The Agility Journal
There seem to be quite a few agility addicts on the forum so I had an idea tonight. I wish I'd started an agility training journal back when Fiona and I first started training. I'd love to be able to read back through our challenges, successes, and the whole journey. But I didn't start a journal then.
I thought it might be fun if we started a collective agility journal. DT members who are hooked on agility can come to this thread and post up-dates about their agility journey as often or infrequently as we want. I think it will be a good place to discuss all our agility experiences. I'm certain there's plenty I can learn from other agility addicts on here! :)
So here goes...
Tali and I had training last night and she really stressed out. The commotion is getting to her. She truly enjoys herself and has a blast when it's just she and I but the class setting is overwhelming her right now. She does okay if we just focus on one piece of equipment at a time but if we try to string a couple together it's too much. She doesn't like the other dogs running around and all the people running and noise seems to worry her. So we're going to slow it down. She needs more time to adjust.
I'm going to focus on desensitizing her to the commotion of agility. It's all going to be about having fun and learning to relax in that environment for a bit. She's a soft and sensitive girl and I want to make sure I don't kill the fun in it for her. She's already 3, so I won't lie - I'd love to get things moving for her but not at the expense of her enjoying herself. She's a sweetheart and we'll do whatever suits her.
Fi and I had class tonight and she was uh-may-zing. Everyone (me included) was a little blown away by how fantastic she's doing. She nailed the weaves tonight and we were doing some pretty cool and really fun jump combinations.
Sue, one of our trainers, talked me into trying Fi on the contact equipment again tonight (we had taken a couple weeks off to really drill 2o2o with flat boards) after she saw how nice our 2o2o was on the flat. Sooooo, I said okay. I was glad I did! We still need work but it's clear Fiona gets the concept now at least and she HIT HER CONTACTS ON THE TEETER, A-FRAME, AND DOGWALK!! Yahoo for contacts! :D
I should clarify though. We're not exactly brilliant with contacts (yet - teehee), she did miss a few times but she was great about back-chaining to show she acknowledged it should have been done. And we ended it on a high note after just a few quick attempts. Don't want to really start working the contact equipment hard again too soon. So, on the agenda this week is more contact work on the flat at home!
Also, working on turns this week. She's doing great but I don't feel so good about our rear-cross. I think sometimes I get jumbled and it throws her off a little. She'll kinda catch mid-turn like she's hesitating to make sure she 'heard' me right. So I need to work on that.
I'm ecstatic with our work tonight and her performance. She impresses me so much with how natural she seems with it all. Occasionally I get in yelled at by our trainer (playfully) because I stop to watch Fiona. LOL But she looks great and sometimes I'm amazed that's MY dog doing that stuff! And that apparently I somehow told her to do it! LOL Anyway...
So there's my first entry. I hope others join in. I really feel like I could learn a lot from reading first-hand accounts of what others are working on and experiencing.
Great idea! Are non-dobes invited? I have not been able to find somewhere to rant and rave about agility without feeling like I am taking over the place LOL. I'll start anyway, even though I am Doberless ;)
So there is sooooo much agility coming up! There are 2 ribbon trials this weekend (6th & 7th August), next weekend I am going to a two day agility seminar (13th & 14th August), then a weekend off (but I am going to Auckland for some dog training training lol), then the team trials for the National Dog Training Assembly (27th & 28th August), then a weekend off, then a 2-day champ show (10th & 11th September), then I am away for two weekends (Sydney partying and a field trip), then a ribbon trial (1st October), then my club is having a ribbon trial (8th October), then weekend off for my b/fs birthday and then, finally, it's the NATIONAL DOG TRAINING ASSEMBLY! I'm sooo excited! It's my first NDTA. It is a huge agility event run over 4 days, last year there were 4,000 dogs competing!
