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Agility Training Talk Thread

#16 User is offline   Agility Dogs 

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 12:28 PM

View PostVickie, on 7th Jul 2010 - 09:55 AM, said:

View PostAgility Dogs, on 6th Jul 2010 - 04:54 PM, said:

Although my two are both BC's there is no way that I can run them both the same way. Their skill and drive levels are so different that it will just never work.


It's hard isn't it. Although you seem happy with the way things are :thumbsup: so you are obviously not struggling with it as I am. Do you ever lose yourself in the moment & forget which dog you are running?


I did used to forget which dog I had, but haven't for a while.

I think it is because I have to adopt a totally different mind set with each in preparing to go into the ring. Xena I get out and wander around with, trying to keep it just a little bit calm.

CK I leave in his crate until the very last minute. Run to the ring tugging like mad. Tug until I have to enter the ring (or give the steward my lead if we are doing ANKC) and then get him off the line as quickly as possible.

I think the other thing that is helping me is that I am making a REALLY concerted effort to 'stay connected' with each dog and watching them so closely means I'm less likely to forget who I have with me.

#17 User is offline   Agility Dogs 

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 12:31 PM

View PostVickie, on 7th Jul 2010 - 11:57 AM, said:

It is so hard to get stuff like this right in a split second on course. They really can't be conscious decisions...they have to be instinctual actions. I'm getting better at being instinctual but still have a ways to go (obviously :thumbsup: ).


Uh huh.

I'm only just now beginning to be able to run courses and make decisions on the way around. I think part of it is almost instinctual, but I think the other part of being able to do it is being controlled enough to think 3 or 4 obstacles ahead.

I've found that since I've started to be able to do that I get things badly wrong a lot less often.

The other challenge you have is quick dogs. Dogs that don't move quite so quickly give you a chance, our guys don't......

#18 User is offline   Tassie 

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 03:46 PM

Vickie wrote:

Quote

Seems to happen a lot. I think it's b/c we handle so much better & stay so much more connected on the hard stuff, b/c we have to to get through it.


I'm sure you're right Vickie - and that seems to be the consensus of our Masters handlers down here.

Your serp example was an interesting one - thinking about it briefly, it seems to illustrate the different timing needed with cues for the different dogs. Kirra would have been more likely to do what Trim did, I think, unless I delayed the cue for the second jump long enough - she's still very quick to respond to many cues, so I find myself turning her too soon - except when I'm too late :rofl: . Old brain - quick dog :laugh:

#19 User is online   DeltaCharlie 

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 04:00 PM

My 2 are very different dogs to run, I don't think it would ever be possible to run them both the same. While it isn't as difficult to run Charlie as it used to be (and Vickie, you have attempted that lol) he is still a harder dog to run. He no longer looks for a way out but will stress if he doesn't have all the information in plenty of time.

Charlie will drive ahead nicely but wont always pick up on subtle offset jumps and as a result can run right past an obstacle when he is ahead of me. The same thing with distance work, he has really nice distance but will sometimes go out too far and around stuff as he just doesn't instinctively follow a line. My favourite was Loris' JDO last year in Newcastle. The distance part was quite technical, involved layering jumps and bringing them to you and back out, finishing off with sending to a tunnel. Charlie did all the technical stuff perfectly then ran around the outside of the tunnel (it was very sneaky, neither Loris nor I realised until he got to the end and didn't actually come out of the tunnel, instead he came from behind it :rofl: ) He has become much better at understanding my body with offset jumps though, and will push out nicely to jumps and save my arse where Delta would just miss them if I don't get into the right position. Delta has proven over and over again that she can follow the most ridiculous of offset lines which is a great help in many gamblers runs. She works nicely ahead of me but doesn't have the same distance ability as Charlie. She will work at a distance but needs to be catapaulted out there alot more than him, rather than just moving laterally away from me.

Part of Charlie's "get the love back for agility" training involved lots of short sequences for a tennis ball. I now have the issue of anywhere on a course that looks like it could possibly be the end of a sequence (usually a jump leading to nowhere) and Charlie will power ahead in anticipation of a throw, then go out really wide as I attempt to turn him and bring him back on course which wastes a ridiculous amount of time. When I get my timing right, Delta is a much tighter dog, unfortunately I cannot get it together of late and we are having some very crunchy runs as a result.

