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  #2141  
Old 12-13-2013, 06:53 PM
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Elrohwen Elrohwen is offline
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Omg, thank you for your post! So many awesome things to think about.

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Originally Posted by BostonBanker View Post
the idea of using the squirt bottle in an agility setting is so aversive to me
Yeah, it was always something that I told everybody not to do, until I tried it one day with Watson when he got too rough with the rabbits. They can interact through an xpen, and the rabbits are very interested (probably too friendly, honestly, with no fear) and he lunged at my girl sticking her nose through the pen. My husband went in the bunny room and hid, and squirted him when he was inappropriate. There was an immediate shift in his energy and he was so much less frantic. He thought things through. This was the only reason I was willing to try it in class. And because I know he's never responded to any other correction in his life, ever.

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And because he lived out there, he knew the fence was secure and had no fear, so he would sit there and watch.
lol Groundhogs are so ballsy. We pulled Watson out of a GH hole when he was in up to his shoulders. I'm pretty sure he would lose that battle.

And Premack! We broke a plateau when I learned to use sniffing as a reward. This dog enjoys sniffing like he's a bloodhound. Nosework is so easy for him that he looks at me like I'm stupid. Playing the "gimme a break" game with sniffing turned around our obedience classes.

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As for what I'd do right now with a dog who was reacting like Watson - I'd make sure that play with other dogs was not an option while we were working right now.
Yes, I think this is really important. I think the other dogs need to be crated out of the ring and he will be sooo much better.

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Another thing to just keep in mind is to think about if he's stressed.
He does stress up. Like way way up. On the other hand, he also gets easily overstimulated even when he's not stressed. We have been to the vet where he's jumping around, staring at their birds in the waiting room, and being an idiot, but when they take his pulse, totally calm. I really do think he's just that hard of a dog. I have never met a dog like him. He responds to everything in life with a smile and a tail wag. You could hit him with a 2x4 and leash correct him until he's dragged on the floor, and he would not care. Not that he can't get stressed, and I've seen it. He will eventually shut down if he thinks you're being "mean" or unfair, but otherwise he is a bulldozer. Nothing phases him and he is always ready to smash into the next thing in his way. In a way it's nice because he's basically impossible to mess up, but he's also the hardest dog I've worked with.

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I wish you the best of luck with him. Gusto still makes me want to bang my head against the wall sometimes, but he also gives me moments of such genius that I want to cheer. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, I know it. He's still a baby at only 2 years old. I can be patient
Watson is 16 months, so not far off. And every Welshie person ever tells me that the males take forever to mature, so I hope things get better. As a pet he's awesome and the best snuggler and most tolerant dog I've owned. I love him to death, but sometimes I want to strangle him.
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  #2142  
Old 12-13-2013, 07:25 PM
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As a pet he's awesome and the best snuggler and most tolerant dog I've owned. I love him to death, but sometimes I want to strangle him.
You pretty much described me and Gusto to a tee! Our relationship as owner/pet is wonderful, and although it took a while for that relationship to grow, I just smile and my heart swells multiple times a day when we are around each other. Our working relationship just needs a little more work, and I think a ton of it was the problem with me not realizing he was stressed.

We've been working hard, and there has been some hard stuff for me (I pulled him out of classes because he was getting worse, not better, there, even though I credit that trainer a ton for the work she did with Meg). We are supposed to be trialling Sunday for the first time in a few months. I mostly wanted to trial now just because I KNEW that some people who stress me out badly weren't going to be there, and I'm not sure how much that's been affecting things. For the most part, I'm thinking of this winter as our Big Training Winter. I really hope that come spring, all our work will really start paying off.

Some day these silly boys will mature...right?!
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Old 12-13-2013, 08:10 PM
krissy krissy is offline
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Tracy introduced me to the "win-win sequence" and it makes A LOT of sense to me.

