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joie de vivre
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last night in training Tali and I had a scare. A Dalmatian running the course adjoining ours came through the dividing fence for the 2 rings and tried to attack Tali, nearly getting me in the process when I put myself between them.

It got me wondering, for those of you who train in agility in group classes, how are your training sessions constructed?

How many rings are set up? How many dogs are running courses at a time? What kind of thought is given to the layout of equipment in each ring?

Accidents happen but I really feel like the lay out of each ring encouraged the situation. The Dal was coming off 3 jumps facing Tali and I running away from him out of the tunnel. And the timing of where we both were on our respective courses instigated a chase.

Anyway, I'm trying to brainstorm ideas on how to better prevent this kind of thing from happening again so I can make some suggestions to our trainers at the club. I'd appreciate any feedback/input.
 

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Oh man, what a bummer! That sounds so scary for both of you! How is Tali doing? I hope it won't have a lasting negative impact for her. And I hope you are ok too!

I currently take privates so am not faced with this situation. The drawback is that there are not the same level of distractions we'll face at trials down the road. Where I trained in NJ it was foundation classes and we were all in one large room, with sections of the room dedicated to certain equipment/activities. Many dogs were still on leash so the risk of a dog taking off was pretty low.

I will be interested to hear other inputs though. I'm so sorry you and Tali had to experience that and hope it never happens again!
 

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That had to have been scary. Perhaps if they could come up with a divider/fence that was higher than a dog could jump. Also make everyone sitting around ringside watching have their dogs on leashes.


There was an incident at Dream Park a couple of months ago. A dog in one ring was running his course at the same time in the next ring a dog was running. At one point one dog left his ring and ran into the adjoining ring and joined the other dog in a tandem A-frame exhibition.
 

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Oh wow, how frightening! All of our previous training was done with only 1 dog in the ring at a time (except beginners... we were all in the ring but dogs were leashed).
I'm now doing privates, which is nice. We start a group class in May at a new training center, and all dogs are in the ring but only 1 runs at a time typically.
 

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Poor tali and you! How scary, this is why I like solid and appropriate height divider panels between rings if there are to be two+ rings whether a trial or just class. The building we train at has approx. 5-6 ft solid panels to split the huge space into 2 rings. They can't see each other, nor jump over them.
I especially love it right now because if another dog barks, mabel can't see them so it's easier to regain her focus and train her on distractions.

Here's the panels in a video
ThinkPawsitiveDog - YouTube
 

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joie de vivre
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Holy crap, that's no good :( I'm glad you're both okay.

I don't do agility, but I was under the fairy tale impression that it was one dog at a time, in one ring, and that having something like parallel courses would instigate something like...well, this.
In the lower level classes we start working the dogs on leash with the room divided so they get used to other dogs and people being out and running around a little, the noise of the equipment, dogs barking (I swear to God every Sheltie at my club barks non-stop while they train - I welcome an ice pick in my temple).

The idea is that while on leash you can work with them and desensitize them to the high distraction, intensely active environment. It's great for working on focus for agility. This is the first real problem I've encountered or witnessed.

But, yeah. Still you've got dogs running and working in pretty high drive and some of them that are fairly high strung can be harder to direct/re-direct than others.

Oh man, what a bummer! That sounds so scary for both of you! How is Tali doing? I hope it won't have a lasting negative impact for her. And I hope you are ok too!

I currently take privates so am not faced with this situation. The drawback is that there are not the same level of distractions we'll face at trials down the road. Where I trained in NJ it was foundation classes and we were all in one large room, with sections of the room dedicated to certain equipment/activities. Many dogs were still on leash so the risk of a dog taking off was pretty low.

I will be interested to hear other inputs though. I'm so sorry you and Tali had to experience that and hope it never happens again!
Tali is fine. :) My heart was in my throat and I was visibly shaking when the adrenaline started wearing off a few minutes later. LOL But Tali was basically unfazed.

The Dal literally plowed right through the fence, taking all of it crashing down, and he charged her, coming up right behind me, while she was on the dog walk. She jumped off (thankfully it wasn't full height), tucked her nub and ran away from him. He was so fast, I barely realized what was happening before he was nearly on top of her. He cornered her against the chute and, silly girl, she play bowed at first but he lunged forward and snapped in her face.

She spun around and tried to run from him again when he did that and he leapt forward again after her rear, mouth open. I was hauling @ss to get to her - they had made it across the room from me and the trainers at this point. All I could see was Tali's little left leg extended out as she was pushing to take off running and his mouth open wide with these huge teeth going right for that little leg. His mouth seemed enormous in that moment.

I barely got to her in time and slammed my right leg down right in front of his face and in between them. I don't know how he missed biting me. I heard his teeth clap together as he jumped when he hit my leg. It gave Tali just enough time to make it about 5-feet away and 2 trainers made it to us and were on top of him while he was trying to scramble around me. I finally had a chance to run to her and grab her.

