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Merrill Anne Jordan

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    BC Quinn, agility, obedience training.

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  1. FOCUS! Quinn (Border Collie/ Australian shepherd / golden retriever) has very limited focus at 18 months. And it’s something we are working on. We’ve been through obedience classes and have completed close to a year of agility. Training consistency and listening to commands on the first try is part of our training work to improve his focus and calm. I know this will benefit us in agility as we start moving towards competitions. We started rally obedience this past Sunday and... he didn’t even make it through the whole class before losing his cool. It’s was less than an hour. He just couldn’t sit still that long. So... MY FIRST QUESTION. What fun activities or training games do you currently or have you used to help your pups develop their focus and patience? Help! I need some good suggestions! SECOND QUESTION: Are my expectations that his level of focus should be greater by now on par for his age? What have you experienced with your young pups? I realize he still has some time before he reaches his full maturity, but I thought I’d ask the experts here for sage advice Pic of said crazy puppy man for attention. He’s a maniac and I love him. We have established a good working partnership and I look forward to honing it in even more.
  2. Good people! I figured it was about time for an update! Quinn is now 18 months old! It's been a fun ride :) though I must admit I certainly don't miss those early puppy days That said, Quinn is doing very well and we've been progressing in our agility journey. We took agility classes in the spring and fall (agility breaks during the summer) and now we're beginning Rally obedience this winter. I chose Rally this winter so we could work on some foundational obedience, as @Lawgirl suggested early on. He has come a LONG way but we still need improvement. This fall we ran our fastest time yet, which was 45 seconds. I think there were 13 total obstacles. This was a MAJOR improvement over our previous timed runs of ~1:20. To be very honest I've learned a great deal about what I need to do better in order for Quinn to succeed. I love the relationship building and bond strengthening that agility encourages between Q and I. It's pretty incredible. As my first BCx, I don't think I was prepared for how different this experience would be from owning less... shall we say.... astute... pups. The level of intelligence is incredible and he's constantly surprising me by what he understands. We're going to continue with our agility training come Spring and will try to get some videos then of a run, but I wanted to share some pics and a video with you all in the meantime. Enjoy! And thank you for all the advice. - Q and Merrill P.S. I trimmed his pants and he is getting those grinchy feet now! So much paw fur! joined_video_628fdbc3220142f9870c79eba1ea2858.MP4
  3. Thank you @Lawgirl We are! And hope to continue on that path. We had our agility class today and he did very well actually. I’m also learning (though it’s rather a “duh” thing) that the way I come into things plays a HUGE role in the way he responds. For example, today I was calm, collected, and we had a great time and he was very responsive. Two weeks ago, I was in a frenzied state upon arrival and he responded accordingly and we didn’t even finish the last jump in class that day. And of course, this translates to everyday life. So that’s useful should well. All in all, doing well. After his agility class today we went and swam for an hour or so (after about a 30 min hike up and down some massive hills). Needless to say, he’s exhausted, and so am I. A good day. Here’s a short video of today’s frolic with his best friend, Clementine. 190054DF-B880-4E14-9CE1-DD3884ABAB2B.MOV
  4. Hello fellow BC Forum readers! Update on Quinn, my now 10mo BC mix. Knock on wood, he is doing so well. There is no doubt that we both are constantly learning, me about him and him about me. We recently went on vacation for a week and he did BRILLIANTLY except for one instance of... well... there’s no easy way to say it. He peed on my Mom. Appropriate scolding and action ensued and we had s good rest of the week We are now well into our Agility 1 and Obedience 1 classes and he’s doing well. Our “stay” is coming along and our “heel” has also improved quite a bit. He’s still a jumpy boy, but that’s also improving. In agility class, he does well and enjoys himself, but gets distracted easily. He receives high praise from our instructors. I’m positive I need to work on my handling. I know some of it’s me for sure. We still struggle to find treats that he’s super motivated for. So I’m trying the ball, because, why not. Mixed results so far. He loves fetch and with the chuck-it, we spend a good amount of time playing if we are by ourselves at our complex’s park. On vacation, we also had quite the time swimming! Quinn LOVES the water and I love seeing him so happy. He got a life jacket. I know he might not need it but it makes me feel better. Helicopter parent, I know. All this to say, here are some photos of my Quinn boy now. The YorkiePoo is Maebelle, my parents’ dog. She’s 10, and doesn’t put up with Q’s guff.
