PDA

View Full Version : Obedience course - then to agility!



denali
9th October 2011, 01:26 AM
Kokoda is a nicely trained dog, not perfect, but hey- none of us are :)
But unlike most of you I haven't done any professional classes with him as of yet.
He is very well socialised and always has been, because of that we decided he didn't really need puppy preschool.

I am starting a course with Kokoda, basic obedience.
It goes for 8 weeks and is at the ADCQ (Agility Dog Club of Queensland.)
I am doing this because he needs to learn stay and a reliable recall.
Well, he needs to learn how to listen to me basically, in any situation. Which he is not 100% capable of doing if there is a bird to chase or a dogto say hello too.

He needs this because i am wanting to do agility with him after this course.
And If he likes it, i would absolutely LOVE to compete.

HOWEVER, the funny thing is, we signed up for it and paid for it thinking it was local.
Little did we know, it was infact 30 minutes each way!
The street names are the same, but as we found out, the suburbs are different! :sl*p:

We are still going to do the basic obedience course there, but we wont be continuing on to the starters agility.

I can still continue my agility dream, because I have found another local (NOTE: this time it actually IS local!) agility club, B.A.D (Brisbane Agility Dogs.)
They do not have as many courses however and the dogs have to be atleast 11 months old. And for Kokoda that is in January.
So i sent them an email asking if they would be able to squeeze me in. Plus they have a cool acronym :)

We unfortunately miss the first class, it starts this wednesday and I am away for it.. so we are not off to a good start!
But i chatted to the instructor and they just said to come a little earlier next class so i can catch up.
So we will be starting on Wednesday 19th October!

It is all positive reinforcement, no rough handling tolerated, and with clickers.
However, apparently we are given a gentle leader (it says it in our course fees) so I am assuming they will want us to use it.
I would much rather not using it due to the fact that cavaliers necks are fragile... I am sure they would allow me to do so but
Have any of you had experience with a gentle leader?

Other than all of this, I am EXTREMELY excited for this! :biggrin:

I will keep you guys updated with Kokoda's course and our agility situation!

To anyone who has done any class of some sort, any tips?


Also, to any of you who compete in agility with your cavs. How often do you train them?
I don't want to work him too hard and would just like something to base things off.
and what are your favourite books, DVD's etc?
and anything else i would need to know is apprechiated.



I also apologise for any typos and the scarpbook kind of layout. I just wrote things as i remembered them

Sabby
9th October 2011, 11:13 AM
The way I read it your dog is 8/9 month old? First thing if your dog is not 12 month old you should NOT do agility in my eyes any agility school that lets you are irresponsible. Dogs that young can do them self damage as they are still growing. I didn't start proper agility until Harley was 18 month old. The weaving and the high impact on jumping and things like A Frame are high. I love agility and it's a great thing to do with your dog but wait until he is the right age. The damage you can do is un reversible.
I used to train twice a week and we used to compete.

Karen and Ruby
9th October 2011, 11:45 AM
The way I read it your dog is 8/9 month old? First thing if your dog is not 12 month old you should NOT do agility in my eyes any agility school that lets you are irresponsible. Dogs that young can do them self damage as they are still growing. I didn't start proper agility until Harley was 18 month old. The weaving and the high impact on jumping and things like A Frame are high. I love agility and it's a great thing to do with your dog but wait until he is the right age. The damage you can do is un reversible.
I used to train twice a week and we used to compete.


Hi there,

I compete in agility with both of my dogs, Ruby started late at 18 months old and Charlie started when I got him at 10 months.

BUT, and its a big BUT... he didn't start jumping and weaving fully until 13 months. What we did was get him used to the equipment first of all on the floor and then on a lowered height- with a lead on and I started teaching him his touch points first.
There is alot of training you can do with your dog to get them on the right track to an agility career with out running around full courses.
I tought him his weave ENTRY on command by just finding the right side to enter on- only 2 weave poles needed for that and now he will enter the weaves on command from a distance by himself which is a must with a fast dog.
I also taught him lefts/rights while out on walks as well so that could be taken on to an agility course as well.


There is so much you can do with a young dog but so much you shouldn't do aswell.

I would also advice a vet check to check for any joint issues ie Hips/Patellas!!

denali
9th October 2011, 12:35 PM
Thank you both for your opinions.
At the moment he is just doing an obedience course. That will lead to agility in the future.
So we will just be doing sit, stay, recalls, heelwork etc.

