Holibobs with the dooglies

Discussion in 'Agility & Flyball' started by snowbunny, May 8, 2016.

  1. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    I've just arrived at our "home" for the next week - a little gite in Brittany where we're going to be taking some agility lessons this week. The weather's not great - I knew it wouldn't be - but that isn't important for what we have planned. Lots of time with the dogs, doing fun things. Cameras are fully charged, so expect a glut of photos coming your way soon!
     
  2. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Fab!
    Look forward to seeing your antics activities.

    Have fun, fun fun!!
     
  3. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    I envy you (in the nicest possible way), how lovely to be on holiday with the dogs and doing things with them.
     
  4. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Exciting. Look forward to photos and hearing how you all get along :doug:
     
  5. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    So, we've had our first training session this morning. Elaine is lovely and we all came away really happy. We just did some basic things - learning about how our body language influences how our dog approaches us; for example, putting dog in a sit/stay, walking away then calling them as you look towards them over your left shoulder makes them come to your left. Look over your right shoulder and they come to your right, switch from looking over your left to over your right as they're running makes them cross sides behind you. Which is bloomin' obvious, but good fun to play with.

    We then did some work with Willow, building her arousal for playing with the tugger. Again, Elaine showed how using body language is important with what she called a "polite" dog like Willow, who isn't the world's most enthusiastic puller. Turning away from her as you're pulling, so she's almost walking to heel whilst pulling, makes her far more likely to get into it. Again, something I knew and had used, but not to full effect in the past. Willow has turned into a complete tug-monster! As expected, she did play keep-away a bit with a ball, so we've got some homework of playing with the ball whilst she's on lead and throwing it to her as soon as I've got it from her. Lots and lots and LOTS of repetitions of this, until she realises that playing with me is more fun than playing by herself. Thankfully, she sees the puller ring as a game for us to play together, so we're using that a lot.

    As far as equipment goes, we started off on the tunnel, getting them used to approaching it and going through it for a toy. We started this with Elaine holding the dog and the handler (J or myself) at the other end of the tunnel, calling them through - ensuring we don't block the tunnel with our bodies as we do it. They were both more than eager to run through, starting with the tunnel quite compressed and slowly extending it out. I was surprised Willow took to it so readily, because she can be a bit nervous about new things.

    We also did "intro to jumps", which started off with having the jump in front of them, bar on the floor, and doing a sit/stay whilst we walked around to the other side of it, then coming back to them to reward. Building up the distance, which isn't an issue for my two because they're used to sit/stays anyway - although the new, exciting environment obviously threw them a little to start with and they didn't quite have the velcro bums I'm used to ;)
    Then, we used a cue word (the very original "go") to get them to come through the uprights towards us. As soon as they moved, we threw the toy ahead.

    It doesn't sound like much, but we all had great fun. The use of toys to keep the energy up was so much fun for all of us.

    We had a little bit of lunch and then a lovely walk around a local lake - with swimming for the dogs, obviously - followed by a very welcome afternoon nap for all of us. We've just done some homework, which was to practice the things we'd learnt and then repeat them on the other side (so having the dog on the right instead of the left). Oh my, that messed us up completely! W&S were fab, but you should have seen the attempts at throwing toys from J and I, not to mention trying to work out what hand goes where.... :rolleyes:

    About to partake in a little of the local cider before dinner. I think we'll all sleep well tonight :)
     
  6. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    Thanks for telling us, sounded a great and illuminating time.
     
  7. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator Forum Supporter

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    That sounds like a LOT of fun :D
     
  8. Cath

    Cath Registered Users

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    Sounds great with you doggie friends :)
     
  9. Debs

    Debs Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sounds like a great time was had by all! Really interesting to hear about your training session. Sleep well :D
     
  10. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Sounds like a good time was had by all, lots to remember for next time. Look forward to some photo's :)
     
  11. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    Sounds like you are having a ball! We loved it there and had great fun with the agility course. Elaine is wonderful and she made Casper feel so special and welcome. Looking forward to going back! :)
     
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  12. Dexter

    Dexter Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Sounds like you are having a brilliant time ,I'll,try that ,calling Dex over one shoulder and then the other,it's something I've never noticed before! X enjoy the rest of your time away .
    Are you training alone or is it a group? X
     
  13. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Great fun!!! Looking forward to hearing more about your hols :)
     
  14. Granca

    Granca Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sounds brilliant! A great holiday for the dogs - and you, too!
     
