Foundation Agility

SoCrafty

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#1
So - we are now on week 5 of basic obedience. Truthfully, Addie could probably go through basic obedience again, but only for certain things (like walking nicely). She is good with her sits, downs, her stay is up to 1 to 2 minutes. During her sit stay she tends to lay down after a bit though, so we have to put her back into a sit, and the timer starts over. Her walking...meh. Constantly training and she has improved, but not as much as any of us wanted her to. She is the only one that it just hasn't sunken into. We got the smallest martingale we could find (which is like 8") and still slightly too big for what we need. Formal obedience is just not her thing, she gets bored, and fidgets. She's curious, so the sit stay where we walk around her is not that great.

She does all the things I expect and need her to do at home and I think walking might come...in time as long as we practice every day.

My question is - do you really need a solid foundation in obedience in order to be successful at Agility? Does she NEED to know to stay there and I have to walk around her? Does she NEED to walk nicely on a leash? Does she really NEED the cue word "come" or can it be a cue word that she already responds to like "lets go"? The foundation agility email just got sent out and I really want to do it. Just waiting in my printer ink from amazon so I can print it out.

She is bouncy, energetic, and fast. Fun things she picks up on quick. Can she learn what she needs in foundation and be ok? What things should I truly focus on for agility?
 

Beanie

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#2
Short answer is absolutely not. I'll answer the rest later, I got lots of work to do, but no she does not need a super duper awesome "official" obedience foundation for agility.
 

DJEtzel

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#3
Ditto to the above.

Most of my agility students are much more disobedient and crazy than you're describing. As long as they are driven and focused, everything else is negligable.
 

Southpaw

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#4
I dont do agility but I'd imagine you just... train the specifics you need for the sport. I wouldn't worry.
 

k9krazee

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#5
Nope. I have done zero formal obedience stuff with my dogs and actually, a dog that heels all the time or never leaves your side is not a good thing for agility. You want the dog to work ahead of you and drive away from you. Pox would have never been cleared for agility classes if he had to pass obedience first LOL He pulls like a freight train down the street but he can hold his "stay" for the 15 seconds I need to lead out. Not 1-2 minutes LOL We've been working on agility foundations since he was itty bitty. We work on things like driving to a target, sends around jump uprights, rear end awareness stuff, running and playing with me, restrained recalls, etc -- All of which you can work at home at any time! With or without a formal class!!
 

Beanie

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To elaborate a bit on what I said before - yes, I do want my students to have "basic" obedience down, but I don't expect formal obedience. Timed sits are definitely not part of what I hope for. I (personally) DO need a dog who can hold a position until released, be it at the start line or table or a 2o2o on the contacts, but I don't have any goals in my mind of THEY MUST BE ABLE TO WAIT FOR THIRTY SECONDS or anything like that.
A lot of my beginner classes are just about learning your dog and how to work with your particular dog - and how to ENJOY working with your dog. That would be your first "foundation" assignment from me as an instructor LOL.

Does she NEED to know to stay there and I have to walk around her?
No, but I will say this is a very handy "trick" to have and all of my dogs know how to do it. Also it's a behaviour that can be viewed as baby steps towards eventually doing a rear cross, although the difference is an RC involves the dog going on ahead away from you as you cross behind rather than just sitting there.
Can I ask how your teacher is having you teach it? Or, if you'd prefer, I can video for you how I have my students work on it.

Does she NEED to walk nicely on a leash?
Absolutely not and IMHO she should never do agility on leash anyway. I know some people teach foundations and intro to agility and beginner agility on leash - that horrifies me a bit. There are things like grab tabs and a variety of other tools invented to help if you have a dog who isn't 100% on the recall (and I'm not even convinced those are necessary in most situations), but I just feel like being on leash is dangerous for the dog and the leash frequently interferes with the equipment anyway (students who try to jump their dogs on leash usually have the leash wrap around the bar or simply whack into it with force, and it drops the bar...)

Does she really NEED the cue word "come" or can it be a cue word that she already responds to like "lets go"?
Something I tell all my students - I don't care what words you use. You can call your dog by saying "pizza." Just make sure everyone in the house agrees on the word and you are consistent. She needs a recall to some word (Payton's recall is just his name) but no formal obedience recall required.

Can she learn what she needs in foundation and be ok? What things should I truly focus on for agility?
I would hope to God she would learn what she needs in agility foundations LOL.

Right now what I would start with if I were you is circle work, there should be videos online (look for Greg Derrett Circle Work if you need more keywords) that will show you what you're looking for. Circle work is where agility starts for me. Layer two is flatwork, but start just with circle work right now. I think you'll find this improves her heel on leash as well.
I would also start playing with "weird" things to boost her confidence. Wobble boards or fit paws type equipment, since she is small you will probably have to set her on top of a yoga ball if you buy one. These are cheap and useful:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GMNJMEE
Can also be used to teach pivots.
A peanut this size this will be plenty big enough for her:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U0FSX18
Bonus this helps her learn to do actually strength exercises.

Teach her how to interact with a target if you haven't already, then start working on sending her to the target from a distance.

Teach her how to use her back end (look up cavaletti work and rear foot targeting.)

You might want to invest in foundation jump training.

Teach her how to play with you with and WITHOUT a toy.

