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#41 gcv-border

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 08:09 PM

Can you give me a link to her site? I want to look to see if there are any good photos of my dogs from the March trial. Thanks.


Jovi

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#42 CptJack

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 05:20 AM

Absolutely:

 

http://www.furfetched.com/ 



#43 CptJack

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 09:40 AM

I am going to turn this into Kylie's general agility thread. 


Mostly because I have to say that I have no idea what was going on today but our lesson was *hysterical*.  Don't get me wrong, I gained a lot of valuable information, got some good homework and it was good and fun and fine.   The dog, however. 

Well, my instructor is very fair to the dog.  I don't think she has ever, in my life, actually said something going awry was anything but my fault.  That's legitimate; it *is* my fault.  Today, however, she actually said, "She's just wild and would rather bark at you than listen."  That kind of says it all?  Dog was not on the ball today and I'm actually okay with that.  

Because what she was, was extremely, extremely, *extremely* happy and with a strong desire to run really fast.  Me trying to make her run in patterns, on the other hand - (Bark bark bark).  Who is this dog?  I dunno, but not the one I started this journey with!



#44 Cass C

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 08:25 AM

I love having an honest instructor that you can trust when they say your dog is just not with it today. My instructor likes to say it's 99% of the time your fault and the other 1% it's your dog going awry.

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#45 Root Beer

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 09:02 AM


Mostly because I have to say that I have no idea what was going on today but our lesson was *hysterical*.  Don't get me wrong, I gained a lot of valuable information, got some good homework and it was good and fun and fine.   The dog, however. 

Well, my instructor is very fair to the dog.  I don't think she has ever, in my life, actually said something going awry was anything but my fault.  That's legitimate; it *is* my fault.  Today, however, she actually said, "She's just wild and would rather bark at you than listen."  That kind of says it all?  Dog was not on the ball today and I'm actually okay with that.  

Because what she was, was extremely, extremely, *extremely* happy and with a strong desire to run really fast.  Me trying to make her run in patterns, on the other hand - (Bark bark bark).  Who is this dog?  I dunno, but not the one I started this journey with!

 

You know, I don't buy into that "it's all the handler" stuff.  I completely understand it as an attempt to remedy the tendency that many handlers have to blame their dogs for everything, but in reality it doesn't hold up.  By what logic would the human make mistakes, miscues, and misjudgements, and the dog be pretty much infallible at reading everything perfectly all the time and be 100% willing to do everything perfectly all the time?  

I consider there to be an equal potential for mistakes, miscues, misjudgments - and yes, even personality quirks - to be mine or my dog's.  That does not mean that I "blame" the dog (I really don't consider honest recognition of lack of utter perfection as "blame"), but that I recognize that sometimes it really is me, and sometimes it really is her . . . or him - I guess I need to start saying him, too!!

 

And we can both have "off days" and we can both make mistakes, and that's perfectly fine.


Now, was it that she would "rather" bark at you?  Maybe, maybe not.  Maybe she was overly excited.  Maybe she was frustrated.  Maybe she was in a hyper mood.  Maybe for some reason that wasn't apparent to you barking made perfect sense to her at the time!!   :D  But the idea that her barking was not necessarily being caused somehow by you . . . I have no problem with that!

 

Tessa was "off" at our trial yesterday.  And that was fine.  Some days I'm "off".  Yesterday she was.  No problem!   :)

 

I allow myself this particular liberty, and it works well for myself and my dogs.


Kristine
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In Memory:  Sammie, Speedy, and Maddie

 

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#46 CptJack

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 09:47 AM

Eh, with Kylie if something is going wrong it's me about 99% of the time - or more. 

 

Bottom line, the dog does what I tell her to do.  If she's NOT doing something, it's because:
A-) I haven't taught her

B-) I've killed her enthusiasm or confidence

C-) I'm miscuing. 

D-) My timing is crap - ie: too early/too late. 


C or D are most likely but happen. 


