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Discussion Starter #41
Laurelin, I can definitely attest to the value of a good trainer whose methods are similar to your own. Kit and I had hit a major plateau with our old agility instructor and getting into the new class sent us rocketing off it. Like Mia, Kit has intense drive which is not matched by other dogs in our class. Our old instructor wanted me to take that drive down a notch. Our current instructor is teaching me how to harness it. In my case, both instructors were highly qualified with gobs of titles on their own dogs (including nationals titles) and others that they've instructed. But only one of them is someone who can teach (me) effectively, and implements training methods that I can get on board with.
 

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I'm still looking for that sort of class...just training on my own in the meantime...and retraining poor Kim since her group class seriously lacked in fundamentals, though you'd never know it to look at her most of the time...

Anyway, I am pretty much the worse videographer ever. Mira had 3 runs tonight -- the first one I left the camera running and ummm filled the whole memory card (oops) so I deleted it to make room for the two later courses figuring 2 > 1 (wooo look at the math skills!). Got the second one on vid. The third one was the most crazy course, heavy on Euro influence so with some interesting jump wraps and jump pushes...and I thought I'd turned on the camera but apparently I missed so all I have is a 2 second video of my shoe when I went to turn OFF the camera and turned it on...grrrrrrrr. Her handling of that course was NICE too... :(

Anyway, here's the one vid I did get, such as it is. Mira's first ever agility class...
 

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In other news I am retraining Kim's weaves (one could say, I am actually laying a proper foundation finally) from the ground up...already seeing an improvement in desire/confidence so here's hoping. Taking it slowly.
I actually signed up for a 2x2 weave class that starts next week. I also am going back to laying a better foundation lol. I wish I would have known of my trainer NOW before I went to my old trainer...

Also, Mira looked great for it being her first class!! I am sure she will do awesome at her first trial.

I'm going to a TDAA trial this weekend, there are 6 standards and we only need 4 for our Championship Title... I'm hoping to get atleast 2 this weekend. I would love 4, but with TDAA I never know what the weekend will be like. Everyone keep their fingers crossed, I just want to finish TDAA and move on! Lol
 

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We're taking a break from formal agility classes to practice on our own. We've been working TONS on weaves, but I'm scared to introduce all of them! We have 6 down, fast, with some pretty difficult entries, and with obstacles before and after. We've also proofed it a bunch at different locations. How do you know when you're ready to move on?

Anyway, I've also been trying to find a new trainer, but I'm coming up with nothing. It's so frustrating! A bunch of the places I've looked at are more "agility for fun," including, to a degree, the place we were at most recently. Now we're at a new place that seems ridiculously harsh, but has a reputation for producing some awesome agility dogs. So annoying! It may just be the class we are in that's harsh (different people teach the agility classes - this is a basic obedience class, needed to be passed before agility), but I'm not sure.

For now, I will live vicariously through you all and your agility triumphs! I have no idea when we'll be able to take classes again...

But we are working on the Susan Garrett Recallers course, and it's awesome! Hopefully it will help us with focus - it already has helped with recall itself!
 

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Also, Mira looked great for it being her first class!! I am sure she will do awesome at her first trial.

I'm going to a TDAA trial this weekend, there are 6 standards and we only need 4 for our Championship Title... I'm hoping to get atleast 2 this weekend. I would love 4, but with TDAA I never know what the weekend will be like. Everyone keep their fingers crossed, I just want to finish TDAA and move on! Lol
Thanks :) I let her do a couple jumps and two weave sets today and she was like "OMG YAY! Back in my familiar place! On grippy grass!!!!" lol She was definitely holding back last night, and that she double-strided some weaves showed her lack of confidence in the footing there. but yeah for a first time in a new place, first time in a class, very different environment...I am very very happy *grin*

Good luck at TDAA!

We're taking a break from formal agility classes to practice on our own. We've been working TONS on weaves, but I'm scared to introduce all of them! We have 6 down, fast, with some pretty difficult entries, and with obstacles before and after. We've also proofed it a bunch at different locations. How do you know when you're ready to move on?
If she's that solid in various places I'd say you are more than ready to move on from six and probably could have a while ago.

Personally once Mira was doing six solidly I just added the whole second set of six, with a gap between the two sets. Rewarded in between and sent to the next set, then just rewarded at the end. Then moved the two sets together. She actually weaves 12 poles by herself on accident when she shot away and did a set I had up for Kim and Web when she'd only even done a set of six once or twice...and she did them perfectly...but we went back and kept laying the foundation to be sure she understood what she was doing. Just adding the example because it's amazing how well they generalize when it's been built up...but at the same time I wouldn't stay at six any longer than you need to.

