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when to say enough for a young dog???

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At what point do you quit trying a sport with your dog? Or give up hope?

 

Troy is 3.5 years old. And I haven't a clue what to do with him. He wonderful with people, adores small females dog, but males dogs or big dog he iffy with. <- that's not really in issue I realize its common for dogs to have preference about their playmates. But for the most part he is a 100% mama boy/shadow.

 

I was hoping to earn his MACH but lower that to just earning his MX and MXJ titles. When I can get his head, he is great, not fast since he goes my speed, but he looks for the obstacles, understands distance, able to take a correction/or being wrong, and is a partner on the course. The only issue is getting his head.

 

He works himself up in a instance and once up he can't calm down or it takes hours to calm him down. He won't be able to be quiet, hold still, or focus on anything, a correction can send him flying into someone else arm(literally). I never know which he will be at a trial which is my concern. At the last trial where he competed at (may 2011) he was wonderful! We even passed a class most of the other runs were baby dog mistakes. Nothing stressful happen he was taking treats and kongs and was just relaxed.

 

This last trial I just brought him to get adjusted since I knew he was out. He wasn't trialing or anything. I left him in the crate and from there it went down hill fast. He scream and howl whenever I left him. He was all over the place when brought out(couldn't hold still), whinning nonstop(even after his massage). He wouldn't even take treats or the kong. Over all it was awful enough that I pulled him from his next show. When he is like that he can't compete. He was like that last year but with a year off and him getting neuter I thought he might improve of stressing like that.

 

He been to classes as just an exhibitor where he get rewarded for being calm, we been to trials where he hasn't run and word on him NOT getting over the edge.

 

There are a couple difference to note that I could think:

1. His sister was there. (cressa was competing and threw a fit when she heard us arrive)

2. He wasn't with his "pack leader" but with the annoying 1 year old border collie. They were both in their seperate crates. And the pack leader wasn't absent just not on the ground in a crate like they were.

3. It was an outdoor trial.

 

Sidenote. The thunder shirt had no effect on him at this trial! Also he does agility cause I do agility and anything I do he wants to do too. He lives to please me. Cressa lives for and breathe agility.

 

I don't want to give up on troy but I feel as if I am close to saying I give up.

 

ETA: when I say he was like that last year I meant: some trial he would loose his head and other trial he would be good. Sometimes he has 2 good day and 1 bad day sometimes it visa versa.

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At what point do you quit trying a sport with your dog? Or give up hope?

 

I think this depends on what I am giving up hope for.

 

Based on your description, Dean is a lot like Troy. When he's on, he's incredible. But often his head isn't where it needs to be. He gets stressed very easily, often due to environmental factors that I can't control.

 

He doesn't really love Agility for it's own sake, but he does love to do things with me, and when I pack Maddie up for a class or trial, he wants to be there. So, he studies Agility so he can play.

 

I had high competition hopes for him at one point and those were pretty much shattered by his noise phobia. So, I changed my hopes. I use Agility for him now to give him a positive experience. When we go to class, I frame Agility in the context of a game he loves (called "I'm gonna get that Dean Dog"). I no longer care if he never gets to the point where he can qualify at trials. What I hope is that he enjoys himself.

 

He has had some great runs, but his frame of mind has to be perfect for that to happen. So, I no longer try to make it happen. I try to make it enjoyable for him and take what we get.

 

If I were set on a high level title, then I would have had to have quit with Dean. It would not have been fair to expect that of him because that's not who he is. But he truly does enjoy playing at class for fun, and tagging along to trials with Maddie and me.

 

So, for me the question really is more "what are appropriate Agility goals for this dog?" than "can this dog fulfill my hopes".

 

I know that might not help, but that's the point that I came to, and where we are now. And I'm having a blast with him. I'm learning a ton. And he is loving every minute of it.

 

ETA: Dean was about 3 when I made this decision. He's 5 now and I don't regret it one bit.

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Great post, Kristine! I don't think I could have said any of it better. Especially this stuff (emphasis mine):

 

<snip> So, I changed my hopes.

 

<snip>If I were set on a high level title, then I would have had to have quit with Dean. It would not have been fair to expect that of him because that's not who he is. But he truly does enjoy playing at class for fun, and tagging along to trials with Maddie and me.

 

So, for me the question really is more "what are appropriate Agility goals for this dog?" than "can this dog fulfill my hopes".