After a couple of years of knowing us both and seeing us at least once a week often 3 times a week?  Yeah.  The 'dog would rather bark' was actually pretty danged on point.  Not 100%.  What the dog actually wanted to do was run in front of me, play bow and bark in order to engage me in a fast moving game of run and chase, rather than do agility.   ESPECIALLY what was on the lesson agenda (so the agenda changed).  Yeah, some frustration in there but mostly because she was being asked to do stuff and didn't wanna and even that was mild because 'dash in front and bark' is typically just a solicitation behavior from her (I recognize fully that is not always the case with all dogs and all scenarios, and Molly sure as heck does get in front of me and frustration bark, but Kylie ain't a BC).  Over excitement, a little, but in the sense that she was happy, in a good mood, it was cool and clear and in a giant big old field of open space.  PLAY WITH ME!


Mostly, though, it was made clear to me that *this time* things going wrong were not: 


A-) Lack of training/clear understanding on her point. 

B-) Lack of confidence. 
C-) Bad handling/direction mechanically  Ie: I wasn't saying one thing with words and another with my body, or just not telling her what I thought I was.

D-) Bad timing. 


It was, actually, the dog just wanting to run around and be a goof after a couple of weeks off (ETA: not months! weeks, sorry), rather than play agility in particular.  S'Cool, but it's nice to know that it *wasn't* me.  Because frankly?  She's my dog.  She does what I tell her, have taught her, or have trained her to do.   NONE of that means she can't have an off day (and yesterday was one), but an off day and handler error are very different. 

 

Handler error happens a whoooooole lot more than off days in agility, in my experience both with me and other people. Particularly when you include inconsistent training, unclear criteria, accidental miscues with timing/body language, exerting too much pressure or inappropriate methods for the dog, or about a billion other things that are on the trainer. 


So basically, I'm with my trainer :P  But that doesn't mean I don't think off days happen and sometimes it's not the dog.  Yesterday, it was the dog.  


Edited by CptJack, 15 May 2016 - 09:52 AM.


#47 CptJack

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 09:57 AM

TL:DR summary: I don't think I actually disagree with you, I just expand 'my responsibility' here to include the dog actually understanding what is being asked and adjusting to their strengths/weaknesses, both in handling and training.  Some things are harder for some dogs than others.  Hence it's usually the result of SOMETHING on the human end of the equation.  Not always,  clearly, but usually.  



#48 Root Beer

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 10:34 AM

I think about it this way.  I make wrong turns on the road sometimes even when I know where I'm going.  Sometimes when I speak, what I say isn't what I intended.  I make type-o's even though I know perfectly well how to spell.

 

So, why wouldn't my dog, at times, perform incorrectly even when I am abundantly clear?  How can it be that a dog would never really mean to go left and sometimes go right when sometimes we do it?

 

And, again, I am not saying this because I want to assess "blame" to my dogs.  It really is a matter of being realistic.  I consider my dogs to be at least as fallible as I am.  And I like that because we are in this together.  It's not a mistake-ridden handler with a perfect dog.  How sad would that be?

 

I think there is something very healthy about regarding both members of the team as being capable of greatness and capable of error!!  :)  There are times when I mishandle and Tessa just shines!!  In those cases, I give her full credit!  There are times when I handle correctly and she gets an idea of her own.  It's rare, but it happens and when it does - well . . . that's her.  In those cases nobody gets blamed even if I recognize that she made a mistake on that one.  (Yesterday . . . purple tunnel . . . all Tessa!!  But that's cool.  The near miss after the front cross - that was all me.  That was cool with her.  We're a team - neither of us are perfect.)

I realize that this is a very unpopular point of view, but I do find it to be extremely helpful.


Kristine
And Dean Dog, Tessa, and the Bandit
In Memory:  Sammie, Speedy, and Maddie

 

Tessa's Training Blog - Our Training and Experiences in Musical Freestyle, Agility, and Rally FrEe

 

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#49 CptJack

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 10:50 AM

I am kind of comfortable 'arguing' with you, because I suspect we both enjoy it rather than getting angry about it.

 

It's not helpful for me, largely because I have literally never had a scenario where the dog did something wrong, as opposed to not doing a thing, that a minor adjustment in my handling didn't lead to the result I wanted - at least not once the behavior was trained and understood.  Seriously, not even once. 

