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Old 04-17-2019, 08:02 AM   #501 (permalink)
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When I'm training, I like to think of all the things that could go wrong and train how to save the performance. I've already taught Noelle how to retrieve a dumbbell that's standing on end, or halfway under a gate.

Would you be able to train an, oops, wrong way agility game? Deliberately get off course, and practice getting back on course as a fun game?
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Old 04-19-2019, 01:49 PM   #502 (permalink)
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So, Noelle is more excited by rally since Mr. Fox came to play. However, she is now so amped up by Mr. Fox that he can't come in the ring anymore. Noelle jumps up and goes nuts. It's time for ME to become the toy in the rally ring. Last run-through I didn't bring treats or Mr. Fox. I just brought my upbeat silly self and played us through the course. Noelle did really well. No ring sniffing, not wandering off. Silly works for Noelle. Noelle will do anything if there is fun involved. So, on the Rally signs, I tell her, "ooh, it's your favorite! Let's go!" And she does the sign with energy and tail wagging fun.

We worked on back up 3 steps. If I walk straight, Noelle walks straight. Can I walk backwards straight? Nope. I must practice walking in reverse more. We worked on Moving Down, starting with Noelle in front and then at my side. I assumed that sign was an automatic IP, but no, she's getting the hang of it. Rally is Noelle's thing, that's for sure. We both have fun together in the ring.

During my obedience class, we were working on recalls from different angles. I wondered what would happen if Noelle was behind a barrier doing a stay, and I called her in for a front when she couldn't even see where I was. Noelle came shooting out from behind the barrier like a rocket and planted herself in front. It was adorable! Noelle knows where front is, no doubt about that.

Onward!
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Old 04-19-2019, 02:07 PM   #503 (permalink)
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I set a Master course today after my regular classes ended and had two people (plus me and Lily) run it by turns. They are both in advanced right now, so for a couple of master signs they substituted signs their dogs know, but they both also tried the master signs they haven't taught yet. I have coached both of them since they were in novice (and both of them did optional intermediate). We had tons of fun. My friend who just had her fourth knee replacement last month (yes your read that correctly, her first two devices failed) came back for the first time. You and she would really like each other and how you train and practice. She is a very cheerful rally runner.
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Old 04-20-2019, 05:23 PM   #504 (permalink)
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Today we worked on Go Cone signs. Noelle is still a bit shaky on those, but making progress. I wanted to cement the idea that Cone means the pointy hat thing, so I put a treat on the cone and then took Noelle around the corner and out sight of the cone. Go Cone! She rocketed to the cone and her treat. Also, GO is only used in connection with Cone. I don't like having the same term for more than one behavior. Should we eventually end up in Utility, I will use something else for go outs. I like that Rally gives our dogs little tastes of Open and Utility exercises like go outs and signals.

In Excellent Rally, we have a Stand and a down at a distance, and a Stand/Sit at a distance. Sure, the distance is only six feet or so, but the obedience concept is baked in there. Today Noelle and I practiced the Open command discrimination exercise. Since we would show in Open A, the order is Stand, leave, down, walk further, sit, return to the dog. We practiced that and Noelle loved it. If Noelle can do the Open signal exercises fluidly, rally will be easy.

Noelle's call front has improved since I changed the cue to, "Yay, Front." I say it in a happy chirp, because I am trying to convince Noelle that swinging around in front is fun. I think that worked. Fun is required for Noelle to shine. I just need to remember that during a trial!
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Old 04-20-2019, 05:37 PM   #505 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Click-N-Treat View Post
Fun is required for Noelle to shine. I just need to remember that during a trial!
Fun is required for every dog to shine, imho Sounds like you and Noelle have made incredible progress, keeping that in mind. Keep it up!
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:55 AM   #506 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Click-N-Treat View Post
When I'm training, I like to think of all the things that could go wrong and train how to save the performance. I've already taught Noelle how to retrieve a dumbbell that's standing on end, or halfway under a gate.

Would you be able to train an, oops, wrong way agility game? Deliberately get off course, and practice getting back on course as a fun game?
That is an interesting perspective, and doing it deliberately and correcting it in practice may help manage the anxiety when it happens in competition. I’ll have to ask my trainer about that!

And I hear you about it needing to be fun, Lily is the same way. You do nice work with her!
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:27 AM   #507 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Click-N-Treat View Post
Would you be able to train an, oops, wrong way agility game? Deliberately get off course, and practice getting back on course as a fun game?
That would be training for me rather than for my dog. When I was showing my Giant Schnauzer and found him heading for the wrong obstacle (because my faulty handling had sent him there) I would call him off that obstacle and over to the correct one. He was a very sensitive dog who hated to make mistakes, and of course he took that to mean he had gone the wrong way and it was his fault. It happened enough so that it took all the fun out of agility for him, because he thought he couldn't get it right. At the time I was quite inexperienced, and didn't realize what was happening, but now I see that I should have found a way number one, to improve my skills and stop sending him the wrong way, and number two to make a call off a fun thing rather than something that crushed my dog's joy in doing agility.

Lesson learned.

This is a much younger me with my guy Nick.

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Old 04-21-2019, 09:20 AM   #508 (permalink)
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Just as we practice front separately from finish, to prevent an automatic finish in obedience, the off course game needs to be completely separate from a full course run. And the off course game needs to be great fun.

Never connect the two games in practice, but during a trial that game could save the performance.

I am the kind of person who hates surprises. I freeze and then struggle to get my thinking moving. Planning ahead is natural to me. Talk to your trainer about how to save an agility run thatís about to go pear shaped, then practice that. I donít do agility so I am no help at all, but I can see how useful that skill would be.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:24 AM   #509 (permalink)
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OMG! Beautiful dog!

I can see how a sensitive dog would take your mistake personally. Most of my training is for me. If the rally run goes badly, guess who messed up. Hint, itís not Noelle.
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Old 04-22-2019, 08:02 PM   #510 (permalink)
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Well, we did it! Tonight's rally Master run Noelle went the entire course without me having Mr. Fox, or a treat in the ring. The only thing the trainers told me was not to hesitate at the signs, and to be more fluid, but other than that, Noelle shined. I was really proud of her focus and attention. All that work with Mr. Fox in my pocket helped her connect the dots. Her right pivot and left pivot got cheers from the trainer, too. Nothing I like more than hearing Joan yell, "NICE!"

We did the straight figure eight weave twice, and the spiral in this one, so it was a challenging course. Noelle hasn't done a spiral in ages. I think the reason I hesitate is because I'm reading the signs in class. With only a brief walkthrough, and no map, I need to stop and read the signs. When I stop, Noelle loses her rhythm, so I need to work on being more fluid. Still, tonight would have been a qualifying run in Master. Since we're trialing in Excellent, I'm feeling better and better. Onward!
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