She was fine. LOL She was running away so I grabbed her by her rear and she spun around to me and immediately sat while I took her by the collar. I was just holding on to anything on her that I could, making sure she was firmly in my grasp. She didn't struggle at all though. She just sat there. LOL So I praised her heavily and gave her some treats. I had her do some little things to redirect us both - shake, down, sit, a little bouncy heeling, lots and lots of praise and happy voice.

The Dal was put up and the trainers wanted to end on a good note for Tali (she's been nervous about the dog walk some so it was just our luck he came steamrolling down on her while she was on the dog walk). So we ran thru the chute a few times - she loves the chute and it's always a party for her. And then we approached the dog walk and she blew my mind. She did it with ease and made her contacts perfectly several times in a row so we ended with that.

She's a good, stable, easy going girl. She literally didn't miss a beat. My heart was in my throat the rest of the night though. I just kept replaying his mouth coming so close to her leg in my head all night and thinking of how bad it could have been. Tali won't start a fight and she sure won't raise a dog that challenges her, but if he'd have gotten ahold of her she'd have defended herself. It was scary but we got super lucky that's all it was.

I get shaky retelling it. I'm just so relieved and thankful she's okay physically and that it really didn't bother her at all. It scared the bejesus out of me though. I would have been devestated had anything happened to her.

That had to have been scary. Perhaps if they could come up with a divider/fence that was higher than a dog could jump. Also make everyone sitting around ringside watching have their dogs on leashes.

There was an incident at Dream Park a couple of months ago. A dog in one ring was running his course at the same time in the next ring a dog was running. At one point one dog left his ring and ran into the adjoining ring and joined the other dog in a tandem A-frame exhibition.
That's one problem with our dividing fence - it's not a true barrier. It's open fencing so the dogs can see through it and it stands with weights keeping the poles upright so it can be knocked over with relative ease by a decent size dog. The height isn't bad, but the dogs don't have to clear it - they can (apparently) plow through it.

Any dog that's not on the floor working is required to be crated ringside. So that helps prevent problems should a dog leave their ring and just go ringside.

Oh wow, how frightening! All of our previous training was done with only 1 dog in the ring at a time (except beginners... we were all in the ring but dogs were leashed).
I'm now doing privates, which is nice. We start a group class in May at a new training center, and all dogs are in the ring but only 1 runs at a time typically.
The class I'm in now with Fiona runs one ring, one dog at a time and that's helpful but it's more advanced than Tali's class and there are fewer dogs in it. The class Tali is in is one that usually weeds people out. They try it and then drop agility after because they're not progressing or they don't enjoy it, so I think the 2 rings is somewhat because of class size and somewhat an attempt to desensitize the dogs to working with another ring in progress next to them.

Poor tali and you! How scary, this is why I like solid and appropriate height divider panels between rings if there are to be two+ rings whether a trial or just class. The building we train at has approx. 5-6 ft solid panels to split the huge space into 2 rings. They can't see each other, nor jump over them.
I especially love it right now because if another dog barks, mabel can't see them so it's easier to regain her focus and train her on distractions.

Here's the panels in a video
ThinkPawsitiveDog - YouTube
Thanks for the video link! I'm going to forward the panel suggestion to the agility chair at my club. Something like that would be sooooo helpful.
 

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Putting up cloth or a tarp or something similar could be a cheap, quick fix until something more permanent can come along. Just to block the line of sight between the dogs :) Then nobody has their prey drive going bananas while they're trying to work.
 

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Putting up cloth or a tarp or something similar could be a cheap, quick fix until something more permanent can come along. Just to block the line of sight between the dogs :) Then nobody has their prey drive going bananas while they're trying to work.
Yup! That's exactly what the panels in the video I linked are, it's a pvc frame with tarps hung tightly from the corners.
They're lightweight so they need some weights during trials and high energy classes and a trully determined dog will get through, but without being able to see each other I have yet to hear of or see one try it! The height is great too!
 

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I dont' want to breed bash but I find it interesting the last dog fight at a local PE trial involved a Dal, I knwo 2 other local Dals who have to be watched carefully and should NOT be running and yet another Dal that went after af riend's ACD at class last week!

We have a small class with 1 instructor and 5-7 dogs. All dogs are friendly for the most part. We had one toy poodle who was an ASS and no one could be out while he ran and she could not let him out. My instructor won't tolerate aggressive dogs per se though. Only one course is ran at a time.
 
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joie de vivre
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I dont' want to breed bash but I find it interesting the last dog fight at a local PE trial involved a Dal, I knwo 2 other local Dals who have to be watched carefully and should NOT be running and yet another Dal that went after af riend's ACD at class last week!

