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spinning at agility??

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Just wondering if anyone knows anything about correcting spinning... or a sort of refusal. When I am running a course with my dog, if I send her to a tunnel, she starts to spin in front of me, as if confused. Although she knows exactly what I am asking of her, and knows the names of the obstacles. I almost have to run completely up to the mouth of the tunnel. I have worked distance with her, and she is getting better. She is just a speed demon, so it is hard to keep up. Any chance I get to set myself up for the next obstacle is crucial. She used to not spin, then started it, then didn't do it as much, then now acts like a maniac on the course. Terrible two's?? She is still a puppy though. Just over a year and a half.

 

Or if I don't run fast enough (long distance between obstacles), she jumps in front of me.

 

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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Although she knows exactly what I am asking of her

 

No she doesn't. She's asking you "Where now - come on. come on, tell me - where, where?"

Just knowing the names of the obstacles isn't enough - a dog needs to know to take the appropriate obstacle at a distance from you. Knowing in training isn't necessarily the same thing as automatically knowing in competition. "I do this in Place A" doesn't mean that the dog definitely knows that it has to do the same thing in Place B.

If you're doing distance work in training and she's getting better, it may just be a question of time as she gains confidence. The added excitement of competing often sends inexperienced dogs crazy, however good they may be in training.

If she's having a particular issue with the tunnel, I would go back to square 1 - send her through the tunnel from the mouth to a huge reward as she exits and then increase the distance and direction you're sending her from.

Don't just concentrate on tunnels though or you could end up with a dog that is tunnel mad.

I've assumed that you mean competing by "running a course". If you don't and it's happening in training it suggests to me that you are asking too much of her. Rather than do something where she's going to go wrong and correcting her, it's far better to take several steps back in training to build a solid foundation and increase the level of difficulty gradually.

 

Pam

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There is a GSD that competes around the area I compete in. He is a huge spinner, and I mean huge! I've seen him fall off the A frame and teeter by spinning his way down them! He's gotten more NQs than I can count by spinning out in front of stuff and getting refusals. He apparently used to just spin on occasion when he was confused. Then it progressed to the point to where he is just soooo worked up he just spins and spins. He barks while doing so too. Once he gets going his handler can't get his attention back to get him running straight again.

 

I guess the moral of this story is that I would try to fix this problem as soon as possible. You don't want to end up in this woman's situation. I'm not sure how to correct but at your dog's age I would think it is a combination of excitement and uncertainty about what to do next. Go back to basics?

 

Olivia

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The drive she is showing is definitely something you want, the way she is exerting that drive is not what you want. My girl at 1 year wasn't a spinner but would fly back and actually nip me, then as we worked on it she would start to spin and now will just bark. Basically with her i figured out simply it was my handling. My handling would be correct but she didn't understand it. Try doing some sort of handling exercise depending on the way you wish to handle her. It may be that you are not giving directions fast enough, or they are not accurate enough for her, she needs it mapped out. She will need to know whether it is a tight turn after the tunnel or a drive ahead not just a tunnel if that makes sense. Do keep working on distance and handling at a distance. My girls nipping was just her frustration at not being able to go as fast as she wanted because i wasn't telling her where to go. If you know they know and you are not at fault and they are just being mental it is not acceptable and i would end the game immediately. Likelihood is it is a handling error on your part or a lack of understanding on her part. Myla will now just bark and scream at me and i know (because i know she understands everything) that it will be a handling error on my part that causes her frustration. Whatever you decide to do i wouldn't choose an avenue that will dampen the dogs spirit. Make sure all handling, distance and obstacle training is perfect before you start to remove her from situations where she starts to spin or refuse obstacles. But you should find that will lessen once she understands better or your navigation skills are adequate for her. Good Luck she sounds like she could be a fantastic dog!

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I agree that no, she doesn't really understand what you want. More distance work is needed, in a variety of locations. I carry some jumps in my car and practice anytime I have a free moment in random parks, shcool yards, etc. Never try to keep up to your agility dog, the dog's job is to run, not you. Your job is to direct appropriately. Right now, she's not getting it, so work more on distance in a variety of settings.

