Need some good stories/fun goals from agility people!

Discussion in 'Agility and Dog Sports' started by BerryBye, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. BerryBye

    BerryBye New Member

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    So my dog and I had our first agility class last night and he totally shut down. He was afraid of everything, wouldn’t do a recall, afraid of tunnels, pole etc. BUT that’s why we’re there, to gain confidence so I was mentally prepared to take it slow and we have all the time in the world to get better.;)

    So I’m hoping to hear some good stories from people who saw some big improvements in their dogs or have some sort of accomplishment to brag about! My goal is to have him comfortable putting his two front paws in the tunnel by next class, any other goals out there? :D

    Thx! BB
     
  2. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    Kenya was the same way! lol in fact, she would try to bolt every time someone did the teeter totter, the noise of it coming down scared her.
    My goal for my second class was just to get her used to the noise,have her go through the tunnel when it was scrunched up. and she did :)

    Weeks later, shes now doing a course pretty well, shes not very fast but shes having fun and shes steady! the only thing shes not doing is the A-frame and the teeter totter. we're working on that :)
    It has helped her build her confidence A LOT, i know she feels like shes accomplishing something. and now instead of being scared of everyone, she is relaxed, will go up for a sniff or a treat,do some tricks etc..
     
  3. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    You need to meet Meg;).

    When I first got her, she wouldn't even walk over a flat board on the ground. Anything she didn't know (and having spent most of her life as a tied, outdoor dog, she didn't "know" much, including stairs and what a house looked like from the inside) was terrifying. Shut down? If something scared her in agility class, she was under a table and that was it for the night. I had a few classes where I wound up running my trainer's dog, in an effort to get her jealous and interested again. Not only could I not used verbal or physical corrections with her, if she tried something and didn't get rewarded two times in a row, she was done and would shut down and refuse to do anything.

    Agility, and even more importantly, THE RIGHT TRAINER, absolutely turned her life around. Not only does agility not scare her any more, but she has gained a remarkable ability to bounce back when things in the real world scare her. I rarely see her even nervous any more, and haven't seen that extreme shut-down behavior in at least a year. She's a new dog, and went from "maybe we'll do a session or two to build her confidence" to being very close to getting into the highest level of competition in USDAA.

    You have to be careful. You have to go incredibly slow, and get out the A-Game rewards for ANY attempt at bravery. I would look for the littlest things - just having her tail lift from tucked in to having air between it and her legs - and reward that. If anything ever started to bother Meg, or if she wasn't getting what I was asking, we'd move on to something simple for a few reps, so her reward percentage would go up and her confidence wouldn't suffer.

    Good luck! It can be so frustrating to work with these softies, but oh, boy is it ever rewarding when things start to come together! Does that look like a scared little girl to you?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. k9krazee

    k9krazee Active Member

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    I didn't start out with a fearful dog, but I did start out with an extremely unruly adolescent! I got him when he was around 5 months old. He was a very rude, dominating, unsocialized beast. We started obedience classes first and I cried every night after class because he was so horrible and embarrassing. After a year in constant classes - obedience and then agility he has turned into a new dog. He is now competing in agility and actually doesn't loose his head when he sees another dog.

    Just keep working at it, take it slow and the pay offs will begin to show!
     
  5. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    Don't worry.

    I have had many dogs in my agility classes that were fearful, non-confident etc. One of them had been a adult rescue from a puppy mill, she was afraid of open spaces and terrified of everything. With time, patience and working within her comfort zone and always using positive reinforcements she ended up an extremely fast wonderful agility dog that loved the game. To the point were she also competed. And she was also terrified/non trusting of strangers as well, I didn't even look in her direction for months......in the end she was a wonderful friend and loved all people.

    Good luck
     
  6. BerryBye

    BerryBye New Member

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    Wow thanks everybody for those inspiring stories!! It’s great to hear from other people in similar situations.
    I thought I would update you guys and tell you that last night he went through the tunnel!! It was all gathered up so he only went through 2 feet but he had to climb through it. I was SO proud, I had a misty eyed moment and he was pretty pleased with himself too!

    Keep the stories coming!!
     
  7. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    That is what always makes me smile is when the dogs prance or show some speed because they are so proud of themselves. It is a cool thing to see and I never get tired of it.

    Congrats on your success.........also if you want to read a cool story that is also a wonderful training journal for agility, get Susan Garrett's Shaping Success: The Story of an Unlikely Champion. You can get it from her Say Yes Dog Training or at Clean Run: Dog Toys, Dog Treats, Dog Agility Supplies, Dog Training Supplies
     
  8. BerryBye

    BerryBye New Member

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    I thought I would post an update!
    On Monday my dog and I finished our introduction to agility class with flying colours!
    This meant that he walked up a ramp, onto a table, did some jumps, a huge long bent tunnel, a tire jump and a tunnel with a parachute on the end that he has to run through. And he LOVED it, tail up and wagging, very attentive and happy!
    SO PROUD!!
    Thanks again everyone for your positive encouragement, I really see a difference in him. I don’t have any pictures to show, but we are continuing into level 1 so I will get some for sure. :)
     
  9. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    That is just fantastic! Doesn't it just make you so happy to see your dog becoming more confident and having a wee of a time? I just love it.

    I use to do agility with my now deceased Doberman. But he wasn't particularly afraid of most obstacles until he fell off the teeter totter. It took him a long time to find out that his back legs were further apart than the front. He took to the jumps like they were nothing as he had already been jumping over things in the woods on my property and on walks. The only thing he had trouble with was the dog walk and the teeter. Those took some work.

    Anyhow, from the beginning, he loved the tunnel. He loved it so much that even when he got pretty good at the whole business, he would sometimes be feeling his oats pretty intensly (Dobes are an intense breed anyhow. lol) and made everyone in class laugh while he'd go through the tunnel, then turn and go back through it again, then again out of the sheer joy of it....3 or 4 times before going ahead with the rest of the course. I didn't tell him anything. He just had his own time table. "Just once more and then I'll continue." (which he would) I mean that dog just thought he was at an amusement park and that was his favorite ride. "Gotta get in line again. Gotta get in line again. Gotta hurry. Get out of the way!" :D

    To see an insecure or shy dog take to jumping and playing on strange equipment made by humans really shows something. Congrats. Glad you're both having such a good time.
     

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