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#21 MaryP

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:17 PM

Very well said, Secret.

Oh, and dropped bars can be a training issue, as well. I speak from experience. ;)
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#22 gcv-border

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:45 PM

I agree. ^^^^^ Well said, SecretBC

Dropped bars - also consider an ileopsoas strain. I speak from experience too. :D

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#23 alligande

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:28 PM

I had a message composed this morning but the computer ate it. Pretty much everything I was going to say has been said, the real question is why are they not getting those Qs, lack of speed, dropped bars, off course, contacts..... knowing the answer to that puzzle is what really makes the decision. I have feeling Secret nailed it with her post.

I do though understand wanting to quit, I have let my first agility dog semi-retire he does rockstar appearances if my husband is away, either at class or at a trial, he has fun I expect nothing and a good time is had. BUT if he was my only dog I think I would have a quit. Agility is not though my social life, it is a sport I play with my dog, and I do treat it as a sport and am competitive, which is why I run and work on my fitness, and why I spend to much money on training. ;)

#24 SS Cressa

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:53 PM

Ok a couple things...

The person doesnt feel its in the dogs best interest to jump performance.

Other venues is a no go. Partly due to what secrete said.

I have suggested quitting for a couple months and the reason they havent yet quit is because they are running really nice. Of they stop will how long before they are running as good.

The dog is very sensitive to motion. If you lift a finger at the wrong time a bar will come down.

The handler does already have 2 up and coming dogs. One might be starting this year.

This dog is the heart dog. To give up on your heart dog??? Shudder at the thought!

Handler doesnt want to give up their "get away" or their escape from the daily grind. Its just the lack of progress for them really gets to the human. Dog still think... er KNOWS s/he is the awesome-est agility dog ever! ;-)

Dog history:
Yes 1st border collie, 1st agility dog

Had a back injury when 2.5 years old. Wasnt dealt with so got worst. Started seeing a good masseuse when 3ish years old. That helped but if back isnt kept up on its gets knotted up again.

In class and home s/he is a star. Training came and still is easy. You cant trick him/her. :)

Missed weaves we are realizing is mainly from his/her back. Or put differently since the monthly/weekly massages the weaves have NOT been missed.

Also has had different handlers. One handler is one of the really good handlers. All have had the same issue knocked bar or weaves.

I had said been competing for the last 5 years but that isnt right per say. Has had 4-5 months off the 1-3 years. 2 of those years dog was being handle by other people.
Also they just recently within the last year or two been able to run together. Then a year ago they started running like a team. With ~1 month off and 3-4 months with a sore back(missing weaves).


Stella S.

(5H)MACH 2 Cresent Moon MXF, 2011 PGP Nat' CH (Handle by Denise Thomas), 2011 Speed Jumpers 5th placed finalist (Handle by Denise Thomas). ~Thanks to Denise Thomas for handling Cressa so well at agility nationals and when I wasn't able to.

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#25 alligande

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:59 PM

Cressa, I can not understand how the owner would not consider performance, in AKC can you try it for a trial and then go back? I am not one averse to high jump heights I jump my young dog at 26" and he sails over, my older dog on his rare outings does 12" skilled plus veteran which we took as soon as he turned 7 in NADAC and he bounces around the course with a huge grin.

#26 SS Cressa

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:04 PM

Dont feel like editing! The lack of progress really gets to the handler. If you are not progressing why stay? When there is countless other ways you could use that money.


Stella S.

(5H)MACH 2 Cresent Moon MXF, 2011 PGP Nat' CH (Handle by Denise Thomas), 2011 Speed Jumpers 5th placed finalist (Handle by Denise Thomas). ~Thanks to Denise Thomas for handling Cressa so well at agility nationals and when I wasn't able to.

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#27 SS Cressa

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:09 PM

Yes you can go switch back to full height after you try performance.

How the dog would jump is the issue. They felt it would be worst for the dog to jump a lower height. They have tried a bigger height and with bad results. The dog was trowing himself out to jump them. <- that is mine terminology not the handler.

I do know our trainer had her try it and agreed that he jump really bad at the higher height. That was back when we were trying to keep bars up.


Stella S.

(5H)MACH 2 Cresent Moon MXF, 2011 PGP Nat' CH (Handle by Denise Thomas), 2011 Speed Jumpers 5th placed finalist (Handle by Denise Thomas). ~Thanks to Denise Thomas for handling Cressa so well at agility nationals and when I wasn't able to.

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#28 Root Beer

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:16 PM

The person doesnt feel its in the dogs best interest to jump performance.