Charlie is also a slower dog around the course, he isn't as efficient over jumps and doesn't flatten out as much which means he is taking off and landing alot closer to the jump than Delta, who flattens out and is already on top of the next jump if I don't give a signal to turn in time.


Because mine started trialling at the same time they have pretty much always been in the same classes so I have to walk every course in 2 different ways. Some courses I walk completely differently as I will very rarely rear cross Charlie as I don't want to risk stressing him, and front crosses work much better for him. Most of the time I know I wont be able to get into the position for the same front cross with Delta so I walk it again with rear crosses. Then I hope I remember which course is for which dog when I get out there :laugh: It makes it even harder for things like gamblers and snooker as I will avoid contacts and weaves in opening sequences whenever possible with Charlie, so I end up with 2 completely different courses :laugh:


I think that every dog is different and it is up to us to treat them as such. I don't think it is fair to expect one dog to run just like another to convenience us, we work with what they give us. When I was really struggling with running them both about 12 months ago I seriously considered taking it in turns with them, and only running one at each trial because it just wasn't fair on them. Charlie was so hot and cold that whenever he was happy to run for the day I focussed so much on him that Delta kinda lucked out and had to find her own way around courses, and whenever he wasn't happy to run I made it worse by not wanting to run him and focussing on her. I managed to work through that though, and was able to look at each dog as individual and see their strengths and weaknesses and understand what each had to offer me out there to use.

#20 User is offline   Vickie 

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 04:45 PM

View PostDeltaCharlie, on 7th Jul 2010 - 04:00 PM, said:

I think that every dog is different and it is up to us to treat them as such. I don't think it is fair to expect one dog to run just like another to convenience us, we work with what they give us. ...

...I managed to work through that though, and was able to look at each dog as individual and see their strengths and weaknesses and understand what each had to offer me out there to use.


I think there is a fine line here. I don't want one dog to run like the other for convenience. I want the best I can get out of each of them. If I work with what they give me, then how do I ever seek to improve?

When I started running Shine, I liked the way she would drive ahead of me. I recognised it as a strength & something I want in a dog. Rather than recognising that Trim is different, I set about teaching her to drive ahead better. She is still not as good as Shine at it, but she is HEAPS better & still improving. Because I could compare them, I saw it as a weakness in Trim & have made an effort to improve it.

Same with tight turns. Trim naturally turns tight. Shine does not. Again Trim is still better at it, but Shine is much tighter than she was because I have spent a lot of time training it.

Shine has better weave entries. I thought Trim's were good, but knowing Shine's are better makes me realise Trim's still need work.

and so on.

Yes there are things we cannot change. But I would rather work on a weakness in training than try to run courses differently forever because of them.

(not saying you are doing this Bec, just trying to justify why I want mine the same)

This post has been edited by Vickie: 07 July 2010 - 04:58 PM


#21 User is offline   Kavik 

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 05:18 PM

I think the difference in size and stride may mean some things may never be the same. Kaos has a long stride and I have issues with off course obstacles that some others don't as he jumps big and lands far out. I really need to work on our tight turns as he is not good at this :rofl: He also has an early commitment point for tunnels. So I foresee that if I get another (smaller) Kelpie, this will take some adjusting on my part as I am used to a bigger striding dog.

#22 User is offline   Cosmolo 

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 10:22 PM

Thought i might ask how many of you or anyone else you know does much grid training and combinations similar to show jumping style training for your agility dogs? Having done agility a few years ago no one used to talk about it and i always wondered why we didn't base more of our training on show jumping type exercises. (as i come from a horse background)

Getting back into agility now and planning to experiment with some grids/ stride adjustment etc so would love to hear any thoughts on this and what you do. :rofl:

#23 User is offline   Vickie 

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 07:23 AM

Hi Cosmolo,
Most people who train agility seriously now do some form of gridwork both exposure grids & remedial grids.
I have a few different exercises I do to make sure they learn to judge height & spacing & to teach them to collect & extend at speed and will always continue to run these regularly.

