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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I haven't posted for quite some time and never in this topic. But my pup is 9 months old now and LOVES agility. She is really good at it. We just came home from our 4th session and she has conquered all the obstacles. Her only handicap is me.

My question is, though, isn't there a 'ringside' standard of behavior? Some darling little yappy thing persisted in growling at my dog until my dog finally growled back. I immediately corrected her. I had no place to move away. The other dog's owner made some mewing sounds to 'correct' her dog.

I am concerned that the 'mean dobie' gets labeled when in fact, the gal with the snappy little dog should have made a major correction.

The instructor said to me on an aside that its good my dog 'gets used to it' now because if we ever competed (not on my bucket list - I do this for fun) she would get exposed to that all the time.......funny. My dog stopped as soon as I told her to do so. Not so the yappy dog and the lab in the class who was behaving obnoxiously, just not directed at us.

Is that for real? I do pursue this for my dog's entertainment more than mine but I'm not sure I'm going to do so if my dog doesn't feel safe and I'm losing the fun with worrying about others controlling their dogs.

Sorry for venting. Thanks for any input.
 

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Well that's the way it is. There are a lot of posts on here about exactly this. It isn't restricted to agility or any other place, it is about the bigger versus the smaller dogs. Small dogs often have owners who allow bad behavior. People who have both sizes are more diligent. But your instructor is right - get used to it.
 

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I had a toy fox terrier bite Bacchus on the front leg as we were headed to the ring.

I had a woman come out of the ring with her aussie who had just been whistled off for attacking the dog that was leaving the ring and place her agitated dog withing 2 1/2 feet of Bacchus who was calmly waiting to move to the ring entrance.

Bacchus and I have stood many a time in the middle of a sea of whacko border collies being worked up to run by their equally whacko owners.

And don't get me started on the gauntlet of crate crazies that you and your dog have to navigate to enter or exit the crating area.

Welcome to agility!!!!! LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sigh. Thanks. It seems that there are some rule changes needed. If a dog can't do the course with enthusiasm without being out of control, it shouldn't be allowed to run the course. Its being rewarded for its bad behaviors. But I'm an 'outsider' looking in and like I said, was just doing it for my dog and I to have fun.

I did learn what I needed, though: if I were to drive to another group, it would be the same.

My dog is from working lines and it could be easy to train her to the fight response. But that isn't our lifestyle. However, she'd probably like it as much as agility....ummmm...thinking

Thank you all very much.
 

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What you have described you are going to find anywhere there are people with dogs. Obedience, Confirmation, Out in public etc.

You just have to be aware and prepared. I would also add that you and your dog will have to get use to Joe Public not always being responsible, sad to say, but that is just the way it is.

If you are in a class setting, normally there are checks in place. Dogs on leash, in contol etc. At least where I go there is.

I wanted to also add I hope you are not jumping your puppy at full height yet. Wait until the growth plates are closed. (better safe than sorry down the road)
 

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I would think in a class situation, your instructor would have better control over the participants. Our class has an area along a fenceline with tie out stakes to tie out your dog, so people sit with their dog when he/she is not on the course. In a beginner class....I'd bring a soft sided crate and crate your dog when not working. Your instructor should step in and tell everyone to control their dogs imho! I do not think that the answer "that's just the way it is" is good enough.

I'm very mean to people who let their dogs get out of control! I've had to tell off a Cavalier King Charles owner at an agility trial who was letting her dog wander 6' over and sniff at Cheers belly as I was about to enter my course to compete. This moron was chatting and hovering at the gate entrance to the 24" jump height (obviously NOT her portion of the class). I had to grab her dog's leash and walk sideways hauling her dog back to her with Cheers' leash in my other hand. Her answer was that her dog was an alpha bitch? What? Guess what lady, so is my 68# Doberman!

