Quinn's Journey in Agility

Discussion in 'Agility & Flyball' started by QuinnM15, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    I'm going to keep a diary on our path to (hopefully) becoming agility superstars as inspired by @Xena Dog Princess!

    On the weekend, Quinn and I had our first 1:1 class (of 4) as a pre-requisite for agility class, "skills for dog sports". It was meant to be a class of 4, but lucky for us the other were all unable to commit. We had a bit of a rough start, as the the trainer thought we had more training under our belt than we actually do and our first shaping exercise was a bit rusty.

    Thankfully, Quinn is a super fast learner and we do have a lot of solid skills, like stay and wait, so at the end of our 45 minutes she was doing low jumps and a single weave and coming back to me correctly around the sides.

    I also learned some stretches that we will do before any agility work.

    We have a lot of shaping homework and Quinn is very focused on me, so some of our work is on having her focus on something else while listening/watching my cues.

    Before next class, we are working on shaping 4 paws on a box lid, turning her head to the right and backing up. We also have to work on getting her focus on a tug toy to increase her drive (or maybe ball in sock).

    Lucky for us, OH was very impressed with our basic shaping skills :D
     
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  2. Xena Dog Princess

    Xena Dog Princess Registered Users

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    Can't wait to hear about your journey! When you say that the trainer thought you had more training, did he mean just general obedience training? I think it's fabulous that they make you go through this pre-training, it sounds like it's going to be really helpful.
     
  3. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    The only formal training I have done with Quinn is a foundations class and a recall specific class. Where we did our foundation training considers this to be level 1 and 2 and you would immediately enter into agility, canine good neighbour classes etc. At this place we are currently going, there are 2 levels of obedience, a "skills for dog sports" and a basic agility class and Quinn has some scattered skills from all the classes, so we were exchanging emails about her training and I think the trainer thought we had done more classes than we actually have. All good though, since we are the only ones in the class!
     
  4. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Week #2

    This week was pretty good. We started with shaping walking on a plank which Quinn is getting quicker at after all our homework. We worked on some drills to increase her drive for a tug toy and sprint toward it at my command following my cue on which side to go. We worked on me being at different angles and distances from her. She did very well at this, as it is very similar to what we've been working on with holding on her retrieves until I release her.

    We worked on some tunnels and more intricate weaves with a verbal cue as well as circling a cone in both directions. She picked up on all quickly but was a bit hesitant with one end of the tunnel.

    Overall, Quinn is fantastic and quick to pick things up. It's me who needs the training - all the commands and cues and sides to be on etc are hard to remember. Half the stuff the trainer was talking about I was/am clueless about.

    This week's homework will be more shaping, adding a cue to backing up and circling objects.
     
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  5. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    I missed week 3! If I remembered correctly we learned cues for each side of the body, turns, circling around a cone, and the see saw. As we went on vacation and then the centre had a flood, it's been a few weeks. I've been working on drive and hand signals for Quinn to be on my right or left in the weeks since class. I also shaped her to stand/sit on on box.

    Week 4
    Today we did a bit of work on back end awareness - shaping to step back paws on/off a disc.

    We worked on tandem turns and lead outs a bit then went right to jumps and tunnels.

    Quinn had no problems waiting on the starting block for my cue (I use "go") and went into a jump, a tunnel, direction change back over jump, 5 second wait on the block and repeat. She did so good! She knew it too and took a victory trot around.

    Our trainer has suggested registering in a friendly non competitive agility event where you get time on the course to try it out. I'll think about it! I find all the cues and turns etc hard to remember and don't want to embarrass myself as a complete newbie.

    That is the end of our 1:1 agility foundation classes and we will be joining a level 1 class next month.
     
  6. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sounds great! Seems that Quinn is loving it.

    Go on, give the comp a try :) Just see it as yet another training session, with nothing at stake at all.
     
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  7. Naya

    Naya Registered Users

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    Sounds like Quinn is getting on really well. We do agility and are doing a fun competition in May...
     
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  8. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Agility Class - Week 1
    We had our first group agility class last night - 2 other older dogs and Quinn (introduced as our beautiful lab :)). A lot of what we worked on was remedial for us, but new in that Quinn was off leash and had to work around other dogs as a distraction. She did SO well. She remained in a stay while she could see other dogs chasing treats and hearing her cue word (Go) and didn't move an inch. Our trainer was delighted she did so well at her age (she works with lots of labs). We only had one brief blip where she could not resist a treat that bounced towards her and she went for it and a quick meet of the other dog, but came immediately when called. After that, no more attempts.