I am aware that they shouldn't do the high impact things and so is the club.
Everything is under the discretion of the chief instructor who is very good and is always on the better safe than sorry side,
so I doubt they would let us do anything taht could do any damage.
I am pretty sure we would just be doing things such as Karen and Charlie.

I was recently at the vet and asked about all of his joints and any noticable health issues because we had to fill out a cruciate ligament form for our pet insurance.
At the moment he is all ok.

Karen and Ruby - have you noticed any differences between the dogs starting at different ages?

Karen and Ruby
9th October 2011, 01:02 PM
Thank you both for your opinions.
At the moment he is just doing an obedience course. That will lead to agility in the future.
So we will just be doing sit, stay, recalls, heelwork etc.

I am aware that they shouldn't do the high impact things and so is the club.
Everything is under the discretion of the chief instructor who is very good and is always on the better safe than sorry side,
so I doubt they would let us do anything taht could do any damage.
I am pretty sure we would just be doing things such as Karen and Charlie.

I was recently at the vet and asked about all of his joints and any noticable health issues because we had to fill out a cruciate ligament form for our pet insurance.
At the moment he is all ok.

Karen and Ruby - have you noticed any differences between the dogs starting at different ages?

It took me alot longer to get Ruby confident ove the Aframe, dog walk and see saw as she was terrified of the height to start with.

But the difference is where Ive had Ruby since a puppy and charlie from 9 months.

She is alot more focused and reliable and if it weren't for the SM im sure she would be flying high in the higher grades by now. SHe does exactly what she is told and knows her job very very well.

Charlie is more hit and miss but he is a much better weaver! But that is more down to his personality as that in itself is hit and miss! :biggrin:

Mindysmom
9th October 2011, 02:33 PM
You've hit upon my passion so excuse me if I'm long winded. I also started "agility" training with both Max and Rylie when they were around 9 or 10 months. In the puppy foundation class we did perch work, walking through ladders, wobble boards (as a pre-teeter), jump bumps, and lower jumps, and lots of flatwork handling. They didn't jump full height until they were a year old and didn't do weaves or full contacts until then either. Rylie is two and just finished learning his contacts this summer (although we still have a lot of work to do)

If you are going to compete I believe that taking the time to build a solid foundation will pay off for you in spades down the road (even though it's not always as much fun) and it sounds like your class does that.

As far as the gentle leader my trainer is a huge proponent. Used correctly it should never put anything more than gentle pressure on the neck and it should never be used when your dog is going to be more than arms length from you. It's just used to redirect the dogs head (gently). The key is to play lots of games and give lots of rewards to get the dog used to it before actually using it. I have used it recently for Max because of his squirrel chasing. I call it his "brain retainer". It is FAR easier to get his attention away from the squirrel and back onto me when he is wearing it rather than a harness. I also found that it takes a lot less time to see results. I spent a LOT of time when Max was young training him not to chase leaves or cars (while on lead with a harness). The squirrel training with the head halter worked so much better. Now I can take him out with a harness and have very little pulling if we pass a squirrel. If you find you like the idea but the gentle leader isn't' a good fit I found that Max is more comfortable in a product called Snoot Loop (same idea but a bit thinner nylon). It could be though that you won't need it at all. I've never used it in a class situation. If your dog already has good attention to you it won't be necessary. I've never used a head halter on Rylie.


As far as videos or books I would recommend anything by Susan Garrett, Greg Derret, Susan Salo (jumping). If you could only get one DVD I would recommend Crate Games by Susan Garrett. It is an absolutely fabulous DVD and makes training so much fun. It isn't specific to agility but teaches a lot of foundation skills that will help build start line stays, and drive.

I train my dogs daily for a few minutes but not every day on obstacles. We do crate games, follow me games, I'm trying to get better at shaping tricks (although so far I am pretty poor). If we do obstacles it is only for about five minutes at a time per dog. When Max was younger I overtrained him in my desire to build my own skills and he ended up losing his enthusiasm for awhile. Rylie would be happy to repeat an exercise 7 million times but I am trying to learn from my mistakes with Max and always leave him wanting more.

http://www.clickerdogs.com/crate_games.php

W (http://www.clickerdogs.com/crate_games.php)hen I first got the crate games DVD Rylie was a puppy, Max was a year old, and Mindy was nearly 12. I had no plans to train Mindy I felt she had earned the right to just sit around and look gorgeous. However I had to dig out another crate because she would NOT be left out. A lady in a group I'm in had to train her cat because when she was working with her dog the cat would sneak in the crate wanting a turn.

