Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos/videos) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
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Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos/videos)

I frequently say that about 1/2 of 'agility' isn't anything about aglity at all. But is all about the great work we did (or didn't know to do) in our dog's socialization. AGILITY TRIALS ARE NUTS! And I don't know any other dog trial venue that is the same, for the entire day. Tons of dogs, tons of people, shops right beside the ring having the wind blowing the smells of treats/bones/bully sticks right into the ring...... So to ask many of our dogs to focus and 'play' agility with us when they may be VERY uncomfortable in the environment is really asking alot (and why many of us have alot of issues in the ring).

So at the trial this weekend I actually remembered to bring my camera to show some of what I mean.

This photo shows just part of one row of our crating/tent area. We are all trying to stay in the shade of the trees. There is a road right behind us (nice for loading/unloading) so cars are driving by constantly, and parking and loading/unloading. The agility rings are off to the right on the other side of the tents.


This photos shows the normal coming and going around the trial site. These tents are the vendor tents with all the yummy treats/smells and toys. So this is a normal moment of people/dogs walking around (how many dogs can you count in the photo?). Note the orange fencing on the left side.


This is showing the same line of vendor tents along both show rings. So you can see how all of us walking around are right next to the dog running in the ring. And there IS a dog in the ring!


Next 2 photos are a normal shot of us waiting our turn to go in the ring. When it's sunny we tend to huddle with our dogs in the shade tent to help keep them as cool as we can. Even with a short leash ( I NEVER use even a regular 6' leash, only a 4') the dogs are right with each other. Can you see the Bearded Collie sniffing the BC's behind in the one shot. THIS is normal (we try to minimize it, but it's going to happen).











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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 03:47 PM
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Re: Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos)

I know what you mean. It's madness really. Just out of interest are the rings always fenced off in the States? In the UK there is just a rope around the ring to let people know where it is but people (my pet hate) often sit right at ringside with their dogs actually IN the ring!
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-02-2007, 06:50 PM
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Re: Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos)

It is madness, it is crowded, it is distracting, and it is pure chaos - Yet you hardly see any dogs act out (at least I don't). Your dog has to be SO obedient and SO focused on you it's not even funny!!

Tasha - in general - is not very good with people or dogs, she's one of them that just needs her space. But when we go to a trial or some other get-together, she's very well behaved. I'm not sure why but she's very quiet and can get close to other dogs within reason. I think it's just the relaxed energy of the people and dogs around her.

Although I've seen one incident when a Terv got off the leash and went off to run amuck. Eventually wandered into the ring waiting line and took a chunk out of one of the regulars - a beautiful Blue Merle Border Collie I've seen competing with us quite often. He was ok, just a little shaken but went on to compete (didn't too too well though, lol, but that's normal for him).

I agree completely, it really really pays off to have a stable adjusted dog in agility competitions. Although I know many people that take their dogs that 'need a little space'. Like the Terv.

Hailey (16) mom to:

Tasha - 4 y/o Australian Cattle Dog

Chewy - 4 y/o Australian Shepherd

Cleo - 8 y/o American Pit Bull Terrier

Chase - 18 month old German Shepherd Dog
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos)

Jayne, the rings are always fenced in at the trials I've been to, so I'm thinking it's a rule. But since this is typical at only about 2' (3'?)high, it's not a real deterent for anything but the smaller dogs. And since the exit and entrance are just open holes in the fencing, even the little dogs can get out if they want to!

And the big ones, after jumping out to visit the vendor tents, can jump right back in!



No new pictures of my Bretta Lee, here's some from a bit ago though:










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Miss Osin Blue Wildhaus NA NAJ NF

"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 10:14 AM
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Re: Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos)

Great photos to show just how "socialized" your dog becomes to all this chaos That is why it is important to get them out and about as often/early as you can. When they grow up in this type of environment, they are totally comfortable in it. The last trial I was at (indoors), there was an expen with three dogs in it that WOULD NOT settle the entire trial. They were up and whining and pacing and barking the whole time. Two ex-pens over, my dogs were in dreamland (amazed me they could sleep through all that noise). And I realized how stressful it is to dogs unaccustomed to the trial environment. Being in that state of stress all day cannot be healthy for them! I guess some people just don't realize it. The only negative I see to all this chaos, is that my dogs are sometimes LESS focused on me in an obedience setting where you can hear a pin drop and barking dogs are looked at with horror I guess they feel there just isn't enough action going on.

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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 10:26 AM
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Re: Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos)

It's very common in my area for tape to be used to designate the ring rather than fencing. This is an AKC trial and you can see the orange tape:



This one's a little more elaborate, again AKC:



And sometimes it's as primitive as police caution tape, another AKC:



The NADAC trials by me always use tape instead of fencing, and they only run it along 3 sides so it's very easy to walk onto the course if you're not paying attention. Not that I've done that or anything.

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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 07-03-2007, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos)

Ack, I guess I was wrong about fencing being a rule ( Hate it when that happens ). Those were some GREAT photos that showed the alternatives that can be used though.

Too funny how when we think we are taking photos of one thing (our dogs jumping) the shot can show alot more (fencing at a trial, for instance!).




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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-01-2008, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos)

Quote:
Quote: Not all dogs care to have their space invaded by a strange dog and it doesn't have much to do with socializing. Having a couple dogs who don't care for it myself, it tends to be a pet peeve of mine when people just assume everyone's dog will be friendly.
You are 100% right and that was my point................

The fact is, at an agility trial, things like this will happen no matter how vigilant we are. My goal in the socialization isn't that my dogs are going to love 'rude' behavior like this. Instead my goal is for my dogs to put up with it when it does occur. Cause the fact is I can only prepare and control MY dogs, not everyone else's. And by choosing to expose my dogs to an agility trial environment, I take the good with the bad and have dogs that do well.




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"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-27-2008, 09:36 PM
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Re: Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos)

Good post! I went to my second agility trial this weekend and it was at a brand new indoor sports facility. The scent of rubber was nauseating for the people so I'm sure the dogs didn't know what to think. The rings were surrounded by glass(?) and they put caution tape xxxs across it so nobody would walk into it. The footing was shiny plastic grass with black rubber bits mixed in as dirt. That was a new experience for us. In the middle of the trial, a horrible thunderstorm came through the area and the thunder shook the whole building and rain pounded on the roof. Then there was all the normal commotion of an agility trial, people coming and going, dogs everywhere, stewards calling out. You can do your best to prepare, but something will always catch you offguard.
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Agility Socialization IS a must! (photos)

http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonli...ialization.pdf

2008 Position Paper from the American Vet Society of Animal Behavior

Quote:
Quote:The primary and most important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life. During this time puppies should be exposed to as many new people, animals, stimuli and environments as can be achieved safely and without causing overstimulation manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior. For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.



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"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude
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