How to run out to and circle around a cone, or a stick in the ground, or a tree - just the idea of running out and wrapping something. Work on both sides, then get further away.

Teach her to approach the cone with you but NOT interact with it until you have told her to do so (this is starting to get more advanced but so so so important. Basically how to go past an agility obstacle and NOT take it unless she's been told. Agility is not just 'see obstacle-take obstacle,' it's also 'see obstacle-don't take obstacle.')

These are all little baby foundations you can do by yourself at home. I'm not saying don't take the class, but these are the ones I would work on to start!
 

SoCrafty

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She has already learned left, and right (taught her that a while ago). We started target work on hands about 4 or 5 months ago and trying to transfer the touch command to objects. She loves running and weaving behind us and through our legs, lol. She has been on wobble boards before and is ok with them. I've introduced her to weave poles (just let them sit out and she can walk around etc.), we have a teeter that she can play on or around. I will have DH get the stuff to make the ladder/cavaletti (did not think of that one!) and will probably get a wobble board.

I love working with her - except in formal obedience. Trick training has been super fun, and there is light and happiness in her face and when she gets it, you can totally tell that it makes her proud. She is super quick to get things, throw in a clicker and she's golden. She has lots of drive - her Nosework class was a blast. She enjoys playing with or without a toy. I know when she's had enough and she is sensitive enough to know when we get frustrated. We had to switch our praise word from "good girl" to "yes" because good girl would send her into happy wiggles and bounces lol.

The obedience class is positive modified old school. I like this trainer a lot. There are more treats, and praise. We do not do leash pops with her because she doesn't handle it well. The stay circle, she has us put our dogs into a sit, hold the leash firmly so that it is above their heads to I guess keep them there, give the stay command, and we walk around the dog while the dog stays in one place. Addie does fine until we get to her side approaching her tail. Then she turns to face me. She always looks to us for direction.

I haven't worked with the foundation agility trainer before except in puppy class. I liked her then and I know she has had a lot of successful students in Agility. That being said, I have no idea how she starts the training. I would assume the intro to the equipment is on leash, though.

I will look up the Greg Derett videos.

And thank you guys! I have been so hesitant about this because I didn't know if she was ready for it.
 
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#8
Stays are awesome for agility but that's about it, and agility practice is actually a great place to work on that impulse control I've found. The most important things are focus and having a good start on a recall is good too. Loose leash walking literally does not matter at all so long as she isn't lunging at other dogs.
 

Beanie

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The stay circle, she has us put our dogs into a sit, hold the leash firmly so that it is above their heads to I guess keep them there, give the stay command, and we walk around the dog while the dog stays in one place. Addie does fine until we get to her side approaching her tail. Then she turns to face me. She always looks to us for direction.
Okay, this is what you need to do. Act like you are on a clock and your dog is the center, and you are the hands orbiting around the clock. Don't worry about the leash, it's irrelevant. You start at 6. Walk to 5, then back to 6 and reward her for her stay. Now walk to 4, then back to 6 and reward for the stay. Walk to 3, then back to 6, reward. Now go to, let's call it, 2:30. If she gets up, you went too quickly. You need to go back to only walking to 3 and rewarding back at 6. After several successful attempts at that, try walking to, say, 2:45. If she holds her sit, back to 6 and reward. Stay there for another time or two, then try 2:30 again. If she holds her sit, repeat going back to 6 and rewarding. If she can't hold her sit, she's not ready yet, so continue to reward at 2:45 for a bit.

My rules are it's fine to swivel your head to watch me, but you are not allowed to move your butt. No scooting the butt around and of course no getting up - butt stays in the place. I will even allow front paws to lift as they do their best owl impression but some people have higher criteria where the front paws can't move either.

Does that make sense? Treat the circle around her as literally one step at a time, and if she fails you have gone too far and need to back it up and reward her where she is successful, then try to push a little further again. Just a little at a time.

(and remember to work both directions so you are moving both clockwise and counter-clockwise.)
 

greg_nill

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#10
Solid Foundation

So - we are now on week 5 of basic obedience. Truthfully, Addie could probably go through basic obedience again, but only for certain things (like walking nicely). She is good with her sits, downs, her stay is up to 1 to 2 minutes. During her sit stay she tends to lay down after a bit though, so we have to put her back into a sit, and the timer starts over. Her walking...meh. Constantly training and she has improved, but not as much as any of us wanted her to. She is the only one that it just hasn't sunken into. We got the smallest martingale we could find (which is like 8") and still slightly too big for what we need. Formal obedience is just not her thing, she gets bored, and fidgets. She's curious, so the sit stay where we walk around her is not that great.

She does all the things I expect and need her to do at home and I think walking might come...in time as long as we practice every day.

My question is - do you really need a solid foundation in obedience in order to be successful at Agility? Does she NEED to know to stay there and I have to walk around her? Does she NEED to walk nicely on a leash? Does she really NEED the cue word "come" or can it be a cue word that she already responds to like "lets go"? The foundation agility email just got sent out and I really want to do it. Just waiting in my printer ink from amazon so I can print it out.

She is bouncy, energetic, and fast. Fun things she picks up on quick. Can she learn what she needs in foundation and be ok? What things should I truly focus on for agility?
I don't think you need a solid foundation in obedience in order to be successful at agility, because obedience is something you continue to work on or add on.
 

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