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  #11  
Old 05-27-2013, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Golly's Mom View Post
I have noticed that everytime we pull up to the agility training center she shakes, but somedays she seems to have fun and run the course and be a ham while other times like these last couple she is just not happy at all.
My Lucy "up stresses". It took me over a year of competing to realize that she wasn't just super full of energy and wanting to run around--her zoomies were stress. In retrospect, I am frustrated I didn't put 2 and 2 together sooner, but oh well. People think of stress as "shut down", and in most dogs it is. The dogs that need coaxed off the start line, encouraged over contacts, and cheered to go at more than a trot are clearly stressed. It can manifest as the opposite too though.

Up stressing can look like your dog is having fun. Lucy would take obstacles full speed, but she'd also run laps around the outside, leap over fences, and go a bazillion miles an hour. People laughed and said, "Your dog sure is having fun, isn't she?" These were people who had made nationals, telling me that my highly stressed dog was enjoying herself. It made me believe she was. I now don't think she ever really enjoyed the first year of trialing.

Our stressing is not equipment related or location specific like it sounds like Golly's is. Ours is new spaces, reactive dogs, sheep, tractors, tents--all the things you see at trials that you don't train around. To combat it, we have to up our training in new spaces. Sounds like to combat yours (if that's what it is), you need to re-establish positive association with equipment (and that location, if you continue to train there). I might start with a child's play tunnel or a single jump in my backyard--somewhere safe, non threatening, where you can really make that obstacle amazing.

I'm not saying Golly is definitely upstressing (she might be, but only you have seen her and know what she normally is like!), but I just want to reiterate that going fast isn't necessarily having fun.
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  #12  
Old 05-27-2013, 11:26 AM
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Oh, and as for the humane society classes--why not go and observe one, without Golly? Talk to the trainer, find out his/her methods, observe the way the other dogs in class are behaving, explain your concerns about Golly and see what the trainer suggests.

If you get a bad feeling, don't go back, no harm done. You didn't spend money, you didn't give your dog another bad association, and the only thing you lost was an hour of your time. If the person in charge though seems to know their stuff and the dogs in class are having fun, great!

I have taken classes at 3 different locations now. I keep saying I want to branch out and train in multiple venues to help Lucy's new-place issue. Each time I've tried somewhere new though, the trainer has really turned me off with something she's said, how she handled her dogs, or what her goals for Lucy were. I never went back. I forfeited $180 in lesson fees each time, but I'd rather do that than hurt my dog with bad advice.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:01 PM
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Default Okay, just e-mailed the owners of the facility

I talked with the hubby and he thinks you guys sound right on target, so I just e-mailed the facility and told them we need to do some positive association and I'm going to pull her from class for awhile. This is an awesome forum, thanks so much for your insights, and your time I will go check out the humane society place and see how it speaks to me. If they let me of course. There is a dog park a few miles off that has some agility equipment and Golly loves to use it there. She does it all on her own and races through the tunnel and over the A-frame. As far as her speed and stress, I really think it is her being happy not stressed. She used to be on the leash and just fling herself at the obstacles while we waited our turn. She would be wagging her tail and anticipating. I don't think I could mistake that. I have lost my confidence in my choices after yesterday though so thank you for sharing your experience with this type of thing. CaliTerp07, it sounds like we do have somethings in common though. My girl likes things that are the same and when she see's new objects or things out of order she gets a little upset. So I will have to talk with you when we get through this setback about how you train for that. Here is a pic of my sweet girl in the flowers last summer.
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:17 AM
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Default I got a really nice response from the owners of the agility center

I had e-mailed the agility center and the owners really agreed with what was said here. They feel it was unfortunate that they weren't around for those classes to step in and offer their advice.
I had thought about doing nose-work with my girl while I am off on a surgery break, it isn't as intense as agility and my hubby would like to step up and train with her.
We all agree that she needs a break from agility while we plan a strategy on her training. I was told she has a really difficult training style (she is so smart and easy to train on obedience that I didn't realize there would be any difference here) with a dose of cattle dog paranoia about new situations.
So, I am going to look for a nose work class to help her gain her confidence back and also I hope to talk with anyone who has a dog that doesn't like new situations.
Golly has never really freaked out on new situations, she just sits back and observes. But, when it was pointed out that the arena had been moved around this last week, that might have contributed to her shut down mode.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:01 AM
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Nosework sounds like a fantastic bridge plan Golly is lucky to have someone who loves her so much to work towards what she needs!
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Old 05-29-2013, 05:55 PM
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Default Thanks CaliTerp07 :)

CaliTerp07,

We also have a 9 month old Aussie mixed with Newfy that looks somewhat like your girl Lucy. Something about the eyes.

I have fallen in love with the herding breeds. I have always had rescues which were mixed shepperds and a mastiff mix and a newfy mix.

Now, we have two herding mixes that are funny, smart, super fun and have our hearts. We are lucky to have such good dogs, but thanks for saying Golly is lucky too!

Elizabeth
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:44 AM
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I've taken up nosework with Smudge. It really is a fantastic sport to work on confidence building. While he wasn't really lacking, he has gained some anyhow. And I have gotten to watch some very terrified of their own shadow dogs slowly become okay with the scary world through working.

If you can even find a workshop to help you on the right track on your own, I would totally jump on it. As much as I love agility.. This is Smudge's new sport.
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Old 05-30-2013, 08:11 PM
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Default Thanks Mafia Princess

I have found a nosework group with the same people, just different facility. Problem is, the new 101 class doesn't start until July sometime. I would love to get her into something new as early as this weekend.
She is an amazing girl who needs to work a bit or she gets bored. I don't want to go over a month without something. I'm glad you found good this with nosework classes, it makes me hopeful!
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