Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Panzerotti, Feb 6, 2012.
How long have you guys been doing agility?
Trial this Sunday! I had started Zuma at level 2 CPE when she debuted, so regret that decision. She's still finishing up the last couple level 2 legs but is mostly in level 3 now. So Zinga got thrown in the deep end right away, she will be starting with her big sister in level 3 on Sunday! This will be her first real trial experience, her other debut was cut short because of a whistle during snooker (the only class she was entered in). Wish us luck!
Good luck Zuma & Zinga!!!!!! Can't wait for videos!!
I took two beginner classes at one club starting this past January with Mimi then didn't do anything all Summer. Got Ezra in February, moved, switched clubs and about mid-August I started with a new trainer in a class above my skill level. LOVE the trainer and Mimi has really enjoyed the faster pace so we stuck with it and are halfway through our second class with her. I've also just started a "CPE Games" class that teaches the basics of all the games and gives us the chance to do 3 runs of the game we're learning that week which has been fun.
I'm really thrilled with this second club, getting 'voted in' next Tuesday! The members have been great, going so far as to invite me, as a newbie, to come out on a non-class day to practice with them and get help on some things I needed to work on. We've just recently started learning weave poles, but aside from that she does most of the obstacles pretty well, her main downfall is ME! Ezra is going to be a bit different, not sure how that'll work out quite yet but it should be interesting!
Sounds like you guys have made a ton of progress in a short time. That's awesome! That's great that the people in the club are so friendly and welcoming. One of our obedience instructors (at another facility) is in the agility club I'm training with, so hopefully she'll be welcoming at least if I'm interested in joining
I think finding a good trainer (for any sport) is so important. I like that the place I'm at has at least 4 regular trainers, who overlap in classes they teach (so more than one person will teach an intermediate level class, for example). The woman I'm with now seems awesome - she's the type of person who would make a great kindergarten teacher because she's so upbeat and nice, but also good at teaching and modifying each exercise for the specific dog and handler. It will be fun to try different instructors as we move up and get the benefit of each.
I can't take any credit for that, Mimi is seriously phenomenal in terms of training. She offers behaviors, she isn't afraid of anything, she doesn't spook easily (which is nice, considering she's launched off the teeter before...), she shapes behaviors easily and has wonderful focus.. I really can't get over how lucky I am to have her. She is really soft in terms of personality, as in, she gets upset and pouts if she messes up and I don't make a big deal about how good she is, but we work it out and keep things HAPPY HAPPY RUN!
I definitely agree with you on finding a good trainer... if you would have asked me if I would be sticking with it after my first two classes, I probably would have said "no". Mimi was bored, the single obstacle exercises were repetitive for her and she'd pull the sighthound "Screw you, I've done this 6 times already perfectly.. what the hell do you keep asking me for?" while others in the class were needing to work on it.
My trainer now is probably not for everyone.. she's all about the dog and I've seen her adjust her training style to the dog in the ring on a regular basis. She's less flexible with the handlers unwilling to take advice or try something new that may work better.. she had a little go-round with another member (all our classes are member taught), who was struggling, confusing her dog, and refusing to take anyone's advice as plausible.
This is the first day I HAVEN'T been at the club this week, oey! Monday was Mimi's Agility 3 class, Tuesday Ezra went in for conformation class, Wednesday was CPE games and yesterday I taught conformation and trained the Skinnies afterwards... I'm lame. I need more dog friends here!
Yeah, I just realized I've been to a ridiculous amount of classes the past week. We had nosework on Saturday and Sunday (Sunday was a makeup class and over an hour away at another facility), fun obedience on Monday, conformation handling on Tuesday (gotta brush up for the show later this month), agility on Thursday, and more nosework again tomorrow. The agility place is about an hour from my house, so I'm glad that my regular training facility for all of the other stuff is only 10min away.
Move to Ohio please? We can be training buddies.
Haha. But LostandConfused's Hudson is already bffs with Watson.