I can't remember if the above is the way Garrett does it or not...I just did what worked for my dog.
 

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If she's that solid in various places I'd say you are more than ready to move on from six and probably could have a while ago.

Personally once Mira was doing six solidly I just added the whole second set of six, with a gap between the two sets. Rewarded in between and sent to the next set, then just rewarded at the end. Then moved the two sets together. She actually weaves 12 poles by herself on accident when she shot away and did a set I had up for Kim and Web when she'd only even done a set of six once or twice...and she did them perfectly...but we went back and kept laying the foundation to be sure she understood what she was doing. Just adding the example because it's amazing how well they generalize when it's been built up...but at the same time I wouldn't stay at six any longer than you need to.

I can't remember if the above is the way Garrett does it or not...I just did what worked for my dog.
I think that's what Garrett does, but don't quote me on that, LOL.

I'm just so paranoid. I've had to re-teach so much stuff with her, hahaha. Though today in our yard she was skipping out early for no apparent reason, so maybe we're not as solid as I thought. But only at one specific entry is she doing it... It's one of the "easier" entries, too. It's bizarre. So maybe I will train that entry a bit better over the next week, and add the other 6 after that is secure.

Mira looks GREAT, BTW! It looks so effortless between the two of you. Fantastic to see!!!
 

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Well good luck :)

It doesn't *feel* effortless lol...she was holding back a bit in the vid because of the new place and the mats being a bit slick...normally it "feels" like I'm working my butt off lol. She is fast but doesn't have enough experience to really find and hold a line lol. I'm using to Kim, with whom I learned everything so we run together more on instinct and muscle memory than anything else...I think "go there" and she understands...so I have to keep reminding myself that Mira needs to be supported a bit longer before she commits, needs a bit more clarity to really give her confidence...then I ended up doing a late FX because I was more worried about supporting her working ahead and around a jump standard...lol...she's a BLAST to run and I am so excited for when she really takes the bit in her teeth (so to speak) no matter where we are...and gains that confidence and understanding to move out...just keeping everything fun and letting her learn at her own pace because it will be so worth it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #48
We're taking a break from formal agility classes to practice on our own. We've been working TONS on weaves, but I'm scared to introduce all of them! We have 6 down, fast, with some pretty difficult entries, and with obstacles before and after. We've also proofed it a bunch at different locations. How do you know when you're ready to move on?
I was told that it can be harmful to stick with 6 for a very long time because the dog comes to expect 6 and will pop out at the 7th poll when you try to introduce a second set. I was encouraged to move to 12 pretty quickly after mastering 6, and I'm not sorry for doing it. Kit's weaves are great, particularly compared to her classmates'. Our classes start with 5mins of weave practice (dogs are at varying stages of weave training - some with guide wires, some channels, some successfully doing 6), but Kit and I work mostly on start line stays during that time because she's so much weaker there.
 

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Laurelin, I can definitely attest to the value of a good trainer whose methods are similar to your own. Kit and I had hit a major plateau with our old agility instructor and getting into the new class sent us rocketing off it. Like Mia, Kit has intense drive which is not matched by other dogs in our class. Our old instructor wanted me to take that drive down a notch. Our current instructor is teaching me how to harness it. In my case, both instructors were highly qualified with gobs of titles on their own dogs (including nationals titles) and others that they've instructed. But only one of them is someone who can teach (me) effectively, and implements training methods that I can get on board with.
I really like that this trainer focuses on the individual dog even though it's a class. She teaches contacts and obstacles differently depending on how fast and how big/small your dog is. she is the first instructor I've had that has successfully taught toy sized dogs to high level. (Her sheltie is less than an inch taller than Summer as is).
 

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I was told that it can be harmful to stick with 6 for a very long time because the dog comes to expect 6 and will pop out at the 7th poll when you try to introduce a second set. I was encouraged to move to 12 pretty quickly after mastering 6, and I'm not sorry for doing it. Kit's weaves are great, particularly compared to her classmates'. Our classes start with 5mins of weave practice (dogs are at varying stages of weave training - some with guide wires, some channels, some successfully doing 6), but Kit and I work mostly on start line stays during that time because she's so much weaker there.
Huh. OK I think we should maybe start with 12 sooner, rather than later. We've been on 6 for a looonnng time! I guess I was so paranoid about not teaching the entries correctly... We usually don't do weave training every day, though, if that makes a difference. Usually every other/every third day.