This week I was a bit mean to an Aussie owner at obedience class who let her dog dash over during the sit stay line up to sniff the rear of a sweet Flat Coat two times in a row....and once with her standing in heel position next to the dog! This wild dog was 2 dogs away from Cheers about to be left for an out of sight sit stay. Basically I told the lady to put a leash on her dog and control it or 1/2 the group was leaving the stays. The owners of the three Papillons in the groups were as worried as I was but chose not to say anything in public. I tend to advocate in a Momma bear kind of way for my dogs and in the past, for my kids.

So- even though you may run across rude dogs, inconsiderate people at agility- I think in your class situation, you should expect to have a positive experience. Talk to your instructor about your concerns and ideas of handling this better in the future. My class does separate the dogs when not working, and the group that likes to let theirs play off lead after class is over does so after I have my dogs out of the field. I don't let Cheers or Wally participate in that kind of free for all. In the long run, the typical get used to it attitude I find inconsiderate and probably why I have no aspirations above Novice level titles for my dogs.

* I agree with alwayshadpets that your dog should be doing no height (poles on ground)or 8" jumps at this point until growth plates are closed. I don't think we did equipment like A frame full height until my dogs wer over a year or so as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A nice answer. Thank you. I just have to take my mean pills before I go. I think people are stupid who let their dogs misbehave and I try to avoid stupid people. However, if I'm going to let my girl enjoy herself with the obstacles I'll have to have a strategy. Thank you.

I do appreciate the comments about protecting her growth plates. We have the 'jumps' lowered to 4" so there is no real jumping going on.....she does do the walk, etc... because she is truly a natural. I have had to use treats and touching to slow her down. If I turn her loose in the room, she'll do a course on her own. She just learned the chute last night. It was her 4th class.

Of course, I looked out one day and as a 6 month old, she had climbed a stack of hay and was happily on top of it (about 15' up.) She also regularly jumps herself into and out of water troughs....about 2 1/2 feet high. She will also 'fly' off of the porch. I have explained to her that she shouldn't be jumping and work to slow her, but, as with the hay (no she didn't jump off at 15', she climbed down to about 4' before jumping off.....) she finds things to do....

right now she has jumped up on my bed and is cuddled in my vacated spot....

But thank you. It does concern me and is more controllable in the agility class than at home!
 

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I have no aspirations above Novice level titles for my dogs.

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Once you get out of Novice and away from the type of classes that attract "pet people" (no flames please), the dogs are better behaved, not so distracted to other dogs. Not that there aren't moments but they aren't a constant thing.

AND in Novice, you find a lot of people who may not go any further and don't really train their dogs that well. It's still very new to the dogs and humans as well. In excellent, I find myself with others that I have been trialing with for the past 10 years. We've learned how to control our dogs(not that they're perfect) and watch out for others.

Ellen, I quarantee a better experience for you if you stick it out till you get to Ex. The Novice ring can be kind of crazy.
 

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The judge will whistle a dog off the course if it is out of control and the owner is oblivious. Normally if a dog (esp. excellent) is not working as a team the handler will automatically remove the dog from the course. I've hauled Bacchus off many times. I refer to it as the walk of shame.

Ignorant owners are everywhere.......you just learn to be proactive and pay attention to what's going on around you and your dog.
 

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Just my two cents, but I'd find a new instructor and one who does not tolerate bad behavior. Not all dogs are perfect :) However, serious behavior issues such as growling and aggression should be addressed. Maybe the owner can crate her dog in between runs and only have her dog out when her dog runs, etc.

I've never been in a class when that has been tolerated. yes, it has happened and owner and instructor immediately put together a plan of action to prevent it from happening again.

When I'm at my limit and a dog is growling, I sometimes passive aggressively say to my dog - DON'T GROWL BACK I don't care what THAT dog is doing! Typically it is easier to move if I can. And I won't hesitate at this point (after 8 years in the sport) to tell someone if their dog is eyeballing mine or growling.

