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Molly's agility thread.

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This is a club practice. This is also the second time she's seen more than a few obstacles together. Lots and lots of things to learn, lots of green/baby dog stuff in there and errors on my end compounded by that tug, but as a starting place? I'll take it.


Particularly since she was relaxed, happy, playing, glad to be there and *friendly* with both dogs and people.

 

Obstacle focus, discriminations, weave entries, my timing, and all sorts of other things on both our parts will come, now that we can get out there and work together.

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Too bad neither one of you are enjoying yourselves . . .

 

Great fun to watch - thanks for posting this.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

 

I know, right? She just looks totally miserable :P

 

(Thank you!)

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Oh, and with my trainer's blessing and lack of concern, Molly will be running a few runs one day in our Halloween weekend trial. It's home turf, familiar people and familiar dogs. No expectation of success mind, just happy ring experience. I'm basically treating it like a show and go, since the actual show and go is happening in the middle of a large event and I think that's just too much for her.

 

Should be FUN. LOL.

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Another club practice tonight and I am a wee bit amazed at how *fast* things are coming together. I really think the two YEARS we worked on basic things at home, while we were dealing with reactivity issues have really helped. This was her third club practice and we had a clean jumpers run - novice of course, but clean and fast - with more turns than previous weeks. She also brought her discrimination skills and the really solid contacts we see at home, this time.

 

The best thing though, is that she lit up in a positive, happy, excited way when we turned onto the road to the field, and she was totally at ease while we were there - like sincerely happy and relaxed all evening (okay, she got agitated while I ran little dog, but otherwise- nope, flopped out, rolled around on her back, and was wiggly, bouncy, good). She's not doing it for me, in spite of stress. She's having a good time. That? Is the gold standard for me.

And also necessary for me to continue.

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I think that you will find (are finding) that having a dog that performs for love of the activity (intrinsic reward) rather than an extrinsic reward is a game changer.

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It's different.


Kylie really does love agility, a lot, but she loves it because it's a game she plays with me. At heart, Kylie's a fluffy little lapdog who is by and large driven by a desire to play with and get attention from me. She also likes food, but mostly she just wants to play with me. Agility falls under that category. It also falls under "Molly likes it, so I want it more", which is amusing and why she's suddenly into disc and balls and tug. She doesn't do *anything* she doesn't want to do - ever, because Kylie- but what she wants is happy fun play time with me. How we do that is less than important to her, and she can certainly decide she's hot, tired, and done playing.

 

Molly would do agility with a complete stranger she otherwise didn't much like or trust, because she *wants out there* and to be doing the thing. Heck, anyone offering work in general, at this stage. It's one of the ways I got her comfortable with people - not 'give her a cookie' but 'give her commands'. Wee bit wild, really, but very, very, fun.

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Yes, I love having a dog that loves to do something (run agility, for example) because it is rewarding to the dog. I am glad Molly has achieved that level.

 

Torque will run for anybody - not that many people want to run him, but still ......

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I admit I find 'run someone else's dog' mildly weird but that's because I'm so used to Kylie. Dawn wants me to try to run Sapphire at the next practice, since we have a couple/few hours of doggy playdates every week besides practice and she likes me. My first reaction was still to stare at her like she'd sprouted a third head.

 

Should be fun, though! Not that I've got my brain around it.

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I do believe 'find the entry and independence in them' is coming along. Still work to do, but I need to rearrange some things to do it. And this? This delights me.

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Sounds like you have really turned the corner with Molly, sounds like you now have a team mate who is really into the game. Congratulations on your patience paying off.

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What a good girl Molly!!!

 

Thanks!

 

Sounds like you have really turned the corner with Molly, sounds like you now have a team mate who is really into the game. Congratulations on your patience paying off.

 

I really think we did, too, and I am really, really thrilled to BITS to be able to say that! I'm proud of that dog!

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Apropos of nothing, Molly got to lure course.

 

 

Had a blast, and really coped very well with the environment. Only had minor issues and everyone of those involved 'dog rushing into her face'. Outside the fenced field. Once on flexi-lead with a totally oblivious owner (I yelled), once due to a slipped collar (no harm no foul, I picked her up though) and a couple of more minor 'dog at the end of their leash' things that I managed to intercept before they happened.


Feeling pretty good about where she is in general, right now.

