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Old 03-15-2008, 05:07 PM
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Default We had some success today

I took Auggie to his second fun run today. The first time through was a bit of a bust - he got the zoomies because there were three jumps in a row all lined up, and got away from me as he took off through 'em all... and there was no real recovery after that. It was exactly what happened last time... he just decided to make up his own course and quit listening to me.

A girl that is in our agility class was there, along with Auggie's breeders oldest son, and we thought maybe I could try to slow down... but the problem is more that I need to keep up with Auggie, not him keeping up with me! But it was worth a shot... so I tried to take it easy the second time through, but as soon as we hit #5, the a-frame, I had to speed up to catch up to him. =P
Regardless, we did everything fine, and before he took the second jump in the series of three I called him, got his attention back, and put him over the next two jumps... straight into the tunnel successfully! We missed the teeter on the first approach, but this place is indoors and it's really too small... they don't have the room to space everything to regulation so the equipment is really a bit too close together. No big deal, I called him back and got him on it, and then over the final jump. Success!

I forgot my stopwatch so I don't know what the time was, but I'm going to guess it wasn't fantastic. Regardless, I think we'd only have had that one refusal on the teeter, so I think it would have been a qualifying run. I think at this point I really need to do my best to slow Auggie down and keep his focus tight on me, and we may do just fine! Regardless, I think we're going to skip the trial here in April and wait until the one in June or July before we officially trial. I just don't think we're ready yet!

There is video of both our runs but I don't have it - Auggie's breeders oldest son was there with the camera and it might be a few weeks before I can get a CD with the runs on it. But I was soooo proud of my little boy... he did great.
We don't have a Petco in town but there is one in the town the fun run is located at, so I wanted to go... and Mom told Auggie if he didn't settle down and pay attention on his second run he couldn't go to Petco. So we were joking he decided to shape up because he really wanted to go to Petco, LOL.
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:57 PM
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Congrats!! glad your happy.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:54 PM
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Congratulations! I can't wait to see the videos.

It sounds from your post that you already sort of see the double-edged sword of slowing him down. Sure, it makes things easier now, but I promise there will come a time when you will want that "run out ahead and focus on the obstacles" attitude back! I started out with Meg so incredibly focused on me (her natural way of being) that she would check in with me before every obstacle - I would send her ahead, she would take the obstacle, and then come and run right at my side, looking up at me until I sent her off again. It made for lot of really successful runs at the lower levels. Now I've spent the last year trying to build up her drive and obstacle focus. Sure, we occasionally run into issues like taking the wrong jump (or our whole leaping over the contacts problem), but I still prefer that to the old Meg.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:20 PM
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BB, I agree, I don't like to slow a dog down. Although I know this isn't the same as your case, training a fast, high drive dog takes far longer because both the dog and handler need far more skills than someone with a slower dog.
Speed and high drives come with a price, but for those willing to wait and train longer to achive those skills the rewards can be HUGE. Plus it is so much fun with a fast dog imo
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:45 PM
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I'm a bit scared to think about getting a second dog who has that kind of drive. Meg has been so kind to me and makes it really easy to learn the handling skills; she "gives" me a lot of things that many dogs wouldn't. But even the bits of high-drive Meg that occasionally come out have convinced me that is the direction I want to go in!
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:29 PM
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BB,
The one thing that I experienced with a fast dog as a first dog, is that you spend a while just trying to keep up lol. You don't have time to think, you have to rely on muscle memory from your training and walk throughs because you just don't have time to think while trying to breath and run, let alone remember the course, where you want the dog to go and your path lol. But then all those lateral skills, distance skills and learning when to wait etc start to take over. And instead of trying to keep up with your dog, you are now truely handling your dog and that is a very cool feeling and with that you can breath better and the mind is more clear and the runs are smooth. And the great thing about is, with training you don't have to give up all that speed, if anything the dogs gets faster.
lol BB you ve had a taste of it, before long Meg will be flying around those courses as she becomes a more seasoned agility dog and you will FLY.
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
while trying to breath and run
You breathe when you run??? Crap, time to work on that .
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Old 03-17-2008, 01:46 PM
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I hear what you're saying and I understand what you mean 100%... but I don't know what else to do. =<
I'm afraid if I DON'T make him slow down he'll end up hurting himself by taking off on the dogwalk or something and then falling off it before I can catch up to him. It's not worth a speedy time if Auggie hurts himself, and that is always my first concern... I didn't care that he wasn't hitting his contacts on the a-frame because of the fault, I care because he was jumping off too soon and could end up really hurt.

I don't even know how to test his focus until we get out on a course (where he may end up hurting himself) because he's hardly the same dog in our classes, my backyard, and even his breeder's backyard as he is when he's out there on the course! The first time we went out there I was so stunned. My velcro dog vanished, and in his place was a little monster daredevil! At least this time I was prepared (emotionally, at least!) for him to go nuts, though I thought we might be doing a little better - I'd been practicing giving him a "here here here here" while taking him PAST obstacles to make sure he was really watching me and listening to my commands, and he was doing really good... but apparently not. =P

That's the real problem... how will I know when we're ready? How will I know if his focus is good enough that he'll actually maintain it on a course..?
Help please? =>
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:08 PM
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Beanie,
We would love to help you. How long have you been training? Can you give a list of what your dog can do in training? i.e can he and you do Front Crosses? Rear Crosses? Lead outs? And what kind of distance can you get away from him in training? Lateral Distance (from the side)? Can you call him off (have him come to you instead of doing what is in front of him)? What contact behaviour have you taught him? Can you send him over the contact equipment with you staying behind? If so does focus on the contact equipment or is he looking for you?
One thing we have to teach our dogs to do is equipment focus and handler focus and how to switch back and forth between the two.
Don't worry, you can have it all, a dog that runs fast and SAFE.

Lynn
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:58 PM
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We've been in agility classes for over a year now, I would have to look and see exactly how long. I've been doing some work at home since he was about 3 months, as far as tiny jumps and tunnels/chutes go.

We can do front crosses with no problems, rear crosses on most equipment (a rear cross on the tunnel can be trouble sometimes - if he sees my shadow move inside the tunnel when I cross behind him, he'll pop back out to check on me) and we do lead outs - usually only to the first obstacle. He is VERY good about holding a stay at the start line, from the 2o2o, and from the table - his focus on me in those situations is impeccable - probably because I proofed his stay by doing crazy dances and trying to make him break it. We think he generally watches my hands and my face for cues, not my feet so much.
I don't really know what kind of distance I can get away from him... maybe 4-5 feet? I haven't really pushed it to see how far he will get out. I can't get too far behind on the weave poles, or he'll check on me and pop out.
I taught him 2o2o for the a-frame and dog walk, and 4on for the teeter. He'll take the contact equipment without me being next to him (though I won't LET him take the a-frame without me being right there since his tendency is to fly off the end.) When he's on contact equipment he is looking down, though on the dog walk he seems to be looking forward at the ramp instead of down.

Calling him off is hard, but it's entirely my fault and not because Auggie won't do it. I have a problem using the "urgent voice" to really get his attention. Because he is a sheltie and they can sometimes be soft, and also because I want everything to stay positive, I'm TOO nice, and my happy attention getter fails to get his attention when there's another obstacle right in front of him! When I finally stop being stupid and use the proper tone of voice he will come to me. He is NOT soft so I really don't need to worry about it, but I have to retrain myself to not be an idiot and be so nicey-nice. I'm working on it... trying to be mean, LOL.
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