Plus I've spent enough time in rural Ohio to last a lifetime. I used to go to Willard for work all the time.
Well.. BOTH of you move here!
Rural Ohio.. Bleh. I had to Google Willard if that tells you anything.. and a work trip up to Mansfield.. THAT was interesting.
I stayed in Mansfield because it was the closest town with a Hampton Inn. Willard's one hotel was sketchy. It was definitely interesting! I saw Mansfield on a documentary on heroin use. Lol
Our club rents a barn for winter practices, and it has long been a hard place for Gusto to work. Chicken poop in all the corners, dropped treats everywhere, etc. I took him to practice today, as we have a seminar there next weekend and I figured I'd better see what I had.
Holy cow. Fast, focused, got some crazy weave entries (including letting me do some badly timed rear crosses on the weaves without popping). No sniffing. No leaving me. I can't think of a single step he took that wasn't wonderful.
WOW!! Go Gusto!
YAY!! That's awesome! GO GUSTO!!!
Watching Susan Garrett's first 2x2 weaves DVD and having mixed feelings. I really wish Mimi was toy driven. I know this method works and I really WANT it to work but I think I need help. I'd be really interested in seeing her use this method on a soft dog that gets discouraged easily.
The advice seems to be, train Mimi to be a toy driven dog. Get a toy that I can use as a food toy to convert her. Is this the only way to successfully train 2x2s? I don't want to keep throwing food and encourage floor surfing for tidbits. I also don't want her staring at me the whole time watching me for a reward. Her highest value reward (aside from food) is leaping in to my arms and verbal praise. Not really all that helpful. Something I'm going to have to ask my trainer about on Monday.. Training her on 2x2 in the house has had very limited success as well. I don't have a yard and my living room is limited in terms of space.
Blah, mostly just complaining about my novice-ness. Interested to talk to my trainer... I don't want to mess Mimi up!
I trained Kimma using 2x2 method, and she's SUCH a sensitive dog who has no desire to play with toys. I put treats in a small treat pouch and threw that. Eventually she would pick up the treat pouch and bring it to me, we would tug for half a second then I would open it up and let her have some goodies. Worked really well for us!
I'm probably just a sour-puss because I didn't really like the 2x2 stuff I did (went to a seminar, watched the DVDs a few times, kind of played with them with Meg who was already weaving, initially tried them with Gusto), so take anything I say with a grain of salt. I know there are people here who have taught the method and had great success with it. I don't deny its success a bit, but I do dislike the rabid "this is the only way to train weaves" following they seem to have.
If someone tells me my dog needs to be toy driven to succeed at something, I tune out immediately. Gusto is; Meg is not, and it would be a massive undertaking to teach her toy drive. It was never necessary. If a professional trainer can't help me find a way to teach my soft, food-driven hound to do something without toys, I'm not overly impressed with their training. I'm so grateful for the wonderful trainers who did help me with Meg despite her "limitations".
There's a lot of ways to teach weaves, and for every method, there is a dog out there doing crazy fast, independent, reliable weaves who was trained that way. 2x2 is the popular answer to teaching weaves the last eight years or so, but certainly don't fall into the trap that they are the ONLY way. If it doesn't work for you or your dog, find a method that does. I know a dog trained with gates who is incredibly successful. I've seen dogs trained with 2x2, weave-a-matics, and channels who have stellar weaves. Gusto's were free-shaped. Meg's were trained with a combination of shaping and careful treat placement. She's done fine.
Definitely talk to your trainer and see what she says. She's the one who sees you guys regularly and can tell you if there is a way to adapt stuff to suit you. And don't worry about messing up your dog!
As usual, BB nailed it Lucy has zero toy drive. We've been quite successful in all realms of agility.
Thanks for the feedback, guys. I think I'm mostly just worried about screwing her up because she has fun and I don't want to ruin that by making it confusing! I think I'm going to leave her alone until next class and see what happens.
On the other end of the spectrum... Ezra's kind of learning to spin in a circle.
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