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Jude doing a little agility


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Just wanted to share some progress on my boy. He's taking very well to agility, and gaining lots of confidence on the equipment. He also weaved 12 poles for the first time the other night as well, popped out the first go and did it great the second time. I just put 6 more poles out there on the already set up line of 6 on a whim. My plan was to set up a second set some ways away and move the sets closer and closer, eliminating the reward between the two sets eventually...(I confess I only made it to the part in the 2x2 video here she added the second set of poles 2x2 poles 15 feet away, i got bored of watching. I should rewatch that now soon :P ) I'm wondering now should I still do this since he took so well to 12 poles (we did it a few more times after I took that video with no problems) sometimes I weary of breaking things down too much, because he gets bored, but I don't want to leave that part out if it may cause problems. He has a solid understanding at 6 poles and his entries, still working on distractions though.

 

 

Here's a video of his first time! His entries look backwards in the video but that's only because for some reason my camera was fliming things backwards/mirror image, I have no idea why, but the barn is all flipped as well.

 

 

Also took a video of how his teeter is coming along, since he started learning it a few weeks ago. I'm going to start treating for every bang while he just sits by the teeter and play the bang game to see if I can speed it up as he rushes to "bang" it. I'm also using a toy on the end to help him "slide" and shift his weight a little later. He's already starting to run now, where not too long ago he still stopped at the pivot point and was pretty weary on it. I'm very happy with his contacts though :D

 

 

We have our first intermidiate 1 class tonight (sequencing and obstacle refinement) which I'm very excited for. We did a fun trial last week (club holds one after every set of classes) and oh my dog...He sure is fast and I sure am a bumbling fool, hahaha. So I am very excited to start learning about handling skills, he's my first agility dog so I'm slightly clueless and very clumsy and find it very hard to think about lines to obstacles. As a horseback rider I find it hard to be on the ground in between obstacles, versus being up on a horse's back, but my ability to see strides/lines from a rider's view seems to be helping.

 

Agility is so addicting!

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Great weaves! And Excellent Teeter! He is going to be awesome!

 

If he is doing the 12 weaves fine, I don't think I would go backward and split the sequence into 2 X 6 weaves. If you think he is getting bored, I would keep challenging him to keep his interest up. If it (the obstacle) seems to stress him, you can always go back a step or two and build up from there.

 

Keep up the good work!

 

Jovi

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For your first agility dog you are doing a great job with your training. Obviously you are taking your time and working on specific criteria. Bravo to you. And yes, agility is very addicting. Suggestion to you along those lines. Never look back.....at the amount of money you have put into it :P

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So I am very excited to start learning about handling skills, he's my first agility dog so I'm slightly clueless and very clumsy and find it very hard to think about lines to obstacles.

 

 

Upon re-reading your post, I had another thought:

 

I am also on my first (I hope there will be another) agility dog and find it a challenge to plan out lines to obstacles -- BUT what I think adds to the confusion is the fact that not only do I have to plan the path of the dog (I am feeling much more comfortable with my ability to perform this task), but I also have to plan my own path to support and direct my dog (which is where I often fail miserably). :(

 

Jovi

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Upon re-reading your post, I had another thought:

 

I am also on my first (I hope there will be another) agility dog and find it a challenge to plan out lines to obstacles -- BUT what I think adds to the confusion is the fact that not only do I have to plan the path of the dog (I am feeling much more comfortable with my ability to perform this task), but I also have to plan my own path to support and direct my dog (which is where I often fail miserably). :(

 

Jovi

 

That's exactly it, so much to think about. I can plan the dog part ok, but the "me" part is hard to think about. Where to go, what direction to face, when to cue, etc etc, Thankfully I can trust him to take huge lead outs, lol, or I think everything would unravel :P as I just am not swift/smart enough to keep up with him.

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The handling will come. There is a certain "feel" to it and once you learn the feel, life gets a whole lot easier. The one thing I tell my students is not to fear your handling choices. Fear causes hesitation and hesitation causes your worst fears to come true (knocked bars, off courses etc). Also, look at things in groups versus just obstacle to obstacle. Sometimes that helps create the line as does looking at tough sequences backwards i.e. look backwards along the line. OK, I'll stop now

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The handling will come. There is a certain "feel" to it and once you learn the feel, life gets a whole lot easier. The one thing I tell my students is not to fear your handling choices. Fear causes hesitation and hesitation causes your worst fears to come true (knocked bars, off courses etc). Also, look at things in groups versus just obstacle to obstacle. Sometimes that helps create the line as does looking at tough sequences backwards i.e. look backwards along the line. OK, I'll stop now

 

No thanks a lot!