 

Now, I have absolutely had the dog not want to play at all, or get zoomies or what have you, but off courses, missed discriminations,  knocked bars, obstacle performance themselves?  Nope.  Every. Single. Time.  I've been able to adjust something in my handling and remove the issue entirely.  Maybe my dog's Just That Good - but I kind of doubt it. 


It's not that she won't blow me off - she doesn't often, but she will - or that she won't get zoomies and run wildly, she'll do that, too.  But if she's actually taking a wrong obstacle, missing a contact or entry, popping poles, or going the wrong way, it's me and my handling or training - *almost* always. 


But that almost is in there.  I'll admit to that.  If she trips in the weave poles she usually ends up popping 3-4 poles down the line because her mechanics are off and while she is 95% great at switches (tandem turns, rear crosses with a turn away to an obstacle, whatever), about 5% of the time and for the occasional whole day I get a 360 spin instead of a clean lead change, and I really don't understand why but it's probably not my handling in another 90% of the times it happens. 

 

That said, my first go to is "What am I doing to make the thing happen?"  Because the answer is nearly always in there.  It's not even a philosophical thing.  It is usually me. 



#50 Root Beer

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 12:44 PM

I am kind of comfortable 'arguing' with you, because I suspect we both enjoy it rather than getting angry about it.

 

Oh, absolutely!!  :D  It's all good natured discussion!
 

It's not helpful for me, largely because I have literally never had a scenario where the dog did something wrong, as opposed to not doing a thing, that a minor adjustment in my handling didn't lead to the result I wanted - at least not once the behavior was trained and understood.

 

 Seriously, not even once. 

 

That is quite something!!  But can see why that experience would make it so you don't share my point of view.

Tessa has definitely made mistakes when I have handled correctly.  Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that are beyond our control.  One time it was clear on the video that the way the sun was shining into the building through an opening made it very likely that she could not properly see the tire that she efficiently ran around.  I actually consider it quite sensible on her part not to jump into it - that was back when she was still jumping 20 - when she probably couldn't see it properly, even if I was sending her to it.

 

But other times there has been nothing apparent, and even my instructor - who has a good eye for such things and does hold the position of, "it's almost always the handler's fault" - will watch a video and say, "Tessa was just being silly there".  Not "silly" in the sense that she was trying to be a clown, but she herself made a mistake.

 

So, since it has happened with all of my own dogs - especially with a dog who works as hard as Tessa does to pay attention to me and be right - I definitely have a different perspective.

 

That said, my first go to is "What am I doing to make the thing happen?"  Because the answer is nearly always in there.  It's not even a philosophical thing.  It is usually me.

 

 

My go-to probably isn't all that different.  If possible - and it usually is - my first go-to is, "Let me look at the video to see what the heck happened".  I am always open to the possibility that there was something off in my handling, and very often that is the case.  And if I can't see it, I will usually send it to my instructor and say, "did I do something here that I'm not seeing?"   And sometimes she sees things I don't.  But not always - and it's definitely an apparent mistake on Tessa's part a lot more than 1% of the time!!

 

I can see where our different experiences give us different perspectives on this.


Kristine
And Dean Dog, Tessa, and the Bandit
In Memory:  Sammie, Speedy, and Maddie

 

Tessa's Training Blog - Our Training and Experiences in Musical Freestyle, Agility, and Rally FrEe

 

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#51 Blackdawgs

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 07:08 PM

Although dogs certainly make mistakes, I think that is most cases it is us.  In instances in which the handling is not off, we need to ask ourselves if the dog was properly prepared for the challenge......Are there training issues? skill issues? proofing issues? fitness issues? mental issues? (fear, anxiety), soundness issues?, does dog simply not have the physical ability to perform the task?



#52 CptJack

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 07:11 PM

Although dogs certainly make mistakes, I think that is most cases it is us.  In instances in which the handling is not off, we need to ask ourselves if the dog was properly prepared for the challenge......Are there training issues? skill issues? proofing issues? fitness issues? mental issues? (fear, anxiety), soundness issues?, does dog simply not have the physical ability to perform the task?