I am doing a lot of training with Schultz (the standard schnauzer), we are slowly becoming a great team as we get to know each other better, and I am having a lot of fun working with such a stubborn, silly dog. His contacts are pretty good if I remind him about them before going in the ring, weaves are okaaaay, but I do have to be careful with my timing when I send him in, can't get too close or too far, have to really remind him at the last few poles otherwise he does sometimes pop out. Schultz is such a FAST dog, he makes me think so quickly (and sometimes I get tongue tied and call the wrong thing out, or just call something out that isn't a word LOL), I'm sure once we have worked together more he will be even quicker, as at the moment he sometimes gets confused by me and spins and does silly things. We do lots of calming, self control things with Schultz, as he gets VERY hyped up by other dogs and when he loses his mind, it's gooone...
Have not trained with Dazzle in awhile as her owner has been ill, but I am going to try run her in half of the events she is eligible for, and let her owner run her in the rest, as her other dog is 12 and will be due for retirement soon... I don't want Dazzle too focused on just running with me.
I like your idea! We donít do agility so I have nothing to contribute, but will enjoy reading about the training
Disco - OF COURSE non-Dobes are welcome in the agility journal thread! :)
I'm glad you're contributing to it. I, too, want to talk about agility and our training faaaaaaar more than I get to so I thought here would be a perfect place. My friends and family let me go on for a bit before they look like they might quietly hang themselves, so really I need a new outlet for their sakes. LOL
Couple of quick questions...
1. What calming things do you do to help Schultz?
2. Since he's so fast what have you found helps his precision on contacts?
Please continue to update as you have time in your busy schedule!
Sounds like you are doing fantastic. great job in seeing which dog needs what (or not) and making them happy first and foremost. Flirt is a softer Doberman too. Havoc my young Vizsla is a typical soft Vizsla and lacks some confidence. My goal with those 2 is to just run and NEVER fix anything. It's hard sometimes. I also wind them up before with tug and then no matter what race to tug after a run.
I'm also working on collection cues and it's what we are working on in class. My Vizsla should not land and stride farther than my Dobe (who also doesn't collect great). I am trying to figure out when the dog has committed to a jump and give my next command then, NOT when they land. So far, I'm only getting them as the chest goes over the jump, still NOT soon enough, but better.
With Gabby weaves are our issue. I finally learned at our last trial I'm crowding in a trial. So I've paced off where I practice and am trying really hard to be in the same lateral spot when I practice at class too.
I also have trouble standing and not moving. I run Flirt and Havoc differently. Well I trained themn different, by shaping and standing and letting them figure it out. Every now and then I find myself standing in a run and not moving. Havoc then sniffs and Flirt starts to float away from me. I have the most beautiful runs at class when my instructor reminds me MOVE and MOVE :)
For Tali, can the other dogs be with handlers or in crates while you run, just for now? We did that for a mini poodle in one of my classes. He'd also get so wound up he'd run and bark fast in dogs faces (not a good idea) but it really helped him slowly learn to control himself with commotions.
I hope I'll be adding to this thread shortly :)
Riley will be starting agility next month. It is all brand new to BOTH of us. .
I am really excited ! !
Onto today's results! No video or photos though sorry!
1st run was a starters course. OMG I couldn't BELIEVE how PERFECT it was! I felt like I handled perfectly, crossed in the right places without getting run into (front crosses can be dangerous with Schultz if I don't run fast enough lol), he worked beautifully at a distance! There was 3 jumps then a tunnel then 2 jumps to choose from, he responded to my signals and screams and went the right way and then put himself into the weaves at speed. Very unusual for him. He was running a tiny bit slower than normal, but it was still very good. We came second out of 52 dogs! I couldn't stop grinning- so proud of that silly boy!
2nd run was a novice course. That didn't go too well... he was doing ok, nailed his contact, then just zoomed off head to the ground sniffing and ran out of the ring. Very unusual for him- turned out he hadn't pooped that morning and he doesn't like to poop with people watching so I took him for a quiet walk behind the trees and he did, then was well behaved again lol.
3rd run was Jumpers C. I was very nervous because of the jump set up, if you have seen the video of me and Schultz where I crash into him- it was that same set up. I managed to get ahead and fit in a front cross, then a rear cross after that jump, it was so great, he was so fast... everything was perfect... running down the last 3 jumps, I was out of breath and just pointed and said "go", presuming that he would run down that straight line of jumps, he ran right past one and we got a refusal! I was so mad at myself! Must remember to ALWAYS ALWAYS tell Schultz exactly what he has to do, he is NOT allowed to think for himself!