OK, but apparently what she is doing right now isn't working. Sounds like it's time to change something. If that's not going to be jump height, then other options should be considered, in the dog's best interest.

I have suggested quitting for a couple months and the reason they havent yet quit is because they are running really nice. Of they stop will how long before they are running as good.


If she is happy with how they are running, then what is the problem?

The dog is very sensitive to motion. If you lift a finger at the wrong time a bar will come down.


It's something with every dog. Learning how to handle in a way that accentuates the dog's strengths and minimizes the dog's weaknesses is a big part of what handling is all about.

The handler does already have 2 up and coming dogs. One might be starting this year.


That's good. Sometimes taking the pressure off of one dog to focus some energy on an up and coming dog can help.

This dog is the heart dog. To give up on your heart dog??? Shudder at the thought!


Yes, sometimes the right thing to do is to "give up" on one's heart dog. If taking a break, or even quitting, is really in the dog's best interest, then it's the right thing to do.

Especially if it is in the dog's best interest from a physical standpoint.

Of course I can't say that's the case for this dog, but if it is, then stepping aside from trialing isn't really "giving up".

Handler doesnt want to give up their "get away" or their escape from the daily grind. Its just the lack of progress for them really gets to the human. Dog still think... er KNOWS s/he is the awesome-est agility dog ever! ;-)


If the dog still knows that he or she is the awesome-est Agility dog ever, then maybe the handler should focus on that.

Titles really aren't everything. Yes, they are very fun to work toward, but there are more important things. Maybe this dog is meant to teach that very lesson to this handler.

In class and home s/he is a star. Training came and still is easy. You cant trick him/her. :)


There's an option. The handler could continue to run this dog in class, where he or she enjoys the game, and focus on the up and coming dogs when it comes to trialing.

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#29 SS Cressa

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 08:07 PM

Sorry... most of this is what i hear from the handler. Not trying to be difficult or making excuses!

The dog doesnt do classes anymore. Since "it doesnt seem to help him" or "the teacher isnt focusing on what we need to practice "or etc... ;)

Maybe this is worded better?
The handler doesnt want to take a break from agility since it took them a bit to connect and get use to the trial setting the last tome they had a break. The lack of progress makes the handler want to just quit agility all together.

In the defense to stay with it longer and NOT quit. I normally point out that yeah you only got 4-5 Q's but in reality it was in 7months time drame since the dog was broken the other 4 months plus the one month you had off.

In defense of lack of titles. You guys had like a year off from agility and for another year you had mutiple people run the dog. Which is lack of consistent handling and "rules". So you havent actually competed for 5 years. Its more like you competed for 1 year, had off another year, had other run the dog the next, and finally you are competing again.

Like i said before most of what i say gets shot down eventual with "you dont understand".

Sorry for the misspell words. My phone has a mind of its own and editing is a pain. :) i cant see what is being type for the most part. And my phone randomly likes to add xtra words to different words.


Stella S.

(5H)MACH 2 Cresent Moon MXF, 2011 PGP Nat' CH (Handle by Denise Thomas), 2011 Speed Jumpers 5th placed finalist (Handle by Denise Thomas). ~Thanks to Denise Thomas for handling Cressa so well at agility nationals and when I wasn't able to.

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#30 gcv-border

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 08:38 PM

"The person doesnt feel its in the dogs best interest to jump performance.

Other venues is a no go. Partly due to what secrete said."

It sounds like many of the issues and frustrations this handler has is due to ego problems. I am surprised that she does not yet know that the ego has no place in dog training and handling.

"The dog is very sensitive to motion. If you lift a finger at the wrong time a bar will come down."

That is just an excuse. I guess she doesn't appreciate what an awesome dog she has. Yes, a dog like that is 'harder' to handle since your handling has to be 100% PERFECT, but if your handling is sloppy, you really know it. Since her dog isn't getting the Q's she wants, sounds like she still has to improve her handling.

"Also has had different handlers. One handler is one of the really good handlers. All have had the same issue knocked bar or weaves."

If the dog is as sensitive as indicated, I am not surprised that they also had problems with handling. You really have to have worked out a relationship with this type of dog so that your timing is PRECISE. Both of my agility instructors have tried to run my dog (who is similarly sensitive to the slightest motion) without as much success as I have had. I don't consider myself a good handler, but I have run my dog so much that I have learned his speed, commitment points, weaknesses, etc - so I am a better handler when it comes to my dog.

