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Thread: Obedience course - then to agility!

  1. #1
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    Default Obedience course - then to agility!

    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!

    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!

    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
    Last edited by denali; 9th October 2011 at 01:28 AM. Reason: a few more Q's :)
    ~ Kokoda - Ruby - DOB 26/02/2011, Deniki - Tricolour - DOB 17/02/2013 and RIPAnzac ~

  2. #2
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    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.
    Sabby
    Rosie-06/06 - Ebony-01/07 Harley-08/08
    " My sunshine doesn't come from the skies, it comes from the love in my dogs eyes "

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabby View Post
    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!!

    Karen

    Ruby - my stunning soul mate who defies the odds every day
    Charlie- my angel at heart and devil at play


  4. #4
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    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?
    ~ Kokoda - Ruby - DOB 26/02/2011, Deniki - Tricolour - DOB 17/02/2013 and RIPAnzac ~

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by denali View Post
    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!

    Karen

    Ruby - my stunning soul mate who defies the odds every day
    Charlie- my angel at heart and devil at play


  6. #6
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    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
    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.
    Last edited by Mindysmom; 9th October 2011 at 02:54 PM.
    Mindy Tri - Feb/97
    Max - Ruby - Sep/08
    Rylie - B&T - June/09

  7. #7
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    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

  8. #8
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    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.
    Mindy Tri - Feb/97
    Max - Ruby - Sep/08
    Rylie - B&T - June/09

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karen and Ruby View Post
    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!
    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.
    ~ Kokoda - Ruby - DOB 26/02/2011, Deniki - Tricolour - DOB 17/02/2013 and RIPAnzac ~

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mindysmom View Post
    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
    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
    ~ Kokoda - Ruby - DOB 26/02/2011, Deniki - Tricolour - DOB 17/02/2013 and RIPAnzac ~

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