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Thanks for all the great advice!

 

I will definitely keep working on distance. Our situation is very complicated, because I have to run fast to get to the next obstacle, but in running fast, she might think it's a competition to see who can get there first, but if I slow, she spins or has refusals. My instructor said that I am giving her more than enough of a message of where to go. My body (feet and shoulders) face the right direction, I signal with my hand, I say the command, I even keep the forward motion going towards that obstacle. I have tried running a few times with her without using much verbal. It went pretty good, I might try that some more. Maybe it's my voice that stresses her out? I try to stay calm with my voice though.

 

When I say run a course, I mean during practice. We have not started trialing yet. I want to wait until she understands better. We just did a fun run on new year's eve, and seek placed 2nd on the Gambler!

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Congratulations on the placing! We have not started trialling yet even though my girl is 20 months because we missed out on the beginnners comp as she wasn't 18 months till 12 days after and now we are on Christmas break.

 

To me it sounds like if you are directing properly then she must not understand what you are asking her to do and she will need more work on distance. So do handling exercises and distance work and the will problem to start to dissolve over time. She may not know how to send out to an obstacle even if she knows the obstacles by name.

 

Some dogs don't work well with voice, i actually was caught clicking my fingers to direct my dog. We were doing complicated handling exercises and she was getting them perfect the first time, my instructor was very surprised but then we realised it was because i was unconsciously clicking my fingers to get her attention. You will learn over time how to work as a team. I don't use too much voice although i have to yell contact at her because she screams so loud on contact equipment, we are still working on that. She's screaming while nose touching and im telling her to shut up so she can hear her release cue....very naughty. :D

She's only a puppy and you are still learning how to run together, it all takes time. :rolleyes:

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Definatley sounds like she is confused and is trying to tell you. You need to find just how far away from the tunnel you can be and send her to it . Once you find what distance she is comfortable , you need to work from that distance for a while , then take baby steps when lengthening your distance ...dont rush into distance work so fast. You found out what can happen with the spinning. Other dogs have learned to bark on course when confused or pick up other habits that are hard to break. Keep it simple for a while .( As a example ) Have you tried calling the next obstacle once her front feet touch the ground coming over a jump before the tunnel ? When my dog is running a tunnel , Im yelling "Nemi, Nemi , weave" before she is out of the tunnel . So she knows ahead of time what she suppose to do . It works for us :D

Good luck and dont rush into anything , take it slow . Your result will be a dog who understands her job completely. :rolleyes:

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I got my work set out for me. I will work on the distance at a slow pace. I think I sometimes lack the confidence that things will go smoothly, which Seek may sense. I sometimes wish I would be a better handler, although that will come with time. We are fairly new to agility in the whole scheme of things. I am definitely obsessed with it, and Seek is obsessed with it. It's one of our most favorite bonding moments. Plus, like I said before, Seek is still just a puppy. With age will come confidence and knowledge.

 

Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate it.

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Our situation is very complicated, because I have to run fast to get to the next obstacle, but in running fast, she might think it's a competition to see who can get there first, but if I slow, she spins or has refusals.

 

That's very common. It does sound as if she doesn't understand the concept of working independently away from you.

A very simple exercise, and one that I assume everyone does at some time, is to set up 2 parallel rows of 3-4 jumps in a straight line, linked at the far end by a U shaped pipe tunnel.

You should be able to stand behind the first jump, send her up one side, through the tunnel and call her back over the second set of jumps. Then repeat in the other direction.

You start near the tunnel, gradually move back to send over 1 jump and through the tunnel, then keep increasing the distance until she is doing the whole exercise under her own steam. Make sure there is a huge reward for her at the end of what you are asking her to do.

And you need a cue for going on in a straight line without you such as Go on. You shouldn't need body language for that.

 

Pam

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One thing I would add to what everyone has already said is to play the around the clock game, maybe you have already done this, but I would do more if I were you. It seems that often when we start a new dog we present everything from head on (i.e. 12 o'clock) and then we go to running small sequences and never teach the dog that a tunnel head on is the same as a tunnel from an angle. So just in case you haven't played around the clock...here it is.

