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the dreaded 'table' :(

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Anyone got a 'sure fire' method for teaching the table?....Jazz HATES IT!!!!! I've tried targeting, using a different word, keeping it lower, starting him on it. He'll do it once, maybe twice. After that, he'll stand in front of it, lie down beside it..do anything BUT GET ON IT!!!!!!

One suggestion was to feed him his meals on the table, but that's just not much of an option at this time. I haven't tried it at full height (which for him is 26") but maybe it needs to be more of a challenge?

I'm following the weave thread also....seems we haven't quite mastered that yet...but the table is by far the biggest obstacle for him.

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Does he like going for a ride in the car?


I say up to my dogs to get in the car. Then transfer it to the table - my current agility dog isn't afraid of the table, but thru the transitive property of the word, it might work.


You could even use 'table' to get into the car.

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I'm with RaisingRiver on this one... that's a good idea. Is there anything he likes to jump on that you can use the same command? Is the table slippery? Is getting off the table more rewarding than getting on it? Are your treats or rewards good enough? Is there some problem with jumping off--is ituncomfortable to jump off or he landed funny one time or the ground is hard/uneven?


Allie + Tess & Kipp


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I teach the table not even with a table - it is just one more "scary" thing for the dog.


Rather then use the table just use the couch or bed or something similar. Then the word "table" would mean jump up on whatever object and sit (or down, or stand, whatever you are going to teach). Then the Jazz learns the command on stuff he knows and likes.


Later once he has the command down you can switch to a low table but raise it quickly. It is much more work for a big/medium dog to run up and jump on the table at a low height without sliding off (which you DON'T want them in the habit of doing!). If the table is higher the bigger dogs are jumping more "up" and less "over" so it is easier to not slide off.


But I agree with the other post that if he isn't comfortable with the table just use something he DOES like (like the couch or bed) at first.


Happy training.

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Originally posted by KrisK:

Anyone got a 'sure fire' method for teaching the table?....Jazz HATES IT!!!!!

Let's face it - the table is bor-ring! You're racing around, having a good time, and all of a sudden, you want me to hop on that thing and lie down like I'm tired?? Don't blame Jazz for doing it once or twice, then refusing. It's dull!


But unless you do only NADAC, the table you must do. What worked for the Wickens is making the table something more than just a down - it's an obstacle that you race to at full speed, slam on the brakes, wheel around to face me, and assume a very specific position (front paws hanging just over the edge) while waiting to be released (like contacts or a startline). If she doesn't assume this position, she isn't released (even after the "o" in "Go"). Like every other piece of equipment, there is a set of criteria that needs to be met, and the faster she hits it, the faster she's released.


Does Jazzy have a start-line routine? Like a "ready...steady ... go!!" kind of release? If so, could you try that on the table? Tug on the table (if Jazzy is a tugger)? Basically, treat it like other equipment. To Wick, the table is the 4th contact obstacle, and the little minx loves her contacts. :rolleyes:


I think the tendency is to take the table for granted since it's 'easy'. What this can translate to, though, is 'boring'. Boring for the dog, boring for the handler. Try and make it an exciting obstacle (race to it, quick release the second Jazzy gets in the desired position) and work up to a 5-second stay. Proof it like you would a DW or teeter, and reward it at the same level.


We had problems in the beginning with Wick treating it like a springboard, so we worked on it (on the coffee table!) until she realized that it was more than just a vault, but a piece of equipment with specific criteria.

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One thing that I always keep in mind when training the table is to reward on the table itself. Many times I've found myself throwing a toy as I release my dog from the table or releasing them from the table and then tugging - this eventually leads to them doing a sloooow down on the table or not wanting to get on because they are anticipating the reward that comes when they get off of the table. If you reward your dog on the table they pretty quickly learn that getting on it is a good thing.


What do use use for a reward for Jazz? Where do you give it?


All of my dogs have quick downs on the table and don't usually ever release themselves (well, except one that when it's hot will go under the table into the shade and refuse to come out - that's not totally embarrassing at all!!) I've taught it with first a reward for getting on the table and then worked up to a down and a stay. A clicker works really well on a table too. If Jazz doesn't like the table make sure that the reward (I use food on it) is really high level and something that makes him nuts and make sure he only gets that reward on the table.


If Jazz will only do it once or twice, I think I'd make those times total jackpot rewards for him, then I'd go do something else for awhile and then go back and do the table once again...and repeat that pattern. Make getting on the table a random thing in training and don't try to do it more than once or twice at a time.


I hope this helps! The table is either an easy obstacle to train or a really frustrating one!

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Originally posted by KrisK:

Anyone got a 'sure fire' method for teaching the table?

Nothing fancy -- just making it a highly rewarding obstacle. One of my dog associated the table so much with endless cookies that I had a very unusual case of "table suck" when we started competition. A good way to die an early death in certain games.


One of the things you can try is getting some high powered reward -- toy or treat and race your dog to the table. If he doesn't get on, you get the reward and make a big deal out of it, then let him try again.


I now teach an automatic down on the table and that can be practiced with any flat surface like a sofa or bed. Also, since Jazz has developed an aversion to the table, mixing it up with lots of very excited play might help. One rep on table, a wild game of tug. Three reps, more tug and a few retrieves. Go train something he enjoys, then run back to the table for another rep or two.


With my first agility dog, I did lots of things a little backwards since I didn't know what I was doing. When I finally decided to train a fast down on the table, I'd get him all excited over one of his favorite toys, then in order to get the toy he needed to go into a down. As he got the hang of it, I raised the criteria for a faster down until he'd do one of those "flying downs" to get his toy. We then transferred it to the table.

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I think part of the reason dogs seem to have "problem" obstacles is the stress that's put on them. If they don't get it right away or don't perform it perfectly after a certain amount of training, it's worried about and practiced ad nauseum, which in turn creates stress associated with that obstacle, which in turn creates avoidance behaviors. For every dog I train, every obstacle is treated the same, has the same "reward value", and is taught with the same enthusiasm so the dog thinks it's fun. I think the handler is the part of the team creating the problem obstacles, not the dog. Just look at the title to this thread ... you're creating the "dread" in the dog just from your attitude.


Granted, beginning handlers do as they're told, which is why good beginning-level instructors are GOLDEN. So many schools put their best instructors in the Masters level classes only and leave the baby classes to the newest instructors. Then when the team gets to Masters, everyone wonders why they have problem obstacles.


I know there are exceptions to every rule, this is just a philosophical generalization. I have high drive dogs who have no problem stopping to pause on the table in the middle of the run. People who blame the dog "not wanting to stop" crack me up, as they've let the dog dictate the rules.



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