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reploidphoenix

Lola Starting agility

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So my 11 month old is starting "control for agility" which is teaching what is needed ina round about way. 

Today we're working on getting her to jump in a box..? They said its to teach them where their back legs are.

They have us doing targeting on a clear id that will be transfered to the bottom of the ramps so they don't overshoot.

And finally..they had her try to weave in and our of the posts that hold the jumps, but she won't weave..she just runs straight at me.  When i'm running she tries to get infront of me and stop, making me almost trip over her.

 

Is there any suggestions that would make this process easier? or any suggestions..?

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Throw a toy between the jump uprights/ahead of her.  And do more rewarding with a toy/in front of the dog instead of your hand, in general. 

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Weaving can actually be very difficult to learn, and there are various ways, 2 x 2, channel etc.  If she is running right past the poles, I would guess that she has no idea what you want her to do, i.e. she has no idea that the poles are something she is supposed to interact with.

You could try going very slowly and luring her around the poles, but I would guess you need to try something more basic first.

As for running in front of you and stopping, you need to build drive for her to keep going and work away from you.  Throwing a toy is a good way to do this.  You need to time the throw right, so she sees it as she does whatever you want her to do (e.g. come out of a tunnel) so she does not stop but keeps going.

What you are learning are the foundations of agility, rear end awareness, targeting (for stopped contacts), weave basics.  Core strength, drive, wrapping around obstacles, working on both sides (among many others) are other things that you may also learn as things go on.  The more you work together with your dog, the stronger the bond, the easier it will be on course.

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Regarding coming in front of you, you never want to reward in front of you, always at the side, this encourages the dog to come to your side not your front, something you never want in agility and can be hard for border collies as many naturally circle. So when you reward with a toy, they first grab it at your side and then you can start a normal game of tug. At this point I would not worry about going between the jump uprights learning to drive through them is a more advanced skill and I am sure the instructors will help you. It's good to here that you are starting with the fundamentals as to many places rush dogs onto equipment.

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i honestly feel she may be better with just starting with the equipment. I feel she would understand better what i want from her? She doesn't seem to understand why i want her to jump in a box.. or that i want her to weave around polls if getting to me is faster by going straight. Theyre holding her at one end of the cones, and having me stand at the other end of the room. They have me trying to run on either side of the cones to make her weave. It worked with the other dogs, but ofcourse my dog was like "nope" LOL

For the most part, she's pretty aware of her back end, as ive had her back up around objects from a young age.

THey have us trying to learn all these things within a week, which has been rough to teach her. She's very smart, but doesn't seem to understand WHY i want her to do things

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It sounds like this is a pretty good foundation course. Not all techniques work for all dogs - i.e. running through the cones to you. Without seeing what you are doing, I am having a hard time understanding the method. But it doesn't matter because there are so many ways to teach agility skills that the instructors should know how to adapt for your dog.

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It takes a long time for many, many dogs to understand the 'point' of agility.  It's a lot of separate skills and factors and really long behavior chains as you go.  It's fun! But 'I GET THIS!" lightbulb takes time.

but 98% of the game has nothing to do with the equipment, the equipment *is* the relative easier part that comes quickest - but it's also the part that can be hardest to fix if learned wrong and comes with physical risk to the dog.  

So it's really important to get the foundations, teach them as well as you possibly can, and stick with it.

 

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On 9/18/2018 at 5:14 PM, reploidphoenix said:

i honestly feel she may be better with just starting with the equipment. I feel she would understand better what i want from her? 

There is a logic to all the silly foundation games, it helps with your training skills, clicker timing etc, teaches her about running with you, and many other things. It is great to read about a facility doing true foundation skills as lots of places rush into equipment as they feel that's what people want, and as they are in business they need happy clients, it is actually hard to find somewhere that is training like you are being.

I completely messed up the my first agility partner because of bad foundation training, I started agility with the intention of competing and would have done anything to get there but did have any knowledge. Both my dogs have been through similar foundation work that you are describing (accept the cones which I can't picture) my older dog is now 9 still competing and still competive and still loving the game, the younger one is two and just getting into his stride. 

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to teach the parts of the ramps they have to "touch", the instructor is making us teach the dogs to touchtheir nose to a plastic lid. First in our hand, then move it to different locations. She's going to place the lid on the ends of the ramps and ask them to touch to teach them to halt. We did get to check out some equipment this past week and while other dogs seemed scared, lola jumped right up on things LOL

 

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I have a question before tonights class. After trying something the instructor wants, my pup is VERY hyped up..to the point she jumps up on me and bites me uncontrollably..she won't let go of the toy. I heard this is normal..but is there any advice on this? or is this just normal? she's about 11 months old..

