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Rubie's Agility Career

Discussion in 'Schutzhund and Ring Sports' started by LifeofRubie, May 27, 2018.

  1. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

    When we did Rally O and I couldn't get K to focus, I'd run through the course instead of walking it and that would improve his attention, but you're already running so it's hard to suggest something more exciting. What about saving those last few treats for after she finishes the run? If she loves tug, your answer might be there. K used to be crazy for tug rewards but now he prefers a ball. I don't know why their preferences shift but they just do. I am seeing something of a pattern with it being cooler now. Ball play would warm him up more than tug...something to consider especially if Rubie doesn't like the cold. Maybe her muscles aren't warm enough at start time?

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  2. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    Well... You're not supposed to have treats in your pockets or anything while on the course so I have made it a point to give her a PB Kong as soon as she gets back into her crate after a good run.

    Once our tug leash comes, that will be our primry training tool. She's gotta get used to working without food! Haha

    I have considered the temp... But the have a warm up jump off to the side and I made sure to go over and work it for several minutes (with a tug toy) and she was super excited AND responsive to me.

    Here's a video of our Jackpot. You see we get 0 points the first time we go over the A frame but get the 5 points the second time. If she had gotten it the first time, we would've Qed. She's running FAST and she's having fun, she's just ALL over the place. She'd already done a giant lap before the video even caught up with us :D

    I think she liked this footing better. The place we usually trial has turf without the rubber beads and it is SLIPPERY.
  3. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    This came for Rubie the other day! We only just got to practice with it tonight in the backyard a bit but I think she really likes it! Moose LOOOOOVES it. He will be an agility dog if I have any say :D
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  4. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    Well... I'm not really sure how to feel about our trial this past weekend.

    It went a lot better than a couple of the last ones but not really as good as I'd hoped. We've had just ONE training class in which we used the tug leash so I knew that might be a bit of a learning curve for us. In class, we practiced walking from the crate to the start line (while tugging and playing), putting her in a sit, taking the collar and leash off, and handing it to the "leash runner," and then going through the course. I think once we'd done it a few times and she understood she'd get to play if she did a few obstacles, she was mostly ok with it.

    It wasn't AS BAD as it could've been at the trial. It was AWESOME to use to get her fired up and focused and having fun all the way up until we're out there and ready to run! I took it off and handed it to the leash runner and off we went! - Kinda. I released her from her start line stay and she trotted over to the leash runner and play bowed and barked :D I clapped and cheered and got her attention and we had a BEAUTIFUL FullHouse run for a Q. We've had TWO trials without Qs so I was very glad to break that streak. She was fast, responsive, attentive, and fun to run with.

    Our second run was Standard which has contacts (Dog Walk, A-Frame, and Teeter) and 6 weave poles. Rubie missed contacts for both the Dog Walk and the A-Frame and refused the weave poles. Again. Faulted our way our of a Q. This is stuff she consistently nails in practice and then 'forgets' in trials. Had a little less of an speed bump when handing the leash off to the leash runner which was good.

    Third run was Colors (there are two courses in the ring and you chose one to run). Another mostly nice run with a little loss of focus in the middle but she KNOCKED THE LAST BAR. My fault because it was an odd angle and I didn't send her properly so she was basically just standing right next to it and tried to bunny hop over it. In Colors runs, ONE knocked bar is an automatic NQ. Shucks.

    Our last run was Snooker and I was really excited about it BECAUSE a Q in that run would've wrapped up our Level 1 title requirements and there are no contacts or weave poles. I could tell before we even went out there it was going to be a no-go. She wasn't interested in playing tug or tricks or anything we do to get her fired up and focused before going out. She did a jump and wandered off. By the time I got her back on-course, the buzzer sounded and our chance was gone.

    Sometimes I think MAN WE'VE GOT THIS and we're turning a corner and then a couple hours later on that same day, it's like she'd rather be anywhere else.

    I feel bad to keep pushing her if it's truly not something she wants to do - and it's a lot of time and money on my end. Titles are of course not THE most important thing but this is our 7th trial, with 9 Qs total. That's with 3-4 runs per trial. The courses from Level 1 to 2 are NOT that much more difficult and still below the level we practice at but it still seems like we're going backward.

