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  #2221  
Old 01-10-2014, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by GatorDog View Post
Carma started agility this week. She had a blast. Our trainer really likes her and had us doing some exercises that were a bit more advanced than the others dogs in the class, which I thought was awesome. Just basic stuff like tire - tunnel and some jumps. She's so obedient and fast and insanely full of drive that I think we will have a lot of fun. Only issue that our trainer sees us possibly having soon is the whole right sided work thing. We are so conditioned to our left sided obedience! Lol. I'm already so excited for next Wednesday.
Very cool Don't worry too much about the left side thing -- as she works on the right and gets rewarded for doing so, she'll figure it out. Just make sure that you make a conscious effort to work on that side
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  #2222  
Old 01-10-2014, 01:39 PM
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We started Advanced Beginners last night and it was a surprisingly good class. There were twice as many dogs as our previous class, and the exercises were definitely a step up, but Watson did well. He did take off to do a couple "Whee!" laps, and to check out a dog (9 month old female pup who was more wild than him - just his type!), but each time he was able to come back quickly and focus enough to complete the short sequence.

The class started with things like jump-jump-tunnel and we ended up with things like A frame-jump-jump-tunnel-tire, with a super awkward baby front cross thrown in. The more challenging it got, the more Watson actually paid attention and thought things through. Maybe he's better than I give him credit for, but just needed more of a challenge? He was also very good with most equipment and was one of the only dogs to dive into the curved tunnel every time (most dogs tried to follow their owners instead of going into the tunnel).

His only equipment issue at this point (not counting teeter and weaves which we've done very little work on) are jumps. I think he has a slight soreness in one paw (no limping, just occasionally holds it up), but that doesn't stop him from jumping on and off our bed parkour style every day. I think he's just not sure what to do about jumps as they're not something solid he can jump on top of. Before he was trying to run around them, but now he gets really slow and stares at them for a couple seconds before jumping, like he's thinking very hard about what to do.

What can I work on to help with this? He's only jumping 8-12", so it's more about the jump itself than the athletic effort required. I don't have a jump at home yet, but once I get one what should I work on? Just sending him back and forth over a very low jump so he can get comfortable with it?
Why is your trainer having you run sequences, even short ones with a dog that clearly has a jumping problem? What do they say? How about some one jump exercises and back chaining lines of jumps or slowly teaching him how to wrap (at speed) a jump and keep the bars up and not go around? Where are you and what are you doing or not doing?

Sorry but if the dog doesn't or can't jump it shouldn't be doing sequences IMO.
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  #2223  
Old 01-10-2014, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by adojrts View Post
Why is your trainer having you run sequences, even short ones with a dog that clearly has a jumping problem? What do they say? How about some one jump exercises and back chaining lines of jumps or slowly teaching him how to wrap (at speed) a jump and keep the bars up and not go around? Where are you and what are you doing or not doing?

Sorry but if the dog doesn't or can't jump it shouldn't be doing sequences IMO.
Kind of the pitfalls of a group class I guess in that it's not very individualized. The beginner class was all hand holding. One jump stuff, or one jump and tunnel, with jumps always about 4-8" high (for him, shorter for the little dogs). This is only the first advanced beginner class I've been in, so I don't know what the structure is. Knowing this trainer it seems to change a lot every week so I wouldn't be surprised if we did jumping stuff next week, or focused on contacts, or whatever. Most people have been in the advanced beginner class for a while, while we're the newbies, so the existing people are more advanced than we are. It would be nice if there was an advanced beginner that was in between this class and the other. The instructor does try to keep in mind the skill level of the team and change things as needed, but again, it's not a private lesson or anything.

I also did break it down greatly for him. There were two jumps, but we went slow and he was rewarded after each jump, so I helped him out alot. I think they were at 12", but need to go down next time. He has never knocked a jump and hasn't refused in weeks, just seems a little confused about what he's supposed to do and jumping it wasn't his first instinct. He does jump it now though - it was only in the earlier beginner classes that he went around. He's very fast and confident with the other equipment, but jumps he's just not. I imagine it will come with time and in 4 weeks won't even be an issue, but it's something I hope to work on with him between classes so he gets the hang of it sooner.