She says that a lot of people (myself included) set up an inherently rewarding, vicious cycle without even realizing it. The dog runs away to sniff/visit/play/run laps. These behaviours are all inherently rewarding to the dog (win!). We then recall the dog which although you may not give a reward for this particular recall is a very heavily reinforced behaviour and so many dogs also find rewarding (win!) on top of which you probably will reward the dog for the recall (I know I always did). Then you put the dog back into the course which is also heavily rewarded and which the dog probably enjoys anyway (win!). So the dog has basically been reinforced for running away in the first place.

I had never considered this. But it makes so much sense. On top of that... my dog had NOT improved over the months when I was just recalling her from distractions. I wouldn't say she had gotten worse, but there was definitely no improvement in the amount of times she ran away every class.

Now what we do which has worked so well:
1. "Heat the porridge" (is what Tracy calls it). Dog comes out of the crate and immediately engage in tug, tricks, and other high energy, fast paced games that are fun and rewarding. Stay connected.
2. Leash is ON if needed. If the dog tries to leave he gets some sort of non-reward "consequence". We use me taking her collar and backing her up 5-10 steps away from the distraction. Wait for attention and re-engage. You can also return the dog to the crate for a "time out". Basically the dog does not get to do what it wanted and the dog gets some sort of "consequence" for thinking about leaving.
3. If when the dog IS off leash they take off. Do not call the dog. I leave too! I leave and go feed Kili's cookies to one of the other dogs in the class while someone else catches my dog (or she runs right over to me to investigate and I pass her off to someone then continue feeding my new best friend). When I'm done feeding the other dog I take off for the start line (or wherever I wanted to go) and whoever is holding Kili releases her. Better believe she is after my like a shot hoping to get a taste of whatever it was that I gave her friend.

This is a dog who would leave me at the drop of a hat. Visiting people and dogs, sniffing random smells, looking for dropped cookies on the ground, trying to take whatever equipment she felt like, walking the fenceline, running laps (very rewarding for a greyhound). Now she stays with me. She doesn't go nuts leaping off equipment. She is way more in control on courses. She keeps at least one eye on me most of the time. I worked her in the arena with a kitten attacking my camera tripod and she only chose to leave me once. Greyhound and kitten. I was impressed. She did better than I actually expected her to. I spent 3 or 4 months getting frustrated by her social butterfly tendencies and distraction problems. 6 weeks and we have MAJOR improvement.

I do agree with "do what works for your dog". But when it comes to aversive techniques (even when they're only slightly aversive) my personal thought is only after I have exhausted every possible positive avenue. And as much as I love and trust my trainers... I don't do everything they suggest. I keep an open mind, but at the end of the day I am my dog's protector. I need to decide what I think is best for her. So I'm not saying there is anything wrong with your trainer or that they're out to hurt your dog, so please don't take it that way. I'm just saying that you don't necessarily have to do everything a trainer suggests, no matter how good they are. And if you're comfortable with it, that's fine too. It's not that using a squirt bottle will hurt your dog or is bad for him, but if drive and resiliency to failure are things you want to promote in your dog then even mild aversive techniques are counter productive. In my opinion anyway.
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  #2144  
Old 12-14-2013, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krissy View Post
Now what we do which has worked so well:
1. "Heat the porridge" (is what Tracy calls it). Dog comes out of the crate and immediately engage in tug, tricks, and other high energy, fast paced games that are fun and rewarding. Stay connected.
2. Leash is ON if needed. If the dog tries to leave he gets some sort of non-reward "consequence". We use me taking her collar and backing her up 5-10 steps away from the distraction. Wait for attention and re-engage. You can also return the dog to the crate for a "time out". Basically the dog does not get to do what it wanted and the dog gets some sort of "consequence" for thinking about leaving.
3. If when the dog IS off leash they take off. Do not call the dog. I leave too! I leave and go feed Kili's cookies to one of the other dogs in the class while someone else catches my dog (or she runs right over to me to investigate and I pass her off to someone then continue feeding my new best friend). When I'm done feeding the other dog I take off for the start line (or wherever I wanted to go) and whoever is holding Kili releases her. Better believe she is after my like a shot hoping to get a taste of whatever it was that I gave her friend.
These are all really great games to play. Thanks for the tips!
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by yv0nne View Post
I'll reply in bold what worked for my red dog!