Yeah, this.

 

I mean I say it's never, ever, not been fixed by me adjusting handling but that's removing those issues where one of those things are in play.  It's stuff she KNOWS.  The rest - well it's still a fix that's on my end.  The dog just doing it wrong when being physically and mentally capable as well as understanding just haven't really happened. 

 

Though the trip in the weave poles affecting mechanics and making her pop is one of the examples of 'I can't fix that' because it's just random accident. 



#53 alligande

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 01:28 AM

Now I teach I am very aware that the mistakes are nearly always handler related, or very importantly a hole in training. As an example last week everyone was working on a front cross exercise and a team were struggling at the second cross in the sequence, initially I thought it was her timing, then I ran the sequence with her border collie and realized he has developed a habit of going behind her and not reading her signals. That's not a fault on the dog's part but a consequence of him making his own decisions as she has not yet gained the confidence to be clear with her directions, so I dialed the exercise back and went back to fundamentals so he understood what was needed.

But there are times, especially with an experienced dog that they own the fault, a few weekends ago my dog decided that he was not going to weave, it was providing my friends much amusement to see him decide to yell at me when He realized the next obstacle was those evil poles, once in the poles he was fine... But those entrance faults belonged to him (and I have video evidence to my innocence). My response focus on weaves and build value in achieving difficult entrances.

#54 mum24dog

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 03:48 AM

It's a slippery slope blaming the dog; so easy to clutch at any excuse for personal error. Doesn't mean that the dog should be expected to be up for it whenever we want; they aren't our slaves or robots.

 

As for Kylie, it's been great seeing her progress. She looks keen enough to me and she only slows down when she doesn't know where to go next and then accelerates. She's not just doing it because she's asked; she clearly enjoys it and gets a real buzz from it. Uncertainty will diminish with handler experience.

 

Great training if she wasn't always like that.



#55 CptJack

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:22 AM

. She's not just doing it because she's asked; she clearly enjoys it and gets a real buzz from it. Uncertainty will diminish with handler experience.

 

Great training if she wasn't always like that.

 

Thanks! 
 

Kylie has been a really interesting, and really rewarding experience.   At the very early stages of the game she'd outright walk a course - and I mean plod.  She'd shut down completely in frustration if she didn't get something or heard or say any indication AT ALL that she was not right.  My frustration, having to redo the same exercise, a no reward marker, a tiny reward instead of a bigger one, just insta-flat puppy.  Also including ME getting something wrong and needing to redo. She'd just be a puddle of sad with drooping ears and tail who didn't want to play anymore.   Our private lessons  were MAYBE 15 minutes long, and those 15 minutes were probably 10 minutes worth of play break, that wasn't really much play because - LOL, Kylie didn't play - because more than that and she'd be fried mentally.  

 

Midway through, I got a dog who thought it was kind of fun and would play - both agility (as play with some tentative Yay?, and in general, but would basically walk off the course if it was hot, cold, raining, or she knew where my husband was and I was pretty chuffed. 


These days she's yapping and acting a fool going into the field.  She doesn't care if it's sheeting rain - and she has run in pouring rain - freezing cold or hot as blazes, because she wants to play.  if my husband is around trying to hold her while I course walk he has to carry her away from me because she wants to be out there WAY more. That's why we're finally able to get video. Before she'd just run to him and ask to be picked up/in his lap.   If something goes wrong, she doesn't go flat  - she's got some resiliency.

 

That conversation with my trainer included a remark or three about how far she's come - because yesterday was so wild and wanted to play so much, even at the end of our whole 30 minute session.  I love that my instructor recognizes that as progress.  
 

That you see her as keen enough and happy and playing because it's fun?  Is the best compliment for me EVER for the same reason:

 

I am as proud of this as anything we've done on an agility course. 

 

And that is absolutely, totally, built up from a dog who spent all but the first four months of her life with a total disinterest in playing any game except a very brief game of 'wrestle with my hand'.  



