drive? Target work is one way, also using a tunnel and getting her to drive forward and away from you to a tunnel - can do the same thing with jump standards with no bar set. Tunnel work in general at this point could be done.
     
  17. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    You can start teaching whatever contact behavior you want with a flat board. Recalls, start line stays, low gentle wobble boards, hind end awareness (cavalettis, pivots, backing up).

    Any place with a good list of young puppy foundation games would be perfect since they are designed to be gentle on growing bodies :)

    Yay for Gabby!
     
  18. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    If there is one thing that agility with Siri has taught me, it's that frustration gets you nowhere. And that having training friends close in invaluable. I swear every time I run into a training snag *ahem*allthetime*ahem* I ask Megan to come downstairs and watch. And she fixes my issues like...immediately.

    Also, Siri constantly teaches me that I'm not as good of a trainer as I thought I was. Color me humbled.
     
  19. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    That's what dogs are for. To humble us. And to occasionally surprise us.

    Every time I think Gabby's "sit" cue is well understood, she proves me wrong. I should be able to teach a dog to sit! :p

    Also, we really need to go to a space to actually train one of these days, like for real...
     
  20. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    I kind of just hit myself on the head for not looking at ALL THE PUPPY foundations stuff I have access to. Derp. I blame it on the lack of sleep this week.
     

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