Sorry for the novel. Your mileage with it all may vary. Hope at least some of it is useful Oh, and you have to continuously be more exciting than the environment. Running Penny is A LOT more work than running the Borders. They have perma-focus. Penny is like I'll focus as long as you stay more entertaining than that blade of grass 10ft away, mom. It's exhausting but awesome at the same time once you adjust to it. Lots of high-pitched voice rewards& right now you should be doing a lot of one-obstacle, reward& using tricks before& after leashing up
Excellent advice yv0nne, bang on!!

Here is a link to Jess's online courses, take the Puppy Foundations course, you wont find anything that will help you more for such a cheap price She will help you motivate and keep connected with your dog.

http://www.agiledogtraining.com/onli...-webinars.html


One of the things that I love about Jess and why I decided to train with her, was her openness about the struggles that she has had with her own dogs. Therefore she doesn't pass judgement but figures out how to help you and your dog. And it works. Anyone that can take a dog that was terrified of everything, a dog that would stress to the extreme, disconnect and leave her and turn that dog into a world champion gets my money For the simple reason that she can relate to the struggles and frustrations and then solve it.

I know many people that had some serious issues with their dogs, people that had trained with other 'names' ..........to be told they would never be able to compete with that dog. They now train with Jess, not only are they competing but with success.

Good luck.
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:33 PM
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Do you honk there's a good online option for Mia's stressiness?
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  #2147  
Old 12-14-2013, 12:40 PM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krissy View Post
Now what we do which has worked so well:
1. "Heat the porridge" (is what Tracy calls it). Dog comes out of the crate and immediately engage in tug, tricks, and other high energy, fast paced games that are fun and rewarding. Stay connected.
2. Leash is ON if needed. If the dog tries to leave he gets some sort of non-reward "consequence". We use me taking her collar and backing her up 5-10 steps away from the distraction. Wait for attention and re-engage. You can also return the dog to the crate for a "time out". Basically the dog does not get to do what it wanted and the dog gets some sort of "consequence" for thinking about leaving.
3. If when the dog IS off leash they take off. Do not call the dog. I leave too! I leave and go feed Kili's cookies to one of the other dogs in the class while someone else catches my dog (or she runs right over to me to investigate and I pass her off to someone then continue feeding my new best friend). When I'm done feeding the other dog I take off for the start line (or wherever I wanted to go) and whoever is holding Kili releases her. Better believe she is after my like a shot hoping to get a taste of whatever it was that I gave her friend.
I like this, it makes a lot of sense to me.

My first agility class there was an energetic mixed breed dog, her first time in agility. She really didn't have a recall, if she realized no one was holding her leash, she would run zoomies-then run up to other dogs. The instructors started stomping on her leash when she was came out of the tunnel, or other exercises where the leash was dropped (like the tire). So it started when she went into the tunnel, she stayed there! She was just stuck in the middle running back and forth not wanting to come out. She was also picking up the end of the leash and running with it. The dog wasn't soft by any means but simply stepping on the leash (and the dog hitting the end of it) was enough of an aversive she probably associated coming out of the tunnel with being uncomfortable. Unfortunately the instructors didn't really have a great solution for her, but there was only maybe 3 classes left when she started that, so there wasn't a chance to really work on it. I'm not opposed to aversives at all but I think you have to be careful in agility not to get an aversion to the equipment.