Got a trial tomorrow with the same courses, also an AD course (which is how you earn AD titles in NZ) which has a see saw, so wish us luck!
2) It can be luck of the draw sometimes! He wasn't trained in 2o2o, he "touches" at the bottom of the contact. If I just turn up and throw him straight on a course with a contact, he will probably miss it no matter what I do... He really needs me to give him a little reminder before, just on a board flat on the ground or something, tell him "touch it" and then release him. On course, for the A-frame I just have to scream at him to touch it and hope it works, for a dog walk or cross over, I tell him steady and motion towards the bottom and say touch it. Ideally he wouldn't need me there to baby him through the contacts, but he needs babying everywhere and I am fast enough to manage LOL.
Sounds like you two had a great time and enjoyed the course. Congrats on the placement. Good luck on the next one. Let us know how you guys do.
Oh and Dazzle got 3 clear rounds today! I only ran her in Jumpers C, had a lovely run, placed 9th or so (out of around 50) which was good. I run complete opposite dogs, Dazzle is slow and steady, Schultz is a crazy fast mad man! I am still having trouble getting Dazzle to pick up speed, the only thing that seems to work is if I just RUN way ahead of her and hope that she takes all the obstacles, I did it toward the end of Jumpers C and it seemed to work, I hate taking my eyes off her, but if I stay too close and talk too much she dawdles
vz, will i see you at the trial today in branchburg? im leaving in 5-10 minutes or so when lydia ever gets up... i didnt run berlin in class this week because ive been sick so lydia handled her (she's also handling her sunday at the trial) - apparently she may have a new better handler, because berlin ran the excellent course and rocked it, did some sexy moves and was awesome, nailed a hard weave entry every time... we shall see how the trial goes today.
So when Tali and I are on the floor, it's me, Tali, a trainer and usually 1 assistant. But there's a ring next to us with another dog, handler, trainer and assistant and they're running around working the same time we are. Some of the dogs get a little noisy in crates (of course), people are laughing and talking, the noise of some of the equipment, etc.
Tali's fine on leash with me around commotion (sometimes she'll even lay down and nap in a busy environment on leash with me). She likes to stay right by my side and observe. She's not comfortable being off leash around others and having distance between us. (Off leash just me and her (and Fiona), she's fine.)
I see the problem breakdown as this: she's a worrier, she's a pleaser/perfectionist, and she's very attached to me. She wants to keep watch on all the noises, people, dogs, etc. but she also wants to do things right and she's not accomplishing either. Commotion = stress, not doing things right = stress, distance from me in all the activity = stress, not being able to fully focus on either activity or getting things right = more stress
I completely relate to you crowding the weaves! I'm so bad about that! Also, I constantly have to remind myself to stand up straight. For some reason I crouch down sometimes as Fiona approaches equipment. LOL This tends to send her under the tire rather than thru it. Good job, me. :D
Glad to know I'm not the only one whose trainer has to yell to RUN sometimes. LOL Although, this isn't very fair, they also yell at me to "BE FASTER" because of how fast Fiona is...LOL...I'm afraid I can't do anything about the fact that she can outrun me! There are certain limits to having 2 legs vs 4. Which is why I'm working on our rear-cross because it's so useful with fast dogs.
Disco - CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Both on having a great run you feel good about and the 2nd place! That's amazing! Good luck on the trial today/tomorrow (whenever you read this :)). Can't wait to hear how you guys do again.
And congratulations on Dazzle's run too! 9th out of 50 is still pretty damn awesome! Do you enjoy having 2 opposite dogs to run (1 is UP and 1 is more easy going)?
Kim - good luck with Berlin this weekend (even though no chance you're reading this before the trial)! And I hope you feel better. Agility is not something I'd want to try when I'm sick. I'm already foggy enough in training sometimes when I feel great.
Even though my dogs and I do not do agility, well other than on our bush hikes. :) I love reading about it!
I kept breeding, showing and health 'journals' for years! great reference material!
Good luck to all who do agility and have fun!!!!!
Hey big congrats on the runs. Hope all goes well today. Let me know!!