 

I would start with a straight tunnel, but eventually you will want to do this will all obstacles. Assume that the mouth of the tunnel sits on a big clock w/ 12 being head on and 6 being in the direction of the exit. Start w/ your dog at 12 (6-8 feet away from the tunnel) and send them from both sides into the tunnel. Then go to 1 o'clock and work from there, then to 11 o'clock and so on. As you move your dog around the clock, your body position in relation to the tunnel and dog ought to move also so that you can be anywhere; however make these adjustment gradually. The idea is for the dog to learn that a tunnel doesn't just look like a perfectly round opening. This game can also really help w/ teaching up sides on contacts, make sure that you don't let the dog jump on the contact obstacle from the side; I've had to use cones as props before to help dogs know that they had to go down to the start of the dogwalk.

 

Best of luck :rolleyes:

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Another thing to consider is getting the information out to your pup in a timely manner. She may not be getting the information soon enough, although there is plenty of it. I would go back and work basic distance with her without any obsticles just driving ahead of you to a target/toy first through uprights then tunnels and other equipment but take it slow make sure she understands each step as you move forward

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That's very common. It does sound as if she doesn't understand the concept of working independently away from you.

A very simple exercise, and one that I assume everyone does at some time, is to set up 2 parallel rows of 3-4 jumps in a straight line, linked at the far end by a U shaped pipe tunnel.

You should be able to stand behind the first jump, send her up one side, through the tunnel and call her back over the second set of jumps. Then repeat in the other direction.

You start near the tunnel, gradually move back to send over 1 jump and through the tunnel, then keep increasing the distance until she is doing the whole exercise under her own steam. Make sure there is a huge reward for her at the end of what you are asking her to do.

And you need a cue for going on in a straight line without you such as Go on. You shouldn't need body language for that.

 

Pam

 

I just started this the other day. We will see how it goes in further teachings. Thanks!

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One thing I would add to what everyone has already said is to play the around the clock game, maybe you have already done this, but I would do more if I were you. It seems that often when we start a new dog we present everything from head on (i.e. 12 o'clock) and then we go to running small sequences and never teach the dog that a tunnel head on is the same as a tunnel from an angle. So just in case you haven't played around the clock...here it is.

 

I would start with a straight tunnel, but eventually you will want to do this will all obstacles. Assume that the mouth of the tunnel sits on a big clock w/ 12 being head on and 6 being in the direction of the exit. Start w/ your dog at 12 (6-8 feet away from the tunnel) and send them from both sides into the tunnel. Then go to 1 o'clock and work from there, then to 11 o'clock and so on. As you move your dog around the clock, your body position in relation to the tunnel and dog ought to move also so that you can be anywhere; however make these adjustment gradually. The idea is for the dog to learn that a tunnel doesn't just look like a perfectly round opening. This game can also really help w/ teaching up sides on contacts, make sure that you don't let the dog jump on the contact obstacle from the side; I've had to use cones as props before to help dogs know that they had to go down to the start of the dogwalk.

 

Best of luck :rolleyes:

 

 

I will try this. Thanks!

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Another thing to consider is getting the information out to your pup in a timely manner. She may not be getting the information soon enough, although there is plenty of it. I would go back and work basic distance with her without any obsticles just driving ahead of you to a target/toy first through uprights then tunnels and other equipment but take it slow make sure she understands each step as you move forward

 

I definitely tell her in time. I will just start over from the basics. I am going to take your advice with the touch plates. Maybe I just took them away too soon. Thanks!!

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My dog is the same and her spinning is inconsistent.  Sometimes she spins; sometimes she does not.  It is hard to fix an inconsistent issue.  Her spinning can be before a jump or a tunnel.  I can give her a series of verbal cues, a single verbal cue, physical cues, and never know what to expect.  We have had four different excellent trainers and none know how to fix it.  I have gone back to basics with a tunnel and a jump, taken basic tunnel/agility workshops, etc. and she continues.  I can stand in front of a jump and ask her to jump and she does it perfectly.  I can do it a second time and she spins.  Fortunately she does not bark.  She is very handler focused.  We have been training for 2+ years.  

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