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Old 03-17-2008, 05:27 PM
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I have nowhere near Lynn's experience, so if she contradicts me, listen to her .

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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!
Meg is about the softest dog I've ever met. Heaven forbid I used an "angry" voice to call her off an obstacle; she'd never go near it again. She shuts down very fast and very hard if she is worried. But she has an awesome ability to call off obstacles, and I use probably my happiest voice of all for that. I use the command "here"; another person in my class uses "tight" - both mean 'come right to my side'. If there is a tricky area where I think Meg may go for the wrong obstacle, I'll use 'here' to get her close, and then send her to the correct one. I also use it in discriminations, if I want her to take the obstacle closest to me. Like almost everything else, I taught it away from equipment. If we are out walking (off-leash for us, but I think it would work on-leash), I'd get it originally by luring. Have the treat in whichever side hand I wanted her on, look over that shoulder (assuming she's behind me), and say "here" in a very chirpy voice. Then I'd treat when she was tight to my leg. Calling her off an obstacle is never an angry or bad thing; she gets to come running to me, so that is the greatest thing in the world. It's also a really handy trick if you are hiking off-leash and need to pass someone on the trail.
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  #12  
Old 03-17-2008, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
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.

Beanie, it sounds like you have an excellent start and you have done your homework etc. Kudo's.
It just sounds like you need to tweak a few things, the great thing about your first trial or two, is it does show us where our weakness are and what our strengths are. So instead of worrying about and stressing we should welcome it, study it and form a plan. EVERYONE goes through this, there isn't a trial that I don't come home from and say to myself......need to work on that!! make notes of what happened at the trial and what my game plan is going to be.
This is what I would do. For doing rear crosses on tunnels, that is very hard and it is very common for dogs to spin around and come out when they hear us switch sides. I try not to RC on tunnels or especially chutes. But on tunnels only you can put a target at the end and get your dog driving out in front of you, once he knows where he is going, start doing RC's. At anytime I have to switch sides on a tunnel, I always call my dogs name, just to tell them what side I am on. When you call is very important and it is something that we have to figure out for each dog. Often if we call to soon, the dogs will turn around and come out and if we are late the dog will come out of the tunnel heading the direction that they 'think' we are heading, which often results in spins etc. I usually try to call the name when they are about 4 ft from exiting the tunnel, that has worked best for me.
I would teach my dog how to target and to focus on a target instead of me. Put a toy or a food target. Ask him to sit facing the target/toy, the second he looks at it instead of me release him to the toy/reward. Don't say anything to him if he keeps looking at you but make sure you don't make eye contact with him. Then play games of having him drive forward to a target/toy with his total focus on it instead of you. You should be able to progress to having that reward 20 or 30 ft out in front of him, make sure its a reward that he really wants!!
Once he is focusing on that target, add a jump before it. You stay standing still and send him, of course shortening the distance so he is successful and working up to more distance. Then you can add more jumps in front of the first jump not after, backchain it. (If you don't understand this ask and I'll explain).
When he understands that he is to go forward without you train the weaves the same way to the target.
Lower the Frame, you can stand at the halfway point of the frame, recall him over it to his contact behaviour. As he and you become more comfortable, you move more towards the front of the frame, he should carry on over the frame. It helps to have someone else there at the contact zone to give him (NOT from their hand) huge rewards. When you can send him to the frame from any angle and from 15ft (at least) back and he holds his contact behaviour you can then start raising the frame again. (this typically doesn't take to long, especailly considering that he has a good contact behaviour).
We give huge rewards either from us or by someone else waiting there for total obstacle focus.
As for call offs, in my opinion we need the happiest, nicest voices possible. I don't want my dog to think he is wrong or in trouble. I just want him to turn towards me no matter what is in front of him. Even the most seasoned and successful handlers (including World Team Gold Medal winners lol), make a mistake, have one of those Oops moments and starts to send their dog to the wrong obstacle. So instead of leaving it to chance, train it and train it nicely with huge rewards. And never ever ever reward your dog for doing an obstacle if you didn't ask him to do it!! Even an awesome contact behaviour. You don't have to punish them, but you sure don't reward it, because there often be the question that the dog may have thought that is what we wanted, so punishment wouldn't be fair. If I have a dog that is blowing me off, I just put them away for a while without saying anything to them, then I bring them back out and work on focus work and only if I have total focus do I even attempt the equipment, then they get jackpots and rewards. There is more to agility training than the obstacles.
Just a note, I would not train distance skills and obstacle focus at the same time that I am training Call Off's. I don't want to confuse my dog, wait until he is driving forward with distance and focus and he is solid on it, then train the call off's.
Start to send him over a jump, but don't start real close to the jump (20 ft away), turn 90 degress (don't take your eyes off your dog!) and call him, the second he looks towards you produce the reward!! Change his name just a bit, shorten it, use B! (but in a happy voice). The changed name means come towards me and don't do what is infront of you!! As he starts understanding and responding faster, move closer to the jump. Also be prepared to give Jackpots especially when he is almost on top of that jump and he turns towards you, that is a party and a jackpot. You have to be very careful of your body language, if you continue to face the direction of the obstacle your dog should do the jump. Because dogs should follow our body language over a verbal any day. And your body is telling him to jump.
Next post will show you how to test your body language and just what your dog is responding to!! lol.
Lynn

Last edited by adojrts; 03-17-2008 at 05:56 PM.
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  #13  
Old 03-17-2008, 05:42 PM
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Body language test Lynn's style lol.

Set up a Pin Wheel, with the jumps about 15- 20 ft apart, nice big pinwheel.
Put a tunnel in front of the first jump in a straight line and a tunnel (if possible) after the last jump of the pin wheel. Tunnels should be the same distance from the jumps.
The goal is to start before the first tunnel and to gain as much speed as possible, after your dog goes over the first jump and is heading towards the jump furthest out, instead of supporting the jump and the lines that you want your dog to take, rotate (turn) your shoulders, head and feet towards the last jump, try not to get too close to the middle jump. Does your dog pull in (most dogs should) and miss the jump? Good dog if he does. If at anytime your dogs misses an obstacle, FREEZE on the spot. See where your body is facing including your head and eyes.

Hope that makes sense!!

Lynn
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonBanker View Post
I have nowhere near Lynn's experience, so if she contradicts me, listen to her .



Meg is about the softest dog I've ever met. Heaven forbid I used an "angry" voice to call her off an obstacle; she'd never go near it again. She shuts down very fast and very hard if she is worried. But she has an awesome ability to call off obstacles, and I use probably my happiest voice of all for that. I use the command "here"; another person in my class uses "tight" - both mean 'come right to my side'. If there is a tricky area where I think Meg may go for the wrong obstacle, I'll use 'here' to get her close, and then send her to the correct one. I also use it in discriminations, if I want her to take the obstacle closest to me. Like almost everything else, I taught it away from equipment. If we are out walking (off-leash for us, but I think it would work on-leash), I'd get it originally by luring. Have the treat in whichever side hand I wanted her on, look over that shoulder (assuming she's behind me), and say "here" in a very chirpy voice. Then I'd treat when she was tight to my leg. Calling her off an obstacle is never an angry or bad thing; she gets to come running to me, so that is the greatest thing in the world. It's also a really handy trick if you are hiking off-leash and need to pass someone on the trail.
BB, thanks but I absolutey agree with you, pick a cue word and train it and make it the best thing the dog has every done the same as training any other thing in agility
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