  15. Newbie Lab Owner

    Newbie Lab Owner Registered Users

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    Great fun for all :cancan:
     
  16. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    It's just the four of us - me and J, W&S :)
     
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  17. Pilatelover

    Pilatelover Registered Users

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    That all sounds brilliant.
     
  18. Lisa

    Lisa Moderator

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    Sounds fab!! Can't wait to see some pics! :)
     
  19. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Yesterday, we worked on multiple obstacles together. This meant a jump, followed by the tunnel, followed by another jump. This time, there was an actual jump, rather than just the bar on the floor. It must have been two whole inches off the ground :eek:
    Elaine explained how the tunnel becomes a real rewarder for the dogs, because it's so much fun and eventually you have to calm them down a bit. At first, they do the tunnel in anticipation of a game, but the feelings of pleasure for the game transfer to the tunnel itself, making it intrinsically rewarding. But, she also said, as we know from introducing steadiness too soon, that now is not the time to start calling them away from the tunnel. That will come in the future. We still want them to gallop towards it with gusto and confidence.

    We did work on steadiness to the "go" cue again - this is an ongoing thing, I imagine, so the dog never anticipates going before you're ready. She plays a game with her own dog, which is "ready, steady, no" vs "ready, steady, go". Basically, we're reinforcing the wait a lot more often than we are the go. Even so, you can see how ours are already really excited to run and, as soon as the hand goes out, which comes before the "go" (or before we go back and reward them in place), their muscles tense and they're looking forward to the obstacles.

    W&S are a lot stronger on their "heel" side than on their "close" side - not surprisingly, because they have been so heavily reinforced for heel over the last two years, and I only introduced close about a month or so ago. So they often want to swap over from the right to the left as we're getting into position. Elaine showed us how to use our body language to guide them back. As we are walking, we turn our bodies and out outstretched arm back towards the dog as they start to move over and effectively "scoop" them back into position (albeit with no actual touching). It's one to practice - a lot!

    Running the obstacles, they did really well. We had a few instances where they ran outside the tunnel rather than through it, so we simply "scoop" them up at this point, transfer them back to the start of the tunnel and set them up to go through it successfully. No NRMs. Elaine, being a great +R trainer, keeps reiterating how any mistakes our ours, not the dogs, either because we've not set the dog up well, used confusing body language, or haven't trained sufficiently. All stuff we know, but it's always refreshing to hear someone who is sold on the same methods as yourself. So, when a mistake is made, we either reward the effort they put in, and look at how we can change things for next time, or we do a quick transition back to the start of the obstacle, where we can set them up for success so they get the reward for that.

    Our homework is to keep working on the three obstacles, on both sides, and gradually increase the spread of them from 3m to 4m. We don't have a training session with Elaine today, so we did a bit last night and will have a couple of sessions by ourselves today. We've moved on from having the toy at the end of the sequence as a lure, to having the observer throw it once the dog is through successfully. This is a lot easier, when we both have dogs, than having to try to remove the toy in time if the dog misses the tunnel. These pooches of ours are fast!

    It was J's birthday yesterday, too, so we went for a walk on one of the local beaches at lunchtime. It was a rather rocky beach, with loads of pools to investigate, and the dogs had loads of fun splashing around. They slept like the dead last night (as did we) and didn't start wriggling until 8am.... bliss!

    Photos will follow, once I find my cables!
     
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  20. Karen

    Karen Moderator

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    It sounds like you are having a brilliant time! Very useful stuff too, not just for agility training, but for 'real' life, especially with two dogs. Looking forward to the photos!
     

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