  5. @Lawgirl I almost cried when I saw this YouTube. Not because it's sad or anything, but because it's SO DARN EXCITING to watch dogs do this! I think I've got the bug....
  6. Excellent! I'm looking forward to that. I'm afraid the first time we go Quinn is going to lose his baby mind from wanting to participate. We visited a Super Pet Expo recently where he absolutely lost it, pulled out of his collar (I had a harness on him too) and almost got into the ring with the dogs performing (The Marvelous Mutts) because he was so frustrated and wanting to play. Maybe good practice in self-control for him? Food for thought. I'm thinking I might hit up the Mechanicsville event but need to browse the events a bit more. Do you attend these typically @CaptJack? Q LOVES it. And I do agree and think he'll continue growing out of his distractions. His recall, for example, has actually improved dramatically even in the past few weeks to a month. So, like Quinn, I think that this will help me get into shape running with him on the course. I think it'll be good for us both, ha. Though his stamina is something else. So I'll likely use a mixture as well. I'll have to figure out how to video once we get to that point to see what's working and what's not. I appreciate the insight and will do some googling.
  7. I've always been told that chicken bones are dangerous for pets. Is this not the case?
  8. @alligande, this is great and super helpful. It's a completely different ball game for Q depending on the environment, which makes sense. Stay is definitely still a struggle for us and I often use "wait" with Quinn and he's okay with it when we're "on the course" (just in training class). He chomps at the bit and like I said earlier, he absolutely bolts over the A frame. Channeling his excitement and making sure he's focused and not distracted is our greatest struggle right now. Might you have any recommended reading for how those different commands play out? @Lawgirl you are awesome. Thank you! I'll take a look at some of those. Surprised to see some of the areas they have agility trials too, like Mechanicsville and Doswell (my Dad is actually from Mechanicsville, coincidentally). I'll take a look at the websites and reach out to see if they have any opportunities and if not, I'll certainly go watch. Can you bring your pup if they're not competing usually? @captain jack is this your experience in VA? Related to formal obedience and working on both sides, yes. That's actually one of the things they did in the class, having us work on both sides. While Quinn knows stay, wait, down, look, etc., he doesn't know heel. So that's the one we're actively working on right now. It's mostly in connection with our morning training sessions and is sometimes around dogs and sometimes not. Our biggest issue is distraction. Is this something you think he will grow out of as he continues to mature?
  9. Yeah, I stockpile himalayan chews from Chewy once a month and we go through them, but he's been bored of them lately it seems. They're actually much more economical through Chewy I've found. 3 for $12.50 (or less if you do their autoship). In the stores you'd find one for that price usually and these are big and last a while. Link here: https://www.chewy.com/bones-chews-himalayan-cheese-large/dp/137096 Ohhh I've not tried cow hooves yet, though I know Quinn's sister, Lexie loves them. I'll have to take a look and maybe buy one. Pig ears here are gone quickly too. And they smell quite porky (and not in a mmmm bacon kind of way ). I've never tried lamb ears though. I'll have to check those out too! Thanks @GentleLake and @ShellyF! Good suggestions!
  10. I've been worried about the teeth as he scrapes them across but still ok for now. He's less interested in antlers so we've only had a few over the months. And we did rawhide until I stopped buying them for the aforementioned reasons. So now that you've mentioned which ones don't work, any recommendations on which ones have worked for you and your dogs, @GentleLake? We've stuck with Himalayan Chews recently.
  11. I'm just here for the puppy pictures Don't mind me. No, but seriously, congratulations. As another condo-dweller, it's challenging raising a pup in such a small space, but if you're willing to keep them busy and go, it's SO worth it. And these boards have helped immensely. I got Quinn at 6.5 weeks as a foster for our county shelter and adopted him at 8 weeks. On the separation note, I also used kongs to help keep Quinn (9mo now) occupied while I was away. We started crate training immediately and whenever he would go in, he'd get a peanut butter stuffed Kong. It would keep him busy long enough for me to sneak out and he did really well with it. After a while (around 6 mos), we've stopped Kongs entirely save the occasional treat and he's actually no longer in the crate during the day while I'm out or at work. I also invested in puzzles early on to help keep Q occupied. We currently have two puzzles in addition to the Kong Gyro and the Kong Wobbler. He LOVES all three and they're invaluable because they enable him to keep himself busy when I'm otherwise occupied or need a break. I also keep many many chew things on hand for the same purpose. And the chews have evolved over time, but he continues to LOVE to chew. Which he is currently doing on a beef knuckle . It took me a while to understand that the mental tiring out is almost just as important as the physical tiring out, and these items have been lifesavers. Best of luck with your little one. They bring so much joy and it's SO exciting. And welcome to the Boards!
