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Old 12-02-2012, 04:02 PM   #21 (permalink)
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My training center doesn't do classes during the month of December, so my holiday month goal for Sugar is to get him weaving. We've been at it for about three weeks now.

We are doing 2x2 weaves, and are now to the point of four straight poles, with a jump at various angles before the poles. I want to be weaving 12 by the time classes start again in January. We're getting there!

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Old 12-03-2012, 03:41 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Since I haven't seen what your teacher is commenting on regarding tunnel stuffing, I am using my imagination that she means you are stuffing the dog into the tunnel entrance. Are you going right up to the tunnel and moving in really close to her to get her to go into the tunnel. If so, then you aren't getting independent performance of the obstacle. Perhaps your concern about her not wanting to do it has you feeling like you have to babysit it.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:10 AM   #23 (permalink)
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We have our second class on Thursday.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:24 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Our second class was last night. Things went better than the first. Max is still working on his fear of strangers that affects him some in class. He also is very cautious of trying new obstacles. Last night we did for the first time weave poles, tunnel, tire, and walk.

He hesitated on each of the obstacles but got through each except for the walk. He really pays attention to me but needs a comfort level to get through the obstacles. The ladder was his nemesis last week but after working on it a little last night he was able to fly through it! Now we need to work on the walk. He was almost able to make in across last night so next class he should get through.

I wanted ask the experts about the weave poles. Last night we went through with the poles sloped away from the center to make it easier for the dogs. What age is it appropriate for dogs to do weave poles? Max is one? I have heard that it is not good on the spines of younger dogs.

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Old 12-07-2012, 04:25 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I can't say i've ever heard anything about keeping young dogs out of weave poles, but since Max is one I think you are ok with all obstacles. It is ok for him to be cautious at this point. I would rather see that than have a dog be overconfident, fall off and then not want to do the obstacle at all. I have seen that happen with any number of dogs including my own. Peeves fell off a low dog walk when he was about 15 months old. That literally was then end of his agility career. He is now afraid of pretty much all of the equipment except for tunnels and jumps. Lily fell off a full height dog walk in summer 2011 and it took until winter 2012 to get her moving well on it again. She fell because she was being reckless, going too fast while not really paying attention to her footing.

Be conservative with closing the weaves. If you work them from wide open to closed down slowly you will get a better finished product. I'm glad to hear you had a better second class.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:32 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I know better..... but in the middle of the moment I allowed something that I shouldn't have and now feel awful - that is the theme from our last class - Bella just didn't seem herself - just not as confident and even a bit stubborn but still we kept going. Our previous instructor... only has outdoor facilities :-( is extremely patient and everything is positive. Our new instructor seems more rushed and pushy and it came out... Bella refused the A-frame and the instructor basically pushed her up the frame - Bella's front feet didn't move she shoved her butt up and then she slid down and scared herself to death - this was a full height A-frame - we've only ever worked on a lowered one. Bella was shaking and so scared after this that she wouldn't touch it and I said - stop! Too late but still we stopped. I called our previous instructor the next night and thankfully it wasn't too bad out and she had her going down with confidence - we didn't ask for up as she was still scared. Now I'm worried that I've really set her back and very unsure if we should continue with our new instructor or wait until we can get into a class in a different facility??? I just feel sick typing this!!!
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:35 AM   #27 (permalink)
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This is definitely one of the "downs" of agility. It is easy to end up having them lose confidence on a piece of equipment when the picture is different. Can you work with the instructor you like at a rented indoor space? I have a person who I work with for privates. We normally train outside, but as we are looking at it getting colder we are planning for indoor lessons at a rented space as a contingency.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:56 AM   #28 (permalink)
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My instructor is also a believer in positive training. She would have not left the training on a note where your dog is frightened of an obstacle. Basically shoving your dog up the obstacle does not teach her anything. The first time Swizzle went up the A frame he did not make it up and he slid back. So we made it easier. We put him near the top and coaxed him with lots of treats until he did the rest himself. He felt very proud of himself at receiving lavish praise and lots of treats. On the next run she had me put him on a lead for the A frame and he did the whole thing. Once he got the hang of it and realized he needed some speed to do it he was fine. I do not like your instructor's approach. If an obstacle is too hard or scary it should be broken down to bits your dog can succeed with. That will give you a happy confident dog who will trust you when you show him an unfamiliar obstacle. I would wait for another class. It sounds like your current instructor will give your dog issues. I think you were smart getting your former instructor help you tackle that obstacle again and get more confidence for Bella.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:58 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Well put about breaking the performance of a complex obstacle down into small success stories CT girl. Agility training should never be anything other than positive and well rewarded. Otherwise you won't have reliable performance of those obstacles in a trial.

I see too many dogs that really don't seem to like what they are doing when at agility yet their handlers keep working it. The handler gets more and more frustrated and the dog gets more and more nervous and insecure. I've seen one person at a number of trials whose dog does one or two jumps at the most before the dog just runs off and sniffs its way around the ring. What's that about? This handler is happy with that performance. Why is this person entering this dog? Why do they think this is good for their relationship with the dog? No wonder the rate of qualifying runs is low (less than 50%). I have had any number of NQ runs, but I accept responsibility for them in my handling. If I thought we NQd because Lily was nervous or afraid we wouldn't do this anymore.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:09 PM   #30 (permalink)
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This something that I struggle with a little as well. Max is timid in class and part of why I am doing this is to build his confidence. I have taken the advise given here that this needs to be a fun experience for the two of us. I try to keep it light and low pressure on him. As the class proceeds, I will need to decide if this is something that Max is interested in doing.

For right now it is fun to see him try new things.
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