German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hopefully seasoned agility people can help me out.....

This March, puppy and myself will be starting our first agility class :)
This has been something I have wanted to get into for a long time and finally have a great partner!

At 20 weeks we have a great training foundation. Roxy is trained in voice/hand signals sit, down, touch, watch me, look, "with me" which is our heel, leave it, wait, to your place and stay (we have added distance/duration/distraction-we are at about 1 minute across the room but not out of sight with other dogs/people milling around). She also has some tricks thrown in there like paw, spin and fun with leave it by putting treats on her paws, head, etc just to keep things interesting. We have also worked with a target stick to begin ringing bells at the door.

Question: Where should I start in our training sessions before class begins, pertaining to agility skills?
Should we work on targeting/contacts for paw awareness? If so, should I start with stool work and begin hind end awareness as well? Any tips would be greatly appreciated :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Yes! Perch work is a great skill to start working on! Use a clicker and shape her to target the stool with her feet. Once she gets that down reward any back paw movement and work on turning in both directions.

Check out the end of MRL's video:


Here's another board member doing perch work:


You've already got a hand target and a target stick, you can also start working with a plastic lid target. Start by holding the target in your palm similar to how you would ask for a nose touch to your hand. Let her offer the touch and click/treat. As she understands the behavior with the plastic lid, work to holding the plastic lid between your thumb and forefinger (to dissociate it from your palm). Next vary the placement of the target so sometimes it is to her left sometimes to the right, above her head, below her head. As she gets better at targeting it below her head you can slowly move the target to the floor, and then once she can target on the floor you can start placing it away from you and sending her to it at short distances. Strong targeting skills will be really useful later!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Kristen!
I have seen the first video before and it's great.

As for plastic lid targeting, we have done this for "to your place" first using a large towel and have worked to her targeting just a wash cloth. Right now I can move it all over and ask her for a "to your place" and she will go over to the cloth and sit on it.
Is that what I am looking for?

We are going to begin perch work tonight.

I have to say she is a blast to work with. Her drive is awesome and she really enjoys working :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,460 Posts
'Target' training is different than 'to your place'. With targeting (at least in my classes) we want just a nose touch and then the dog can stand there and still look at me for the treat. It's kind of like teaching a nose/hand touch only with a round plastic target you can put it way 'over there' then send your dog off and away to it!

I just use a plastic lid (like sour cream lid? cream cheese lid?) hold it in one hand so close to the dog they can't hardly do anything but touch it with their nose, then I click treat. Again again again, then move it around again again again, the eventually it gets on the ground and I can send my dogs to it.

Will your dog still tug a tug toy with you and play in public? Good skill to have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Yup, exactly what MaggieRoseLee says - we use a nose touch as well. You don't want your dog to run to a place and sit, you want them to continue to drive forward with their head low, which is why we teach a nose target. Then we can use it to place at the end of a jump grid, for example, and they'll drive over the jumps to the target and keep their head low because they know the end behavior is a nose touch to the floor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,708 Posts
'Target' training is different than 'to your place'. With targeting (at least in my classes) we want just a nose touch and then the dog can stand there and still look at me for the treat. It's kind of like teaching a nose/hand touch only with a round plastic target you can put it way 'over there' then send your dog off and away to it!

I just use a plastic lid (like sour cream lid? cream cheese lid?) hold it in one hand so close to the dog they can't hardly do anything but touch it with their nose, then I click treat. Again again again, then move it around again again again, the eventually it gets on the ground and I can send my dogs to it.

Will your dog still tug a tug toy with you and play in public? Good skill to have.

Never have done this, well tried & stopped, but lost when it comes to fading the target out & they get it........... like at contacts, not sure how to do this ??????

Also tried the other day putting at the end of the weaves & they want to dart right past the weaves to get the treat on the lid & gave up on this method. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Never have done this, well tried & stopped, but lost when it comes to fading the target out & they get it........... like at contacts, not sure how to do this ??????

Also tried the other day putting at the end of the weaves & they want to dart right past the weaves to get the treat on the lid & gave up on this method. :(
I'm going to take some video this week of our step-by-step approach to contact training with the target and will show how to fade it. The one biggest thing is that they really have to understand that nose touch to the target behavior before you fade otherwise you'll probably lose that part when you fade it. I cut my target to smaller and smaller sizes to fade it.

Also, with training a target this way, you should not have to put food on it for the dog to drive to it and inadvertently reward himself. I've seen people use the "bait the target" method and it only works if you or someone else is there to remove the food if the dog doesn't do the prior equipment, which in your case was the weaves. If you back up a bit and get a stronger target behavior, you could start placing after jumps, which might be a bit easier than weaves to start. You treat on the target only AFTER they go over the jumps AND nose touch the target.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,460 Posts
Also, with training a target this way, you should not have to put food on it for the dog to drive to it and inadvertently reward himself. I've seen people use the "bait the target" method and it only works if you or someone else is there to remove the food if the dog doesn't do the prior equipment, which in your case was the weaves. If you back up a bit and get a stronger target behavior, you could start placing after jumps, which might be a bit easier than weaves to start. You treat on the target only AFTER they go over the jumps AND nose touch the target.
You shouldn't put the treat ON the lid, then you are just rewarding your dog for eating a treat and for MY dogs, they don't need to be rewarded for eating!!! :)

The behavior I want with targeting is my dogs nose touch the target. Then I click that behavior, THEN MY DOG GETS A TREAT!!!!