 

SSCressa-I said "enough" with my first agility/flyball dog when I saw that she wasn't having fun. She was stressed and not doing well in trial environments. Sure, I could have probably stuck it out a lot longer, and tried to get her to run for me, but what was the point in that? It's supposed to be fun for both dog and human, and when my dog isn't having fun, and there's nothing I can do to change that, it was time to let her stay home, or find something else for her to enjoy. I had lots of hopes when we first started, but it became about what my dog needed, not what I wanted. I still take her to classes occasionally and let her have fun, and my heart swells when I see her remember to hold her contacts, or do a perfect swimmer's turn. :wub: But we limit it to that and we're all happy.

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Likewise! I used to try all kinds of doggie-things with my fear reactive boy. He was OK at agility but didn't enjoy going. He was smarter than the other dogs at training classes, but was obviously bored and unmotivated. So, after a few rounds of this stuff, I thought, "Well, he likes running in the woods and he loves playing hide and seek. We can do that stuff."

 

He's got a happy, calm, circumscribed life that he fully enjoys. In fact, I'd say he's rather like me: just not a joiner. That's OK.

 

Mary

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I have pretty much retired my border collie from flyball. She loves the game but her fears overcome that love. Every once in awhile she comes out to play ay tourneys but not often. She loves practice and you can almost see the smile but a tourney is just too unpredictable for her. She would have good tourneys and bad tourneys but never error free. Some weekends she would drag us in the bldg even though she wasn't playing that weekend hence why we started running her again. Then after a few months she was back to the ho-hum attitude and wasn't really running more walking the course or just out right shutting down.

 

I think she has played flyball at a tourney twice in the last year. If she shows that she wants to play again at a tourney she will play but I don't think she will ever be listed in advance again.

 

So if your dog is not having fun and you can't lower your goals then it may be time to retire Troy. If there are trials he is on and you can tell he is truly enjoying it then maybe you can figure out what is so different at those trials compared to the ones he just can't focus or think. From there maybe you can just narrow down entering trials at the "places" he does well.

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They normally have a fun run at one of the july trials we go to and I was going to see how he does. From there I was going to try to see if he will do better at the indoors ones.

 

Cressa will still be doing agility and I don't normally leave anyone behind. So he will still go to shows just not competing(if he retires).

 

I do realize troy will never be my agility dog. And agility isn't really his sport. If being a shadow was a sport he would excel hands down. He is wonderful on bike rides and jogs(he gets into, for lack of better term, a work mode or zone and nothing stress/suprise/startles him). He was in that zone at the last trial.

 

He doesn't have any noise sensitivity or for the matter nor does he spook easy. For the most part nothing fazes troy unless someone or dogs is upset(yelling, growling, threating manner). He enjoys and love to try to chase birds(evens does the stalk) and will try to chase rabbits when walking unless I redirect him. Also most dog he will react to as in he won't take his eyes off. On a bike its like they don't exsist.

 

The only problem is when he is "high".

 

LOL I didn't really consider an MX or a MXJ to be all that high of titles. I just figure its one of those titles he would eventual get then I would retire him. He already is almost out of open so would need maybe 18 Qs to earn it. I figure 2-4 years of light showing he would have the title.

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Two words: Control Unleashed. The book, and a class in my area, have been super in helping me get things started on the right foot with my Malinois pup (who has had arousal issues since she was a pup lol, no aggression just hair trigger arousal), but even moreso, I've seen the techniques help in in grounding my ACDX before his runs in agility *and* make a huge difference in the behaviors of various dog-reactive dogs I've worked with. The program is specifically designed for dogs who get too aroused by other dogs running, the busyness of a trial environment, etc. I would give CU a try before dropping a sport my dog enjoyed; it won't fix a problem with motivation/fear/etc. but it will do amazing things with overarousal!

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Two words: Control Unleashed. The book, and a class in my area, have been super in helping me get things started on the right foot with my Malinois pup (who has had arousal issues since she was a pup lol, no aggression just hair trigger arousal), but even moreso, I've seen the techniques help in in grounding my ACDX before his runs in agility *and* make a huge difference in the behaviors of various dog-reactive dogs I've worked with. The program is specifically designed for dogs who get too aroused by other dogs running, the busyness of a trial environment, etc. I would give CU a try before dropping a sport my dog enjoyed; it won't fix a problem with motivation/fear/etc. but it will do amazing things with overarousal!

 

+1

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I would give CU a try before dropping a sport my dog enjoyed; it won't fix a problem with motivation/fear/etc. but it will do amazing things with overarousal!

 

And I second and third this, as well.