Our weave training at our previous class was weird (as in pretty much non-existent LOL), so we learned them on our own. And now that we're not even in agility class anymore, I sort of just kept them static I guess (though she definitely still has TONS of drive, so not static in her performance at all).

Now I just need another 6 from somewhere, LOL. Time to break out the PVC pipe cutter, I suppose!
 

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Discussion Starter #52
I really like that this trainer focuses on the individual dog even though it's a class.
It can be so frustrating to take a class from someone who won't recognize individual differences between dogs. Drive is certainly a big one that requires different approaches. In addition to this, I think a good instructor is flexible and creative with their methods. If something doesn't work, better to try something different than keep doing it the same way over and over again.

I got some good agility-related news this morning: our trainer invited us to a more advanced class (upper intermediate) starting in about 6 weeks! I'm excited because I have good friends in that class and it's above us. I'd rather be pushed by being the least advanced team in a better class than be held back by being the most advanced team in a lower class. Plus our current instructor co-teaches it with her husband, so we get two instructors for the price of one. And it's at night, so I don't have to leave work early anymore! Woot!
 

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The biggest problem in our area is that the only Agility Instructor available trains all the dogs the same. Our little dogs do not do well if you keep repeating things over and over. I know I could learn a lot more about handling with her but I am afraid it will sour Remmy. Haven't quite figured out what to do yet.

Right now I am waiting for my brother-in-law to take our weave poles apart and reweld them at the 24 inches apart as right now they are at 22". I am going to build an A-frame as that is one obstacle we do not have, and a proper collapsible chute. Can hardly wait for all this snow to leave! Snow on the ground this morning which melted off where there was bare ground but still have lots of the old snow to melt yet.
 

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K I'll stop dumping vids since some people here need to post some too (GLM, Laurelin, etc...... :p) but just for the sake of comparison to her first class vid, here's Mira back at home. Playing around with rear crosses vs. decel which are tough for the Newbie since they require a lot both physically and mentally.

btw sorry the vids are always so choppy...the raw footage is usually about 10-15 minutes long (though all or all the interesting agility is presented in the cut version) since we tend to do 2-3 little sequences then break for some relaxation work so Da Baby can continue using her brain instead of frothing at the mouth...I like her enthusiasm but she can get kind kamikaze...little breaks let me channel that enthusiasm while still setting her up for success, and keeping her in a mind frame to learn from mistakes without being discouraged.

 

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Discussion Starter #56
She looks great, Shaina! Very impressive - how long have you been at this with her?

Sorry, no videos yet. This morning we had a practice session for next weekend's NADAC games trial, but I didn't manage to get any video. I did get some good pointers from a friend on our start line stay issues and A-frame issues, though. We've got 10 runs at next weekend's trial, so hopefully I'll be able to post some video then.
 

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I hope so :)

Mira jumped her very first jump in December, just single jump. She did one-jump-only til about early March I think, in the loft in the house. Since early March we have practiced for about 10-20 minutes of agility per week, weather permitting, with an exception when I visited home twice and that drop in class last week.

She started 2-pole weave entries late last summer, then took a break instead of adding more poles, returning to the weaves in the late fall. Weave work is included in that 10-20 minute deal above.
 

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Funny...the vast majority of instructors here are small dog people (16" at the tallest...usually 12 or even 8")...ironic lol
My last instructor literally had giant dogs and most the students had BCs, Aussies, ACDs, very large mixes, etc. Almost every dog in class was very slow too, save one corgi. Then there was Mia who was the total opposite of them.
 

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We had agility class on Monday and it was a GREAT class! Some of you may recall that we had been having some problems with Harleigh doing the 2o2o on the a-frame, so I thought I'd post a video of her progress on it. I'm so proud, lol :p

As far as small/big dog, there is a bit of everything. In my class Harleigh is the biggest one... the other dogs are a Cocker Spaniel, Terrier mix and Sheltie. Oh and my instructor has Keeshonds. But, in the advanced class that goes on the same night we have our class there is quite a few bigger dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Kit took a dogwalk from a very odd angle (pretty much 90 degrees) in class tonight and ended up falling off it and landing on a tunnel below it. She was fine (thank doG!), but didn't want to go back on the dogwalk right away. We worked thru it and after a couple more tries and some good treats, I convinced her it was safe again. Hopefully we won't have problems with the dogwalk at the trial this weekend!
 
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