"I had said been competing for the last 5 years but that isnt right per say. Has had 4-5 months off the 1-3 years. 2 of those years dog was being handle by other people.
Also they just recently within the last year or two been able to run together. Then a year ago they started running like a team. With ~1 month off and 3-4 months with a sore back(missing weaves)."

I am still mystified why she is whining about her lack of Qs. The dog's career has included injuries, time off for healing, continuing health problems, different handlers, and so on. Of course, they are not going to be at the same place in the dog's career as other dogs of the same age.

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#31 gcv-border

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 08:45 PM

SS Cressa,
I did not see your last post before I wrote mine. After reading your last post, I have to say that I think that there has to be a major improvement and/or realignment in attitude for this person to enjoy agility with any dog.

Jovi

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#32 mickif

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:08 PM

What are the reasons the dog keeps knocking bars? Handler motion? Poor jump skills? Blasting thru to get to the next obstacle? Has anyone pinpointed to what it might be? Just curious :)

#33 SecretBC

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:16 PM

I'm hearing a lot of excuses - I understand that this is what your friend relates to you. I'm not entirely sure what you plan to get out of this thread. Are you planning to show it to your friend?

I have a sensitive dog. I don't worry about bars with Kaiser, but if I flinch or look at him wrong he goes off course. When I walk courses for Kaiser, I spend the whole time figuring out how to stay out of his space bubble and follow his "rules." Not every course allows his rules to be followed, but the quirky little guy and I manage to Q in over 50% of our runs these days (a massive improvement!). I learned what he needs and how to run him. He's nothing like my other two and if I ran him like I run them I'm sure we'd never Q!

You have to do what is in the best interest of the dog. I am totally baffled as to why the dog can't jump lower. It couldn't do a higher jump height due to structure/technique - what does that have to do with going down?

The handler needs more training to work on their timing. The dog could probably benefit from jump drills (Salo/Mecklenberg). Ultimately, the handler has to stop with the excuses. If it were my friend, I guarantee I wouldn't continue to listen to them whine.
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#34 SS Cressa

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:22 PM

Jumping issues... yes. It varies. Sometimes it just because he is out or not extending or just jumping sloppy. Other time its because handler motion. I can sometimes see when he is going to drop a bar when i just watch the handler.

>.< i do like watching the dogs run but sometimes it more fascinating to watch the handler. Its interesting seeing the dogs path before the dog gets there.


Stella S.

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#35 SecretBC

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:31 PM

Forgot to mention -- If the dog has ongoing back issues, friend should look into Back on Track coats. Secret has a super long, sensitive back and her BoT coat has helped a lot and we've cut back on chiro visits. She's also doing better jumping higher and has been fine at 22" now.
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#36 SS Cressa

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:32 PM

As to what i am looking for. Ideas to keep them going or at least another way to look at it. Like the idea of is this the best way for the dog aspect.

Idk i have a hard time thinking a dog is hopeless and quiting. When he wants to play and loves the game. I know the Q's will eventually come... but its not my time or money getting drain. Its always easier to say when looking on the outside. :)

As to jump work. Yup they tried susan salo<- bad at names but i think that is right?! And we train using Linda mickenburg methods.

I think they did order a back on track. Cant wait to see how it does. Might get two i they work.


Stella S.

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#37 Root Beer

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:45 PM

As to what i am looking for. Ideas to keep them going or at least another way to look at it. Like the idea of is this the best way for the dog aspect.


But is continuing the best way for the dog? Based on what you are saying, I'm not convinced that it is.

1. The dog has physical issues/limitations that require a notable amount of assistance to keep the dog in condition to play. While this in and of itself is not necessarily a problem, you have stated that the handler is taking that cost into account, so it factors into the decision.

2. The handler is apparently more concerned about Q's than she is about the fact that the team is running better than they ever have and that the dog is doing his best, in spite of past injuries.

3. The handler is frustrated and is considering quitting, in spite of the fact that Agility is a big social outlet for her. If she is that frustrated, there is no way the dog doesn't perceive that in some way, and I would wonder exactly how dealing with that can be good for the dog and add to his enjoyment of the game.

Idk i have a hard time thinking a dog is hopeless and quiting. When he wants to play and loves the game. I know the Q's will eventually come... but its not my time or money getting drain.


If the main concern of the handler is giving the dog a chance to play the game simply because he loves it, it seems to me that she would be more open to running at a lower jump height and/or finding a venue for the dog that might be more appropriate.

Based on what you are saying, I am getting the very distinct impression that the desire to Q in AKC at regular jump heights is far more important to this handler. If that is the case, then it may well be prudent to put those Q hopes on one of the younger up and coming dogs.