 

One of the biggest reasons why Dean has been able to continue and has come to enjoy Agility to the extent that he does is because of CU.

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I am stubborn and do not give up on things easily.

 

Kaiser is very much a non-traditional agility breed (he's an Alaskan Klee Kai). Why I thought that I needed a Klee Kai for agility is beyond me -- But I was sucked in by their cuteness and I thought that structurally they looked well built for the sport. Note: Structure doesn't mean much if they don't have the desire to work with humans. lol

 

Kaiser actually did superbly well in his training. I mostly trained him at home, but I did enroll him in one class to give him experience working in that environment. He was a little distracted in class and had his moments, but that was to be expected.

 

What I did not expect was to have this dog, who was so amazing at home, completely shut down on me at trials. Despite the fact that he was raised in a trial environment and tagged along almost every weekend while he grew up, actually being IN the agility ring was a traumatizing experience for him. He alternated between high stress (zoomies) and low stress (sniffing) and quite frequently would just leave the arena. I cannot tell you how many E's we got.

 

I more or less did give up on Kaiser. Thank goodness I still had Luke to run -- at least Qing with him would somewhat help bring me out of the dumps I experienced while running Kaiser. One of the big reasons I got Secret when I did was because I was certain that Kaiser was never going to enjoy doing agility at trials. I figured if I had a different dog to run, I'd just let him quit.

 

So my plan was to keep torturing Kaiser only until Secret was old enough to trial. Then I'd let him retire and try to find other things he enjoyed (we have also shown in conformation & he's titled in weight pull).

 

Maybe it's because I took the pressure off myself or maybe he just needed to mature -- But several months before Secret was old enough to compete, something clicked with Kaiser. He started to really enjoy running at trials! I can't recall the last time I have experienced stress behavior from him. He is now my most FUN dog to run because he really gives it his all and runs his wee little butt off for me. I still get exasperated because he can be a turd on the contacts, but I end each run with a smile on my face because I love running him so much.

 

Many people have told me they would have given up on him LONG before it crossed my mind -- But I'm so glad I stuck with it. It really has paid off so much and I feel that it has improved our relationship and that he trusts me more now.

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I bought control unleash. And I got him some dog calming hormones.

 

When Troy clicks with training he takes my breath away. He's powerful, graceful, and speedy(think of a doberman running). You see him start getting the flow of the course, distance is no problem. He is a blast!

 

Troy was raised going to trial also. But he wasn't the greatest. I've always had issue getting him to settle when "high".

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Perhaps let go of the idea that he needs a title of any sort? If it happens, it happens, but maybe if you just drop that expectation altogether and just focus on the situations where he does well, you might get there without thinking about it. Sometime no expectations on the human's part (and by no expectations, I mean no expectations of winning, or Qing, or getting a title) are what it takes for a dog to shine.

 

J.

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I bought control unleash. And I got him some dog calming hormones.

 

When Troy clicks with training he takes my breath away. He's powerful, graceful, and speedy(think of a doberman running). You see him start getting the flow of the course, distance is no problem. He is a blast!

 

Troy was raised going to trial also. But he wasn't the greatest. I've always had issue getting him to settle when "high".

 

I might be able to help you with applying CU to this situation a little, especially the "high" issue.

 

Have you taught a foundation Off Switch Game? If so, what, exactly, did you do?

 

Did you then play it incorporating Agility equipment? If so, what did you do?

 

Also, what have you done with Mat Work? Do you use the Mat with him at all in class? Does he settle on the Mat?

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My advice? Give yourself 6 months to just have fun with your dog. Don't think about trials, take a break from agility training with him. Just take a break from it all. Leave him home from a trial or two. Do some fun odd ball training. Just enjoy him for himself.

 

Then see where you are 6 months from now and re-evaluate it all. Troy is young, you don't need to make a decision right now.

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:) I JUST bought control unleashed. Still haven't received it yet.

 

Troy was totally off(did NOT compete) from agility for about a year with very little contact. He went to I believe 3 trials(when I went to pick Cressa up) and he was pretty good but he was with me the whole time. I had him do the pratice jumps a couple times and that was it. We also in the spring driiiiop in on a couple classes and pratice in the building by ourselves a handful of times.

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:) I JUST bought control unleashed. Still haven't received it yet.

 

Gotcha! LOL!!

 

If you do have any questions about it, or how to apply it to Troy and his being high during Agility, please feel free to let me know.

