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I think we are taking a break for a while


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#1 Carlasl

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:11 AM

Well we had a major setback at agility.....Skye got freaked out by the teeter again, I totally blame myself, we had a new instructor she wanted to see what Skye reacton to the teeter was so she could help us and Skye got pushed to far and totally shut down and now refuses to do anything once we get into the building (she rolls on her back showing me her tummy). So we are taking a break, I am going to buy the Control Unleashed DVD set, go through the program. Work on building up her confidence and our relationship and not worry about agility at all......After that I will probably give it one more try with agility and then if she still doesn't have any desire at all, then we will call it quits.

I think the thing that I am the most bummed about is that I don't get to learn better handling skills before I get my next agility dog. I wanted to at least get to the point where I was trialing and knew what I was doing before I even thought about getting another dog........
Carla
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#2 Jumpin Boots

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:54 AM

I know this is a really tough decision to make and I give you props for making the decision. I have a very active toller who I tried to have be my first agility dog, after about 2 years of training it became obvious that Smudge would never like agility, much less love it.

Hope CU works well for you guys and that Skye builds some confidence and has some fun.

#3 Lenajo

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 11:13 AM

Lots of dogs take breaks and come back much better for it. The important thing is for you to let past attitudes and fears take a break permemantly during that time as well. She won't even remember the teeter is you don't remind her.

Has your puppy (she is less than a year right?) ever done a simple puppy agility class? Not an competiion prep class, but a learning class? With rocker boards, tiny confidence building obstacles, walking over odd footing (tarps, lattice, etc)? Is her obedience up to par? Has she been encouraged to try other activies like swimming, frisbee, and herding?

#4 Ms.DaisyDuke

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 11:41 AM

Taking a break is a good idea. It will keep you from getting more and more discouraged. When I realized Daisy wouldn't be an agility dog, I was pretty upset, but I did not let that keep us from doing stuff. We took different classes, for fearful dogs, recall classes, obedience classes. All stuff she was good at that promoted self confidence. She loves learning, so I do what I can. It also keeps me in tune with her and helps me become a better handler at the same time.

Lenajo mentioned taking a puppy agility class. Good idea. My fearful dog class was a similar idea. We has small obstacles like mentioned that, once Daisy got used to, loved doing. It was a huge confidence boost for her! I found the biggest impact on both of us was to take away all the pressure! We take classes for fun and we both really enjoy ourselves now!

#5 Carlasl

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 11:53 AM

Lots of dogs take breaks and come back much better for it. The important thing is for you to let past attitudes and fears take a break permemantly during that time as well. She won't even remember the teeter is you don't remind her.

Has your puppy (she is less than a year right?) ever done a simple puppy agility class? Not an competiion prep class, but a learning class? With rocker boards, tiny confidence building obstacles, walking over odd footing (tarps, lattice, etc)? Is her obedience up to par? Has she been encouraged to try other activies like swimming, frisbee, and herding?


Actually she is 3yrs old, She has gone through puppy obedience classes when she was 9mo old, then we went to a puppy agility class, then started a bit more focused agility class then I found I was expecting our third child after that and then we took a year and a half off while I adjusted to life with a new baby. During the second agility class Skye was starting to show some stress around "agility".....during the year and a half off, I did a lot of work with her at home, mainly weaves and jump training and foundation stuff, all of that seemed okay to her, worth the treats but not fun in of itself.

We started formal classes again last January, it was just an beginners obstacle class to learn the obstacles and contacts, she was doing really well until the teeter.......unfortunately I had no idea how to address her issues (she has no other noise phobic issues) and instead of backing off (which is what I should have done), I thought (and trainer suggested) that by associating food, praise and toys with the teeter banging she would get over it, it totally backfired and she shutdown anytime we went to the building I train at. After those classes (total of 12wks) I decided to take 6wks off and just work with her in the building alone to just make it fun. That actually worked really well, for the first few weeks we just played ball and had fun, and I did very little work on the equipment. by the end of the 6wks she was weaving 12 poles fully closed, was doing great at her contacts was doing short sequences and having lots of fun.....we did introduce the teeter a tiny bit but just having her touch it and get lots of treats and praise and she was totally fine with that as long as we didn't do it much or push it.

