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Everything posted by alligande

  1. Much better to take a class, agility if you have no experience is hard to learn from a book. I don't know of any reliable youtube channel to get you started, most of what you find are random clips of people training which will not provide you with a program to follow. If you want to learn more in general google agilitynerd he writes a good blog, it is not targeted at beginners but there is lots of good info. the most important thing to remember is that agility is a game and is always taught positively there are no corrections in agility physical or verbal.
  2. Are you new to agility? If so I would recommend an online class to get you going. Check out the Fenzi Academy, Amanda Shyne - Data Driven Agility to start with. Agility is a complex activity and having guidance makes a huge difference in the how much fun you will both have. I have been training agility for 10 years and I love online courses as I live in an area with lots of agility competitions but there are no great trainers so I rely on online coaches to keep me learning and improving.
  3. I think the problem is that it can be hard to separate the problem from the environment, although we all know dogs that people have done everything right and the dog still has issues. If you take these boards the questions come from people struggling not those who are getting on well. One of our foster dogs is a good example of a dog who ended up with an obsession that was completely debilitating for her. She was our foster dog twice, the first time she was a nice young bitch, motion reactive but nothing that could not be managed, the rescue thought they had found her a lovely home and on paper it was. She came back to us two years later when the husband had died, a messed up individual. She could not ride in a car, she attacked the TV, and shadow chased .... we believe she had been entertained with a laser pointer, she went to live with the founder of the rescue as she was impossible to place, we made some progress but it was going to take much more time and effort than we had and most adopters are not willing to take on such a difficult dog.
  4. I was going to get my puppy from a well known UK breeder that registers a lot of pups each year, in the end there was health issues with the litter ( a different story but nothing that reflects badly on the ethics of the breeder) so my pup came from a private breeder. I gave it a lot of thought before I made the initial decision, in the end I decided they were only breeding for working ability, although as a business. In the UK ( and I believe the whole of the EU) there is a limit to 5 the number of liters a bitch can have in a lifetime which can be registered (applies to any register) so this particular breeder keeps pups from each litter to bring on, if they show promise and have serious potential that will keep them as part of their breeding and trial program and then sell them as finished dogs. If the dog doesn't show enough promise to be bred they sell the dog as a trained farm dog, they are well respected trainers and competitors so their trained dogs sell for far more than a pup. They do it right, dogs can be returned and they actively will find suitable pet homes for dogs not cut out to be sheepdogs. It is hard to make a living as a hill farmer so if breeding quality pups is a way to continue farming then I am fine with it. This is a very different to having 50 pups on the ground and breeding for other reasons than working ability. I also had a look at the breeders website and with what I have learned over my years hanging out on these boards I would not consider her as a breeder to get a dog from.
  5. I agree with most of what has been written, all of the issues that you mention are usually aggravated by inexperienced border collie owners who do not realize what is happening. We have had 3 rescue border collies, 1 ISDS dog and fostered a lot of them. They all except my ISDS dog have been prone to obsessing about things, the key is recognizing it and not allowing it to happen, redirect them, remove the obsession etc especially when they are pups. One of our rescues came to us with some aggression problems, once we understood him it was easy to manage and keep him under threshold ( he is the reason I found these boards) but with his previous family he had been allowed to practice these habits and found them effective and so had continued. When you watch the dogs work sheep they are really in-tune with the sheep and their shepherd, they are totally focused, now that focus if it is not given an outlet can easily become an obsession for balls etc. Border collies need that intensity to do their jobs, but it also makes them challenging pets and sadly is often the cause for them ending up in rescue.
  6. I have had a border collie for over 20 years now but it took moving to an island in the Mediterranean before I was able to discover the joys of your dogs working sheep. I always felt it was wrong to just let them play with sheep, and now we have a found a shepherd who we can work with on a regular basis. Over the last 5 weeks I have watched my dogs go from insecure and not having a clue to being confident and start to move sheep in an open field. The transformation in my young dog is striking, his first couple of visits to the farm he was completely useless! There were glimmers of interest but nothing that stood out, looked like my working bred ISDS dog was a washout ..... but knowing what he was like in agility I kept taking him, despite Miquel thinking I was wasting my money. 5 lessons in and he got to work sheep in an open field and a kiss from a farmer! My older rescue dog took to sheep straight away. They both have lots to learn and maybe one day I will get to handle them as at the moment it is better if the shepherd works them as they are both very handler focused as their primary job is agility, and they are both mamas boys. The most striking thing is how they are able to handle more pressure, both are very soft dogs and don't handle any sort of correction, the older one would whimp out and look for me initially now he just wants to get back the sheep, the youngest needed cheerleading and slowly has been able handle more pressure. To be honest I am hoping it helps make him more resilient. I have always loved watching collies work but when they are your own it makes it very special.