 

One of the things that I did was to use to help Speedy with overstimulation when he was doing Freestyle. It took some commitment, but it absolutely did help a lot.

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I'm late on this, but also agree with CU. It sounds to me that agility has nothing and everything to do with his behavior. He needs to be taught how to have self control. Even though you brought him to trials, what did you do with him there? Did you just put him in a crate or walk him around? What did you do everytime he got excited?

 

If you look back on it, even when he looked in control, he may not have been in his head and just wasn't showing it. CU is awesome an will look at some of the factors leading up to the behavior. I had a few "reeeaaaaallllly?!" moments with Grady and Lucia because of it.

 

It's takes time to reverse some of the behaviors, but well worth it. He's pretty young. I wouldn't give up agility just yet and like others have said, give up on the titles for now and make your goals now about his self control. It sounds like he will always have to be worked with on it, but It's truely worth every bit of effort. Good luck!

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Just wondering, are you part of a really competitive crowd, and are you setting your expectations according to your friend's expectations?

 

I see you've put a MACH on your other dog, and you qualified for Nationals, so you are a serious competitor.

 

It can be difficult to change expectations when we have super competitive friends who are earning a MACH a year one an individual dog. Or it can be difficult when we have 1 very successful dog, when the other dog is a bit more of a challenge.

 

I'm speaking from experience, because that is the norm for many of my friends. It is hard for me to not set similar goals as theirs. Due to funds and time, I only compete 1 Saturday per month, maybe 6-8 times per year. . We have our AX and AXJ, so at my current trialing rate my dog will be old if and when we MACH. But can you imagine how exciting this will be?

 

Troy is still very young, so you have many, many agility years ahead of you. Maybe it will take a long time to get that MACH but imagine the run when it does happen. One last piece of advise: enjoy the ride.

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Sorry about not posting earlier.

 

Lol I never consider a MACH or qualifing for nationals as being that competive!!! If you do agility you will eventually get your mach and how can you not qualified for nationals? Don't get me wrong lack of trialing is a great way not to qualified. But so-so dog or even slow dogs can earn their mach and qualified for nationals.

 

For me it was how long Troy was going to play agility for. He is my for fun dog. And I did tell the breeder I will do whatever Troy wants to or is capable of doing.

 

As long I can afford it I can trial him with Cressa and see how he does.

 

I am torn between weither he is throwing a temper tantrum for being left behind or if it anxiety. He is good at home, and he is fine when with Cressa. It just when I walk away with Cressa at a trial he freaks.

 

Oh and I used those calming hormones to no avail. At home all the dogs will seek out the kennel I use it on. Even Troy will go lay in that kennel. So it does have a calming sense to it. Just not if I walk away with Cressa. People at the trial that hear him seem to think he is throwing a fit too. And if he was throwing a fit it would explain why the thunder shirt and calming hormones weren't working.

 

Also at this last two trial he would throw a fit but when taken out he would be able to work just fine. Err... stay focus on me, take the dummy jump, read my cross,etc... So keeping finger cross he HAS mature in that aspect at least. he was even able to be "ring" side(I was scribe running with him) when his idol/packmate ran. His idol scream while running and can throw troy over the edge in a instant. Troy got a little distracted but remain focus and quiet. I could tell he was holding himself in(not sure how else to describe it?).

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All my dogs will throw tantrums when left behind if one or more are going to do something fun. You would think I was murdering my borderjack when he is left. It is embarrassing but funny at the same time. I just ignore him and keep on going. I figure he is one heck of a distraction during training. The other dogs bark/howl he make all kinds of LOUD noises.

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Well Troy will get me kicked out the kennel area if he howls too much. :( was going to try a bark collar and do some CU and kennel games.

 

Also no one want to have a dog freaking out next to their dog. It can stress theirs or worst can teach their dogs bad habits.

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Do you have friends that can stand there and work with him? Since nobody likes to listen to all that screaming, I found that many of my friends would gladly step in to work with the offender when I was running another dog.

 

Kaiser used to start screaming the moment I opened the kennel door of one of the other dogs. Having friends stand there with treats and reward him for being quiet helped a ton. Now he just occasionally squeaks in the middle of a run (only when I'm running Luke for some reason, not Secret).

 

I resorted to putting Luke in the car for a while when I ran Kaiser. He would just bark & bark & bark. Aside from being very annoying (he's LOUD!), it was also a huge distraction to Kaiser. Putting him in the car right before Kaiser's run just made life a lot easier. And apparently it taught him not to bark, since I didn't have to keep doing it for long.

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