You might also consider looking at an instructor who provides foundation work rather than a class just to get on equipment. The equipment really is the easy part :) and sounds like your Dobe is doing great! BUT the hard part is where many instructors fail. And that is how to get from one obstacle to the next.

When I start my dogs, it is literally MONTHS before we get ON any specific agility equipment.
 

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My experience is that if there are 2 dogs (V is usually not involved ;)) that are not working well at the same time - there is some controlled unleash work done. In the instance of the Belgium Malinois who truely believed tha the Boston - Dolly - needed to be dinner - they worked on separate schedule, ie one was crated while the other worked until the Belgium decided that Dolly was no longer food :)

All dogs are crated if they are not working - no matter what. Although there are multiple dogs in class. . . if your dog doesn't have the ob skills to participate without causing chaos -they (the dog & owner) are required to take the control unleased class offered by the club. Vader went through their control unleashed class a few times. He now has a solid recall - we often still play the look at that game. I learned some wonderful things in that class.

Vader was not thrilled with the new aussie in class last night. He had a run in with an aussie a few months back (long story - so he's not a fan of the breed) He totally shut down and was not interested in the teeter. So we played look at that and did a bunch of sits, stands and downs so that he was able to work while the dog was in his area.
 

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. In the long run, the typical get used to it attitude I find inconsiderate and probably why I have no aspirations above Novice level titles for my dogs.

Ellenm I am so sorry you are having such bad experiences with agility. I have never had any real issues.

You know what scares me more, is the long sit and down out of sight in open (OB). I have known dog aggressive types that have gone in to the ring and that really worries me.
Last year at Nationals I left Tamora in a sit and another bitch came up and got in her face (not a good thing to do with her) I was lucky she ignored the bitch and the very savy judge went and got the offending bitch by the collar until we were called back in. This could have been a not very good outcome.

The owner of the bitch said her bitch had never done that before. It still scares me when I think about it.

Than I have Atlas coming up, a very happy mellow intact fellow, but I don`t think he would back down to another dog either. Agility does not worry me as much as Obedience does. Just my thoughts.
 

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I run into those type situations everywhere not just agility. Usually loose small dogs running barking/growling at us. But if my dog was doing that believe me Animal Control would be at my house saying I had a vicious dog. The larger dogs may be loose and coming toward us but normally not barking/growling.

A lady at class is always driving me crazy trying to let her male shepherd and kyrah greet on leash. I tell her no all the time. A week or so ago she tells me "oh, you just dont want anyone to think you have a bad dog if something should happen." And I told her "no, I would just prefer to be safe and know that nothing will happen." I prefer to keep her next to me in all outings. She is not free to roam. This is not a time for play except for with me. I prefer to not put her into a position that something even could happen. Yes, sometimes you just have to say what is best for your dog and really not care what the other person thinks or feels. I get harrassed also by the instructor since I have decided to take Kyrah off the contact equipment. We are going to do just JWW. Well, glad to say that this week I started a new class!! Same club just different night! I have had this instructor before and glad to be back in her class! :)
 

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A lady at class is always driving me crazy trying to let her male shepherd and kyrah greet on leash. I tell her no all the time. A week or so ago she tells me "oh, you just dont want anyone to think you have a bad dog if something should happen." And I told her "no, I would just prefer to be safe and know that nothing will happen." I prefer to keep her next to me in all outings. She is not free to roam. This is not a time for play except for with me.

Good to be upfront. I usually tell others in the class that I don`t allow visiting with my dog, he/she is here to work and needs to focus on me.
No one is offended and usually everyone else does the same. I think they like the idea, especially any nubies.
 

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A lady at class is always driving me crazy trying to let her male shepherd and kyrah greet on leash. I tell her no all the time. A week or so ago she tells me "oh, you just dont want anyone to think you have a bad dog if something should happen." And I told her "no, I would just prefer to be safe and know that nothing will happen." I prefer to keep her next to me in all outings. She is not free to roam. This is not a time for play except for with me.