    Date Qs
    5/27/2018 2
    7/29/2018 3
    9/15/2018 2
    10/13/2018 0
    11/11/2018 1
    11/17/2018 0
    12/2/2018 1

    Do we trial less? Trial more? More trials but less runs per trial? Turn my basement into a 24/7 agility practice arena and do nothing but? Obviously we'll train more with the tug leash but I just get so frustrated!! I'm still planning on keeping at it but will have to buy weave poles at some point so that it becomes a no-brainer for her.

    She is pretty cute, though

    Rant over :)
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  5. Rits

    Rits Admin Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Aw bummer. It really sounds like she does great off the start then fizzles out more and more after each run. Next trial, Id attempt one good run and call it there. End on a high note and leave her wanting more. I know its tempting to get as many runs in as possible per trial, but listen to her. Ive been in the same boat and it gets frustrating watching your money fly away and less and less progress from your dog. You will make a break through eventually but you might have to go backwards before you go forwards by keeping it short and simple.
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  6. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    I think you're absolutely right. There is a venue much closer to us that will start hosting CPE trials in 2019 so then, it will be much easier to justify doing just one run. I could even make a case for doing one run on a Saturday and one on a Sunday, there.

    I have told myself that Rubie is only almost 3 and still young by Dobe maturity standards. We're learning together whereas with Moo, I've been able to start him on a few things already. *Sigh* my first time competing with any dog and I just love it so much and want to do it and be great at it!
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  7. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Aw man.....

    I was really hoping it was a brief uninterested issue.

    @Rits makes some really good points.
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  8. Viemarangelrock

    Viemarangelrock $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I agree with @Rits! Keep lessons short and upbeat. Stop when she is happy and excited. End your sessions before you see those telltale signs of avoidance creep in.

    Most importantly relax and enjoy the ride.
  9. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    I don't want to say we've turned a corner and jinx ourselves but Rubie ran FAST and flawless today!

    I signed us up for the 3rd and 4th courses today, Colors and Snooker, so we didn't even leave the house until 10am and our first run probably around 1:30, second run about 3:30. I think this was much more favorable to Rubie as she's not a morning dog.

    Our first run was Colors at Level 2. There are two nested courses and you have to pick one. We did squares to avoid the A-frame as I'm not confident in her contacts in trials (another thing we will be working on more this winter - I have a plank board on order). Fast, focuses, and ran beautifully. Finished it in 18 seconds!

    Our second run, Snooker, had me more nervous because that's the last Q we needed to finish our Level 1 requirements. Snooker is difficult to put into words but easy to demonstrate. Before you can complete the numbered course (2-7), you need to manuever between the Red jumps and another obstacle. You cannot repeat a Red jump but you can a colored jump. Each obstacle is also awarded a point value corresponding to how it's numbered on the course except the red jumps which are worth 1pt. One Red, one Colored, one Red, one Colored, one Red, one Colored and then you finished the course. If you knock a red bar, there's always a 4th one on the course that you then need to use in your sequence.

    It's very much a strategy game that I'm still learning. We played it safe but I also planned a route that would keep Rubie moving fast and accommodate her very large stride without putting something in front of her that I didn't want her to take and risk an off-course.

    Finished in 32 seconds with 38 points. I wish I had a video of this run as it just felt right. She was on point, making tight turns, was sending to the obstacles with great distance, not a single misstep; just perfect.

    She's learning to grab her leash at the end of a run so we can play tug and celebrate which is perfect!

    So proud of us today. I think doing just two runs later in the day made a huge difference. We also didn't see any contacts or weaves poles so just got to run, run, run!

    And now we have our Level 1 Title and already a few Level 2 Q's to get us going!
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  10. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Great job!! You have Level 1 and some Level 2’s.

    So the last time Ruby competed was Dec 3rd? The break from competing helped?
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  11. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    Well... I'm not sure. We've been trialing about once a month since May so probably every 4-6 weeks. She was like a totally different dog out there; like we'd been trialing for years! Not a single sniff on the turf, not a single glance to the judges or ring crew, only half a second of pause at the start line on our second run (she had that phase where she would just stand there and look at me like I was crazy), didn't go after her tug leash when I took it off and threw it at the beginning of our run but grabbed it to play at the end of the run... just perfect from start to finish.

    We've actually had fewer classes because of the holidays but have been doing a little extra practice with certain things in the basement.

    I have 180 sqft of Foam Floor Tiles coming (bought them used for $0.50/sqft!!!!) that will make a nice little practice area in the basement. We won't jump full height because it's not super cushy but for practicing weave poles, contacts, and handling, it can't be beat and I think all of that builds her confidence.

