Jump to content
BC Boards

Frogs & Dogs

Registered Users
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Frogs & Dogs

  1. Updating this: Distance training is progressing, albeit slowly. I've started taking a squeaky ball to class and rewarding distance work that way. It's a process. We had a chances run in a trial on Sunday. The course was wicked, with one discrimination (side-by-side tunnels - rarely seen in NADAC!), two call offs, a turn-away, a pinwheel, a contact, and what seemed like an ocean between the farthest obstacle and the line. After the judge built the course, she told the handlers "read 'em and weep". I watched all the elite and open handlers run, and only 3 were successful. Then I walked it thinking we didn't have a snowball's chance in hell - it was like the course was built to test all of our weaknesses. But to my utter dismay, it went off without a hitch! What a high! I think the turn away into the pinwheel might have actually worked in our favor, because by the time she realized how far away I was, she had already completed the hard part.
  2. CU is a great book, but I think it really depends on the kind of dog you're dealing with. It was recommended to me here and elsewhere, but after reading it cover-to-cover twice, I could only find a couple of exercises that would really help me with the problems I was experiencing. I would have found it much more useful if I was dealing with a reactive dog, though.
  3. Nice job! I love tunnelers for the speed. Normally we Q in it, but Kit took one of those pesky off course tunnels at our trial this weekend.
  4. I'll go along with that. I don't know much about Treibball, but it seems to me there's a lot of variation in the extent of that partnership between the different sports. I tend to gravitate towards the sports that offer greater potential for building that bond. For example, agility requires the dog to read the handler and cue in on signals which are sometimes subtle. I also enjoy disc (freestyle in particular) because again, success is directly dependent on the handler's performance. On the other end of the spectrum is a sport I'm just now getting into: nosework. In this sport, the handler learns to read the dog rather than the other way around. I quit flyball after just a couple of lessons because I felt like nothing more than a cheerleader. I'd be interested to hear how people think Treibball stacks up in terms of handler involvement.
  5. I get a ton of fabulous free advice by watching more experienced handlers very closely. It's one reason why I love being in a class where my dog and I are the least experienced team. But rewarding is one place I've seen things that don't make sense to me. Diana A's first paragraph pretty much sums up why I think it's a bad idea to let the work be the reward. But I started this thread to see how other's felt about it, because my understanding of how rewarding works doesn't exactly match what I've seen from more experienced competitors. Based on the replies, I guess there's quite a bit of variation among handlers out there. Off to read Diana A's post again!
  6. Yeah, learned that one the hard way! I was having the leash runner leave the leash on the ground lest they get jumped on. Sadly, leash on the ground is like an open invitation for Kit. To solve the problem, I switched leashes (no more tug leash), had the leash runner hold the leash, and crossed my fingers that we didn't get a chest vault off the poor unsuspecting leash runner. So far we've had decent luck with that. Perhaps the experienced handlers I've seen failing to reward their dogs are actually rewarding them in some cryptic way. I sort of doubt it though. My dog doesn't respond to praise much, except as a promise of better rewards to come, so maybe that biases me to look for material rewards of some kind. Besides food (my go-to) and toys, I've been known to use the opportunity to greet friends as a reward. I wouldn't turn Kit loose on just anyone, but her favorite people are those who let her launch herself into their laps and kiss them enthusiastically.
  7. From what I've seen, some of the most experienced handlers may be most guilty here. Admittedly, the green handlers aren't great at sticking to their criteria before rewarding, and their timing may leave something to be desired. The experienced handlers, though, seem to think that the dog wants to work, so the reward is unnecessary.
  8. Thanks for all the replies! I am blessed with a dog who is motivated by everything. I generally use food, as it keeps her from going over threshold better than toys. She is more food motivated than any dog I know, and will happily work for kibble and cheerios. But on the rare occasion that I break out a toy, blue/orange rubber chuckit balls being the favorite, she goes crazy. I never thought of throwing toys as rewards when doing distance work specifically. What a great idea! I do not have directionals, but I have a very solid turn away command (I use "turn"). I find it comes in extremely handy, and it has been the key to the few Q's that we have earned in chances. I used it last weekend to turn her away from me into a set of weave polls...the first set of 12 she's ever seen in a trial. It worked like a charm. Our discriminations are also generally pretty good, and have not caused us to lose many Q's in the past. In general, I think our biggest challenge is simply comfort level with physical distance between us. When I stay far away, Kit gets suspicious (there must be a reason!?) and comes closer to find out why. Hmm, very interesting. I've only ever done NADAC, so I'm not really sure what you mean by this. Can you elaborate?