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Oh, also:
Yes, it is mindless running fast chasing a thing, however I can absolutely say She never lost her mind. She never stopped listening to me. She never lost the ability to follow commands. NEVER. I am *SUPER* Proud of that, actually. She ran, she had fun chasing the bag, she's all tired out, but she would leave it and come, regardless. So I don't think a little mindless chasing was a bad thing.

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Molly went to a trial. Molly did agility at the trial. Molly Qed in 2 of 3 runs and her NQ was the prettiest, cleanest, jumpers run I've ever seen from her. She was focused. She was happy. She stuck her contacts and did what I asked and did it with speed. She didn't care about anything else going in, inside that ring or out.


I absolutely happy!cried.


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Yippee! She's a grown-up girl now.

 

Well, I'm not sure I'd go THAT far :P (She actually is working hard on maturing. She really needs to learn to stop jumping on people but at the height of all the nonsense it was let go by everyone because 'positive interaction'. She IS improving, though, so there's that.

 

Does not help the goofball streak she's got going on, though.

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When Torque was starting out in agility, Betty (you know her, she used to run Torque's half-bro - Quinn [who can no longer jump due to spinal issues]) would wait at the end of the agility runs to play with Torque as a reward. And it did involve jumping on her. Not that he really needed to be ramped up any more, but there it is. Even now (at 9 years old), he finishes his run, and is so proud of himself that he wants to celebrate by jumping on people. I don't stress about it as long as he is happy. I will lead him away from people to prevent the mauling and lead him to his treats/toys.

 

I don't think agility people will mind Molly's celebration. At least no one has yelled at me for Torque's 'celebration' (and I do try and remove him so he doesn't become too much of a bother.)

 

Let Molly keep her goofball celebration at the end of agility runs. She deserves it.

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She had a fairly rough morning - I left her alone and *SOMETHING* happened while she was crated (I heard her blowing up) and she was on edge for a bit, but afternoon she was cool. She got a couple of more Qs (one of them in Novice Tunnelers, and also a first there which delighted me), and her first title (just intro, but still - all I wanted was 'in the ring before the weekend ends). Not bad for a first trial, I don't think.

 

And don't worry. There's no risk of me ever taking her post-run celebration away, jumping or no. Just maybe suggesting she not try to climb Andrea like a tree, every time she spots her.

 

Kylie killed it this weekend, too.

 

I'm proud of these girls. Really, really proud of them.

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Molly had her first private lesson this weekend and it went much, much better than I expected. Since she had to quit classes due to reactivity more than a year ago, she's had limited agility anything. A handful of club practices, a trial, and what we can work at home. So, I pretty much expected a fairly wild dog, and got one (went visiting the instructor, hit contacts and fell off instead of shifting weight and sticking, some startline antsiness) but.

 

She's had limited discrimination work with an a-frame/tunnel and never seen a dog-walk/tunnel discrimination. She got both, both from the start-line and in the middle of a sequence.


She's SEEN very few dog walks in the past year, period, and one of those she fell off and she had no issues at all.


She was able to hit a pretty freaking hard weave pole entry for 12 offside weaves.

 

and then she stuck with me while I worked on a variety of crosses until I stopped screwing a thing up.

 

She needs a refresher on what to do with a barrel, but I honestly feel really good about where she is, now that I had a chance to get out and really figure out where exactly that is. It's still going to take time to get things together, and there is obviously still training to do, but I am now really confident that it WILL come together.

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I waffled hard about posting this because the agility is terrible - namely my end of it, because I was sick and loopy from medication, but you know?

 

 

Have it anyway. No 'highlight reel' here. Knocked bars, spinning, confusion, getting lost, late cues, absent cues, WRONG cues, all kinds of nonsense, but none of that matters nearly as much to me as the fact that she's there, she's happy, she's doing it and there were all kinds of other people and dogs at that practice and she could not have cared less.

 

Basically, it's terrible, but it makes me smile.

 

And I suspect I'll be glad to have the blooper practice on video 6 months, 12 months, 5 years from now.

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She does look good and happy.

 

Given her history (and you say that you guys were having a bad day), I think that you should have been breaking this down into much smaller sequences and rewarding much more frequently because you want to nurture and maintain this enthusiasm. After obstacle focused sequences, you want to reward away from your body throwing a toy past the last obstacle (most of this course was obstacle focus) and for handler focus, reward close to you. You were exclusively rewarding from your hand which I think is one of the reasons why she is checking back towards you.

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