So, we've been taking both boys to agility class the past two weekends. Angus does a beginner class first, and Simon does intermediate run-throughs afterwards.
Back story: Kevin decided a while ago that he wanted to try do agility with Simon, so I've been letting him do run-throughs.
I think we have both come to the conclusion that this was a really, really bad idea.
Two weeks in a row now, Simon has buzzed the ring at every available opportunity. Now, Simon has always been my "easy" dog. His nickname is "Steady Eddie." Bless his heart, I have always been able to count on him to stay with me, and if he did stray for a minute it's always been very easy to get him right back.
Not this past two weeks. Today he ran away from Kevin while warming up, and when I called him he completely blew me off. I voted for putting him in the car immediately and leaving. Kevin whined that he wouldn't get his chance to run the course if we left, and I caved. Bad decision #1. Simon got to practice this bad behavior three more times. Bad handler.
Finally I wised up and said, "OK, let me take him in the ring and see if I can work this out." I told the instructor I had one goal for this run: Simon stays in the ring. She laughed, and told us just to do one or two obstacles.
He was fine - the usual Simon. We added a few more obstacles...still fine.
So, clearly, it was that he didn't "get" working with Kevin.
I have been telling Kevin that if he really wants to do this with Simon, he needs to build a working relationship with him. He needs to practice, practice, practice...not just take him to class every week. I don't think he believed me.
I think he believes me now.
Long story short, I think we have decided that maybe this is too confusing for Simon, and that Kevin doesn't really have the time to put into it that he would need to. I hate that I can't just "make it happen" for him. Unfortunately, I'm not that good a handler and my dogs are not that solid. It's a struggle for me, and I work with them almost every day. For five years.
I do think going through this gave him new respect for just how hard this is. It looks like you just go out there with your dog and tell them to do things and they do it, but as I told him today, it is a constant puzzle trying to figure out the best way to motivate them to get what you want.
I'm sorry it didn't work out with Kevin and Simon but I don't think it reflects on you as handler or tainer of your dogs..my boys are all momma boys and won't really work with anyone else well either..I've had friends try to run mine and they might get an obstacle or 2 but then come running to momma..and mine are all chow hounds but even food won't necessarily keep them with other people. .. I know we often get couple in the begining classes that think they will both be working the dog and we often have to tell them that then need to make a decision as to who will actually be running the dog as it gets to confusing for the dog. That's how a lot of couples end up with their 2nd or 3rd agility dog..LOL
Connie, as an instructor I see this a LOT. In fact, I had a recent couple come to class and He wanted to run the dog. She let him. Unfortunately I could tell immediately that this dog actually was fearful of him. I had her come out to try a few thing and the dog worked beautifully. This went on for three weeks, and for three weeks I told him that he needed to build a better bond with the dog. Turns out he couldn't face the truth, he hasn't come back to class.
I have a new couple that came two weeks ago and we are having the same issue, the major difference is that he is willing to work hard with the dog. I even had him doing "happy voice" with the dog (that is something most men just won't do, LOL). So far so good with this couple, although the wife is upset now because she wants to run the dog. I told them they probably would have to get dog #2
Maybe you need dog #3 for Kevin? Let it be solely his dog? Just a thought
Thanks you guys. I feel better knowing it's pretty normal. LOL - I thought about just letting him get a third dog! Although in all honesty, I'd probably hog that one too. LMAO!
Happy voice: This was my feedback for him! I told him if I had to guess what might be the problem, something I had noticed was that when he gives Simon direction, it almost sounds like he's angry. Simon can't handle angry at all. And, he's used to my best "happy voice" for the last five years, and you're right, it's hard for men to do this.
Deb that's true I guess, because Kevin was comforted that Simon didn't really want to do it for the instructor either (and she's also his dog sitter!).
Did I mention that he jumped over the wood wall between the rings and the lobby, and ran up the stairs? This wall is almost four feet high. After I thought about it later, this was when I had gone to the car. I wonder if he was afraid I had left? I don't usually leave the building without them. Poor Simon!!