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Discussion Starter #1
So it's probably a stupid question and an easy answer but how the hell does someone who is 6ft train a toy size or small dog to heel?
With my current dog all I have to do is extend my arm and place the food in his mouth but obviously if there's a 4 foot height difference between me and the dog how am I meant to do that lol... I ask because I plan on getting a smaller dog next so need to know how to do it :p

Do people just drop the treat instead? or get on all fours or crouch and teach?

Feel free to laugh at me for asking such a question :redface:
 

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Formal heeling would be with a spoon of peanut butter but for LLW I drop a treat on the ground at my side although both Bucky and Ginger are perfectly able and willing to stand on back legs or jump to get the cookie from my hand.
 

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FYI - there are NO stupid questions. Everyone has to start somewhere, and we're very happy to answer any type of question so as to make sure that people get the right information! ;)
 

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There are various ways to do it.

Denise Fenzi teaches a hand target sort of. With a larger dog you would have your hand right on their nose, but with a little dog you hold your hand as you would for a big dog and teach them to follow it even though it's above their head. Then bend down to reward.
 

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Basically you just cry because it sucks.
 

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One of the big things people with larger dogs don't think about (and even Hank at 25 lbs doesn't have this issue) is that a lot of toys are VERY foot sensitive and do not (rightfully) want to be anywhere near your clumsy feet. And they often react very fast to you leaning over them. Keeping them in a heeling position is very very hard.
 

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One of the big things people with larger dogs don't think about (and even Hank at 25 lbs doesn't have this issue) is that a lot of toys are VERY foot sensitive and do not (rightfully) want to be anywhere near your clumsy feet. And they often react very fast to you leaning over them. Keeping them in a heeling position is very very hard.
Yeah, Denise Fenzi has actually posted about this a lot since she got her chixterrier. She said he also has more issues going away from her (like building distance to sends around a cone) than her larger dogs, and she's talked to others with the same issue. At one point I think she was doing an FDSA class about dealing with the challenges of small dogs specifically, but I don't think enough people took it.
 

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Distance is also definitely harder with most small dogs too.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I want a Standard or Miniature AKK next so not exactly a toy but still a small dog for me lol...

Do we know why they struggle with creating distance? I guess that makes it hard to do agility?
 

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One of the big things people with larger dogs don't think about (and even Hank at 25 lbs doesn't have this issue) is that a lot of toys are VERY foot sensitive and do not (rightfully) want to be anywhere near your clumsy feet. And they often react very fast to you leaning over them. Keeping them in a heeling position is very very hard.
YES.

That weird picture of Kylie from the trial was because I stepped toward her. She was beside me, looking up, happy, and then I stepped in and while I stepped in to get her to move you can tell from the look on her face she was all OMG ACK. And while some people line their dogs up by having them move between their feet (I do Molly) Kylie won't. Kylie is very, very not interested in being stepped on and very worried about being. So she comes to front and then I lead out.

She is great on leash but against my side? No way. I mean I guess I could, but she'd have a nervous breakdown.

She's gotten better about distance, but if you think of it in terms of stride her going three obstacles ahead or even two is a lot more 'Kylies' than 3 obstacles are for Molly. She had to gain a ton of confidence with it first, though.
 

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I want a Standard or Miniature AKK next so not exactly a toy but still a small dog for me lol...

Do we know why they struggle with creating distance? I guess that makes it hard to do agility?
It can go either way with agility, frankly. On one hand, they won't leave you in the dust and zoom off to take obstacles without you. The foot sensitivity also makes it really easy to alter their paths by creating distance and pulling them in, or stepping into their path to push them out.

On the other, depending on venue, you can REALLY slow the dog dog because there are few people who are as fast as their dog.
 

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I want a Standard or Miniature AKK next so not exactly a toy but still a small dog for me lol...

Do we know why they struggle with creating distance? I guess that makes it hard to do agility?
Well they still do agility just fine but small dog handlers often run with their dogs vs send them. There are small dogs doing gamblers and nadac just fine. I feel like it's a combination of things. One being a big dog is 'out' at a distance 1-2 strides from you. A little toy dog has to really commit to many strides (6-7+) to get to the same spot. So they have to be SUPER confident in where they're going. Same with regular agility obstacles. The good is you have extra strides to handle but the bad is they have extra strides to doubt where they're going.

I also think a lot of toy dogs in particular are companion dogs and don't have the same forward drive/obstacle drive in general. In my experience their whole world revolves around you and they like to keep you in sight moreso than some other types of dogs. Of course there are less drivey big dogs and more drivey little dogs but you get that less drive PLUS more strides and it can be an ordeal to teach.

With Hank distance hasn't been a thing I've had to teach at all. It's naturally just working as he gets experience. With Summer and mia it was a huge weak spot.
 