 

I have a question about something we were doing in class last night though, we were shown different straight line things, push, 180, pivot, and she had us try them out and just get a feel for our dogs and it was going nicely. I learned I have to add more value to the tire as he was going under it, and even once he jumped through the top part where the rope is (scaryy! and this was at 26" where the hole was teeny tiny and my 50 lb bc, way to make things complicated buddy :P ), if we took it anything but a straight-on line. But overall the jump stuff was going good. He's done susan salo jumping and he is a completely independent jumper so I feel safe learning stuff on jumps. I asked to keep the jumps lower though in practice, that's fine right? I don't think there is a need jumping full height with him while we are learning handling...Sine there is already a high value in jumping and he loves it lol.

 

Second half of the class we went to the other side where the teeter and dog walk were set up next to each other and practiced making contacts (2o2o) more independent. Anyway his teeter I love, super independent he knows the end behaviour is, I don't have to even say "target" anymore, and I don't because I found out that I slow his teeter down when I say it, like I'm interrupting his flow (I try to talk as little as possible), until my timing is better I'm not going to always use it, but I'll throw it in every now and again, so when it comes first real trial time, I can say it because I think he'll need a reminder in that environment.

 

The question is his dog walk is slower than I'd like, It'll get there, I'm not worried but in class at one point we were doing dogwalk-teeter, pivot turn in between and I was thinking I probably shouldn't be doing this right now. As we were doing it I was pointed out to that I'm not standing up straight because I'm running hunched to try and keep up with my dog (I know he's going much slower than he can, but I guess it's still fast to others, lol.. I had the same slouching problem when I rode, lol) so I really focused on not slouching. And then I was told to try and just trot it to see If my dog slows down, and then walk to get him to slow down, so we can get our pivot whatever to the teeter. But I don't want to slow my dog down?! I think if I have him slow down right now he is going to learn that the dog walk can be a slow, deliberate obstacle, right? Which I'm already seeing by letting him do it "slow" all his beginner classes, he would much rather go fast but I think he thinks that I want it slow by not asking for more speed.. I think I need to solidify his contacts more, make it independent like the teeter, yes he might be holding a 2o2o for longer, but he can deal with that, and when I get better we will eventually be doing a quick release from it. So until he is more rock solid on the dogwalk, I'll just stick to a-frame and teeter contact handling work, and jumps.

 

Does this make sense? To me it does, but I don't know if I'm making some crucial beginner mistake, but I think my thoughts have gotten me pretty good results with him so far, and I know what I want out of my dog. I know I may just be a beginner, but Jude can strive for greatness really, he's that dog and I want to bring out his fullest potential and not hold him back because of my newbness ;)

 

Ps. Also doing lots of circle work and Susan Garrett's "One Jump" stuff with him. And watching Greg Derrett's handling videos, which are over my head right now, but I am learning some great things. I love the lending library at my club :)

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I could easily be out of debt if I never found this sport :)

 

I said the same thing about horses. I had two and boarding/training/showing cost a small fortune. I always said that if I didn't have the horses, I'd be rich. Then I found agility, sold the horses and I'm even more poor than I was before. :lol:

 

I figure if you don't spend your money on one thing, it will be another.

 

Kudos to you, Chantal -- I would have never pegged you for a newbie. I love that you are doing such great foundation work. I think people who come to dog sports from the horse world already have an appreciation for that sort of thing, which helps a lot. I also think that the awareness you have from riding will help you a lot in agility.

 

As to your question, I think doing an exercise going from the teeter straight to the dog walk can be a bit confusing & difficult for a novice dog.... Many novice dogs perform the dog walk slowly because they are waiting for it to tip (not being distinctly sure of the difference between it and the teeter). Having vastly different cue words for the obstacles helps. I don't really see the benefit in doing one after the other, personally. I can see how it would be hard on a novice dog. I'm quite sure your dog will get faster as he gets more confident.

 

I also agree with you (not your instructor) that you shouldn't have to try to slow him down for any reason. I dislike instructors who try to slow dogs down to make it easier for a student -- the student should, instead, work up to the level of the dog.