I'm glad to see this thread here!
Elka and I need to do some work (and have a better fence at home! Oh yeah, and a better work schedule) before we can do Agility. If we get there, that is, I'm kind of a lazy homebody. But I really like reading about all of the dog sports that people do.
Back from the trial! Still don't know the results as I had to leave early, but it certainly was a fun day! Drove 1.5hrs out into the country, arrive at this place and there are horses everywhere (a measuring day for pony club or something), start worrying Schultz will want to eat one. Dark clouds are rolling in before we get started, about 5 dogs into the AD class, a strong gust of wind blows, hurdles fly off jumps, timers fall over, scribe tent goes flying... small dogs are almost knocked over... it starts raining... finally got that all sorted and I got in the ring with Schultz, he wasn't quite focused, knocked the second hurdle so that ended it for us (AD needs a clear round), so we just ran around and had fun, he got all 3 contacts (dog walk, A frame and crossover) and weaved nicely. Shame about the hurdle. Then had a novice run and he knocked another hurdle, but my handling was mostly nice... finished on a starters run, beautiful clear round, just one little issue where he almost ran past a jump as I wasn't fast enough LOL, when I looked at the score sheet when I left, we were still on the fastest time, so will know when everyone else gets back how I did! The wind was just awful to run in though, hair in my eyes, tumbleweeds blowing across the course, trying to yell at dog and getting a mouthful of dust.... Off to obedience now!
Love the idea of the Agility Journal.
How do I put 3 years in on a page? I have had Dobermans for over 30years now. 5 years ago I got a redhead whom I named Tamora. She was going to be my Obedience dog (she has her CDX) (is trained for UD-need time to try for it) and see how far we could go girl. Went to an obedience class and met a woman with a BC who who also did agility. She told me where she trained. I went and thatís` when my love for and our agility journey started.
I have learned and am still learning so much. I must say I am addicted. I love watching the sport and will spend hours at trials watching how other handlers run their dogs.
Anway fast forward to this year. May of this year Tamora got her Mach. She also is ranked #28 (Dobermans) for the 2011 season which started May1 2010 to April 30 2011. I never realized we had done so well and If I had known, I would have entered more trials, so that she could have made top 20 for the 2011 year.
Top 20 for 2012 has started this May 1 2011 and will go till April 30 2012. Tamora is currently ranked #7. She also has qualified for the AKC National agility trial in Nevada this year. Several of my friends as well as my instructor are going. I don`t think I will. It would be a very long drive, but I am pleased that we qualified.
We are at a trial this weekend. (3 other dobes here). I love it. Sometimes we are the only Doberman team entered in a trial so it is nice when others are here.
We are in a broken state right now. Sometimes that happens I know, but it is frustrating. Ran 4 runs so far and Q`d in 1. Handler error 2 of the times. (forgot to go to the table in a Standard run and in the other run I did not push in far enough to a jump for her to take it, so I will take the credit for those 2) The other one Ms. Tamora decided she had a better course to take. I would call it a little bit of a train wreck, but heck she had been waiting for many hours to run.
The one we Q`d in was fun and challenging. Had to jump the back side of the jump. We have been practicing this in class, but this is the first time we have had to do it in a trial. I have heard that we will be seeing more of this type of jump in trials. Less than half of the 24`s (height that we jump) dogs Q`d so we ended on a good note. One more day to go.
Now for Atlas, my intact doberboy. Atlas is in training and turned 2 in April. We have done no serious jumping with him until his growth plates closed. (around 18 months) (very important in my book)
He is very different from Tamora. He is always upbeat and definetly not serious like she is. Its all about fun for this red boy.
Atlas can do sequences and turns very well for a big boy. Distractions will be his issue. This playboy does not miss anything. I do feel his brain has started to arrive and we are making huge progress at this point in time. I feel his obedience training is a little bit ahead of the agility training and I think he would make a good obedience dog. Ob work is closer work and agility is more distance control which is the main differences right now. However I do have this love affair with agility going on. (doing both venues can be hard)
Anyway Atlas does all the obstacles and the thing we are working on the most right now is the AFrame and his 2 on 2 off contact. This will be so important for him because sailing off it can be a wonderful thing for him.