ETA: The instructor has generally been very good about changing things if a dog has issues with jumps. If a dog knocks a jump, the height goes down for that dog for the rest of the lesson. If the dog refuses or is confused, they are set up to do it correctly. So it's not like she's ignoring the issue and pointing us at full sized jumps, but it's still frustrating to be in a big class and not necessarily get to work on what you want.
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Last edited by Elrohwen; 01-10-2014 at 02:03 PM.
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  #2224  
Old 01-10-2014, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Elrohwen View Post
Kind of the pitfalls of a group class I guess in that it's not very individualized. The beginner class was all hand holding. One jump stuff, or one jump and tunnel, with jumps always about 4-8" high (for him, shorter for the little dogs). This is only the first advanced beginner class I've been in, so I don't know what the structure is. Knowing this trainer it seems to change a lot every week so I wouldn't be surprised if we did jumping stuff next week, or focused on contacts, or whatever. Most people have been in the advanced beginner class for a while, while we're the newbies, so the existing people are more advanced than we are. It would be nice if there was an advanced beginner that was in between this class and the other. The instructor does try to keep in mind the skill level of the team and change things as needed, but again, it's not a private lesson or anything.

I also did break it down greatly for him. There were two jumps, but we went slow and he was rewarded after each jump, so I helped him out alot. I think they were at 12", but need to go down next time. He has never knocked a jump, just seems a little confused about what he's supposed to do and jumping it wasn't his first instinct.

ETA: The instructor has generally been very good about changing things if a dog has issues with jumps. If a dog knocks a jump, the height goes down for that dog for the rest of the lesson. If the dog refuses or is confused, they are set up to do it correctly. So it's not like she's ignoring the issue and pointing us at full sized jumps, but it's still frustrating to be in a big class and not necessarily get to work on what you want.
It shouldn't be the pitfalls of a group class, it should absolutely be individualized and if someone is struggling then the exercise is broken down so the dog and handler are successful.

If a dog knocks a bar, the question is why? Lower the height doesn't teach the dog anything, do they do any bar proofing? Which teaches a dog how to keep a bar up.

As for your other question, you don't just put a dog back and forth over a jump. Dogs are taught how to wrap (decel, come in tight to the base of a jump and turn while they are jumping) or how to jump in acceleration and jump long for straight lines and keep the bars up. Front crosses before and after a jump, rear crosses and backsides just to mention a few and the most common. And how to jump on a slice (across the bar at an angle) and how to threadle a jump At least 50% of all agility courses are jumping skills, so it is very important part of the training.
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  #2225  
Old 01-10-2014, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by adojrts View Post
It shouldn't be the pitfalls of a group class, it should absolutely be individualized and if someone is struggling then the exercise is broken down so the dog and handler are successful.
Like I said, it was broken down for him. I helped him through each jump, rewarded each step. And it was only two jumps. So we did those things and he was successful - he took every jump and didn't knock any bars down, so he's gaining confidence and understanding. In my original post I was just mentioning that he's not as confident at jumps as he is at everything else. We've only had 6 classes, so it's not surprising.

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If a dog knocks are bar, the question is why? Lower the height doesn't teach the dog anything, do they do any bar proofing? Which teaches a dog how to keep a bar up.
Not something we've discussed. The only dog who dropped a bar basically walked into it accidentally, and the height was dropped for her. I only had 6 weeks of class, so not enough time to get to everything yet. The instructor has mentioned the importance of teaching dogs to jump correctly many times, so I'm sure we'll do more exercises geared towards this.

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As for your other question, you don't just put a dog back and forth over a jump. Dogs are taught how to wrap (decel, come in tight to the base of a jump and turn while they are jumping) or how to jump in acceleration and jump long for straight lines and keep the bars up. Front crosses before and after a jump, rear crosses and backsides just to mention a few and the most common. And how to jump on a slice (across the bar at an angle) and how to threadle a jump
Sounds like a lot of the things we've worked on already. Glad to know the class is on the right track.