Kate H
9th October 2011, 03:43 PM
I'm confused about what you mean by a gentle leader. Both my Cavaliers wear them, but they are harnesses with the lead attached at the front, not on the back, so that if the dog pulls he automatically turns towards you. They work brilliantly. But Mindysmum seems to be talking about something like a halti? Oliver is Coventry's champion for how to wriggle out of a halti in the shortest possible time - absolutely useless for him! And I've never actually seen a dog looking relaxed and happy in one - there are too many nerves near the surface on a dog's nose for them to be 100% comfortable. Or do you mean the figure-of-eight headcollars that just go behind the dog's ears and round his muzzle?

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Mindysmom
9th October 2011, 07:47 PM
The gentle leader I'm talking about is a head halter like a halti - when used correctly it gently turns the head towards you so you have the dog's attention. Often they are misused and dogs are put on them on flex or long leads and allowed to run to the end of the lead so it jerks their necks. That is how they get a bad rap. If someone just slaps it on without building value for it first the dog will probably object. A lot of people do that without making sure the dog is comfortable in it before using it. My trainer says you should never put one on without a plan for how you are going to get rid of it. They are meant to be temporary training tools to redirect their attention until your dog can work nicely even with distraction. If you have your dog's attention they aren't necessary.

I was watching a young (18 month) Golden in the class before ours this morning. He was fabulous - focused and attentive on his handler while doing short sequences off leash. Our trainer asked the handler to try taking the gentle leader off and the dog was totally different. He got the zooms, went visiting and pretty much ignored his handler.

While I've never felt it necessary with Rylie and only around wildlife with Max I have seen so many dogs show amazing results by wearing them for only a few months or weeks that I would never rule them out. I also think that they are far easier to use correctly with a bigger dog. I struggle with sliding my hand down the leash to redirect the head without putting my back out.

denali
14th October 2011, 10:16 AM
It took me alot longer to get Ruby confident ove the Aframe, dog walk and see saw as she was terrified of the height to start with.

But the difference is where Ive had Ruby since a puppy and charlie from 9 months.

She is alot more focused and reliable and if it weren't for the SM im sure she would be flying high in the higher grades by now. SHe does exactly what she is told and knows her job very very well.

Charlie is more hit and miss but he is a much better weaver! But that is more down to his personality as that in itself is hit and miss! :biggrin:

Fair enough. I have a feeling kokoda will be confident with everything. He is such an outgoing dog and occassionally runs up and down the Aframe at the dog park, however I am not 100% sure on his focus! But we will see when the time comes, he might not be too bad, he does love to please me.

denali
15th October 2011, 10:18 PM
If you are going to compete I believe that taking the time to build a solid foundation will pay off for you in spades down the road (even though it's not always as much fun) and it sounds like your class does that.

As far as the gentle leader my trainer is a huge proponent.

As far as videos or books I would recommend anything by Susan Garrett, Greg Derret, Susan Salo (jumping). If you could only get one DVD I would recommend Crate Games by Susan Garrett. It is an absolutely fabulous DVD and makes training so much fun. It isn't specific to agility but teaches a lot of foundation skills that will help build start line stays, and drive.

I train my dogs daily for a few minutes but not every day on obstacles. We do crate games, follow me games, I'm trying to get better at shaping tricks (although so far I am pretty poor). If we do obstacles it is only for about five minutes at a time per dog. When Max was younger I overtrained him in my desire to build my own skills and he ended up losing his enthusiasm for awhile. Rylie would be happy to repeat an exercise 7 million times but I am trying to learn from my mistakes with Max and always leave him wanting more.

http://www.clickerdogs.com/crate_games.php

W (http://www.clickerdogs.com/crate_games.php)hen I first got the crate games DVD Rylie was a puppy, Max was a year old, and Mindy was nearly 12. I had no plans to train Mindy I felt she had earned the right to just sit around and look gorgeous. However I had to dig out another crate because she would NOT be left out. A lady in a group I'm in had to train her cat because when she was working with her dog the cat would sneak in the crate wanting a turn.

No, you are definitely not long winded. I enjoy reading your responses.

Thank you for the information about the gentle leader and the snoot loop. I was thinking about the thickness of the nylon just yesterday when I saw a larger dog with one. I hope he won't mind wearing it, as i do need to work on our heel. Technically we don't even have a heel yet! He is a bit like Max, he loves everything while he is out walking.

