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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just wondered how everyone's classes are going. My instructor had me run Rio without hand signals and words last night. It was awesome! He actually ran faster just by my body language!! Woo who what a feeling! Now if Savannah could only figure out that she doesn't have to hang onto Mom sleeve when doing the weave poles. She gets a little ramped. lol.
 

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I'm going with Summer right now to our first classes. She's doing amazing and outdoing all the big herding dogs. Makes me proud. It's been loads of fun so far. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Go fly Summer!!! I love to see the teacups run. Some of them are super fast (especially Papillions! They are great little dogs!) We have a tiny (and I mean tiny) sheltie in our class that squeaks when he does the weave poles. He is a super fast little guy.
 

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We changed to regular class recently as my handling has really suffered just doing gamble class. It has been a blast. My instructor is young and fast and makes us RUN with the dog She doesn't like us to use directionals, only obstacle names and body language. Max adores her and even ran with her once so I could see how to reward him off the dog walk. Now if I could just conquer the dreaded front cross...........
 

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Webster's just in an introductory class...he will likely be done with formal agility for a while after it and concentrate on obedience which is, I think, more his forte. However, I think it's easier/safer to intro the dogs to some of the equipment when you have helpers, so that's why we are doing this class.

Kim's on her 4th agility class...first was a flatwork, then an obstacle intro, then starting to string together obstacles, and now approaching more of a course. Honestly, I'm really frustrated and not especially thrilled with the courses. Kim is doing well in that she enjoys it, but she suffers from my poor handling. My poor handling is mostly due to not being taught ANY handling what so ever up to this point. One instructor actually said "we'll worry about what you guys need to be doing later...we're teaching the dogs what to do first," which seems ridiculous to me.

Fortunately a few of my more experienced friends, doing a lot of reading, and applying what I do know have been helping me improve, which combined with meshing very well with Kim means I don't completely confuse my poor dog.

At least she's having fun though...since that IS the point :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I agree you have to get ahead of your dog and if your dog is fast and has a big stride it's really hard to keep up! Plus we as humans become befuddled lol!
 

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I think it all has to go together. My invisible usually perfect dog is really lousy at wraps for instance but my physical dog does them just fine. You cannot do everything without the dog. It is fun to play around with arm postitions, facing the dog and facing away and how early your cues need to be. A lot of how the dog does this stuff is instinctual not taught. WE have to learn that stuff and it is an amazing journey.
 

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Right but I mean things like...say crosses. Kim and I did crosses because we just kind of made stuff up because we needed to switch sides. I am yet to hear the word "cross" used or any suggestions on how to go about one yet.

Most of the classes also teach the One Indoctrinated Way of doing an obstacle. You can *do* it other ways if they respect you enough as a trainer to not demand you do it there way, but you will never get a suggestion on another way to do anything.

No mention of body language at all until now...I had an advantage there from working with horses for years and having to learn a lot due to Kim's early issues, but there would be people essentially body-blocking their dog out of the weaves and they would just be told they need to keep saying "weave"...even though the dog didn't know what that meant.

Anyway, sorry I'll stop ranting now lol. I do actually like a few of the instructors...just not the curriculum and style of class.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Webster's just in an introductory class...he will likely be done with formal agility for a while after it and concentrate on obedience which is, I think, more his forte. However, I think it's easier/safer to intro the dogs to some of the equipment when you have helpers, so that's why we are doing this class.

Kim's on her 4th agility class...first was a flatwork, then an obstacle intro, then starting to string together obstacles, and now approaching more of a course. Honestly, I'm really frustrated and not especially thrilled with the courses. Kim is doing well in that she enjoys it, but she suffers from my poor handling. My poor handling is mostly due to not being taught ANY handling what so ever up to this point. One instructor actually said "we'll worry about what you guys need to be doing later...we're teaching the dogs what to do first," which seems ridiculous to me.

Fortunately a few of my more experienced friends, doing a lot of reading, and applying what I do know have been helping me improve, which combined with meshing very well with Kim means I don't completely confuse my poor dog.