    I REALLY wish I had video's of our runs. It was like she knew what I was going to ask her to do before I asked her; so intuitive. When we were running our straight forward paths, I was basically just sprinting as fast as possible and not even using hand motions - if there was something in front of her, she was taking it!

    One thing we've been working on is basically me cheering her on when we're running. So if she's moving, I just start yelling YES! GO GO GO! YAY!! Instead of her taking an obstacle and THEN using voice praise, I praise AS she's moving. Otherwise she kinda thinks that standing is getting her rewarded. Too smart for their own good!

    I'm going to be SUPER bummed if our next trial doesn't go as well :rofl:
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  12. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Ruby is 3y/o right? So it is not necessarily a maturity issue?

    Hmmm.... what ever it was, I think she was focused, having fun, not bored and wanted to please YOU.

    Make that into a pill and I believe you could retire.
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  13. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

    That's one thing we've learned too. To make the dog more fired up for the task at hand we need to be louder and sound more energetic. Also try a different tone, like less high pitch excitement. I found Kaiser has reduced compliance with a soft voice.
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  14. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    You know... I was actually thinking it's because she turned 3 and is more adult :D I've been noticing a difference in how she approaches people and more specifically, children. Maybe she's just more confident in the environment. maybe I was more confident because we've been having awesome training sessions. Maybe just appreciated the extra 3 hours of sleep on a Sunday morning! She made me so proud, though :thumbsup:

    I've taken to running and jumping and cheering our way out to the start line to get her fired up. #noshame if it works for her!:thumbsup:

    Thank you guys for all your support and encouragement and helping me troubleshoot an inconsistent Dingo. I feel so lucky we get to compete together and share our journey with you!
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  15. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Always interested to know/learn what is going on and how y’all are doing.
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  16. Rits

    Rits Admin Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Awesome! I think a break every so often is good for them. And if shes tuning outi, back it up and keep it short and sweet. Just like when rewarding them with a tug, leave them wanting more. Or like training anything, keep it short and end on a good note. Too much repetition can certainly bore them and burn them out. You guys got this ! :thumbsup2:
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  17. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    fun little project I did last night

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  18. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    So I set-up a little basement practice area and got some really nice weave poles and we have started from the beginning with weave pole training. We're using Susan Garrett's 2x2 weave pole training method. And I mean: start from scratch. Basically seeing if she'll willingly go through 1 set of weave poles with no guidance or direction. We're taking it slow and staying on each step for several short, fun, high energy sessions.

    Step 1: getting your dog to go through the poles willingly. Any direction. Doesn't matter. With weave pole training, you always throw the reward out ahead of the dog to build forward drive and Independence. Rubie got this one pretty quick (luckily!!). I started doing this with Moo, too.

    Step 2: start requiring a correct entry. The should always enter the weave poles with their left shoulder. Both dogs for this pretty quick. Unfortunately for Moo, this is about as far as he can go until he gets older.

    Step 3: work the entry "around the clock." I've been spending a LOT of time with Rubie on this step. This is where the dog learns to approach the weaves from any direction. Rubie has been NAILING this step. In class the other night, she got both very challenging entries. AND Rubie was RUNNING through TWELVE poles. 99% of our training has been with 6. This makes me think this starting from scratch stuff is working :thumbsup:

    I started step 4 very briefly yesterday which is building entry independence. I put her in a stay, go stand in another spot, and cue her through. She did excellent for the few minutes we worked on it!

    I believe step 5 is adding a second set of 2 poles, about 5-6ft from the first set, and essentially treating them like two individual obstacles. Your dog starts looking at each set for an entry point. When they get that down, you put them together in a straight line of 4 and start back over at step 2. When you get to step 5 with 4 poles, you add the last 2 5-6ft away and treat it like a set of 4 poles and a set of 2. I can already see a difference with Rubie so once we finish this exercise, I think weave pole issues will be a thing of the past! Moo will no doubt be a weave pole star because he's getting this training for the beginning. Rubie was originally taught weave poles a different way and not that either is better, but I think this method is what really builds on is entries which is the hardest part.

    I'm sorry; this was a very indulgent post on my part! I just love seeing things click with these pooches!
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  19. jazzies mum

    jazzies mum Hot Topics Subscriber

    She is obviously refreshed from her break from competition. Having fun again! :thumbsup:
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  20. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Following and reading intently.

    Thanks for sharing.
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