I signed up for the next set of group classes which focuses on beginning sequencing, there was a new instructor but I informed her of Skye's issues with the teeter noise before hand. The first class she was a bit nervous and unsure and I was worried she would begin to shutdown, but after that night she seemed to be having a lot of fun and was doing great. 2wks ago they decided to work the teeter, I told the instructor that I was willing to show her what Skye does but I didn't want to push her. Well Skye runs accross the teeter all on her own (I think maybe she thought it was her teeter at home which she loves) I did catch it before it banged, but she knew it was the scary one, she wanted to leave after that, but I made her stay and I took her to the far end of the building and clicked and treated her while others went across the teeter and honestly at the time I thought she was okay, she was still taking treats and she wasn't shaking or acting shut down. In hindsight I should have taken her out of the building while they were working the teeter.

Ever since that night (two weeks ago) she is totally shut down anytime we go to the building, she will walk through the door but then just lays down and rolls on her back when I come close, She won't take treats won't play nothing, I have been back to the building three times and it hasn't gotten any better and all I have asked her to do is play and take treats.

I am thinking after we take a break for a while to possibly take some rally classes they are offered at our building and might be a good way to get her over her freak out at the building to do something that doesn't involve Agility at all.

As far as other things: she will play ball for a little bit at home (maybe 4 throws, about the same for frisbee, she doesn't bring stuff back to me, just wants to run off and chew on it) herding is probably not an option due to where we live and $$ right now, even though I would love to try.

She just doesn't really seem to love doing anything, except playing with other dogs, she would go HOURS at the dog park running around (we haven't been in a long time), but one short sequence at agility seems to make her exhausted I don't get it.

Sorry that is a long story........
Carla
Maya (2yrs)
Skye (4 yrs old)


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#6 ziggzmom

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 11:53 AM

I think the thing that I am the most bummed about is that I don't get to learn better handling skills before I get my next agility dog. I wanted to at least get to the point where I was trialing and knew what I was doing before I even thought about getting another dog........


Hi,

But think about the skills you HAVE learned! Maybe it's not agility handling skills like you'd hoped, but you have learned a lot. Our dogs are so good at teaching us what we really need to know=)

Janet

#7 elegy

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 12:14 PM

Leslie McDevitt has a really good article in the June '08 issue of Clean Run specifically on dealing with teeter phobia, for when you get back to that point.
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#8 Carlasl

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 12:27 PM

Leslie McDevitt has a really good article in the June '08 issue of Clean Run specifically on dealing with teeter phobia, for when you get back to that point.


I have read it, it doesn't really address Skye's issues, which are the the noise of this specific teeter inside a building, not the teeter itself. We have a teeter at home she LOVES it, but the teeter we have at our building is very very loud, even louder in a big metal building....We have talked about bring my teeter into the building at some point so she can associated a not so scary teeter in the building.
Carla
Maya (2yrs)
Skye (4 yrs old)


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#9 agilityrunningdogs

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 12:48 PM

After Komet broke his leg while jumping, his confidence was shot. We were on break for about 6 months and then only the occasional trial for another 6 months and after a year and a half he's just now getting back into the swing of things.

For your teeter at home, try putting a metal cookie sheet or something under it so that it's a bit louder than just the soft wood on grass (if it's in your backyard). I play the Teeter Bang Game with my puppies. It helps desensitize them to the noise and it's another fun agility game to play. Clean Run also some "Trial Sounds" CDs or Tapes or something that you could play while you are practicing obedience with her. If I remember correctly one track is specifically for the teeter noise.

http://www.cleanrun....p;ParentCat=395 - Here it is
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#10 Carlasl

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:14 PM

After Komet broke his leg while jumping, his confidence was shot. We were on break for about 6 months and then only the occasional trial for another 6 months and after a year and a half he's just now getting back into the swing of things.

For your teeter at home, try putting a metal cookie sheet or something under it so that it's a bit louder than just the soft wood on grass (if it's in your backyard). I play the Teeter Bang Game with my puppies. It helps desensitize them to the noise and it's another fun agility game to play. Clean Run also some "Trial Sounds" CDs or Tapes or something that you could play while you are practicing obedience with her. If I remember correctly one track is specifically for the teeter noise.

http://www.cleanrun....p;ParentCat=395 - Here it is



I tried the cookie sheet at home and she doesn't care about that, it really is this specific teeter at inside a building. I even tried video taping my instructor going over the teeter with her dog several times I edited at home to loop and the played it in my house and she didn't even notice it even turned up really loud.....

honestly at this point I would be thrilled if we could just trial NADAC and never look at a teeter again, I just want her to be happy and enjoy this sport with me, without stress...I am really really beating myself up for letting her get pushed way to far, I am so upset with myself about that.
Carla
Maya (2yrs)
Skye (4 yrs old)


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#11 herdcentral

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 07:11 PM

I think most people have at some point had a dog pushed a bit too far on something. I let myself be talked into entering my young BC as part of a team at a very big agricultural show. They started the whipcracking while we were in the ring and it took me nearly 6 months to get her running confidently in an agility ring again. She would freak at the start if there was any cracking type noise. I didnt do any trials for nearly 6 months and I found training some obedience with her was a good relationship building exercise. I also did lots of hiking and playing with her ball, which she has now got a very high play drive for, which is handy.