I have never done any remedial gridwork yet to change a dogs takeoff point or arc, but many people do. I'm not a fan of remedial gridwork exercises until it is determined there is a problem. There is a trend to start a dog jumping with remedial type exercises & I think dogs need some time & experience to develop a confident jumping style. Most are capable of this without us changing where they take off before they have even learnt to jump.

This post has been edited by Vickie: 08 July 2010 - 07:28 AM


#24 User is offline   Agility Dogs 

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 07:24 AM

View PostCosmolo, on 7th Jul 2010 - 10:22 PM, said:

Thought i might ask how many of you or anyone else you know does much grid training and combinations similar to show jumping style training for your agility dogs? Having done agility a few years ago no one used to talk about it and i always wondered why we didn't base more of our training on show jumping type exercises. (as i come from a horse background)

Getting back into agility now and planning to experiment with some grids/ stride adjustment etc so would love to hear any thoughts on this and what you do. :rofl:


I started with a dog who is a natural athlete and though pffffttttt........Xena knows how to jump, I don't need to do that with her. (Didn't know what I didn't know.........Unconsciously incompetent.) At the encouragement of a couple of people I've since done a LOT of grid work with both my dogs and swear by it.

It teaches them to look for jump and understand how to jump. The result is that I have two dogs who over two days of competition will generally knock 3 bars between them if we have a bad weekend. I also think it helps keep them safer because they understand what it is they are doing in relation to take off and landing zones. - for me this is probably more important.

The other benefit is that I understand their take off and landing zones which helps me work on accel and decel cues.

Susan Salo's DVD's are a really good reference for this type of stuff.


Cheers

#25 User is offline   Agility Dogs 

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:26 AM

double post.

This post has been edited by Agility Dogs: 08 July 2010 - 08:26 AM


#26 User is online   DeltaCharlie 

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:44 AM

View PostVickie, on 7th Jul 2010 - 04:45 PM, said:

View PostDeltaCharlie, on 7th Jul 2010 - 04:00 PM, said:

I think that every dog is different and it is up to us to treat them as such. I don't think it is fair to expect one dog to run just like another to convenience us, we work with what they give us. ...

...I managed to work through that though, and was able to look at each dog as individual and see their strengths and weaknesses and understand what each had to offer me out there to use.


I think there is a fine line here. I don't want one dog to run like the other for convenience. I want the best I can get out of each of them. If I work with what they give me, then how do I ever seek to improve?

When I started running Shine, I liked the way she would drive ahead of me. I recognised it as a strength & something I want in a dog. Rather than recognising that Trim is different, I set about teaching her to drive ahead better. She is still not as good as Shine at it, but she is HEAPS better & still improving. Because I could compare them, I saw it as a weakness in Trim & have made an effort to improve it.

Same with tight turns. Trim naturally turns tight. Shine does not. Again Trim is still better at it, but Shine is much tighter than she was because I have spent a lot of time training it.

Shine has better weave entries. I thought Trim's were good, but knowing Shine's are better makes me realise Trim's still need work.

and so on.

Yes there are things we cannot change. But I would rather work on a weakness in training than try to run courses differently forever because of them.

(not saying you are doing this Bec, just trying to justify why I want mine the same)



Unfortunately, we have very different dogs Vickie :D Your guys live for agility, Charlie on the other hand would quite happily give it up :o So I am not going to change what he offers me, I would rather just run with what I have. He hates agility and stresses out so we don't do agility. We stick to jumping and games (coz I can make up a course to suit him and avoid contacts and weaves whenever possible) and I always go out there and work out a nice flowing run home if I feel I am starting to lose him. Delta is more than happy to run, so long as she doesn't have to sit at that dreaded startline :thumbsup:

For major things like you mentioned then yes I would be training the weaknesses too. If it is something that I see as an area to improve then I would be working on it at training. What I meant is that essentially they are all individuals and we will never be able to make them all exactly the same. We can teach them to run a different line but it will never become their natural line to follow so I think there will always be minute differences in handling even if we don't realise we are doing it. Take that serp you posted, now that you have taught Trim how to handle it she will be able to do it, but the next time you see it on a course you will still be aware (on some level of consciousness) that Shine will naturally do it but Trim will need to be handled at that point. With my guys I can run a distance section and not even think twice about sending Charlie out there, but I will still handle it a little more with Delta (and possibly give a verbal "out") even though I have taught her how to do it. I know that it isnt a natural thing for her so I will always handle it a little differently without necessarily trying to.

