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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My little boy is very energetic and I feel I need to give him more activity. He looks bored some of the time. I was thinking of doing some agility training and also asking here.

For a little thing, he jumps pretty high. He can get the top of his head above the kitchen counter :eek:

I read through some of the posts here and it sounds like you're doing these things for competition. I'd like to keep my boy busy :)

Any advice? Links to places I can get more info?
 

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I see you are in New Jersey. There are lots of great trainers in NJ and while it is a biggish state I would suggest two nice places one north and one south. In the north check out Top Dog Obedience School in Mt. Olive/Flanders. It is owned by Betsy Scapicchio and there are pet classes, agility and obedience. http://www.topdogobedience.com/ In the south the is Up Front Dog Center in the Bordentown area (specifically Allentown). http://upfrontdogcenter.com/ I go to each of those places from Long Island several times a year for matches, trials and workshops.


For any poodle that is looking bored or getting into mischief there is no better prescription in the world than some fun training games whether a sport for competition or just for the heck of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, but if you can believe it, both of those places are at least an hour away.

I live smack dab in the middle of the state. Any suggestions for Central NJ?
 

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Thanks, but if you can believe it, both of those places are at least an hour away.

I live smack dab in the middle of the state. Any suggestions for Central NJ?

Wow that is too bad! Believe it or not I don't really know central Jersey too well. I am always either going straight across from Long Island to Top Dog or making the full down south run to Up Front, but then again I am working on performance sports and really need to hit different places where I have a sense of how things work so hitting the road is just part of the deal.
 

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Hitting the road is part of the deal for sure. A one hour drive to get to a really good school wouldn't be out of the question for me, now. But, if I was just starting out, I'd do a Google search for training classes within a half hour drive. Agility is super popular. Finding a beginning class nearby might be easier than you expect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow that is too bad! Believe it or not I don't really know central Jersey too well. I am always either going straight across from Long Island to Top Dog or making the full down south run to Up Front, but then again I am working on performance sports and really need to hit different places where I have a sense of how things work so hitting the road is just part of the deal.
Thanks anyway. Since I'm not doing this for competition, driving that far is a bit of a stretch.
Hitting the road is part of the deal for sure. A one hour drive to get to a really good school wouldn't be out of the question for me, now. But, if I was just starting out, I'd do a Google search for training classes within a half hour drive. Agility is super popular. Finding a beginning class nearby might be easier than you expect.
I'll try that. Thanks!
 

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Thanks, but if you can believe it, both of those places are at least an hour away.

I live smack dab in the middle of the state. Any suggestions for Central NJ?
You folks in the Northeast are so funny about distances! Out West, an hour's drive is considered to be in the neighborhood!
 

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You folks in the Northeast are so funny about distances! Out West, an hour's drive is considered to be in the neighborhood!

Well not for all of us. An hour isn't really a big deal for me, but then again I just drove somewhere around 1600 miles for a 6 day vacation. Thing is around here often a 25 mile drive can take an hour if you hit the road at the wrong time of day.
 
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Just please be careful of trainers-try to get reviews/recommendations. Poodles are pretty resilient (well,most of the ones I know are),but maybe start with some simple tricks like spins,sit pretty,etc. I bought a book (surprise,since I probably have a few hundred to my name ;) ) with all sorts of tricks,but can't recall the name now. (try Dogwise.com)

Depending on age,may be too young for agility. Poodles CAN jump very well,but shouldn't do so formally until 1 yr-18 months or so. Brain games are as important as exercise. Tired pups are happy pups!

Martha and WildMan
 

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Mary2e you don’t have to compete to enjoy agility. When you and your dog have the skills in place, you can continue at the club taking handling classes where you run on small agility courses. I know several people who do this, they don’t like the stress of competition but love running their dog in agility.

I do echo what Mashaphan said... be careful to choose a safe training facility where they are careful to teach you skills and slowly introduces the dog to the apparatuses. Better to drive an hour to a good training facility. When I got my minipoo I chose what I thought was an okay training facility, they taught agility as well as obedience. My dog was almost a year old when I got her and I scrambled quickly to set up lessons for basic obedience. I should have taken the time to read reviews and ask around. The trainer kept saying she only uses positive training methods....however in the class I discovered that was a lie, she had more than twice as many dogs in the class than she promised and it was an unpleasant experience for my first training class. Ask if you can watch a class before committing.
 

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I'm talking 25 miles on a limited access road with only personal vehicles, no commercial vehicles and a 55 mph speed limit. On surface streets that 25 miles at the same crappy time of day would be 2+ hours.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You folks in the Northeast are so funny about distances! Out West, an hour's drive is considered to be in the neighborhood!
Well not for all of us. An hour isn't really a big deal for me, but then again I just drove somewhere around 1600 miles for a 6 day vacation. Thing is around here often a 25 mile drive can take an hour if you hit the road at the wrong time of day.
It's not far for us either. We easily do 1 hour trips as a "normal" trip. I wanted something closer and easier to get to :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I looked at the 2 recommended facilities and both look good.