We have a small class with 1 instructor and 5-7 dogs. All dogs are friendly for the most part. We had one toy poodle who was an ASS and no one could be out while he ran and she could not let him out. My instructor won't tolerate aggressive dogs per se though. Only one course is ran at a time.
I will say this...growing up 2 of my best-friends had Dalmatians as family pets. One of them was hardly a family pet. He was highly aggressive and no one was allowed to interact with him other than my friend's parents.

The other Dal was as sweet as could be until she was about 3-4 years old. Then she became very moody/touchy and it progressed into being very untrusting and aggressive. They had her to the vet constantly, just sure something might be hurting her or she was sick. They never found anything. They put her to sleep when she was 6 due to escalating aggression even after consulting numerous trainers and trying many methods.

One of my favorite obedience trainers at our club shows and breeds Dals in AKC and her's have all been lovely dogs but she is very experienced in obedience and the Dal breed, so I think perhaps that's a good combination in her case.

But most of my experiences with Dals are that I don't generally trust them. I've seen some highly dog aggressive Dals and some highly human aggressive Dals. I've met far fewer I'd describe as stable, friendly dogs.

To be completely honest though, in all my interactions with Dalmatians, I really know very little about the breed and what it's intended temperament is. Although I am very curious now.
 

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Wow. Reading your recount of what happened has me nearly shaking too. I can imagine just how awful and scary that must have been. Sounds like you did a great job of refocusing her afterward and that your girl has a wonderful temperament. What a great recovery to finish with such a successful run on the dog walk. Good girl Tali!

I hope your trainer addresses the fencing divider issue ASAP. And hopefully that Dalmation won't be returning!!
 

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I will say this...growing up 2 of my best-friends had Dalmatians as family pets. One of them was hardly a family pet. He was highly aggressive and no one was allowed to interact with him other than my friend's parents.

The other Dal was as sweet as could be until she was about 3-4 years old. Then she became very moody/touchy and it progressed into being very untrusting and aggressive. They had her to the vet constantly, just sure something might be hurting her or she was sick. They never found anything. They put her to sleep when she was 6 due to escalating aggression even after consulting numerous trainers and trying many methods.

One of my favorite obedience trainers at our club shows and breeds Dals in AKC and her's have all been lovely dogs but she is very experienced in obedience and the Dal breed, so I think perhaps that's a good combination in her case.

But most of my experiences with Dals are that I don't generally trust them. I've seen some highly dog aggressive Dals and some highly human aggressive Dals. I've met far fewer I'd describe as stable, friendly dogs.

To be completely honest though, in all my interactions with Dalmatians, I really know very little about the breed and what it's intended temperament is. Although I am very curious now.
Glad to hear you guys are ok, first of all! This thread has got me curious too now. In my 15 minutes of speed research(lol) it's looking like aggressiveness in dalmatians is uncommon but is seen more frequently in poorly bred dogs(surprise surprise). We can maybe blame some of that on the 101 Dalmatians movies.

I have only known one, when I was a kid my neighbour had one. He was generally a good dog and I liked him, but I do remember one instance when I was at the playground next to the dog's house, and he was outside. I was quite young, maybe 8 years old, and wanting to play with him. I think I may have been teasing him without realizing...I had a stick or something and was getting him worked up but wouldn't throw it...anyway those details are hazy but I distinctly remember at one point he snapped and started chasing me, chased me up the ladder of a slide and even tried to follow me up, growling and snapping his teeth. I was by myself and started crying at the top of this 12ish foot slide, and I think I must have just waited there until he went home...scary thing for a little girl, but I don't remember being afraid of him after that, and I know he was generally friendly. Odd memory.

Anyways I don't want to make assumptions, lord knows all us dobie owners should know better, but it is interesting that several people have similar not-nice experiences with them. Anyone on here who has good experiences or has owned a dal that could chime in? I hope this isn't dragging things off topic!
 

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Oh God, what a situation (the full description). I definitely agree blocking line of sight is something you should strongly suggest. I'm glad that Tali was cool about everything, though. So, where was the Dal's owner/handler through this, anyway? Agility is a place of speed and emotional revving, though, I guess maybe I should be surprised I don't hear about this kind of thing more often?

I have limited Dalmatian experience. One of my aunts had a friend with one when I was little, and I got to go visit puppies once. My fiance's family had one for awhile (She's since passed). She'd been rescued, literally, at a gas station, and for the first few months they had her, she was apparently jumpy and touchy. One night, my fiance's dad went past her to go to the bathroom (she was sleeping in the hallway) and she came up off the floor at him. Half asleep himself, and reacting, he actually knocked her out. When she came to, she was sweet as pie, and continued that way for the rest of her days :confused:
 

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joie de vivre
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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Glad to hear you guys are ok, first of all! This thread has got me curious too now. In my 15 minutes of speed research(lol) it's looking like aggressiveness in dalmatians is uncommon but is seen more frequently in poorly bred dogs(surprise surprise). We can maybe blame some of that on the 101 Dalmatians movies.