I came across many reccomendations for Susan Garrett and Susan Salo but have not come across any of Greg Derretts. I will go have a look. The agility club has a library that we can borrow books and DVD's from free of charge, that is why i was anting to know the best dvd's. Then I will buy my own copies of my favourites. However I don't think they have crate games, i may just have to buy that one myself. It sounds wonderful and well worth the money :)

denali
15th October 2011, 10:21 PM
I'm confused about what you mean by a gentle leader. Both my Cavaliers wear them, but they are harnesses with the lead attached at the front, not on the back, so that if the dog pulls he automatically turns towards you. They work brilliantly. But Mindysmum seems to be talking about something like a halti? Oliver is Coventry's champion for how to wriggle out of a halti in the shortest possible time - absolutely useless for him! And I've never actually seen a dog looking relaxed and happy in one - there are too many nerves near the surface on a dog's nose for them to be 100% comfortable. Or do you mean the figure-of-eight headcollars that just go behind the dog's ears and round his muzzle?

Kate, Oliver and Aled

I have heard about the harness version, but I do mean something along the lines of a halti.

I have seen many dogs relaxed and happy with them if they are used correctly. I could imagine if someone was constantly tugging on it and tightening it around their nose it would be uncomfortable. Just as tugging them back roughly. But If they are gentle with them the dogs don't seem to mind.

Karlin
15th October 2011, 10:48 PM
Haltis are not the best form of harness (though not really a harness per se) to use for a cavalier. First: their noses are a bit short for them and on many they just slide off. But also -- many people do not feel something that pulls at the head (or the neck, like a collar) in a breed with such a high incidence of syringomyelia, which frequently causes pain and discomfort around the head and neck, is a suitable. Some neurologists have said they would generally recommend harnesses unless the dog already has SM and finds them uncomfortable -- because the pulling of a collar etc could possibly worsen an existing syrinx.

They also are not a particularly good form of restraint (and this is a breed that can bolt after things unexpectedly!) as they can often slide off more easily on a short nosed breed.

denali
15th October 2011, 10:58 PM
Haltis are not the best form of harness (though not really a harness per se) to use for a cavalier. First: their noses are a bit short for them and on many they just slide off. But also -- many people do not feel something that pulls at the head (or the neck, like a collar) in a breed with such a high incidence of syringomyelia, which frequently causes pain and discomfort around the head and neck, is a suitable. Some neurologists have said they would generally recommend harnesses unless the dog already has SM and finds them uncomfortable -- because the pulling of a collar etc could possibly worsen an existing syrinx.

They also are not a particularly good form of restraint (and this is a breed that can bolt after things unexpectedly!) as they can often slide off more easily on a short nosed breed.

Thank you Karlin. That is what I was originally thinking, the bit about SM. I assume Kokoda does not have it as he is 7/8 months old and shows no symptoms, but you do never know with cavaliers. So lets say he has a small unknown syrinx, the use of a collar or halti type thing would worsen it?

I have been using the puppia harnesses with him, and I used the EZYdog harness for my previous cav. I have never walked a cav with just a collar, but that was only because our first dog loved to choke himself and then I got used to using a harness. If we do work on heeling in class, what would be the best thing to use?

racecar4545
21st November 2011, 02:23 AM
I have a 12 1/2 year old Blenheim who didn't start agility until the age of 4. Last fall, at 11 1/2, he earned his NADAC NATCH and V-NATCH titles. He has always trained and competed with my daughter who is now 20 and a university student. He is still healthy and loves doing agility so I have taken to "training" with him. What a forgiving student he is, putting up with my mistakes. In the meantime, I'm learning a lot about how to train a dog. This summer, I got a new puppy (I'm replacing the border collie my daughter took to college with her.). My puppy is almost 8 months old now. I've started him out with puppy socialization classes, followed by a basic obedience class, I intend to have him do agility. My current thinking is that he needs to master some basic commands and develop an initial working relationship with me before beginning agility. I plan on one more obedience class and then I'm thinking agility this spring.

The place we go to for agility is all about SAFE agility! They do train puppies BUT they have a limited obstacle training environment! IF you plan on training a puppy, make sure the training environment is designed especially for this age group. I, personally, prefer the NADAC venue that limits the strains on their joints by having size/age appropriate jumps, Aframes and walks that are safe; Just recently they totally eliminated the teeter due to health concerns,

Given the fact that my 12.5 year old Cav still loves to run in agility AND CAN is a testament to this venue. Your Cav will love agility! In his joy to please you, don't compromise his health! bE AWARE of trainers and venues that allow you and your precious friend to have fun and not impact their health!

AND ENJOY! They will love this!