When you do get her back to training can you make the teeter at training a lot less scary by putting something under it so it doesnt bang. It maybe that you have to go back to square one with that teeter and lower it down or putting something like the table under it. Once she is confidently going over it, slowly introduce the banging sound my putting something less and less cushioning under it. I watched a DVD by the Derretts and they put something under their teeter and lower this bit by bit as the dog gets more confidence.

One of my dogs had an experience with a teeter at training and this is what I did. She is now totally fine with it. Sometimes you just have to start from scratch. I found with my soft and sensitive BC that the trick is never to rush anything, you just have to work with the dog.

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#12 SS Cressa

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:18 PM

Sometimes its is not the noise that spooks them but the movement/vibes from when it hits.

Cressa is fine on wood teeters but put her on a metal teeter and she will be set back for a couple of months. This is even with a metal teeter on grass, on mats, with rubber, without rubber, etc... The only thing we could think of is when it bangs the vibes are not what she is expecting. Also metal teeters have different breaking points which can also spook a dog.

ETA: Cressa LOVES agility but when the metal teeter spooked her she couldn't handle any teeters for a bit and even hearing the wooden teeter would make her run for the door.


Stella S.

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#13 Carlasl

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:48 PM

Sometimes its is not the noise that spooks them but the movement/vibes from when it hits.

Cressa is fine on wood teeters but put her on a metal teeter and she will be set back for a couple of months. This is even with a metal teeter on grass, on mats, with rubber, without rubber, etc... The only thing we could think of is when it bangs the vibes are not what she is expecting. Also metal teeters have different breaking points which can also spook a dog.

ETA: Cressa LOVES agility but when the metal teeter spooked her she couldn't handle any teeters for a bit and even hearing the wooden teeter would make her run for the door.



It is a metal teeter, and I am pretty sure it is 90% noise because she freaks out the most when it is someone else using it. She cannot even be in a different room in the building because if someone is using the teeter in the big room (no ceilings just walls separating the training rooms) She totally freaks. At this point I don't even care if she sets foot on another teeter, all I want is for her not to be stressed out with training in general. I think I have a lot of work to do just to be able to get her back into the building without her shutting down.
Carla
Maya (2yrs)
Skye (4 yrs old)


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#14 Carlasl

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 09:42 PM

If anyone is interested I decided to start a blog to journal what I am going through with Skye, I know that keeping a journal is a good way to see where you have been and see what you have done that is working and not.

I would welcome any advice or comments :rolleyes:, a lot of the early posts will just be background stuff that I want to have a record of.

http://supposetobefun.blogspot.com/
Carla
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Skye (4 yrs old)


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#15 SS Cressa

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:31 PM

When the metal teeter spooked Cressa another dog going over it would have her running for the door. When ever she goes over the metal teeter and gets spooked I have to re"train" the teeter and build up from a 2x4 on the ground that slightly wobble to a 2x4 that is on bricks to the real thing.

Good luck and don't give up!!! If all else fail you can enter her is all the other classes except the ones with teeters when/if you start competing in agility.

ps Where did you get her from? :rolleyes: You don't see many red merles.


Stella S.

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#16 Carlasl

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:36 PM

When the metal teeter spooked Cressa another dog going over it would have her running for the door. When ever she goes over the metal teeter and gets spooked I have to re"train" the teeter and build up from a 2x4 on the ground that slightly wobble to a 2x4 that is on bricks to the real thing.

Good luck and don't give up!!! If all else fail you can enter her is all the other classes except the ones with teeters when/if you start competing in agility.

ps Where did you get her from? :rolleyes: You don't see many red merles.



She came from the Australian Shepherd rescue, but I am pretty sure she is a Aussie/BC X.........

I am totally fine just not competing in events with teeters.......right now we are going to start at square one.

I am probably going to start with some shaping games.....and with the CU program (I am going to re-read the book on my vacation this weekend and order the DVD).

not even going to think about agility for a while
Carla
Maya (2yrs)
Skye (4 yrs old)


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#17 Ace

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 12:44 AM

I skipped a lot so I'm really sorry if I repeat something someone said lol.