  9. I wanted to second the Capstar suggestion. I use it whenever I see my dog scratching, and inevitably I'll find a dying flea or two when I check her an hour later. She's white, and short haired, so it's very easy to see and capture the dying fleas after dosing. I use Program for monthly maintenance, and Capstar whenever needed. I'm sure none of it is great for the dog, but I've found no other way to keep the fleas away. Kit is extremely susceptible to them, and I've had bad luck with Frontline, Advantage, and other topicals.
  10. I've been watching handlers at trials and classes to see how often they reward their dogs. Do you reward your dog after every run no matter what? What about at a trial? Do you ever stop and reward during a run? Only if training a specific skill? Is the opportunity to continue the run its own reward? Do you do anything else before rewarding? Does your dog know when he's earned a reward? From what I've observed, I think the handlers I've witnessed are generally under-rewarding. That said, I've stopped rewarding for every single run. In particular, if Kit disconnects from me on course (sniffing), she loses her reward. I rarely see this in class, and it is becoming less frequent at trials, meaning that she is still getting rewarded for at least 90% of her runs, even in trials. I will occasionally reward during a run in class, usually at natural stopping points such as on contacts and the table. After a great run, Kit will immediately turn back to me and let out this adorable excitement growl/bark. It's not aggressive in the least - just her way of expressing her excitement (she knows I'm about to throw a big party).
  11. Kit's been doing remarkably well in trials recently, and I feel that one of the last big obstacles holding us back is distance. She is not a clingy dog, but I'm young enough and fit enough that I'm usually not TOO far behind her, so she's never really learned that she can do it without me. We could keep going like this, but we'll never do very well in NADAC chances without more distance. Anyone have tips on how to increase the distance away from me at which my dog will work? How does one train this? I don't really know where to start.
  12. Ebullient, goofy, busy, bouncy, enthusiastic - whatever you want to call it, it describes Kit to a T. I knew this about her when I picked her, it was definitely a deciding factor. She thinks the world is her oyster and she never considers that some people or dogs not be as happy to meet her as she is to meet them. I don't call her the half-baked half-breed for nothin'!
  13. No, I don't want the 1% speaking for all of us, But if the nut jobs willing to pay $5000 are the most active and vocal bunch, then they end up representing the whole community, at least in the eyes of outsiders. Yes, agility and conformation are different. But elite cliques that you have to pay thousands of dollars to join? That reeks of, well, elitism...which I would argue the AKC had cornered up until now, with regards to the dog world. One of the best things about agility is that it's generally open to everyone, regardless of breed, social status, or income (think of the early trainers who built equipment from spare parts). I don't want that changing anytime soon. Since the better half of the team sees no value in them.
  14. I can recommend a great rescue in Oregon, if you're interested. The woman who runs it competes in agility herself and loves to find great agility homes for those dogs who show natural ability. She also has rescue litters occasionally.
  15. $5000? What the heck is wrong with people? I'm in this sport because both my dog and I find it fun. That's it. I trial because trials are fun. Q's are nice, but that's not what it's about. So that raises the question: is a running contact really going to increase the amount of fun that me or my dog can have? The answer seems pretty obvious: no. The dog has no idea if they came in 1st at worlds or didn't even place. So what does it matter? At the point that someone is willing to pay $5000 to shave split seconds off their time, they've lost sight of the purpose. I feel sorry for the dogs owned by these people. I'm sure they're well cared for physically, but only their ability to perform can endear them to their agility-obsessed handlers. Sad. I'm also disturbed by what this says about the agility community. I detest AKC for many reasons, but first and foremost because of the attitudes they promote: dogs are status symbols, and winning dog shows with seemingly arbitrary criteria (breed standards) elevates one's status. While the criteria in agility are far less arbitrary, I think that the pursuit of agility ribbons as status symbols has no place in this sport.