#56 Root Beer

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 08:41 AM

Although dogs certainly make mistakes, I think that is most cases it is us.  In instances in which the handling is not off, we need to ask ourselves if the dog was properly prepared for the challenge......Are there training issues? skill issues? proofing issues? fitness issues? mental issues? (fear, anxiety), soundness issues?, does dog simply not have the physical ability to perform the task?

 

Those are all important things to consider.  Many of those can be examined in light of the dog's performance history.  A dog with a consistent performance history of a particular skill has demonstrated level of training, skill level, fluency, and the physical ability to perform the task.  Fitness and soundness is always an important consideration, but it can usually be gauged by performance history.  I would be more inclined to think there might be a fitness issue if a certain skill deteriorated and did not bounce back readily than if a skill slipped at one event and then no evidence of an issue came up again.

 

But sometimes it is just the case that the dog made a mistake.

 

They are as capable as making mistakes as we are.


I have to wonder why people are so resistant to that idea.  Personally, the fact that my dog can make mistakes, but so rarely dos makes me respect her more than I would if I felt she was a point and shoot machine who could only mess up if I were not perfect.  :D


Kristine
And Dean Dog, Tessa, and the Bandit
In Memory:  Sammie, Speedy, and Maddie

 

Tessa's Training Blog - Our Training and Experiences in Musical Freestyle, Agility, and Rally FrEe

 

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#57 CptJack

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 08:48 AM

I think people are 'resistant' to the idea for a couple of reasons. 


1-) While blame and fault what most of us mean is actually responsibility.  That means if it's a training issue, a fitness issue, a confidence issue, whatever, it's still 'ours' rather than the dogs.  

 

2-)  If you consider ALL THE POSSIBLE REASONS for something to go wrong, dog making a mistake is one.  The reasons on the part of the handler/that are the human's responsibility are about a billion.  Or, at least, many more than one. 

 

Okay, few reasons:

 

3-) If the issue is a dog making a mistake and you don't identify that properly but still go back to work on confidence, fitness, your timing, just training, whatever, the result is not damaging.  It's just extra training and maybe more reward history if you do it right.   If the result is something YOU did and you 'blame' the dog, withhold a treat, take them off the field or just don't do the fitness/conditioning/confidence building exercises the dog needs, you have at best not resolved the issue and at worst have created a much bigger one. 

 

and 4, the obvious: People are much more inclined dog than themselves.  Not most experienced people and not everyone, but getting through the head of newbies NOT to blame the dog, not to withhold the reward or issue a correction or get irritated with the dog can be difficult.  Which poisons the game for the dog. 



#58 CptJack

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 09:03 AM

Also, let's get real a second:

What the dog does during agility isn't rocket science.   You can have a mistake made due to mechanical error that the dog may be responsible for (for ex: when they take off for a jump) but mostly the dog's job is to go where you point them and the more difficult end of the sport is on the part of the handler.  Weaves are kind of complicated, sticking contacts can be hard for some dogs, teeters can be scary, but mostly it's run/jump/climb where I point you.

 

 99% of the time, if the dog is trying to do what you asked/go where you are pointing them and something went awry, it's because something in the training or teaching process went wrong/wasn't there, or the handler didn't ask for what they thought they asked for. 

 

That's not saying no 'oops, my bad' never happens on the dog's part, but mostly?  The dog's running in a line you draw for them with stuff in the way.  The hardest part and place mistakes are most likely is you drawing that line accurately and being clear with verbals and body language to get the dog to stay on the right one.  Not in taking a jump, or climbing a thing or hitting a tunnel. 


Yeah, even with tough discriminations and things like weaves which may be harder to teach, but once understood are still 'draw the line' issues. 



#59 Blackdawgs

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 09:09 AM

I think that we need to consider that sometimes when a dog does something correctly, it was an accident and that the behavior was not really trained or proofed.



#60 Root Beer

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 10:03 AM

I think people are 'resistant' to the idea for a couple of reasons. 


1-) While blame and fault what most of us mean is actually responsibility.  That means if it's a training issue, a fitness issue, a confidence issue, whatever, it's still 'ours' rather than the dogs.  

