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Blackdawgs

End of agility run behaviors

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Fencing won't stop the determined dog from escaping. They are agility dogs after all.

 

I've seen dogs jump the fencing by mistake, thinking it was an obstacle, and they get out of fenced garden areas too.

 

Dogs don't tend to go missing from the rings, they get lost in the exercise area, and we get back to the need for a good recall.

 

Since 1998 the number of incidents I've witnessed where a dog has left the ring to attack another is in single figures afair, and that is based on shows ranging from 4 - 20 rings. they stick in the mind because they are so rare. It isn't the fault of the lack of fencing, it is the responsibility of the owner not to put the dog or the dogs of others in that position.

 

We don't fence at training either and we can have several dogs working at the same time. We do have the odd dog going visiting in the first few weeks but they get over it and by the time they get to competing it is actually easier for them because any other dogs working will be further away.

 

Of course fencing is used if there is a particular danger according to the location but it's not the norm.

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I think that 'fencing' at an agility trial (US-based) that I have seen is not a barrier in any sense of the word. In fact, I wish there was another word for it. To me, it is only a visual reminder of the boundaries of the ring.

 

Most common around here are 'fences' that are at the most 18"- 24" high. Many clubs take the plastic rolls of snow fence (or similar material), cut it down to desired height, and then affixed loosely to posts spaced about 20 feet apart. Another alternative is to use accordian-type 'fencing' - again, about 18" at max.

 

The only trial I have attended where there was a true physical barrier was at an indoor sports facility with two indoor hockey/soccer rings that were enclosed as one would expect for a hockey ring.

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Having begun my career with a single strand of tape as a marker, I consider almost anything else to be "fencing". The 18" to 24" stuff seems to keep most dogs where they belong, but obviously would not stop a determined dog. I don't think that the stuff is safe near roads. I won't even go to run thrus at local place in which 4 ft chainlink fencing borders a high traffic road.

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Are you refering to the 4 foot chain link fence? It is private property on a county road with quite a bit of truck traffic. The person gives lessons there and hosts run thrus. I think that the person was short of $$ and built the place with her small dogs in mind. Like everything else, it is up to us to assess risk, which is too high in my opinion.

 

That sounds totally irresponsible. What about the organisers' duty of care?

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I don't see what is wrong with a down at the end of an agility run as long as you have not taught the dog that down is a punishment. I develop a fast drop on my dogs by reward with a tug game afterward, so "down" means play for my dogs. I practice that during training sessions all the time. My dogs are either called to me or I ask them for a down in practice after the last obstacle is completed. I then call them to me, put the leash on them, and then play tug. I think one of the problems I see as an agility Judge all the time, is that the behaviour competitors want or need in their dogs at the end of the run is never actually "trained". I train that just like I train a start line, weave poles, handlng, etc and then I know I will get that in the ring.

 

One big issue I see a lot of is dogs wanting to run out of the ring and into their crate, because these people have done a lot of Susan Garrett's crate games, and the crate is the start and finish of a lot of agility exercises. I brief dogs running out of the ring at the end of the run - they will get an E.

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