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Wow, nothing like a loaded question. LOL

 

Here is my goal with contacts, drive to the end regardless of what I am doing. I try really hard not to be part of my dogs contact performance criteria. I am working two dogs at the moment. The older competes and his contact criteria is 2o2o for all three contacts although I tend to quick release him in competition. Works fine as I can send him across the dogwalk and never move. Same for the aframe and teeter. The youngster is doing a four on teeter and a four on the floor dogwalk. We have yet to really start the Aframe as I have not really decided what I want to do with it yet. For both dogs, the contacts were taught separately and not put into sequences until I had the criteria that I was looking for. If I am starting to not like something about how the performance is going, I pull it out of sequences and train that obstacle singularly again. I am never afraid to go "back" in my training.

 

Both dogs were trained on the dogwalk using targeting but in different ways. The older dog used classic nose touch. His targeting skills were solid before he ever got on equipment. I taught the end behavior first, then back chained the length of the boards finally raising the height. Being extremely food (and toy) motivated, once we started working the full obstacle, he just naturally drove to the target at the end (drooling along the way).

 

The young dog is being taught the four on the floor so her criteria is come down off the board into a stationary position at the bottom. This is being done with a pvc pause box. The box is just another form of target. I taught her to drive to the box and down in it. Then we taught the end contact behavior and finally back chained the boards like we did the older dog. This dog isn't a huge foody so her reward is her tug toy. I place this toy about a foot beyond the end of the box so that she will drive into the box. She does not at this time just go and take the toy. She will down in the box and wait to be released. The young dog didn't wait for me to raise the dogwalk boards opting one night to run across the full height dogwalk with no problems. She has been there ever since and we are starting to fade the box. I may drop the dogwalk back down in height for a bit of confidence boosting but I am on a medical leave from being able to train for a couple of months so this may have to wait. Until then, lots of independent weave pole training and one jump work.

 

I should also go back and say that as part of my dogs foundation training, both dogs were taught to drive forward on the word "go". We started this long before equipment was being taught. The skill was pretty well engrained so when we did get to dogwalk training and I said "go" they did. It was my verbal cue and not me running next to them that got them driving forward.

 

As far as handling. I teach handling moves to my dogs on the flat first. They learn how to front cross, rear cross drive ahead, turn into and away from me without the obstacles. I then will incorporate trees or other obstacles to send them away and around. By the time we start using jumps and things, the dog recognizes the moves and knows what to do with them. At first the jumps are set really low as you are correct, I am not totally interested in the jumping part of a new skill until I know the dog "gets it"

 

I hope some of this helps.

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Lots of good advice - different methods, but I think it is good to know different ways to achieve the same end goal since every handler and dog is unique. I know what I am trying to do with my dog, but if I get a future dog, he/she may need a totally different approach so I like to be aware of other options. Also, if I run into a training problem with this dog, I might switch to a different training method to overcome a problem.

 

With regard to jumping - I agree with you & brndlbc in that the handling is more important than the jumping. I wish I had done more handling on the flat before jumping my dog. Even now, I will remove the jump bar or place it at different (lower) heights when doing various handling exercises.

 

With regard to speed - although it is much harder (and doesn't always work for me), I believe that a behavior should be taught at full speed. I went to some Sylvia Trkman workshops and she espouses training at full speed since it is her belief that when you train an obstacle at a slower speed and then try to speed up, speeding up is like training a brand-new behavior and some dogs never achieve full speed after being trained "slow".

 

I think Karissa makes a good point that the handler should work up to the level of the dog. I know that if my dog wasn't so fast that (1) he would certainly be easier to handle but (2) I would not be as good a handler as I am (not that I am a good handler, but am better than if I didn't have to work harder to keep up with my dog).

 

My thoughts for tonight. Good topic.

 

Jovi

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I know what I am trying to do with my dog, but if I get a future dog, he/she may need a totally different approach so I like to be aware of other options. Also, if I run into a training problem with this dog, I might switch to a different training method to overcome a problem.

 

I think this is hugely important, that one doesn't try and pigeon hole a dog into a particular method. All too often I see people who come hell or high water are going to train something because they saw it on the latest popular DVD. That is all well and good if it is working but as you say, sometimes we need to find better options for our dogs.

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