 

That's the thing - I don't believe that "the reason" = blame or fault.

 

And I would agree that if it is a training issue, fitness issue, or handling issue, then the reason (no blame, no "fault) would certainly lie with the handler.

 

I still hold, however, that not all mistakes on the part of the dog necessarily derive from those reasons.  They often do, but not always.

 

And sometimes a dog has a very good reason (inability to see due to a glare, for instance), for doing something other than what has been trained/indicated.

But I would still maintain that sometimes they make mistakes, same as we do.

 

2-)  If you consider ALL THE POSSIBLE REASONS for something to go wrong, dog making a mistake is one.  The reasons on the part of the handler/that are the human's responsibility are about a billion.  Or, at least, many more than one. 

 

This is where we disagree.  I simply don't buy the idea that dogs are so incapable of personal error that for all intents and purposes they never make them.

 

I see it in everyday life.  Dean tried to run right through a barrier the other day.  I didn't send him to it - I was actually interacting with Bandit nearby.  It was in his plain sight.  He simply decided to go that way and wasn't watching where he was going and he ran right into it.

 

It was a mistake on his part.

 

And I see it in the Agility ring, in the Freestyle ring, in the Rally ring, in training . . . all over.  I make mistakes.  My dogs make mistakes.  Sometimes I am the reason for my dog's mistakes and sometimes I'm not.  Sometimes my dog is the reason for my mistakes!!  (Again, that's not blame or "fault").  But we are a team - in our successes and in our mistakes.  And it's all good.

 

Okay, few reasons:

 

3-) If the issue is a dog making a mistake and you don't identify that properly but still go back to work on confidence, fitness, your timing, just training, whatever, the result is not damaging.  It's just extra training and maybe more reward history if you do it right.   If the result is something YOU did and you 'blame' the dog, withhold a treat, take them off the field or just don't do the fitness/conditioning/confidence building exercises the dog needs, you have at best not resolved the issue and at worst have created a much bigger one. 

 

AAAAAHHHH!!!!  There we go!!  I was thinking something along those lines.

Remember - I don't do things like that: withhold a treat, take them off the field, etc. for mistakes.  And fitness/conditioning/confidence building/behavior maintenance exercises are a constant for my dogs throughout their careers.  Training is constant.  Even when Tessa is perfect, we are still training to get better.  So, if she makes a one time mistake, it's not like we don't train, but I don't really focus much on whatever the issue was.  If a mistake repeats a few times - then I focus training on it.

 

Whether Tessa was perfect and earned a Q or something went wrong on course, get gets a hearty "GOOD GIRL" at the end of the run and a rain of chicken in her crate and then a walk.  And I tell her how proud I am of her.  See - that's the thing - mistakes aren't bad.  They just are what they are.  It can be disappointing to lose a Q, but I never impose a consequence on Tessa when it happens.  She goes out and runs her heart out.  Mistakes don't change how much I appreciate what she does out there.  And I am very committed to having the exact same attitude with Bandit when his turn comes.

 

Now, when I do something dumb and I know it, I kick myself for it!  I also take care, though, to make sure I don't direct that at Tessa.

 

And that might make a difference in my approach to this.

 

 

and 4, the obvious: People are much more inclined dog than themselves.  Not most experienced people and not everyone, but getting through the head of newbies NOT to blame the dog, not to withhold the reward or issue a correction or get irritated with the dog can be difficult.  Which poisons the game for the dog. 

 

I do understand this particular focus with newbies.

 

But neither of us are newbies!  :)  So, I think looking at it in more depth - just as we are now - is definitely appropriate.

 

I guess if the only two options are "It's all the handler" or "It's all the dog", then I would advocate "It's all the handler".  I just thing that in reality it is two fallible individuals who are mutually doing their best, mutually getting things right, and mutually making mistakes.  :D


Kristine
And Dean Dog, Tessa, and the Bandit
In Memory:  Sammie, Speedy, and Maddie

 

Tessa's Training Blog - Our Training and Experiences in Musical Freestyle, Agility, and Rally FrEe

 

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