I have only known one, when I was a kid my neighbour had one. He was generally a good dog and I liked him, but I do remember one instance when I was at the playground next to the dog's house, and he was outside. I was quite young, maybe 8 years old, and wanting to play with him. I think I may have been teasing him without realizing...I had a stick or something and was getting him worked up but wouldn't throw it...anyway those details are hazy but I distinctly remember at one point he snapped and started chasing me, chased me up the ladder of a slide and even tried to follow me up, growling and snapping his teeth. I was by myself and started crying at the top of this 12ish foot slide, and I think I must have just waited there until he went home...scary thing for a little girl, but I don't remember being afraid of him after that, and I know he was generally friendly. Odd memory.

Anyways I don't want to make assumptions, lord knows all us dobie owners should know better, but it is interesting that several people have similar not-nice experiences with them. Anyone on here who has good experiences or has owned a dal that could chime in? I hope this isn't dragging things off topic!
I don't mind things going off topic at all.

It makes sense that temperament issues are a problem among poorly bred Dals. I can't attest to the quality of breeding of the 2 Dals I knew growing up, or the Dal from last night. But the obedience trainer at my club who breeds them breeds ethically and shows and her dogs are a pleasure to be around. So it could very well be the age-old problems with poorly bred dogs vs well bred dogs. Makes sense to me!

Oh God, what a situation (the full description). I definitely agree blocking line of sight is something you should strongly suggest. I'm glad that Tali was cool about everything, though. So, where was the Dal's owner/handler through this, anyway? Agility is a place of speed and emotional revving, though, I guess maybe I should be surprised I don't hear about this kind of thing more often?
The Dals owner is an older woman and, honestly, she can't keep up with her dog. She's just not in any physical condition to be trying to run him and I've thought that since the first night she was in class - long before the incident last night. Maybe 15-years ago she could have handled him, but not as old as she is now.

I really couldn't tell you if she even attempted to get to her dog. I was so focused on making it to Tali and keeping him from full on attacking her that I couldn't tell you what anyone else in the room was doing until 2 trainers were on top of the Dal and I finally had ahold of Tali. It was only then that I really paid attention to where anyone was. Still yet I didn't pay attention to the Dal's owner until one of the trainers came to talk to me and check to make sure he didn't get Tali; it was then she told me the Dal was crated and I saw the woman standing near the crates on the far side of the room from us.

She also left immediately after class and didn't look at me or say anything. I thought that was kind of poor behavior on her part. I'm sure she was embarrassed and upset but I'd have liked to talk to her and see if we could do some work with them outside in the exercise areas with a real fence between us. If she does return to class I'm going to request we do just that as soon as I see her otherwise I'm not comfortable being in class with her dog and I doubt anyone else will be either now that the dogs knows he can plow through the fence free of injury.

Also, new barriers are need pronto. It would be a vast improvement if the dogs at least couldn't see each other.

One plus though is in a couple weeks Tali and I will advance out of this class and move into the next level of classes that have one dog at a time working. But I still firmly feel the barrier issue needs to be addressed. The next time it happens all parties involved may not be so lucky.
 

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I'm glad that you and Tali are okay, but I strongly think that aggression should NOT be tolerated in a class.

Our agility classes have been off leash for about 4 months, I think? Just last week a male Dal tried to attack another male dog in our class. There were 7 dogs that week, I believe. We were split up, doing exercises, I think the border collie that got attacked was doing channel weaves and the Dal was running a small course one station over, while Niz and a chessie were doing front cross 180s a station over from the BC. The attack was very much vocal and while the BC didn't react or get hurt, the owner managed to yell and scare the Dal away. The Dal's owner is an older woman not in any shape to run after her dog and get him back and has SO little control over him in general. He's the dog that runs around with a toy completely deaf while we all grab our dogs and crate the reactive ones. He's charged up to Niz several times, but has always backed off luckily. The Dal's owner didn't even apologize to the BC's owner, and was just a nervous wreck for the rest of the class session and ALL the dogs in class were just nervous and soft after that incident. I emailed the instructor with my concerns and she said she's talked to the Dal's owner and has taken care of it. Taken care of what? :confused: I really like the instructor otherwise, and she always lets new people in the class know NOT to let their dogs anywhere near Niz because class is the one place Niz ignores other dogs and is completely unreactive no matter how close they get to him, and one incident has the potential to change that. The BC's owner and I have felt uncomfortable about the Dal and his owner for a while, though.
 

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Just a note about Dalmations. They are very prone to deafness. Good Dal breeders will normally do BAER testing on their breeding dogs, and avoid breeding even unilaterally deaf dogs. BYB's sometimes don't even know that deafness is a risk, or else they will breed a deaf dog anyway.
 
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