#27 User is online   DeltaCharlie 

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:58 AM

View PostCosmolo, on 7th Jul 2010 - 10:22 PM, said:

Thought i might ask how many of you or anyone else you know does much grid training and combinations similar to show jumping style training for your agility dogs? Having done agility a few years ago no one used to talk about it and i always wondered why we didn't base more of our training on show jumping type exercises. (as i come from a horse background)

Getting back into agility now and planning to experiment with some grids/ stride adjustment etc so would love to hear any thoughts on this and what you do. :o


We do some grid work here for a variety of reasons. Delta cannot bounce jump to save herself so we do extension and whatever the opposite of that is (my brain has gone blank :thumbsup: ) grids and she has improved heaps. She is being xrayed in a few weeks to rule out a structural reason for her not using her backend effectively, if that comes back clear then we will try and do some stuff to get her to jump from her backend better and stretch out over the jumps. Tammy has done some grid work with Link because she flattens out too much over jumps and knocks bars because she is too busy looking at the next jump coming up. She was also having trouble bounce jumping.

Charlie does jump grids but not to correct his jumping style. He does them because I will take any opportunity to do a short sequence for reward with him and if a grid is set up then it is a perfect chance for us to have some short fun in agility.

#28 User is offline   Tassie 

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 09:48 AM

View PostAgility Dogs, on 8th Jul 2010 - 07:24 AM, said:

View PostCosmolo, on 7th Jul 2010 - 10:22 PM, said:

Thought i might ask how many of you or anyone else you know does much grid training and combinations similar to show jumping style training for your agility dogs? Having done agility a few years ago no one used to talk about it and i always wondered why we didn't base more of our training on show jumping type exercises. (as i come from a horse background)

Getting back into agility now and planning to experiment with some grids/ stride adjustment etc so would love to hear any thoughts on this and what you do. :D


I started with a dog who is a natural athlete and though pffffttttt........Xena knows how to jump, I don't need to do that with her. (Didn't know what I didn't know.........Unconsciously incompetent.) At the encouragement of a couple of people I've since done a LOT of grid work with both my dogs and swear by it.

It teaches them to look for jump and understand how to jump. The result is that I have two dogs who over two days of competition will generally knock 3 bars between them if we have a bad weekend. I also think it helps keep them safer because they understand what it is they are doing in relation to take off and landing zones. - for me this is probably more important.

The other benefit is that I understand their take off and landing zones which helps me work on accel and decel cues.

Susan Salo's DVD's are a really good reference for this type of stuff.

Cheers



Good question, Cosmolo. And yes - attention to jumping style in a systematic way is something that has come into agility fairly recently.

I do some grid work with my mature girl - not as much as I should though (story of my training in general :D ), but I have been more careful with my young BC boy - have been using Susan Salo's system for him - with good results - not only is it about having the dog learn to jump correctly, but it's also about the dog learning to take jumps independently - so is in line with the general trend of agility training now, for the dogs to perform obstacles independently, in directions indicated by handler cue, which may be given from a distance - i.e. no need for babysitting.

AD -

Quote

Unconsciously incompetent
:thumbsup: Love it :D :o

#29 User is offline   Agility Dogs 

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 10:34 AM

View PostTassie, on 8th Jul 2010 - 09:48 AM, said:

AD -

Quote

Unconsciously incompetent
:thumbsup: Love it :D :o


:D Yep.

I am now proud to say that I have progressed to consciously incompetent in some areas (I at least know what I don't know!), verging on consciously competent in others.

#30 User is offline   ness 

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 10:48 AM

Another :thumbsup: for Susan Salo grid work from me. I don't do enough of it but intend on doing more. We did a little on Monday night (first time in a while) and it certainly paid off last night when I ran my youngster around a course. She was finding her line nicely.

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