As mentioned, when you put the food ON the target, unless you are there to cover it with your hand if they don't perform the behavior, you aren't going to get what you want.

As far a fading the target on contact obstacles, I've heard it's best to start cutting the target down sizewise, smaller and smaller and smaller so you still get the nose touch down on the ground but the dog no longer needs the huge visual of the regular sized target to cue to when coming down into the position.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Great info!

She does play tug and we have begun using that as a reward and fading treats out in certain instances.
Last night we got to the point that she would "perch" with the tug as a reward.
Today we will work on rewarding the perch behavior for a longer duration.

Gotcha on the nose targeting. But I do have a question as to where it leads......
I can train nose targeting to a lid, and fading it out in size as that is how I trained "to your place" but where is the leader between targeting and contacts? They contact with paws correct?
Just want to gain perspective of where this leads to so I know how to best work it in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Gotcha on the nose targeting. But I do have a question as to where it leads......
I can train nose targeting to a lid, and fading it out in size as that is how I trained "to your place" but where is the leader between targeting and contacts? They contact with paws correct?
Just want to gain perspective of where this leads to so I know how to best work it in.
Great question! The way we do a contact is 2on/2off with the nose target. What this does is it teaches the dog to drive to the end of the obstacle with their head low (not looking at you) to assume the front feet off, back feet on position. Obviously this is not the only way to teach it, but I think that the added nose target provides a crystal clear criteria. So your final behavior is going to be drive to the end of the dogwalk or a frame or teeter, assume the 2on2off position and tap the ground with the nose. You probably won't want to fade the target till you're working full-sized equipment.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,460 Posts
Here's some good videos...



The goal of the visual of a target on the ground when initially training is so our dogs focus with their head down and low when coming down so it's physically less demanding on our dogs body.

Here you can see it at speed at a competition

Before the target is added...


I love THIS ONE for this time of the year! Doing the training in the house! The dog looks like it was trained with the nose touch but there is no longer a target put down on the floor.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks :)

It is definitely clear to me now. I think I will use the word "target" as "touch" already means 'wherever you are I want you to come and touch your nose to my hand'. This has been very useful when redirecting bad behavior such as trash or door darting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,708 Posts
Thanks guys, will watch the videos when I get a moment. Helps to see & understand when you watch. ;)

Ok, so, NO treats till they drive to the lid & touch? Do you treat then on the lid? I have tried treating just from me, on the floor, throwing forward on floor coming out of weaves, over jumps, we have been all over & wish I would be happy with 1 method & stick to it. :mad:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
I treat from my hand but right above the lid, so I hold the back of my hand against the lid and have the treat in my palm.

With her experience, I'd go with whatever MRL's suggestion is over mine...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,460 Posts
I treat from my hand but right above the lid, so I hold the back of my hand against the lid and have the treat in my palm.

With her experience, I'd go with whatever MRL's suggestion is over mine...
ACK!!!! I'd recommend listening to all of us and then doing what makes sense to you! It's amazing how different methods can get the same results and we have alot of good members here with really great information!

What I think is important, is that the dog nose targeting the lid is the behavior I want and that earns the click.

THEN the reward comes. Whether from our hand above the target, or the dog running to me cause I'm a bit away, or even if I then drop the treat on the target AFTER the click. Or even if the click means I toss the Cuz or we play tug...


To muddy the waters a bit as far as the weaves and targeting, is that I don't!!!! Cause I want them drivey and moving, for them to stop and nose touch the lid isn't my goal. I also "throwing forward on floor coming out of weaves" when I can (not so good on grass :) ) again trying to kind of bowl the treat out and away as they exit because it's a little faster for them to swallow the treat and come back for more.

I think sometimes we get more hung up on being worried about confusing our dogs than our dogs are confused! So it's ok to use different methods, a target for the contacts, sometimes a treat from our hand (handler focus), sometimes a treat on the ground (more equipment focused), adding a toy, adding tug, sometimes using a clicker and/or using a verbal marker. As long as the method and what we are trying to teach is 'consistant' and we keep working on our timing to help with the dogs understanding, they will learn. (despite us :) )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
ACK!!!! I'd recommend listening to all of us and then doing what makes sense to you! It's amazing how different methods can get the same results and we have alot of good members here with really great information!
Very nicely put :)

Everyone has their own way for sure. I often trade dogs with other training friends just to get them working for someone else.

My main goal is to have a little fun, for myself and my dogs. And the extra exercise doesn't hurt either of us :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,708 Posts
Oh geez, ok, but man oh man do I feel confused & like I'm confusing the heck out of the dogs................. :eek: :eek: :eek:

I have bounced around & that's why I feel they don't know 100%. I find saying wait as they are near the contact slows them & then I click/treat when on the yellow, not 2o2o + I think they are watching for me to slow & that's why they slow, more of my body moment & not truly knowing about hitting the contact. I also find, this seems to slow them down instead of screaming across the walk, ect, prob not good. :confused: IDK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
Code:
ACK!!!! I'd recommend listening to all of us and then doing what makes sense to you! It's amazing how different methods can get the same results and we have alot of good members here with really great information! )
:blush: Ok, ok! I won't discount my own methods (or anyone else's) ever again! ;) I respect your opinion and expertise, MRL, just saying!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
459 Posts
I am working on a few videos showing our foundation work and progression in contacts training. The first thing I worked on with Tara was perch work, so here is the first video. Next up will be target training (already took the video just need to edit and add comments).

 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top