Question though... my little guy isn't that comfortable around dogs. It takes a bit for him to warm up. My concern is that we won't get the most out of the sessions. As well, I'm wondering if we shouldn't do obedience training first. He is incredibly smart - and stubborn as a mule. He knows his commands - he just chooses when to listen. I walk around with treats in my pocket as I'm currently working on "come."

I've seen 2 trainers, plus one person who watches dogs in her home, all have said the same thing.... we have our hands full with this guy. But only for commands - potty training him for indoor (in the garage) and outdoor was a breeze. Actually, we didn't have to train him for outdoor - he came trained by the breeder.

He's also not food motivated. He's praise motivated. We have to make a big deal of every accomplishment :)
 

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You say your dog isn't food motivated. What food are you using? Every time you train your dog, you're playing the game, if you eat your broccoli, I'll give you ice cream. If you eat your broccoli, I'll give you liver- wrapped lima beans, said no parent ever. Not food motivated = offering a child liver-wrapped lima beans as a prize. I can prove it to you.

Go to your local Burger King. Buy a grilled chicken sandwich. Come home, cut the chicken into pieces the size of a pea. You should have 100+ treats. Microwave these until they are warm. Drop five pieces of warm grilled marinated chicken on the floor next to your dog. Drop 1, pause, drop 2, pause, 3, pause... What does your dog do?

If your dog walks away and isn't interested in warm marinated grilled chicken on the floor, then I will believe your dog isn't food motivated.

However, I know dogs. I am 99.99% certain if you dropped five pea sized pieces of warm grilled marinated chicken on the floor, your dog would become a vacuum and lick his chops. And if you stood still as a statue, and asked for a sit, your dog's butt would be magnetically attracted to the floor. Drop piece number six. Now, grab piece number seven and run away yelling, COME! and see what happens. Your dog is going to fly after you at warp nine.

In dog training, what you ask is the broccoli, your reward for compliance is ice cream. Simple as that. Do what I want and I will give you what you want. If you to come at warp nine, I will give you chicken, play tug, play chase, play with a flirt pole, praise you, give you a hug. If you do what I ask, something amazing will happen. That's the magical secret to all dog training.

As a clicker trainer, I don't believe in stubborn/not stubborn. I believe in trained/not trained. Will your dog come from six inches away? Reward that with a high value reward. Try seven inches. Work your way up gradually and set the dog up to be 100% successful every time you ask.

Every time you change rooms, or change your position, you're adding variety and the dog might not understand what you asked. If you trained a dog to come when called in the kitchen, the dog might not know what come means in the backyard. Dogs need lots of practice before they understand that come means come no matter where I am when I call. What looks like being stubborn is lack of generalization. Help your dog generalize. He's not stubborn, I promise.

Practice calling your dog away from something he is doing, reward him, and then send him right back to what he was doing. Sniffing a bush, come, get a treat, go back to sniffing the bush, will make coming when called stronger. Improve the value of your treats, lower your criteria for success, reward richly, and enjoy what happens next.
 

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I do think obedience class would be extremely valuable for preparing your dog for agility and you will find other benefits too. I highly recommend training for and taking the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

And I agree with Click, with the right treat and fun approach to training your dog will be food motivated. You should also use toys and praise in training. Some dogs are more motivated to toys or praise. It helps to have a variety of food treats with different values so when they won’t come for kibble as a treat you can move up the scale to more and more enticing treats.
 
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I do think obedience class would be extremely valuable for preparing your dog for agility and you will find other benefits too. I highly recommend training for and taking the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

And I agree with Click, with the right treat and fun approach to training your dog will be food motivated. You should also use toys and praise in training. Some dogs are more motivated to toys or praise. It helps to have a variety of food treats with different values so when they won’t come for kibble as a treat you can move up the scale to more and more enticing treats.
 

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Variety makes things fun. And you do need to find what motivates your dog. Noelle, for example, will jump through flaming hoops for a chance to play tug with Mr. Fox the squeaky toy. However, I use food when training new behaviors, and not Mr. Fox.

When I am training a new behavior, I break it down into tiny pieces and reward each tiny piece with food.

To speed up reaction time, I use Mr. Fox. The reason I use toys for speed is because they are highly exciting to Noelle. Toys are so exciting she can't learn something new. She can, and will, execute a known skill at warp 9 to get Mr. Fox.

This is why we don't teach kids to learn fractions at DisneyLand. Now, you could speed up reaction time by asking a child to add 1/4 + 1/4 in the DisneyLand parking lot, assuming they knew the answer already. They'd yell out, 1/2 if that was what got them out of the car.

The rule for training with treats. Real food three times, air cookie the fourth time, then give a real treat afterward. Get your dog used to following invisible air cookies quickly. Thank you Ian Dunbar for Air Cookie. I love that term so much! That way you don't end up with a dog who looks for the treat first.
 

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You really will find obedience before agility to be invaluable. Impulse control, focus, sit and down for start line stays come from obedience not an agility equipment oriented class. If you are interested in Top Dog or Up Front send an email asking if you can watch a couple of classes and/or describe your concern about your pup being shy around other dogs. They will tell you how to proceed. There are nice people at both places.


BTW I also agree that you need to find the magic food and then you will get responses you want.
 
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