  12. As Quinn grows and develops, I've been trying out a variety of different chew snacks for him. We've tried deer antlers, moose antlers, himalayan cheese, raw frozen bones, rawhide, no raw-hide. We've run the gambit. What chew treats have you found that were really durable and worked well for you and your pup?
  13. @Lawgirl @captain jack Much appreciated for the wisdom above. And no, you haven't scared me off! I'm just starting to realize how much work goes into all this. From what I've read in other threads as well it absolutely IS a different language. Our current class is only once a week but when we get there, he snaps to attention (unless there's goose poo, which he then consistently tries to eat. Gross). Distractions are real for a pup his age, and I expect that, though we work on it. I've been thinking about everything y'all have said above and what a year might look like for us, especially within the next 6 months. We'll finish our Agility 1 Foundations course right at the beginning of June and then move directly into Agility 2 where we start to do more off leash work and string the course together a little at a time. After that, we're able to run courses at our leisure when they're available, which will allow us to do more training. Also by this time, he'll have turned 1 (12 months) so his growth should be almost, if not already, complete. After those 6 months.... I'm not sure where we go from there, but I'll figure that out when the time comes. I'm excited to see what Quinn can do and what I can do, since I realize it's also about me as a handler and Quinn and I's working relationship as a duo. I've never had a working dog like Q before and so while this is new territory, we're taking it in stride. His face often looks like Oscar's face when he's "working" or "doing a job" whether that's fetch or agility. He's gotten REALLY into fetch and we're tying some obedience training into it as well, which he's not as big a fan of. Where would I find a trial to volunteer at? I too am in Virginia by the way, outside of DC. What's the experience like? Yes. I'm quickly finding out about the journey! I've seen Q improve dramatically in so many ways over the past month even and I honestly can't imagine how amazing he'll be even a year from now. The best advice I've gotten I think was from you CaptJack. Making sure that I continue to remember that he is a baby doggie, even if he does start to look much more adult. He is still a baby and I need to manage my expectations accordingly. It's done wonders for us in the past month even and helped improve Quinn and I's interactions quite a bit. He's a GOOD boy, truly. Another question: I have heard that to be really successful, you need a rock solid stay, sit, down, etc. We're working on these all in a Dog Obedience 1 course, even though he's already gotten most of these commends, it can't hurt to have them reinforced. Which commands did you find MOST useful on the agility course? Quinn currently knows sit, down, wait/stay, and his recall is continuing to improve as he matures, though, at Obedience class last night he kept chasing leaves in the wind lol. Still a baby doggie I appreciate you both!
  14. Hello! My pup Quinn (9mo) and I started our first agility foundations class yesterday. They're an hour long and we're working on short, slow fundamentals to help us learn more advanced things in a few months in Agility 2. Right now, with Quinn still being quite young, I'm not practicing outside of class in order to ensure that I don't do any damage to him til his growth plates are finished fusing. Been reading posts here on that. As a side note, we're also currently completing a Dog Obedience 1 class to make sure we have those proper handling fundamentals down as well. Both classes are about 7 weeks. Now, a bit about the agility class and the obstacles: A frame (median/low angle) - Quinn likes to bolt up and down it, so we worked on slowing that down to make sure he doesn't overrun the yellow bit and we get future disqualifications (if/when we trial, way down the road) Tunnel - Q was more tentative but still runs through. Distractions are his worst enemy and someone threw a treat in it so he stopped to sniff... Low jump (more like step over height) - Q did very well. He's essentially a natural and really loves it. He seriously could watch it for hours and it took him a bit to settle for the class, but once he did so he's focused (usually) and ready to work. So, to my questions. How long did it take you and your dogs to get to trialing and what levels of agility did they complete (varying, obviously). At what age did they start and with what frequency do you practice? What should the next 6 months look like for Q and I if I'd like to take him to trials eventually? Do you use a certain type of collar or harness while training on leash (basics)? Appreciate any and all advice. I want to keep my boy healthy, but moving forward. Sincerely, Merrill (and Quinn)
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