At least she's having fun though...since that IS the point :)
I understand your frustration but please don't give up. If Kim really enjoys it than move forward. It is like learning to dance sometimes you step on your partners feet! Your handling techniques will improve it just takes time. Have you ever seen any of the clean run magazines? They have some awesome practices for handling . (And you only need one jump)
http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=447
 

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I understand your frustration but please don't give up. If Kim really enjoys it than move forward. It is like learning to dance sometimes you step on your partners feet! Your handling techniques will improve it just takes time. Have you ever seen any of the clean run magazines? They have some awesome practices for handling . (And you only need one jump)
http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=447
Yeah I've read a lot of Clean Run (online subscription), watched endless hours of championship dog runs, plus my usual study into learning theory...and of course, most valuable, I just love working with my dogs. I have no intention of stopping something Kim so obviously loves. We really aren't as bad as I probably am making us sound; I just have high expectations for holding up my end of the conversation. Kim can mess up, goof around, etc., and it doesn't bother me at all...generally just makes me laugh (provided she's not interfering with anyone else).

But you asked specifically about the CLASSES and well...I'm just not impressed with them lol. The greatest value we derive from them is practice working in a high-distraction environment, which is good but not an area with which she struggles.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Right but I mean things like...say crosses. Kim and I did crosses because we just kind of made stuff up because we needed to switch sides. I am yet to hear the word "cross" used or any suggestions on how to go about one yet.

Most of the classes also teach the One Indoctrinated Way of doing an obstacle. You can *do* it other ways if they respect you enough as a trainer to not demand you do it there way, but you will never get a suggestion on another way to do anything.

No mention of body language at all until now...I had an advantage there from working with horses for years and having to learn a lot due to Kim's early issues, but there would be people essentially body-blocking their dog out of the weaves and they would just be told they need to keep saying "weave"...even though the dog didn't know what that meant.

Anyway, sorry I'll stop ranting now lol. I do actually like a few of the instructors...just not the curriculum and style of class.
You are already ahead of the game! However not everyone in your class would understand what you see. That is why your instructors are taking it slow. Be patient they will get to the front crosses and the body language. First they have to address the really "green" beginners in your class. Watch and learn from the others mistakes in your class. Having worked with horses you will be able to pick it out. (Just like the weave poles.)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You're welcome! I have two instructors for my advanced classes and both of them are excellent. But they both have different teaching styles. Last week the other instructor had me using sweeping hand signals (I tend to be a little too abrupt in my hand signals). She wants me to smooth out my style. It did help immensely. While the instructor this week had me run Rio without hand signals and verbal cues. I learned some wonderful things from two great instructors. In fact my one instructor went to the nationals. He didn't win but both of his dogs did great. He is going to Sheltie nationals in Georgia. I wish him only the best of luck!!!
As far as the beginners class with Savannah this will be our third round. I know that she is just not ready. She doesn't have the focus down yet. I am willing to wait for her to figure it out. We as partners are still stepping on each others feet!! lol
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Anyone else?
 

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We had our last class of our Novice 1 session this week, and after Easter we will be starting Novice 2. It is going SO WELL... it's starting to feel like "real agility" in that we are doing a lot more sequences. Last week we did jump-teeter-tunnel-weave-table, which was AWESOME. Libby loves the A-frame the best, and if she is feeling particularly excited she will take off and do it instead of the obstacle I indicated :rolleyes:

We are learning a ton of handling techniques - post turns, lead out pivots, front and rear crosses... 99.9% of the time, if Libby makes a mistake, it was my handling that was to blame because I got confused! LOL

The other dogs in our class are doing well. I'm learning a lot just from watching them. We have a border collie that is absolutely brilliant, but his handler is an older woman (60's) so he runs slowly. We have a GSP mix whose handler is awesome, but the dog lacks drive. And we have a little poo mix who is quick, but he got spooked on the teeter and hasn't recovered since... he won't do the a-frame, teeter, or dog walk at all any more.
 

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Sounds fun, Squeeker!

And we have a little poo mix who is quick, but he got spooked on the teeter and hasn't recovered since...
That happened to Kim as well, though, during her second agility class (obstacle introduction). We are still working on recovering from it, but after a couple months she will now go over it at a low height. We're just taking it really slow to build up her confidence...one thing that helped was getting a piece of 2' x 4' plywood for home and putting it on the floor...getting her used to that. Then putting a plush toy under it, then a small ball, then a piece of pvc...etc. Just getting her used to have a moving surface under her feet in a safe, relaxing environment.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That's why I'm taking my time with Savannah too. Rio had a really bad "fly-off" on the teeter. He is still afraid. I do not want to make the same mistake with Savannah. Right now she just loves the teeter. Just have to slow the girl down or she will end up with a fly-off and become scared too. I just figure it is easier to take small steps than to have to go back to square one. Oh well live and learn I guess.
 

