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Old 02-20-2014, 09:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Handler Sensitive Dog & Agility

I wanted to ask this forum a question about Agility for my Lacy. There is only one other Lacy (to the best of my knowlege) currently in Agility in the state of Texas, so that breed forum wouldn't be as much help as I know this one would!

I started my first Agility class with my Lacy last night. He is two years old and we've been strictly training in Blood Tracking. He has high food drive. String Cheese is his crack. I can lure him with cheese to do just about anything.

He did very well in class last night. His difficulty was the fact he's never been in an area that was that highly concentrated in dog smells. We don't go to dog parks etc. So his little crack head was over whelmed with every inch of the field. But he never refused a request, so I think in time he'll get used to it and focus more on me....and cheese.

The problem I have is he is handler sensitive. So I can't be a cheer leader. The instructor said he needs to be more bouncy and excited about what we are doing and less excited about smelling. But when I try to excite him, his reaction is to break down. And example of this is running him through the tunnel. I give him the command 'tunnel' and he runs in - I race to the other side (because he doesn't do anything slow) to catch him and reward. While in the tunnel I made the mistake of saying, "Good tunnel!" and he reversed, plowed through the instructor and rushed to me. So she said to wait till he comes out to speak to him. So the next time I said, "tunnel" he raced through and when he came out I said "GOOD BOY" (while offering him cheese) and I was too excited and said it too loud and he dropped flat like I shot him.

So (sorry for the novel) my question is, how do I get a handler sensitive dog to focus on me (when he's been trained to focus on the track) and still be excited about the next command?
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You can work thru this and your instructor is giving good information.

You and your pup can BOTH get used to the fact 'agility' is different then other places in life. Constantly rewards/treats/toys coming his way.

Have you been able to do 'engagement' work? and games? Top Training Expectations for Puppies all of that OUTSIDE of class will directly relate to when you are in classes..

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Old 02-20-2014, 10:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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GREAT information MaggieRoseLee!!!! Gives me something to work on!!! (I was sooo hoping you'd respond!) Thanks so much!
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
GREAT information MaggieRoseLee!!!! Gives me something to work on!!! (I was sooo hoping you'd respond!) Thanks so much!
Those last 2 videos I added on 2/2/14 are SPECIFICALLY puppies being raised with agility in mind. So all the games and play are all going to help.

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Old 02-21-2014, 03:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Already some great advice here, just wanted to add something:

When I read your sentences like
Quote:
because he doesn't do anything slow
Quote:
So the next time I said, "tunnel" he raced through
it sounds to me like he is enjoying agility itself but just has some problems when it comes to the volume of you commands/praise.
I would just start agility and try to speak resp. give commands as quietly and "unexcitedly" as possible. If he loves to race through the tunnel, just let him without praising him verbally when he gets out, just throw the cheese so he can chase after it and pick it up (maybe think about using a clicker?).

As soon as he gets what it's all about and with your training steps you are doing to get him used to louder things outside of agility (personally I would also train something like this while blood tracking, if that's somehow possible) he will become more and more confident and will be able to deal with commands, praises etc. better.

Quote:
The instructor said he needs to be more bouncy and excited about what we are doing
See, I wouldn't say that. With some dogs, they just have to learn to enjoy it (as silly as it sounds ) but your dog seems to be one of them. Just let him do his thing first, keep quiet in the beginning and increase the volume when he gets a little more self-confident.

Just my two cents!
Good luck!
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Old 02-21-2014, 03:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info BoTaBe! He is wicked good at blood tracking (despite me!!). I could add more 'distractions' while working a track. Hmmmm....not a bad idea at all!

Just another tool to add to the training box!!! Thanks!
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggieRoseLee View Post
You can work thru this and your instructor is giving good information.
I wanted to give a bit of an update - my instructor...ROCKS! I really had my doubts about her, but by my third class she totally has my number! She says that I need to get out of my dogs head. And then she pointed out and example of the error of my ways...

He knows 'tunnel'. But last night he started to go in and then he'd would back out again. After that one time, he'd act like he was going to go through but wouldn't even try. My instructor told me that my body language was correcting him before he even had a chance to fail. I was stooping (as if to grab his collar) and hesitating (as I knew I'd have to catch him) after I gave him the tunnel command. And to make it even worse, when he did go through, I'd pretty much mug him at the other end, to catch him (he's still working on leash).

With a few modifications (for me!) and under the watchful eye of my instructor, we did it! By the end of the class she had us run through a series of jumps, tunnels and the A-frame OFF LEASH! He rocked it! It was more for MY benefit, than my dogs!

On a side note....I can barely walk today.....and here I thought this would be great exercise for my dog!!!!
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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That sounds great, congrats!

Quote:
On a side note....I can barely walk today.....and here I thought this would be great exercise for my dog!!!!

Won't be the last time, I can tell you that...
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Another question......(please!)

We are now working on sitting in front of the first obstacle and waiting till I release him to begin the course. He will sit and he will 'wait' till I release him. But...there is a few moments of hesitation between his release to when he begins. He stares at me like he has no clue what I'm asking, or he is waiting for a reward. This is something he knows very well. But for some reason there is a disconnect at the agility field.

Each time (durring the lesson) we begin again, the hesitation is a bit longer. That tells me that I am not making it clear to him what it is I want and I can't figure out how to be any clearer.

He runs the course with zeal and finishes still bouncing and ready to continue. I can rule out with all certainty that he doesn't want to run the course.

He is 100% food motivated. I used to treat him at each obstacle. Now I treat him when we've completed the run. He's fine with that. But...I think he somehow has seperated the sit and wait with running the course. Like they are two seperate activities, totally. Therefore, he thinks he should be rewarded for the sit and wait and then rewarded at the end of the run.

Does this make any sense? How would I work on that at home, without messing it up when we get to the agility field?
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Maggie - Mini Dachshund (Rescue)
Lonestar Pivo - Texas Blue Lacy
Ashe - Barn Cat
Katie / APHA
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Honestly, I wouldn't work on it at all! I'd pay you a lot of money if you could teach my dog that kind of start-line behavior!
If he starts running and has fun, just leave it at that - it's all better than having a dog that goes crazy because (s)he can't wait to start (like my dog^^).
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