I am hoping he will start trialing next year. Formal class will start for him this Fall. I think he will be ready for that.
Thanks Bridgette for starting this, gives me a place to put my addiction with fellow addicts.:)
Congrats to you Alwayshadpets. Those are accomplishments to be proud of. Glad you shared your successes with us. :clap3:
Love this idea and it is very timely for us since we did a "drop in" to an agility class last week and it went so well we have been added to the class. I have been working with Sweep on her agility foundation for quite a while but due to her fear of other dogs, we have not been taking formal classes with other dogs. She is reactive when dogs rush at her, stare or she perceives they are out of control. She handled herself very well in the class setting and I look forward to helping her learn she can play it with me without fearing the other dogs.
I have a just over 2 yr old intact male running...I feel your pain. I swear in the last month (he turned 2 in Feb) another shipment of brains has arrived :)
Last day of the trial. 1 Q and 1 NQ. Not our best performing weekend but thats how it can be sometimes. Heck I used to remember not Q`ng at all some weekends. How spoiled we get.
Standard run was a doozy. From the table to the back side of the weaves with a tunnel calling in the background. Well the tunnel called. Even if that did not call Tamora the dog walk to the ending jump did. We have had a lot of these and well she loves to sail and forgets her 2 on 2 off. Back to the drawing board. No trial for 2 weeks.
Last run was jumpers and it was a dobermans dream run. Real flow and a dog could really open up. Best Jumper run I have ever run. Lot of fun and of course it showed we Q`d.
And we've also had a tunnel calling at the end of weaves too!!
If I had any brains (like my young boy ha!), I'd remember which judges had these types of courses. I did mention it to my instructor who know mostly does CPE and USDAA so we could practice in classes.
My dogs also struggle if there is a jump right after the dog walk...flying seems like a better option thatn 2o2o right?
Had our small show training class last night, I mostly did some work with Dazzle, trying to get her to pick up speed around the course and in the weaves (she CAN weave quickly, I've seen her do it, but usually she walks through). Tried big lead outs, but that often doesn't work because she looks around at other things and will go around the first jump, if I run really fast and keep well ahead of her it seems to work, makes me nervous she will go round a jump but she hasn't yet! As for weaving, she just cannot weave on the off-side, so we have decided to stick with having her weave on the left, it may mean throwing a front cross in before weaves now and then, but she is so slow that isn't a problem! I have found that giving her a lot of space in the weaves seems to help her speed up... Schultz mostly ran with his mum last night, as there is a show this weekend that I won't be at because the club has sent me away on an instructor's seminar, I had a little go with him and managed to get him comfortable with being back crossed on a see saw (he was turning around mid way before) which was nice!
Getting some great information here. We are in our first agility class and looking forward to all that is ahead. I have LOTS of work to do, but how fun! Keep up the posts.
This is great. Thanks for starting it. Pula and I are doing Ok with our agility classes. Pula loves to run and do the things, but I can't correct anything really or be too hard on me or she melts. It can be hard sometimes, but I am getting better. When we play and romp and are happy, she is good.
We have had ups and downs like you expect. Pula can't stay at the start in a stay without stressing out right now, so we have gone to holding her, or even having someone stand next to her. Otherwise she will follow me. We are working on contacts, to help her gain some consistency. Her weaves, when we do them are nice and even so far - very good.
I am enclosing two videos of our last practice before I went on vacation. This is the week after I pulled my calf muscle, so I was much less mobile. What I learned was interesting. I know in my mind that I have a tendency to chase Pula, since she is so fast. Having a gimpy leg made me think more and plan, and move less....like my instructor has been telling me. Pula did better when I was like this. So, funny how things work out. Now that hard part is to remember that now that I am almost healed up (about 70%).
I think maybe I will bring a notebook to class and keep a hard copy of the journal notes.
I am also about to bring home another agility dog, who I will start showing before Pula is ready. Spree is already trained by my agility trainer, and has finished 1st place in both of her shows so far, with only 1 NQ so far. What you get with a world champion agility instructor and a well-trained dog, I guess. I will start with her after she gets her NA shortly.
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