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I feel like for most people just getting into agility, they're almost better off with a lower drive dog who wants to stick close, just to be blunt. I mean you might not light the course on fire, but you've got a great dog to learn your end of things with.

Not that they should avoid bigger/faster dogs if that's what they want, it just - for me, at least early on - is very much get a dog you like and want and then do agility, you'll figure it out.

Rather than getting a dog with too much eye toward agility. Totally huge dogs and dogs who might have structural problems from the activity are about the limits of what I'd avoid. And, okay, I might avoid scent hounds, because outdoor trials and I like my dog in the ring.
 

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There's a wonderful series of DVD's called Small Dog Fun which is geared toward competition obedience training for small dogs. First one concentrates on the novice exercises, including heeling. There's also a book by the same authors, who are very experienced and highly successful in both obedience and agility. Even if you are not interested in competition, there is a LOT of great information there.

DVD: https://www.caninetrainingsystems.com/product/V-OB-DAR-C-N/Small-Dog-Fun-Competing-with-a-Small-Dog-Novice-Obedience

Book: https://www.caninetrainingsystems.com/product/B-SMALL/Competitive-Obedience-Training-For-The-Small-Dog


DVD is also available through Bowwowflix.
 

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I wish I could post the facebook video on the papillon agility page of the one handler handling her border collie and her papillon. The papillon actually ended up with the faster time (barely and probably only because of no teeter on that course. The teeter screws small dogs over every time if you try to compare to large dogs). But it was neat watching how different she handled them. Everything from lowering her arms so they're in eyesight for the small dog, running more with the small dog, difference in crosses, even turning the dog different directions. One AKC nationals course this last year was interesting to watch. Every > 16" handler turned their dogs one way, every >12" handler handled the turn the opposite way. 16" went either way.

Hank is a very fast smedium dog. It is pretty much perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I feel like for most people just getting into agility, they're almost better off with a lower drive dog who wants to stick close, just to be blunt. I mean you might not light the course on fire, but you've got a great dog to learn your end of things with.

Not that they should avoid bigger/faster dogs if that's what they want, it just - for me, at least early on - is very much get a dog you like and want and then do agility, you'll figure it out.

Rather than getting a dog with too much eye toward agility. Totally huge dogs and dogs who might have structural problems from the activity are about the limits of what I'd avoid. And, okay, I might avoid scent hounds, because outdoor trials and I like my dog in the ring.
I want to start agility but IDK if my dog will be great for that because he's fearful of people so unless we get 1-1 and the trainer will work on building a bond with him first then it's a no go for my current. I mean he's like you describe, hates being away from me so he'd be good from that aspect but then he gets way over threshold when I get him to go over a jump lol.... He's got the basics to make a nice beginner agility dog but also some horrible traits that make him very unsuitable.
 

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I want to start agility but IDK if my dog will be great for that because he's fearful of people so unless we get 1-1 and the trainer will work on building a bond with him first then it's a no go for my current. I mean he's like you describe, hates being away from me so he'd be good from that aspect but then he gets way over threshold when I get him to go over a jump lol.... He's got the basics to make a nice beginner agility dog but also some horrible traits that make him very unsuitable.
Yeah. Ironically my Border Collie is about to go on agility hiatus to deal with behavior/temperament issues that may or may not keep her out of the game permanently. She's great at agility but she's got some fear and reactivity issues that, if I slipped in managing her even a little, would get her kicked out of a trial and the organization (their definition of aggressive dog is barks and lunges and without contact necessary). That's fair since it would mess with other dogs, but it still may not ever be resolved enough for her to compete. It happens. Which is sort of what I meant with that. Make sure you have a dog you will like and want to have around and live with if they don't make it in the sport, rather than getting a dog JUST for the sport, if you follow.
 

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Yeah. Ironically my Border Collie is about to go on agility hiatus to deal with behavior/temperament issues that may or may not keep her out of the game permanently. She's great at agility but she's got some fear and reactivity issues that, if I slipped in managing her even a little, would get her kicked out of a trial and the organization (their definition of aggressive dog is barks and lunges and without contact necessary). That's fair since it would mess with other dogs, but it still may not ever be resolved enough for her to compete. It happens. Which is sort of what I meant with that. Make sure you have a dog you will like and want to have around and live with if they don't make it in the sport, rather than getting a dog JUST for the sport, if you follow.
Makes perfect sense, I planned to do agility as a way to wear him out and do more doggy things but it wasn't a must for me. I'm happy doing obedience in the house/empty field or chilling at the moment because he's very unstable at the minute *sigh*. I did get a dog to make me more social to be honest but again that hasn't worked but I don't hold it against him or try and force him into that because it wont work.

It's a bummer but hopefully I can get another dog to do social things or sports with and he can be my one to one dog but again, might not turn out social and I've got two pains in the bums to love :p
 
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