Good to be upfront. I usually tell others in the class that I don`t allow visiting with my dog, he/she is here to work and needs to focus on me.
No one is offended and usually everyone else does the same. I think they like the idea, especially any nubies.
I agree with you guys about class time being for focus on me. I am part of the game. If V doesn't want to play with me then it's back to the crate. I have told others that he isn't allowed to play or meet others in class. Sometimes I get a weird look but most who have trained dogs understand.

I hate the comment but he's just a pup and wants to play. Ah no. Your intact little dog trying to jump on the back of my Doberman isn't playing. I nicely told her he isn't allowed to socialize during class. I also told her that while v is tolerant of other dogs. Some dog breeds have male/male or female/female aggression issues and she should be careful. There is a first time for everything. He is in our rally class. Is I think 7 months old and will be shown in conformation which is why he isn't neutered.
 

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... I do appreciate the comments about protecting her growth plates. We have the 'jumps' lowered to 4" so there is no real jumping going on.....she does do the walk, etc... because she is truly a natural. I have had to use treats and touching to slow her down. If I turn her loose in the room, she'll do a course on her own. She just learned the chute last night. It was her 4th class.

Of course, I looked out one day and as a 6 month old, she had climbed a stack of hay and was happily on top of it (about 15' up.) She also regularly jumps herself into and out of water troughs....about 2 1/2 feet high. She will also 'fly' off of the porch. I have explained to her that she shouldn't be jumping and work to slow her, but, as with the hay (no she didn't jump off at 15', she climbed down to about 4' before jumping off.....) she finds things to do....

right now she has jumped up on my bed and is cuddled in my vacated spot....

But thank you. It does concern me and is more controllable in the agility class than at home!
OLD THREAD - I KNOW.

The thing about controlling the jump height is that in agility we are asking our dogs to perform, often without giving them ample time to get up to the best speed/position etc. A dog running and jumping alone without direction from a human is likely to stop when tired and will also plan what they are doing (as much as a dog can plan). When we are teaching rear crosses and LOPs, we tend to have a dog that doesn't understand what is needed and will suddenly be presented with a jump to perform, possibly with misplaced feet. This sort of thing more than anything else causes injury. That's why handling should be taught on the flat or with 4" jumps, until the dog understands what is expected and the human has learned how to cue with sufficient time for the dog.

I hate seeing a dog performing a full-height AF at a decent speed and the owner step in front to force a 2o2o - loads of sudden pressure on the front end (ugh).

I want to see photos of Whisper now!!
 
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Just my two cents, but I'd find a new instructor and one who does not tolerate bad behavior. Not all dogs are perfect :) However, serious behavior issues such as growling and aggression should be addressed. Maybe the owner can crate her dog in between runs and only have her dog out when her dog runs, etc.

I've never been in a class when that has been tolerated. yes, it has happened and owner and instructor immediately put together a plan of action to prevent it from happening again.

When I'm at my limit and a dog is growling, I sometimes passive aggressively say to my dog - DON'T GROWL BACK I don't care what THAT dog is doing! Typically it is easier to move if I can. And I won't hesitate at this point (after 8 years in the sport) to tell someone if their dog is eyeballing mine or growling.

You might also consider looking at an instructor who provides foundation work rather than a class just to get on equipment. The equipment really is the easy part :) and sounds like your Dobe is doing great! BUT the hard part is where many instructors fail. And that is how to get from one obstacle to the next.

When I start my dogs, it is literally MONTHS before we get ON any specific agility equipment.
I would say this comment is very important for a young dog also.
Correcting the dog for growling (rather than preventing a growl as Adara is saying) could cause problems later on, as the dog may in the worse case just skip to bite.
I never ever have a problem asking other owners to sort their dogs out, I think it's important for the development of a balanced dog for a puppy to be set up for success rather than failure by owners that are too stupid to sort their dogs out themselves. Small dog owners can be a real pain in the butt.
Some people are just plain rude.
 
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