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Well they are holding her as a run down the course..to get her to run after me..or to weave through the cones..

I throw the toy, but she doesn't always go after the toy at the end.. she'll jump up and bite me, grabbing my cloths or sleeves in a crazed manner. Then I grab the toy and try to bring her back to be crated, she's CRAZY. Mind you i havent had a biting issue with her since she was teething 5 months ago. Her body language is telling me it's frustartion? but the instructor said the dogs get all pumped sometimes and it's just what happens.

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It does sound like she is WAY over threshold, and her brain can not think in that condition. Not only is she in a highly stressed environment (agility class), but it sounds like she loves it (higher excitement), and now you are running away from her (brain blown !!!).  :-)

Do your instructors run highly motivated dogs - like border collies? If not, then they may not understand that this exercise is most likely needless for your dog.

There is a difference in some exercises when it comes to dogs that have a built-in engine. You do not need to pump them up. They are already pumped up. By doing some of the motivational exercises that other dogs need to do in order to learn to love the game, your dog rockets past the ability to think. Rethink, and talk to your instructors, about the necessity of this exercise for your dog.

If this were my dog (and yes, I have had a couple of easy-to-go-over-threshold BCs), I would be working on a variation where you try to keep her thinking, not reacting like a crazy dog. Start with shorter distances. Maybe even only 5 feet, and see how she reacts. Also, in the beginning, walk or trot, instead of running. I would want to dial it back to a level where my dog will go after the toy, instead of me. Then begin to slowly work your way up to longer distances and a faster pace.

Another change (and this one was suggested to me by a world team member in a video course I was taking) is to use food, or another less valuable reinforcement. My dog loves his tug so much that if I have been playing with him with the tug, and I put it on the ground, he will stand or lie down over it and stare at it. I have tried showering him with bits of chicken (literally, a big handful of chicken which I drop on his head) - which he ignores because he is so fixated on the tug. His brain is not thinking.

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This does sound like a drive building exercise, but one which is overstimulating your dog to the point where your dog is no longer able to focus and is switching off, which means she is unable to learn anything.  You do know your dog, and if you say her body language is frustration, I believe you.

I would say the first step is to talk to your instructor about how you don't think this exercise is working for your dog, and is there a variation you can try with less excitement for you dog, maybe breaking it down into smaller steps like gvc-border suggests.

Secondly, is there any chance you can get someone to film the exercises? It can be extremely valuable to be able to watch what is going on from the outside, so to speak, and see what works and what doesn't.  You will probably need permission from the instructors.  Watch it at home, maybe even post a video here and we may be able to give better advice.

There are lots of different "schools" of agility training, and it may be that the school this instructor uses does not suit your dog. 

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What the others have said is good advice, from your description it sounds like your dog is what is called over threshold and can't think hence the frustration. My older dog was my second agility dog but first to love the sport, he is nine and still really loves the game and is still very fast. I went through all sorts of issues with him, had stand up drag out arguments with my trainer as she thought the solution was neutering him and I also needed to slow him down, neither of which I did, but I learned a lot without losing his desire to fly. I was lucky as just when he was becoming really nuts I met Amanda Shyne from Data Driven Agility, who told me she adored my dog and would loved to have had him and I had the opportune to train very occasionally with her which kept me really focused on learning what my dog needed to be the best he could be. 

Some ideas for you:

Explore a concept called "capping drive" a member here introduced me to it and it really suited my over the top dog, really helped him to learn while his brain was flying high.

Although you are just starting out, you know your dog and stand your ground with the trainer. Over the top excitment in a chase game is normal, going in for the grab and bite is not and should not be encouraged. It is usually frustration and can be a nightmare to stop if allowed to continue, one of our former club members allowed this to happen and it has literally taken years for her handling to improve enough that he can focus on the game.

There are loads of ways to train agility, my younger dog doesn't have the over top attitude but I realized that when I use a toy he is not thinking just doing and the game doesn't sink into his long term memory, so now I start teaching him the basics of an exercise using a manners minder and use shaping techniques, then I use a toy which adds speed. With my older dog I would also introduce new concepts with food but would have to spend less time before moving onto using a toy. 

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The trainer has us throwing a toy at the end of tasks asked. But lola is focused on the toy and trying to RIP it out of hand over anything else that's going on.

She's now nipping at my shoes as well. If I take her elsewhere to practice running without the course, she circles in front of me to stop me. I might start there before trying to even add the game to it.

Thanks for the advice. I'll see if I can have my husband film it next week. The instructor is ok with it

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