I like classes, I really do, but I also feel that it can be hard to work on specific things in group classes when the lesson is moving on but you need more work in a specific area. And, a lot of it is stuff that is difficult to replicate at home. I know I want to put more work into slowing down on contacts, Skye has such little voice control, but I can't really school that when we are moving on to the next thing in class. Personally I've been thinking about doing some ring rentals and schooling her myself, I know there are pros and cons to that. I've never fully trained a dog in agility, well not seriously, but I "think" I get the jist. Do you have anywhere to rent that you might be able to work on these issues on your own?
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
Do you honk there's a good online option for Mia's stressiness?
Yes, Jess's (Jess Martin) online course, the course started last week, but that wouldn't put you behind and I am sure she can add you.
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  #2149  
Old 12-14-2013, 02:55 PM
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Elrohwen Elrohwen is offline
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Originally Posted by crazedACD View Post
The dog wasn't soft by any means but simply stepping on the leash (and the dog hitting the end of it) was enough of an aversive she probably associated coming out of the tunnel with being uncomfortable.
Watson routinely hits the end of the leash with full force if there's something he wants. lol Definitely not something he would mind. But I totally understand what you're saying.


Quote:
I'm not opposed to aversives at all but I think you have to be careful in agility not to get an aversion to the equipment.
This is why the one aversive we used was done far away from myself and the equipment. The trick with punishment is that dogs can easily associate it with something you didn't intend, but I do think in this case we didn't associate it with any equipment. He got sprayed after doing stuff with the tunnel, and we immediately went back to the tunnel and he rocketed through again, but came to me on the other side instead of running off.

Quote:
I like classes, I really do, but I also feel that it can be hard to work on specific things in group classes when the lesson is moving on but you need more work in a specific area. And, a lot of it is stuff that is difficult to replicate at home. I know I want to put more work into slowing down on contacts, Skye has such little voice control, but I can't really school that when we are moving on to the next thing in class. Personally I've been thinking about doing some ring rentals and schooling her myself, I know there are pros and cons to that. I've never fully trained a dog in agility, well not seriously, but I "think" I get the jist. Do you have anywhere to rent that you might be able to work on these issues on your own?
Yes, this is so so true. When I rode horses, I went to private lessons after about 5 years of riding. Instead of an hour we got half an hour of instruction, and I remember my dad feeling a bit cheated, since I only had half the riding time. I assured him that I worked way harder, and on stuff that was important to me, during that half hour. My riding would never have advanced to the level it did if I hadn't had private lessons.

I've been interested in ring time for obedience type stuff (not competition, still working on attention and focus). We have been taking weekly classes, but occasionally they offer up ring time for people to show up and do what they want, and others can help. I haven't been able to make the times, but I'd like to. For agility we're way too green for anything like this, but some day I would like to try it. My obedience facility does have some obstacles (a tunnel, a jump, etc) so I could talk to our instructor about taking some private time, or even just doing a private lesson weekly to work on focus. Equipment isn't our problem, but focus always is and that's something we could work on with just a tunnel or jump here and there. I think general off leash time to work without other dogs present would be good, since it's not something he has a lot of practice with outside of working at home.
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  #2150  
Old 12-14-2013, 03:24 PM
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When Kimma was around a year old we started having lots of recall issues in agility foundations. We were now doing small sequences and she would do some of it then just run and blow me off. She didn't care if I left her, if I played with other dogs, anything. So I actually just pulled her from classes altogether.

We had 6 months where she was not off leash ANYWHERE. Including the backyard. No dog park, no nothing. All we did was play recall games. And by not having her off leash, I didn't have to worry about her blowing me off completely. She's a sensitive dog so I did silky leash kind of stuff to get her used to my pulling on the lead - that way if she was blowing me off while on a long lead I could easily just put a bit of pressure on her collar and she would come running. No need for her to hit the end of the lead hard or for me to reel her in. I made playing with ME the most fun ever. And then I went back to one jump. Rewarding heavily for that. Then add another, then a tunnel, etc. It took a long time but she's awesome now. I just had to realize that she wasn't going to just ignore all those distractions (other dogs, people, dropped treats, a leaf or interesting blade of grass, etc.) without my putting in the work, too.

I see nothing wrong with going "backwards" in order to help firm up recalls/drive for the game. Heck we are doing it now in that I've pulled her from trials and classes and we are just doing short course work in a private lesson setting. All we are currently working is short course work with getting her revved up and excited about playing the game and playing it WITH me.
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