  7. As I am serious about agility my young dogs breeder advised me to get his foundations solid before we tried working sheep so they would not have the tendency to bend rather than run in straight lines. I can really see the intense handler focus both my dogs have, for the first time my dogs have the opportunity to learn the art of working sheep which we never had in the US, I would have had to drive to far to make a regular commitment and I was not going to do it unless they could really learn. The shepherd works both my dogs, so they can learn rather than watching me, he has had me hiding in the car! The only thing that has transferred over is their good downs, and their responsiveness to commands.
  8. I know Knox and Yannick, they come and give us a seminar once a year, and I got to see him run in a competition wearing his glasses. This was early on and it was taking him a while to get used to wearing them. But is was really obvious that his vision changed with them on, sitting on the sidelines with him not wearing them, he was his only focused on his toy, once he had them on he started looking around and watching the other dogs.
  9. there are puppy agility obstacles out there, my club has a really cute set of miniature equipment all made to the same standards as regulation equipment rubber surfaces etc. It is mostly used for non-agility classes just to get pet-dogs doing different things, but it does get used by young dogs to get them comfortable going on the different stuff.
  10. I got my youngster at 10 weeks, the first night he slept from 11 - 5:30, then it was 10 - 10:30 to 6 or 6:30 by the time we got home with at 13 weeks he was happy in his crate for 8 hours. There were a few days that he woke me up and really had to go but they never became a pattern. For the first 3 weeks he slept beside me and I would do the hand trick as well, once home he moved into a huge crate in the living room and he was good. We counted our selves as very lucky especially as we were traveling and staying with family and in hotels those first 3 weeks.
  11. Mum24Dog's daughter shared this yesterday on Agilitynet and I wanted to share it with the boards. I had the opportunity to meet Pam last summer at the Kennel Club Agility Festival and got to her thank her in person for all the help she gave me navigating English agility and finding an ISDS pup.
  12. Something else to consider is working with a rehab pro. My agility dog was diagnosed with mild HD nothing as severe as your poor boy but he was in pain and obvious discomfort. My vets initial reaction was that should cut back his exercise, no more agility etc. I then started working with a vet/physio but I actually made things worse as he was not used to working with over achieving border collies and their owners as I just did far to much as he had not provided a detailed plan. I knew there were dogs competing in the US and the UK with HD so I found a vet/physio who worked with us online in conjunction with our local vet/physio and the results were amazing, we have never done hydrotherapy, just simple conditioning exercises. We now work with a local physio who moved here, he has an appointment once a month for a massage and she adjusts his exercises depending on what she feels he needs. He will be 9 this summer and is still fit, strong and able to train and compete in the sport. My recommendation is not to go it alone with conditioning exercises, they can make a huge difference but it is very important to do the correct exercises with the right form and the correct number of repetitions.
  13. I can not imagine it being that big a deal, especially if you are getting the pup young. My pup came from a sports/hearding home 1/2 the litter went to agility homes the others went to farms. They were raised in the house with kids, played with toys etc, learned to tug. They did nothing really special though and were not the type to get sucked into all the puppy agility stuff, just provided a good allround home environment, vacuum cleaners, screaming kids, all the normal stuff. I have a friend with a 7 year old sports bred dog who has some really impressive working lines, she has spent her life as an agility dog, she even had to learn to be a pet when she came to my friends, she had never seen sheep until a few months ago and her instinct was unreal, and she just started working. The shepherd was smitten! so I really don't see how a few weeks early weeks can effect a well bred pup badly.
  14. Sorry I haven't been on the boards for awhile, Fen started knowing nothing about running contacts and he had never been on equipment, the only thing he had was an understanding of the 2o2o position so his learning curve has been huge. He is a thinking dog and so this technique is working very well for him. We are now into the second class and his learning continues well, he is getting faster as he gets confidence, and maintains an understanding of the criteria most of the time.
  15. My older dog has hip dispylasia in one hip and has been transformed working with a phsyio, my goals are different to yours which is to keep my dog fit to compete in agility but my physio works with a lot of older dogs and their quality of life is usually improved with increased mobility.