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#38 juliepoudrier

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:47 PM

This sounds like one unhappy handler who doesn't want to consider changes (classes, changed venue, different level) that might actually *help* her dog to perform better. Like others have said, I hear a bunch of excuses and no really solid reasons for not moving to a lower class or otherwise altering things to help the dog do better. Given the comments about not going to class, I have to assume that this really is a handler attitude problem, and it's likely that nothing you can say will make a difference. You say the dog knows s/he's (seriously? If you give the actual gender someone might figure out who you're talking about?) awesome, but I'd be willing to bet that the dog is cueing off the handler's unhappiness. I'm not believing for a minute that if the owner is that ready to quit because it's a lot of time and money for no Qs that the dog isn't picking up on her bad attitude. And if she doesn't think a dog's performance can be affected by handler attitude, well, I think her results are speaking loud and clear, even if she's choosing not to listen.

You know, agility is either fun and about getting together with friends (one of the reasons you gave for why she wants to continue), or it's about ego and winning (with lack of Qs and time and expense as reasons why she wants to quit). Maybe complaining is just her style. She's not getting attention for wins, so she's seeking it some other way. I agree with SecretBC that listening to the complaints and then trying to convince her she's wrong is really just a waste of your time and energy. The one I feel sorry for in all this is not your friend, it's your friend's dog.

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#39 Hooper

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:34 AM

I can't think of a single reason for this person to continue competing with this dog. Let's look at the reasons you give.

A) The dog loves agility. Maybe the dog loves agility and maybe he doesn't. But I guarantee you that the dog doesn't care whether he's competing or not. If the reason to continue is for the dog's sake, then set up a few jumps, a tunnel, some weave poles and a teeter in the back yard, and do agility with the dog. He'll love it just as much, or perhaps more, than if he's taken off to some place surrounded by a zillion other dogs and people, gets to run for 32 seconds, and then goes back in his crate for the rest of the day. I believe many dogs love doing agility, and perhaps this dog is one of them. But the competition aspect of it is strictly for the handler. The part the dog loves has nothing to do with going to organized events. Which brings us to...

B) The handler loves agility because of the social aspect. Fine. The handler can go to trials and scribe, or time, or organize the lunches, all kinds of ways to socialize at agility trials without competing. Or the handler can enjoy all the same social aspects by competing in Preferred, or in NADAC or whatever. No? Clearly from what you have said, the handler loves agility when he is rewarded at least reasonably frequently with Q's, ribbons, and placements. Nothing wrong with that. I like Q's and letters after my dog's name too. But if that's our motivation (and again, it is a motivation for me, so I'm not criticizing) then let's not kid ourselves into thinking we are competing for the dog's sake or for the sake of socializing or to promote world peace or any other higher purpose. If the handler only enjoys agility when he is successfully accumulating Q's at a particular level of competition, and it's not happening, then why continue?

I can think of at least two reasons to stop competing with this dog.
A) The dog is apparently not well built for this level of competition and it's having a negative impact on the dog's comfort, and is costing a bunch of money that could be spent on something more worthwhile than trying to manage/undo the damage that competition is doing to this dog's body.

B) The handler is not happy. Anyone who aspires to a high level of competition is going to hit rough spots, and have moments of discouragement when he wonders if it's all worthwhile. But if the handler isn't willing or able to try something different, and the dog is experiencing chronic physical problems, then it's not likely that the situation is going to improve. Continuing is only going to frustrate the handler more, and that frustration is not going to enhance the dog/handler relationship.

I am truly sorry if this sounds mean and harsh. But I get the sense that the OP wants to encourage the handler to continue, and I just want the OP to consider the possibility that continuing isn't always the best option. Sometimes quitting really is the honorable choice. I've reached our level of incompetence with several dogs, sometimes at a pretty low level of competition, sometimes at a pretty high level. But as much as I enjoyed the competition, once I reached that level of incompetence, the dogs and I were both happier when I said "Ya know what? We had fun getting this far, and now it's not fun anymore, so let's just enjoy each other's company for nice long walks, and play in the backyard and competitive couch anchoring."

#40 Root Beer

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:54 AM

The handler is not happy. Anyone who aspires to a high level of competition is going to hit rough spots, and have moments of discouragement when he wonders if it's all worthwhile. But if the handler isn't willing or able to try something different, and the dog is experiencing chronic physical problems, then it's not likely that the situation is going to improve. Continuing is only going to frustrate the handler more, and that frustration is not going to enhance the dog/handler relationship.


Very well said.

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