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beachdogz

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I'm curious to get some opinions on this:

 

A dog that has been training in agility over a year - loves, loves, loves it - runs fast BUT at some point while running will just start flying over the obstacles that she sees in front of her; literally blocks the handler's cues (verbal or physical) out. Then realizes she has not been cued and looks back to see what to do next. It's almost like now that she has the confidence to do this, she is over confident, added to the fact that she loves doing it.

 

Is this simply a green dog or is something more going on? How would you correct this or work on it?

 

Thanks in advance :)

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Background? Was she at one time shutdown or timid regarding agility? Or?

 

NEVER! Has always loved it from day one. When we enter the building and she sees equipment her eyes literally light up and the rear end practically meets the front end from all the wagging. She totally loves it whether at home or at either building (she has been to two different classes.)

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off to train... but if it were my dog, i would be balancing out "course work" with one jump exercises, shorter exercises, etc., spend more time with collection exercises where she has to pay attention to you to know which obstacle to take next and then make sure you give her permission to take that next obstacle. if she does start running wild, throw her reward stopping the behavior (if you don't want her to develop this habit). i can think of several different ways to work with this... important though to do short sweet session that are as fun to her as running really really fast and taking anything in her way :). Much of this depends on ways you've been training, etc., and maybe her age. sorry this is so short but I am running late :). Cool that she loves the game that much! :).

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I had the same thoughts as mickif. The sequences you are running now may be a bit too long for her level of training. Set up shorter sequences so you and she work as a team, then reward her. Gradually increase the # of obstacles as long as she is still tuned into you. If at any point she decides to go running off and 'make her own course', you may have added in too many obstacles too soon. Reduce # of obstacles to set her up for success.

 

I prefer a dog that is self-motivating, rather than having to work hard to motivate a dog to run the course. Consider yourself lucky. She will get it, but it may just take a little longer than with a velcro dog - and remember, velcro dogs are not as fast.

 

Jovi

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I still consider myself a newbie. I sometimes have this problem with Meg (who was timid about agility). Breaking it down into smaller segments as suggested helps. And have patience. Time and practice leads to improvement. Just keep working on it, striving for fun success and you'll get there.

 

For quite a while, I could get focus or speed from Meg, but not both. If she was focused, she was slow and I felt like I was 'dragging' her around the course. If she was excited and fast, she was not focused and did her own thing (which still makes me smile because she's clearly loving it). We are getting better. With her, for some time I was letting her make mistakes and go a little crazy because she'd shut down if she felt she wasn't doing things right. Once her confidence was up, I started sometimes making her go back and redo things so we got them right. In class, if we run a course and do something wrong (usually miss an obstacle or take the wrong one), we finish the course then go back and just work on the 3-4 obstacles where we didn't get it right. This way we keep moving and having fun, but still correct the spot where I lost her so that we both learn how to do it better next time.

 

Now in class, I often have trouble keeping up with her (which is a great problem to have). We're having to work more on distance and she's relying a bit more on verbal cues so she doesn't have to always see me to know where to go next.

 

At trials, we still have focus issues, but we improve all the time and she's loving it and that's really all that matters.

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Lke everyone else is saying, one jump work, two jump work and 3 jump work. Tone back sequencing to once a week, or less depending no how much you pratice. Better yet, dont sequence for a month (or more). Build the value for always staying in tune with you. My dog was the same way after he caught the agility bug, he loves the game, never had confidence issues with agility games at all, but I had Togo back to foundations and really put the reinforcement of running as a team in, versus solo. Also lots of flat work handling, circle work, 20 meter circles or so, with a jump 5 meters out. Run in a 4:1 ratio flat to jump. Reward the jump with a lower value thing, and a huge value reward in your reinforcement zone. You have too much equipment value over value for yourself at the moment, its a delicate balance :-)

 

When your doing the 1,2,3 jump work, focus on a lot of lead outs calling to rz and reward there.

 

Also start setting up some discrimination work, call to rz, so they have to really focus on what your cueing.

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We never run full courses during practice. We work all our foundation exercises, which may include one obstacle or several. All a course is when you think about it is a series of foundation exercises joined together.

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We do the course broken down (like maybe into thirds) Then we might do two thirds (joining the segments together.) It's like the more she gets into it, the more excited she gets and then....voom! I have backed my other dog up to run just two obstacles, which is working well for him. But she won't exhibit this behavior unless there are like 4 obstacles and she gets revved up. I'm pretty sure she won't do it at home (but I won't know until the spring thaw and I get the equipment out.)

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Lke everyone else is saying, one jump work, two jump work and 3 jump work. Tone back sequencing to once a week, or less depending no how much you pratice. Better yet, dont sequence for a month (or more). Build the value for always staying in tune with you. My dog was the same way after he caught the agility bug, he loves the game, never had confidence issues with agility games at all, but I had Togo back to foundations and really put the reinforcement of running as a team in, versus solo. Also lots of flat work handling, circle work, 20 meter circles or so, with a jump 5 meters out. Run in a 4:1 ratio flat to jump. Reward the jump with a lower value thing, and a huge value reward in your reinforcement zone. You have too much equipment value over value for yourself at the moment, its a delicate balance :-)

 

When your doing the 1,2,3 jump work, focus on a lot of lead outs calling to rz and reward there.

 

Also start setting up some discrimination work, call to rz, so they have to really focus on what your cueing.