  16. My first agility border collie was a car chaser when we got him, and once agility started getting fast he really was a raving lunatic, I started taking a soft crate to training and keeping it covered so he could not get worked up, I also left him the car between his sessions. Over time and with patience and a lot of help from Controlled unleashed he settled down and could chill as trials. My young dog could easily become the same dog and I use have to work at keeping him under threshold, he was at a very big agility competition recently as a spectator and we use exposed him to things in very small pieces. It can be managed and you will not have to give up agility and really is very common. The shock collar is a very bad idea for something like this.
  17. I am late to responding to you, I am having an amazing agility adventure with my older dog currently. You have been given great advice, stick with an "real" person class for awhile it will help you immensely, agility is a really complex sport for the human, we can teach our dogs everything really well but if we have not figured out the game nothing will flow, it really is a team sport and both members need help learning their roles and a live trainer should help you make huge strides. I take online courses and find them really helpful as I live on an island where I am one of the more experienced handlers, they are really helping me push my handling and training to another level, currently my young dog is taking a handling class with Shapeup agility who are brilliant world class handlers for Canada but I don't feel the classes are that good for beginners, I am also taking a running contact class with Anne Lenz who is German and the current world champion, the class is great and could be taken by a beginner but obviously you need to be confident that you want to go down that route.
  18. Good move, I think the problem is that that many people have not realized there has been a huge evolution in dog training and the understanding of how all animals learn. Slowly people are learning that you don't have to be a bully to be successful when training animals, and we can only hope that with time trainers like her will no longer be in business.
  19. I am sure it is possible but I suspect like all things it depends on the skill of the trainer, the dogs learning style and if the equipment is in your garden. I personally feel there is a limit to what I can teach successfully and thoroughly without overloading my young man, by the time I get to my next dog I might be up for teaching more skills at the same time! He is currently learning RCs, handling and we started on weave poles last week. I go to my club early most weekday mornings and I am there for about 30 minutes, working with both my dogs, young one does some contact training and short sequences working on his skills and the older one is just polishing his skills and mine. At home we do two quick sessions on 2x2s.
  20. Jovi, her advice was not, not to teach a stop first, but to finish training the running before introducing the stop if he already stopped that would have been fine, basically don't do them at the same time. I had started introducing the seesaw before starting the course, my youngster is a late developer and I wanted to be sure his growth plates were closed before I started on the seesaw but he we had not progressed beyond him running over it with a slight tip. I have seen a couple of dogs in the group struggle to transition away from 2o2o, my youngster who has only ever been taught the position and had briefly been introduced to it on equipment defaulted to a 2o2o when he was confused by what was wanted. I think if I do end up with a stopped position after all this training it will be solid as he really understands run to the end of the board and I suspect will transition quickly.
  21. My older dog is currently 62 lbs, I think he slightly overweight but he is very muscular, he is a big boy. My younger dog at 16 months is very slightly build but almost as tall as my big dog, he currently weighs 44lbs and I expect he will put on quite a bit more as he develops more musculature, he is a very late developer. Somehow I just end up with giant border collies.
  22. Our intro running contact course continues and I still really like Anne Lenzs approach. I always knew that teaching RCs was a commitment but now I am working through the process I would discourage someone from attempting it if they were not committed to almost daily training and having lots of patience. I think my decision to attempt running contacts will delay the start of Fens competition career as I won't compete until he understands the criteria and I suspect that is a good few months away. We started training the course 11 weeks ago (technically it's an 8 week course but the time has been extended due to Anne's traveling time) and we are still working with a board on the floor. In comparison in 3 months I would have been able to train a decent 2o2o. I have also not continued working with the seesaw as Anne's advice is wait on using a stop until the running criteria is solid.
  23. It is a very common border collie problem. If you google these boards for reactivity you will find loads of threads with dogs having the same behavior. My first agility dog turned into a raving lunatic once we started training with other dogs really running. Members of these boards introduced me to a book called Controled Unleashed and we worked our way through some of the exercises and it really helped him. There are two versions of the book and I understand the puppy book is easier to work with, although called puppy it is still applicable to all dogs.
  24. All great advice, I will reiterate that the more fun you make coming back, the more they want to come back. with my 8 year old I still call him back on walks just for fun ... and then I let him go back to what ever fun he was having. We have all heard the increasingly desperate calls, turning to frustration then to anger "fluffy come, Fluffy Come, FLUFFY COME" by this point you can only wonder why fluffy will ever come back!!!
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