Friday, April 24, 2015

Working Out Agility Kinks

Rocco tears it up through the tire
Last weekend we took home more learnings than ribbons from our AKC agility trial. Yup, that's right, even Rocco's not a rocket all the time!

We did have one qualifying run, in FAST, which is a run where you devise your own course based on getting the most points in a set amount of time. It also includes a distance challenge where you send your dog out to complete a series of obstacles (usually two or three) without crossing a designated line (a real line tapped into the dirt).



Most of his runs looked like this...


... once he got past the first few obstacles.

The problem was, most of Rocco's runs started like this.


Stopping in front of a jump, counts as a refusal and we started every run (usually at the third obstacle or so) with a refusal. Then he'd run the rest of the course brilliantly! Since we're running at the Excellent level, the run needs to be clean and under time. So no refusals allowed!

So now we're working on motivation off the starting line, making the entire run as fun as the last 3/4 of every run!

Have you had a training issue you worked through?
Let us know about it in the comments below!


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20 comments:

  1. Bummer, Rocco. Not getting it right is tough and frustrating, but dog sports are a team effort and working out problems together is part of the fun in the end and will make those next successes all the more wonderful.

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    1. Emma, you're so right! Great words of wisdom!

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  2. The better question is what training issue have we not had to work through? It always amazes me that the dog can be doing things fabulously and then all of a sudden it is like they have no idea. We usually just back up and retrain. We back up as far as necessary to reinforce what we want. My post today about swimming against the wind is just to reinforce and make sure Freighter has not lost that concept after no swimming all winter. I know Rocco will get it!

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    1. Yes, that's so true. You kind of have to expect a few bumps in the road. I think it may have something to do with Rocco's teenage years! Time to take a step back and reinforce the behaviors we want, like you say!

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  3. You always have the best agility shots of Rocco. Don't worry about messing up, it's all for fun anyway.

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    1. We'll have fun working through it, for sure!

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  4. That's a tough problem - what's up Rocco?

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  5. Hi Y'all!

    We had a Doberman in our class who wouldn't jump. Once he trotted through it, knockin' it down. He was young and his handler was baffled so the trainer told them to have a complete vet check up. Turns out he had severe arthritis, despite his young age.

    My Human is a big fan of "backin' up" like 2browndawgs mentioned. It's sometimes something not even I understand that is confusin' me. Sometimes I'm just feelin' ornery. Sometimes somethin' in my Human's body language is confusin' me.

    My Human is more into trainin' horses than dogs. She says the slightest thing amiss in a horse's line of sight can cause him to refuse a jump. Course with a horse, she's on its back and has gone over its head onto the ground when it refuses. ' Least with us, we don't throw you on the ground! BOL!

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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    1. Interesting about horses and line of sight. There are a lot of distractions at agility trials so we need to work through those. A vet checkup is a great idea too. Rocco gets Chiro adjustments to make sure he's not out of wack, but a follow up at his regular rehab place is on our list of things to do too.

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  6. oh well you will get them next time. Keep up the good work. great pictures.

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  7. The biggest issue we've been working on is focus. Mr. N finds other dogs very distracting.

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    1. Ah yes focus! I think that's at the root of our issues too. Mr. N and Rocco are SO alike!

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  8. Barley and I have been working through training issues with a neighborhood dog this week! It must be the week for having to work through problems. Good luck working through your challenges--Barley has start-line challenges, too--but her problems is that she gets so excited about going that she forgets we're actually supposed to do things in a certain order and makes up her own course, so we try to keep things super calm at the start-line!

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    1. I know how that goes! Her enthusiasm is a good thing in the long run.

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  9. Happy training for the first 1/4 of the run!

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