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Hi everyone,

I just loved reading everyones posts and hearing how everyone is doing. I will give a quick update on Voodoo and I. I apologize for no post last week, I was filling in for someone else at work and did not get a chanceto log on here. So, last week went ok, not great. Voodoo had some focus issues but did work every obstacle for me. She actually loves the obstacles. It is just in between she loses focus. Also last week she got jumped by the GSD in our class. This dog zoned in on her and it was all over. Voodoo was fine. The woman came and got her dog. The instructor had her take her away for a few minutes and walk her. We just stayed far far away from each other. I was told this dog did it to two others the week before. Anyways, I was pretty bummed out with everything that happened last week. So all week we have worked on focus and worked on some of our make shift obstacles at home. As well as stopping at a contact point. So fast forward to this week. LOL I brought better treats - seems the ones I use at home were not working in class. LOL Voodoo was awesome. Her focus was most of the time on me. It was an incredible transformation. Even others in the class commented on it. So, we first worked the tunnel from each side. Then we moved to the chute (it was our first time at the chute) She did great. Then we moved to the jumps. I am so uncordinated. Poor Voodoo I know if I could get my cordination she would do much better. We worked on front crosses and post turns. While at the jumps the german shepherd out of no where zoned in on Voodoo and this time pinned her to the ground. She was just looking up like - Get this thing off me. She was fine and the lady got her dog. She apologized and said she normally doesn't do that. The instructor talked with her about her dog and then we got back to work. She later came and apologized again and said that her dog used to play with a neighbor dog that looks like Voodoo and that they played together for months but then her dogs lip accidentially got bit when they were playing and now she attacks that dog, so they can no longer play together. I just so oh I see and went on. I mean I was not mad or upset it happened. I understand, things happen. Voodoo is fine, what else could I do in that situation? I think I will ask to be switched groups. Any ways we moved on to the weave poles which are actually just like two rows of poles with a fair distance in between just to get them to go threw the poles. I hope that makes sense. Well at end was a jump too. I was so proud of Voodoo she ran through the poles and across the jump. The instructor came over and told me Voodoo is going to make a great agility dog. That just made my night. LOL We practiced having our dogs beside us and doing our turns. Then we moved over to practice the contact stopping at the end of a contact. The instructor then commented on how fast Voodoo will be as well. LOL It just felt so good. We have a long way to go, this is just the intro to the stuff, but we are already loving it.

Sorry to have wrote such a long post - but THANKS for letting me share! :D

P.S. One of the main issues I am having is holding the leash in the opposite hand as the dog is on. Does that make sense?
 

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Stupid teeter! I asked Max to do a 2o2o when he isn't supposed to do one as he doesn't put his weight on his rear enough to hold the board down, sure enough the board rose up and broke his rear dewclaw. I stopped doing classes with a teeter for a year. I had just thrown out my 6' board I had had for years and years because he had always been solid on it. I built a pretty 8' teeter with PVC base and sand painted board and all.

Last night class wasn't so good. It was very windy and Max #1 gets freaked by wind, #2 we arrived late, #3 I staked him instead of crating him,#4 he was hungry as I had fed him early on Tuesday and I am sure I can come up with other excuses with time. At the end of class we ran 3 jumps in a row were supposed to stop even with the last jump and the dog was supposed to curl in to us with no cue. Mr Mama's boy couldn't do it. He is so used to all my jabbering! I am going to attempt to shut up this week when working with him at home. Oh well, I was able to move away from him while keeping pressure on to take that jump out there which was the point of the sequence we were working on. And I did a bazillion front crosses and I can walk this morning, maybe I am doing them better now.
 

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My sister and I have started back on Agility training with Remmy and Mikey, our two Shih Tzu x Maltese. They had some training last fall and are doing pretty well at it. The classes we are going to we do not have an instructor but we did classes in the fall with a really good trainer. Unfortunately, her classes were a little too advanced at the time for our two and we were having to push them too hard and having to expect them to do more than they were ready for. So, we have started back just making it lots of fun for them. We can go down on our own any time and use the equipment so we have been doing that, plus going to the classes. When we go on our own, we just bring out a few pieces of equipment and practice on them, then use all the equipment at the classes when there are more people to help us set up and take down the equipment. I take Susie with me and practice with her. at the classes and on our own. They are having a Fun Trial on the 26th of this month and we are trying to get all three ready for that. I have to work on the three jumps in a row as Remmy looks to me after a jump and if I am not quick enough to signal him to carry on, he comes towards me just enough to miss the next jump. I know it is my handling because if I do it right, so does he. Also, if I don't take a pretty good lead-off on the first jump he gets past me too fast, then looks back and again misses the jump.
 
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