Maybe I'm just not explaining things well? I don't mean to imply that it's some free for all class where they're throwing new teams out to do sequences with no foundation work or broken into smaller steps.
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Last edited by Elrohwen; 01-10-2014 at 02:23 PM.
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  #2226  
Old 01-10-2014, 02:41 PM
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It doesn't sound to me like Watson is having trouble keeping bars up. Watson doesn't know where his take-off point is (most likely) or is otherwise not a confident jumper. Auggie didn't (doesn't) drop bars either but he isn't sure of where his take-off point is and he's definitely not a confident jumper. The only bars that normally came down with Auggie were over triple-jumps, because Auggie's guess-and-fling jump "style" doesn't give much room for error over a large jump.

Lowering bars won't answer the question of where the take-off point is but it will make the question easier to begin to answer; it will also prevent him from STARTING to drop bars if he continues to struggle, which depending on the temperament of the dog can cause them to become less and less confident and exasperate the problem.


Personally I would probably pull from the group class and work on a jumping program for a while. I can't even begin to imagine how I would effectively do a full on jump program within a group setting. It's enough of a PITA to have to reset jump exercises between Auggie, Georgie, and Payton and I'm only doing that on my own time. I suppose if I had a class full of dogs that all jumped the same height...
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  #2227  
Old 01-10-2014, 02:54 PM
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I don't have any other options for classes and this club is the most well regarded place with 1.5 hours. I don't have my own equipment or area to train or knowledge to train agility. So if I don't stick with the beginner classes offered I don't do agility. At this point I'm just going to go with it and see where we are at the end of each session. As long as there are improvements, and no major issues, I'm going to keep trying. Not that I don't appreciate the advice and suggestions, I do and I'm putting them to use (I'm in Jess Martin's foundations class right now) but I can only work with what I have here.

Every time I post about agility I feel like I'm told to drop out because my class is no good, but it's what I have. And it honestly seems closer to what you all are recommending than maybe I'm describing it as? :shrugs:
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  #2228  
Old 01-10-2014, 02:57 PM
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Has anyone ever done a foundations class concurrently with an advanced class? Mia's drive is just not where it was 6 months ago in agility. In other things its fantastic. I've been toying with outing her in a foundations class after tricks class wraps up. I've never taken foundations with my current instructor so maybe it would be a benefit?

I've been shortening our sequences and seeing much improvement. I think it was just too much. But a revisit to foundations would be good or maybe I should just do that in my own outside of class

I had this issue in summer years ago when we went too fast too quick. (She was popped into the competition class way prematurely). Starting over with foundations really helped.
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  #2229  
Old 01-10-2014, 03:00 PM
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Has anyone ever done a foundations class concurrently with an advanced class? Mia's drive is just not where it was 6 months ago in agility. In other things its fantastic. I've been toying with outing her in a foundations class after tricks class wraps up. I've never taken foundations with my current instructor so maybe it would be a benefit?

I've been shortening our sequences and seeing muh improvement. I think it was just too much. But a revisit to foundations would be good or maybe I should just do that in my own outside of class
Well Webster took a Novice/Open class last summer just to get some group ring time in and so I could work on a few things. This after he had earned his MACH so we were razzed a lot by our instructor, who we knew well lol. But there was space in the class, it was right before a class I had Mira in so I could take both in the same night with one trip, and I was able to work on the stuff I wanted to.
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  #2230  
Old 01-10-2014, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Elrohwen View Post
Every time I post about agility I feel like I'm told to drop out because my class is no good, but it's what I have. And it honestly seems closer to what you all are recommending than maybe I'm describing it as? :shrugs:
Are you and your dog having fun? If yes, that's all that matters. The rest will fall into place.

From your descriptions, I don't think there is anything wrong with that class. It's a group class and if you have only been doing this for 6 weeks, then of course your dog is going to have some issues to work out. We aren't there to observe the class, the instructor or you, so there is no way we can give you very accurate advice about whether the class is good or not.
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