While reading your previous posts and the comments you made here I really feel like her issue is with loud noises specifically in the building. I have had the same issue with Rush. Sounds echo off the walls so what seems scary outside is like 10 times scarier inside. I worked for ages with noise sensitivity on a broiler pan with Rush outside (the pan was on a flat piece of wood and the teeter would come down a she had NO issue with the teeter there or in my kitchen, and come time in a building it was super scary again and she would shut down.

I finally started taking into account the echos, Thats when I moved in steps from my backyard, to the kitchen, to one of my bathrooms, teaching her the 'bang' game or some variation where RUSH would push the pan with some amount of force onto the tile floor and create a huge noise and get rewarded for it. It really worked for her, its still in the progress of being perfected, but you just have to take it slow. She CAN get over it.

I realize your problem may not be exactly like what happened to Rush, but in case it is, just some insight. I really wish you luck! Teeter fears are no fun.

Diane

#18 MrRipley

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 10:56 AM

I also sympathize with you. Sadie has teeter issues too. We competed one time on packed dirt 2 years ago, got spooked at the noise, and stopped performing the teeter in trials. She did the teeter for the FIRST TIME again in a trial just 2 weeks ago!!! It's frustrating because she is in USDAA Advanced for Standard, and Masters in the events where a teeter is not required! She is fine on the teeter at home and in our training building.

It sounds like Skye is afraid of the teeter sound because she's afraid of the teeter itself, not because she's afraid of loud noises in general. Plus, the teeter can be tough for some dogs, because it moves, and every teeter moves and sounds just a little bit (or a lot!) different. When you trained her to do the teeter, did you have her run straight to the end before it drops? That's how I trained Sadie, but now she prefers to tip it closer to the pivot before the contact zone. Whatever makes it less scary for her. I also changed my command word for the teeter.

Nothing wrong with taking a break. I took a break with Sadie, took a tricks class which was lots of fun, and just ran her in Jumpers and Snooker at trials. Do you get Clean Run? There's an article this month about food targeting that sounds interesting and might help build Skye's confidence.
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#19 2 Devils

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 11:39 AM

Have you tried putting a seat cushion or something under the scary teeter to prevent it from making so much noise?

I know it sucks to make the decision to back off and then to think about quitting all together but kudos for willing to do it.

Good luck
Kim
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#20 Root Beer

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 06:42 AM

I can really relate to what you are going through because Skye sounds almost exactly like Dean.

In his case, I have come to the point where I do not expose him to the teeter sound inside. He actually can handle hearing the teeter bang outdoors, but inside he can't take it. I made the mistake of trying to desensitize him to it and managed to sensitize him further.

He is not in the building when other dogs are going over the teeter - period. That makes going to class challenging and less fun. He is out in the car with his fan and his music while everyone else is inside, but he likes it that way, so it works. He comes in for his turn - we enter after the dog ahead of us is finished with the course and the teeter won't slam.

By doing this, I have managed to get him to the point where he can do the teeter himself inside. I usually catch it, and there is a pretty soft floor in there, so it doesn't bang too much when I don't. I did use the process in Leslie's June article and it worked beautifully. The key to was to keep the noise separate from the teeter performance until he LOVED the teeter. Now that he loves it, I don't let it slam much.

We still have challenges to deal with like falling ring gates and people correcting their dogs near him (his latest setback was when someone screamed at a dog when he was in the building), but those things don't set him back quite as badly as the teeter noise and he is making progress.

I no longer do Agility with him for the sake of him learning Agility. I am using Agility instead to try to build his confidence and give him something to enjoy. That means that I do what is necessary to keep him comfortable - hence the car, fan, and music. Now my approach with him isn't really centered on handling (although I am learning handling) or obstacle skills (although Dean is learning those), but on how the exercises and courses in class can benefit Dean. It's an approach that he is responding very well to.

I think you're making a good decision. Enjoy the break. These dogs always have things to teach us and sometimes it takes putting our goal aside to focus on what's best for them. Quitting Agility opened doors that Speedy and I never would have known about, much less walked through together. Had he been able to do Agility, I might have missed out on some amazing opportunities. You just never know. He and I never did go back to it, but with Dean I did - although it has a different place in his life than it would have had he not been noise phobic.

I'm also thinking that he will do NADAC someday (after Maddie is done with CPE since I don't have time to actively run two venues right now). He loves the wide, open courses in NADAC and there are no teeters or whistles. He just may be able to do it, even if just for confidence building and enjoyment. Sounds like that might be something to look into for Skye after your break.

I wish you the best!!

Kristine
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