 

This sounds like a plan! :)

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I prefer a dog that is self-motivating, rather than having to work hard to motivate a dog to run the course. Consider yourself lucky. She will get it, but it may just take a little longer than with a velcro dog - and remember, velcro dogs are not as fast.

Jovi

 

Oh, I do consider myself lucky....especially my second dog is a velcro and needs a lot of motivating. The cheerleading itself is exhausting! :D

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I had a similar problem when my dog was young. In our case he would not go off course, but get himself really revved up and leap and bark at me, with his head completely out of the game, he never lost focus on me just was unable to process any form of information.

Looking back I feel we progressed to full courses to fast, just because he could did not mean we should have. I had always done 1-2-3 jump type work at home, as I have a very small yard and had perfect control in that enviroment. So in class I just stepped back and ran the course in small sequences, so he never had a chance to lose his marbles.

He is 3 1/2 now and he can still get so maniac that he forgets what we should be doing, this usually happens when he has not seen equipment for awhile... But the joy and excitement of running with a blazingly fast dog who loves playing the game is worth the effort...

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Have you done any CU games with him? What do you guys do while waiting for your turn? My pup loves his mat and so when I see him start to get overwhelm we start doing mat games. It helps him refocus and calm down. Don't get me wrong he is just a baby so he needs breaks. I mainly wish I had know about it early since I think it would have helped my Tboy out also.,

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Have done CU with my other dog, and with both dogs, I usually do trick training in-between turns. We have been doing segments and building up...that is how this class is run. Part of the problem is that she is fast and this old lady has one heck of a time keeping up with her! :lol:

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That just sounds like a green dog to me. They go through an initial stage usually where they're still thinking one thing at a time and haven't put together the big picture yet. Then somewhere along the line they realize it's all about running and doing a whole bunch of things in a row, and it goes to their heads a bit because the game just took a major step up in excitement potential. All of mine have gone through a stage like that.

 

I've found it helpful to set up contrasting situations. For example, straight line of two jumps, then have the option to go forward to a tunnel or turn to another jump or a tunnel. One time, show all forward cues - run fast, give an early verbal for that third obstacle, arm signal, etc and reward the dog for going out ahead and going the obvious obstacle. Then repeat but this time show the dog totally different cues (name, deceleration, lateral motion, a change of arm, etc) and if the dog reads it and turns to the obstacle that isn't straight ahead, reward the turn. If the dog doesn't read it, just stop and say oops what happened, and try again. Keep mixing it up until the dog learns to pay attention to the cues to learn what will earn the reward. Sometimes reward for turning off the obvious obstacle to another obstacle, and other times reward for turning back to your side when asked. Coming to you needs to be just as much fun as doing equipment.

 

Also, depending on your experience level, see if you can get an experienced pair of eyes to watch when you're sequencing and make sure your cues are timely and correct. It's possible that if the dog was previously not as inclined to go into complete obstacle focus mode, that you had to use more forward 'go go go' cues just to get the next thing in line. Now that the dog gets it that it's often the next thing and is looking for that next thing, cues that worked previously may now be overkill. What used to send him to just the next jump now has him looking past that next jump to the next one behind it. It's typical of green newbie dogs to need a little more push from the handler as they're unsure of the big picture yet. But as they gain experience, brakes and the fine tuning of the steering becomes more and more critical.

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That just sounds like a green dog to me. They go through an initial stage usually where they're still thinking one thing at a time and haven't put together the big picture yet. Then somewhere along the line they realize it's all about running and doing a whole bunch of things in a row, and it goes to their heads a bit because the game just took a major step up in excitement potential. All of mine have gone through a stage like that.

 

I've found it helpful to set up contrasting situations. For example, straight line of two jumps, then have the option to go forward to a tunnel or turn to another jump or a tunnel. One time, show all forward cues - run fast, give an early verbal for that third obstacle, arm signal, etc and reward the dog for going out ahead and going the obvious obstacle. Then repeat but this time show the dog totally different cues (name, deceleration, lateral motion, a change of arm, etc) and if the dog reads it and turns to the obstacle that isn't straight ahead, reward the turn. If the dog doesn't read it, just stop and say oops what happened, and try again. Keep mixing it up until the dog learns to pay attention to the cues to learn what will earn the reward. Sometimes reward for turning off the obvious obstacle to another obstacle, and other times reward for turning back to your side when asked. Coming to you needs to be just as much fun as doing equipment.

 

Also, depending on your experience level, see if you can get an experienced pair of eyes to watch when you're sequencing and make sure your cues are timely and correct. It's possible that if the dog was previously not as inclined to go into complete obstacle focus mode, that you had to use more forward 'go go go' cues just to get the next thing in line. Now that the dog gets it that it's often the next thing and is looking for that next thing, cues that worked previously may now be overkill. What used to send him to just the next jump now has him looking past that next jump to the next one behind it. It's typical of green newbie dogs to need a little more push from the handler as they're unsure of the big picture yet. But as they gain experience, brakes and the fine tuning of the steering becomes more and more critical.

 

Thanks so much! Your second paragraph sounds like something I can and will work on! Makes sense! As for the third paragraph, I don't even need an experienced pair of eyes to tell me that it's ME that also needs help in cuing the dog :lol:

I probably need to pay more attention to my handling and my cues.

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