  16. I switched over to skilled because as Secret said, it doesn't matter for novice/open and I want to preserve Kit's body for as long as possible. The higher jump height was fine for her (she's never been a bar knocker), but I'm a worry wart about stuff like that. We're slowly making the switch to Open now. I see the day coming when I'll have to think about whether I want to do skilled or proficient in elite.
  17. Have you considered nosework? It's definitely a low-impact sport, and since dogs work one at a time and only with their handler, it's a great sport for dogs with issues (such as DA). Training starts with the dog searching for food, but you eventually graduate to odor (birch, anise, clove). A friend of mine has now taught her nosework-trained dog to search for truffles (the very expensive mushrooms)!
  18. Yes, in addition to TNG and tunnelers, weavers is another non-jumping class, and you can compete in skilled.
  19. Here's another reason raw can't work for every dog: I have to feed Kit from a toy or by hand to slow her down. It's pretty hard to feed raw that way, especially without making a huge mess. It's not TOTW, but I recently bought Go for $1.37/lb at a local food co-op. They gave me a big discount for buying two bags and placing a special order. I'll keep buying it from them if they'll let me have it for that price! Maybe you can check around and ask about discounts for buying TOTW in bulk.
  20. IMO, the ruination of countless breeds is far worse of a sin than allowing puppy mills. I can sort of see the point of people who say that AKC isn't responsible for regulating puppy mills. Would it be nice if they tried to shut them down, sure. But the AKC isn't in the business of regulation. But I just can't stand for the horrors that breed clubs, supported by AKC and other KC's, have inflicted on so many breeds in the name of conformation. Nearly every owner will choose health and temperament over conformation, if given the choice, yet AKC and other registries persist in placing their seemingly subjective conformation standards above all else. How many more dogs need to suffer through health crises brought on by breeding practices endorsed by AKC before they wake up and smell the coffee? Even before getting my first (and only) dog, I hated the AKC. Never liked the attitude of "my dog is better because it's purebred". Never saw the point of conformation shows, especially when the announcers sat around discussing what the dog was originally bred to do. And I'm a biologist, so my education flies in the face of everything they stand for. Only after getting a dog was I brought into the loop regarding the feud (ok, war) between the AKC and people who care about working BC's. I have to say, I was very happy to find out that I wasn't alone in hating everything that the AKC stands for. It's nice to know that there are at least a couple of breeds out there that will generally remain free from their influences, with the hard work of people who care about what they were originally bred to do. And this coming from someone who will probably never have the need or desire to use a BC for its original purpose. P.S. Loved the "Rosettes to Ruin" article. Thanks for posting!
  21. I'd agree with beagle. I see more hound-like characteristics than terrier-like characteristics.
  22. Yes, the SuperHeros specifically are designed to hold up like the Jawz. I dumped my Jawz after trying them. I've had the same set of 5 for two years now, and they get used all the time for practice (but generally not for competitions). Kit is not easy on her plastic.
  23. Yes, I suppose you could use hard plastic for rollers. The canvas Ruffwear disc I mentioned also has a nice edge and will roll decently.
  24. Oh, I'm with you there. There are absolutely some irresponsible owners out there playing sports with their dogs. I had a discussion about disc once with the owner of the agility barn where I train - she believes disc to be unsafe. I asked whether she allowed the general public to come train at her agility facility with no instruction. Her answer was "absolutely not". When I asked why, she informed me that safety was a number one priority and a newbie handler could injure a dog if they didn't know what they were doing. My response was "Yes, exactly." Just like agility, disc is incredibly dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. The only difference is that agility equipment costs thousands of dollars and people generally seek out instruction before starting to train. But almost anyone can afford a disc and many/most people can make one fly, so few people seek instruction. Any disc dog club worth its weight will announce to spectators that they should not try what they see at home. In addition to injuring the dog, it is extremely easy to injure oneself (has happened to anyone who's serious about the sport). Case in point: scroll up and take another look at the vaulting pic I posted. See the vest I'm wearing? It's not for looks.
  25. $600 for a puppy class? What the heck for? Puppy classes in my area are $90 for 6 weeks - same as agility classes, nosework classes, rally classes, obedience classes, and so on. Are there any other options available to you, other than Petco and the $600 place?
  • Create New...