Poodle Forum banner

1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,545 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This evening was our last class for Beginning Agility I. Zoe was awful! She ran all over the field, would not come when called, and invented her own course. I am thinking I should repeat Beginning Agility I for the third time to get a handle on her.


She does perfect recalls inside the building in obedience classes, but at home and on the field she thinks keep-away is the game to play. Tonight she would not even come for treats or her favorite toy. Grrrrrrrrrr.


Before we start another class I guess I need to work her in the back yard and out on our road on a long line to see if I can get "come" into her head.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,400 Posts
I think whatever happened to Zoe was congtagous because Noelle was awful in rally practice today. I don't know where her brain was, but it certainly wasn't on rally.

Could Zoe have been over-stimulated and stressed out? Because whenever my dog zooms she's stressed and not having fun. Is your class moving so quickly that Zoe is letting you know she wants to learn at a different pace?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
932 Posts
May I say it will get better? My spoo is 3 1/2, and we’ve had many moments where I thought we’d never ‘get’ agility. All along the way my trainer told me that other handlers would love to have that amount of drive and energy, whereas my experience is with my sweet, fairly slow, beagley girl. Once you reach a critical mass of knowledge and experience, it will be beautiful. But there will always be hiccups, even with the most experienced handler/dog teams.

This past weekend was a local agility trial that I nearly didn’t enter out of fear of very public failure. On the first run of FAST, my dog didn’t hold his start line stay. He took 3 jumps in succession before returning to me. We completed the course as planned, accruing enough points for a Q and well below the time limit . . . he has legs!

This was NOT a good thing. Later in the day the club was hosting an ACT trial and my instructor gently suggested that I use it as a teachable moment. During the first run my dog again didn’t hold his start line stay. Why not? He’d been rewarded the last time he did this by getting to continue playing on the course with me, and then cheered afterward. This time, however, I called him back and gently led him from the ring and to his crate with a neutral ‘too bad’. A few minutes later we practiced start line stays at the practice jump. During the second ACT run his start line stay was rock solid. Even better news is that he held his start line stay during the next day’s FAST run as well. That was more important to me than the Q.

This experience gave me the confidence to enter another trial with the mindset to use the time in the ring as I need to. There is no way to replicate the excitement of trial conditions except at a trial. Note that there are handlers and dogs at every experience level that have these moments. One dog that did really well in its first run, escaped the ring in its second run.

I’m also instituting solid recalls throughout the day, as the result of a recent agility seminar. My spoo has developed the habit of not responding to the first recall in the back yard. So why not ignore me on the agility course when he is hyper excited? Now if he doesn’t recall on the first try, no matter where, I walk toward him, and if he doesn’t get it, I touch his neck and lead him back. He ‘knows’ what’s expected but now I’m enforcing those expectations.

To Click’s point, maybe another trainer would help. My first dog was trained at my local club with all volunteer trainers (many of whom are wonderful). My spoo is training at an agility-only facility, with an instructor who is more wholistic; if we need to work on attention, we do that in the context of agility. Although they are group classes, the instruction is individualized, something not offered at the club.

Hang in there! I’m starting to see the advantage of these drivey dogs. Less running for us handlers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,266 Posts
Johanna, they way I see it, and I may be wrong, is two problems combining to cause you trouble. First is recall and second is communication between you and Zoe in the ring. I’m speaking from personal experience with Babykins.

She has had the worst recall outside of the ring. When I tell my obedience friends they don’t believe me because she has an amazing come into front recall in class and in competition. Friends tell me they are jealous about her recall, they wouldn’t be jealous of her horrible recall outside the ring.

I’ve spent years working her on recall and I still have to play recall games often. In fact this morning for part of her breakfast I made her sit in the kitchen while I went to different rooms in the house and called her into front. Sometimes I crouched down and hid behind a couch. Sound travels weird; sometimes I could hear her running to find me but she was confused and went the wrong direction so I would call again to help her find me. Followed by a jackpot of breakfast. I’m heading to a large park to walk with a friend. I’ll get there early and put her on a flexi, sit her and walk 15’ away and call her. If she doesn’t come then I can tug the leash to remind her to come immediately. After treating I release her. We then move towards more challenging locations like sitting her near garbage or the kiddy play ground or the pond. I don’t have a fenced in yard so I do this off leash when we visit friends with fenced yards. Over the years she’s gotten better. I have an ace up my sleeve that I don’t want to use often. She’s so good at coming into front when called that I can always get her back with that command outside the ring.... but I don’t want to use it often, I want that for competition in obedience and rally. I just try to make coming to me rewarding and fun with food and sometimes a toy toss or tug.

The other potential problem is communicating in the agility course. I’m new to agility (well all dog sports) and my talents do not lie in graceful movement and I never learned right from left so it took me awhile to learn back crosses and front crosses and all the other technical moves you need to successfully move your dog through an agility course. For some people it just comes naturally it not for me. I wasn’t timing when to tell Babykins to do the next apparatuses or I was saying tunnel but my body language pointed to the dog walk. It’s a work in progress. I’ve noticed that once I got better at moving my body and giving her better more clear instructions she stopped zooming and making up her own course to run.

While Click is right about zooming being a way to destress/reaction to stress, especially in Rally and/or obedience and that might be why Zoe is doing it. But in agility it can be the excitement to run and play when they aren’t getting clear signals of where to go next. Mommy didn’t tell me what jump to go to fast enough so I’m heading to the Pez candy machine AFrame or through my favorite tunnel. That running is self rewarding too. I’ve taught Babykins a “here here” to come back to my side, whether right or left with tons of treats at the beginning. It’s what I use to help keep her on track if she’s heading the wrong direction and I do it quickly before she has a chance to get into trouble and run her own course.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,374 Posts
Gracie is going to be a challenge with that too. She has a great stay and recall at home and even in the yard, but all bets are off in agility class.

One thing we’ve been doing that’s been successful is doing a series of three waits with each obstacle/ run. I tell her to wait and walk away as far as I think she will be successful, then go back and treat. I do that three times every time we start and we are making progress. I can lead out just beyond the first obstacle now most of the time.

It’s not 100% by any means, but making progress. She’s only 8 months old so has time, but I’m trying to get a good foundation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: scooterscout99
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top