    We worked on me moving behind her and her focusing on me, and moving behind while she did a jump. Worked more on target work, drive and spins. More work on right and left sides - which we have been practicing a lot on our own.

    Tried the teeter totter and this time she wasn't having any of it and jumped off before we hit the middle. Our work on back end awareness has helped and she is now putting two back paws on a target.
     
  9. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Quinn what a star you are especially with those distractions, very well done to you Ashley. Any photo's? :) x
     
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  10. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Thanks Helen! No photos - too busy juggling treats and clicker! I will get some before our last class (hoping OH comes to watch and can take some of us in action)!
     
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  11. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Registered Users

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    Sounds brilliant to me , what a good dog you are Quinn x
     
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  12. Karen

    Karen Registered Users

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    Wow, that sounds fantastic and very difficult!
     
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  13. Naya

    Naya Registered Users

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    Well done to you both. It sounds like Quinn is a natural
     
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  14. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Class #2

    Worked on walking the plank and 2 paws on/2 off. Went pretty well but more work to do on this. I have to work on treat placement, as Quinn is looking at me for her treat but she needs to focus ahead more. Moving to her going to a target instead of using the clicker, and may work on this at home with a tug toy.

    For some reason, Quinn was having none of the cone wraps this week. It was previously one of our best moves, as we practiced at the park using the cue 'spin'. No idea what was going on - she didn't seem motivated and slightly distracted by another dog. I have to work on figuring out a motivator for her on this one. I don't want to use a ball, as then her focus is solely on the ball, but may try it this week before next class to see if that will get her going again.

    Tunnels. She LOVES the tunnel and we now have an issue of self rewarding - she will take off and run the tunnel if she has a chance. Did a cone wrap and tunnel sequence from different angles. At least this portion of class brought back her motivation and she was obviously having fun!

    Weaves. Started back with some basic weaves as a refresher and she did well.

    Entire class was off leash and next week she will not have to drag a training leash, as she listened so well and did not go off from me at all (unless you count her tunnel runs :rolleyes:).

    We have lots of homework this week. Our trainer gave us a boost by saying that Quinn is very very smart, and once she gets into it, will be quite fast. Yay Quinn - sorry your mother/trainer is so green!
     
  15. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Class #3

    I call this class "regression & embarrassment". Quinn was so distracted and ran over to the other dog in class so many times I lost count. She stole treats from them, sat at the other owners feet waiting for a treat, ran over and did some jumps on her own. She was recalling well, but it was annoying, especially as she was interrupting the others. Eventually had to put her on leash, as the gates we put up didn't deter her.

    Nothing was holding her interest - tug toy, raw beef from trainer, her own treats. She did ok on the jumps, but again, while waiting for my cues, was more interested in what the other dogs were doing.

    The rest was purely trying to hold her attention/impulse control and no real agility progress.

    Trainer says not to worry - she is young and it happens. I'm wondering what was up with her - maybe too much energy/not enough walks during the day? Treats not high value enough? I don't know. Hoping next week is better.
     
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  16. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    I don't think you should feel embarrassed, I bet everyone in your class has been there at some point! Maybe you need to do some more training on ignoring other dogs with very high value treats. Put it down to experience and I bet next week will be much better :) xxx
     
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  17. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Could it have been displacement behaviour? Willow does this sort of thing if I push her too much, even by a little bit. It took me a while to realise it way her way of saying she'd had enough.
     
  18. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Interesting you say that...we started the class off with the regular warm up (shaping exercise with paws on a disc) and she was very frustrated at the outset and barking and snapping her teeth at me. I'm actually starting to wonder if she even likes the class...as last week she was the opposite, moving slow and hard to get her going.
     
  19. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Maybe she's a bit stressed by the environment? It might help to go and observe from a distance she's comfortable at, just play fun games that she enjoys and keep it short. Gradually move closer to the action. And/or have a private session or two so she can learn to enjoy the obstacles without the pressure of the other dogs? It's not surprising that agility can be a bit full-on for some dogs, especially in a group setting.
     
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  20. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Registered Users

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    I remember asking my gundog trainer if any of her dogs ever had " off days " . She laughed and said Yes , they do , and if they aren't interested, or start to lose concentration , I call a halt , tomorrow is another day ! A good bit of advice , applying to all aspects of training I reckon , don't worry too much about it , he will probably do better for having a little time out x
     

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