Murray is DEFINITELY retired from agility.* I'm going kick his little furry butt all the way home if he pulls another stunt like today. Today he leaped off the TOP of the dog walk (about 5' in the air) and left the ring to go check out the water bottle that caught his eye (it was by the pole setters chair).* Once he checked it out, he ran fine but too late...NQ.* I'm so POd.* >* >* >* What made it worse was the audience cheering once we finished the course.* I'm sure they were just showing support but I really didn't feel like being cheered at that point. We certainly hadn't done anything deserving a cheer.* They should have cheered once I got him back on course.* THAT would have been an appropriate time to cheer.*
There was one bright and shiny moment today though.* Our Utility run was pretty darn good if I do say so myself. His heeling was much better.* He was a little laggy in parts (got distracted in the about turn) but much better overall. Murray's signals were AWESOME!!!! As we were setting up for articles the judge said "those signals were done beautifully."* ;D* I was ready to walk out of the ring right there.* I was SOOO happy there was nothing else that could make it any better (well except a Q* ).* I told the judge that Murray is usually very stressed and distracted, especially at this show location so I was really pleasantly surprised about the signals.* I spoke too soon. On the first article, we pivoted and sure enough Murray checked out just as I said "fetch". He was looking back over his shoulder watching the other ring.* I waited. The judge waited. I waited some more.* Then I saw Murray turn his head back and I know EXACTLY what he was thinking. "Huh?* Did mom say something?* Should I go?* Maybe I should stay.* No, maybe I should go."* He did finally go to the pile without a 2nd command but I thought I was going to pass out from holding my breath.* Whew!* He got the right article and brought it back. Thankfully there were no incidences with the 2nd article because there is no way I could have held my breath again.* Gloves. Ahhh gloves.* What can I say?* We got glove 3.* I pivoted.* Notice I said "I pivoted".* Murray only scooched his butt about 3" so my feet wouldn't touch him. He was still facing backwards from me (his back was to the gloves* : ).* I wasn't sure what to do but I sent him anyway and he managed to turn and go directly for 3 (YEA!).* He grabbed 3, spied [email protected]#%* glove 2, dropped 3 and went to 2 (BOO!).* He dropped 2 and went back to 3 and brought it to me (YEA!).*Honestly...I don't think my heart can take much more at this point. Moving stand was perfecto!* Go outs were nothing short of INCREDIBLE!* Fast, straight, and all the way.* ;D* Yet another pleasant surprise for the day.* Unfortunately he forgot to jump on the first go out so we NQd* but overall I was so thrilled with both his attitude and performance today that I really didn't mind the NQ because I saw a glimpse of the greatness to come.* ;D
Afterwards, the judge said we looked really good and that we were Qing until the go out mishap.* I said "What?* Didn't we NQ on the gloves?* He didn't even pivot to face the glove?"* She said in her book it was just major points for the poor pivot and playing with glove 2...Major, MAJOR points but still Qing. She said we will definitely Q tomorrow.* I sure hope someone was listening.* ;D* I must say if I had known we were still Qing at the go outs I would have been much more disappointed about him missing the jump.* I think it was better that I didn't know.*
I talked to a few of the OTCH competitors and they agreed that we still would have Qd on the gloves based on the rules.* For some reason I thought the rules said the team had to face the glove in order to Q.* I checked the rules and sure enough...the "handler" has to face the glove.* It says nothing about the dog (of course it helps if they are facing the gloves too* : ).* It also says the dog must go directly to the glove (which he did) and bring back the correct glove (which he did).* It doesn't say anything about what happens between the two parts of the exercise.* I learn something new about utility every day.*
Susan - we started using the daily Primorye on Wed and he got the gold today.* I noticed a HUGE difference in obedience but not so much in agility which is why I still believe that the agility issue is not stress related (although my stress level in agility as well as my blood pressure is beginning to go off the charts...maybe I need to take it although I think I'll need something stronger...like Valium ).* I told a couple of my training buddies about the product so they may be ordering it as well.* I'll give them your disti number so you get credit.
On another note...* Meghan and Essy got their 2nd Rally Advanced leg today and 1st place (they were the only one in Adv A* ).* They only scored a 78 because Meghan kept retrying exercises when Essy wasn't sitting straight.* I was so afraid they were going to point out.* Afterwards I reminded her to only retry exercises that aren't done correctly, not because they aren't "perfect".* I hope she remembers tomorrow.
I got to meet Kelly and Amber for a few seconds.* They are both very nice. I felt bad because I was running around like crazy from ring to ring all morning so I didn't get to really talk to anyone except to say "Hi" "Bye".* Kelly even said everytime he was going to talk to me he saw me running off to another ring. I finally sat down for the first time at noon.* I know they did very well but I'll let Kelly tell you all about it. I hope I get to watch them on Sat and Sun.
Sorry about the agility run. That bail off the dog walk would have given me heart failure!! Sound like you had your dog back in the utility ring. Hope the rest of the weekend goes well for you and Murray. Congrats to your daughter and Essy on their 1st place and second leg!!
"In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden
Linda, Kona and Bo
Sorry about the agility, but DO keep him going to Obedience. It sounds like you had a great time out there (except for your near-heart attacks). From reading your description of events, I'm thinking you take this game way too seriously. Loosen up out there in the ring and have a laugh at him when he's being a turd. I just can't take obedience all that seriously anymore. Ruger has done too many silly things. I go in, having a perfect run in my head, and watch it slowly fall apart as my team mate (Ruger) has something altogether different in his head. But heh, we come out of the game with a smile and love between us.
Of course, ask me how I feel tomorrow after my Utility debut ;D ;D ;D
Oh Lydia, I think my heart would have stopped if Caleb jumped off the dog walk!!! Glad Utility went better. Yes, it is the handler who must pivot to face the glove though you are judged on the team effort, so it would be a major deduction. What a performance though! My heart was stopping just reading it!!!!
Glad to hear about Megan! That is great--another RA leg!
Quick question--on the articles, gloves, flat retrieve, etc. do you make Murray "check in" before you send him?
Oh, I do take the Primorye and the Gold!!!! I need it as bad as Caleb!!!!!! :P
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
I don't know if he's been trained 2-on 2-off contacts, but dogs that haven't will often jump off from as high as possible and then go zooming because there is so much stress associated with the down ramp (arms waving, handler yelling to touch, handler groaning when the dog misses, etc). Unless you've given him a clear job to do at the bottom, trained it thoroughly, and proofed it, you can't expect him to hit it. Slow down and hit the contact is not a clear job. A clear job is run to the end of the board and stop with your back feet as close to the edge of the board as possible, with your back feet centered on the board and your body/head pointing straight ahead. (some people will add a nose touch to the ground, or only require one foot to be in contact with the board, but you get the idea).
If you haven't given him a clear job to do and thoroughly trained, reinforced, and proofed it, you can't get upset at the dog for missing contacts, and you have to be careful to make sure the down ramps aren't a stressful place or the dog will start trying to avoid them. Heck I don't even get mad when Dusty misses a contact, and he's been competing almost 5 years, has his MX/MXJ and EAC, has 14 double-Q's, and is competing in USDAA Masters, NADAC/ASCA Elite and CPE level 5.
It sounds to me also that you're taking agility way too seriously. Jumping off the dogwalk to go see a water bottle is FUNNY. Dusty has knocked over a judge, left the ring to go investigate extra panels for the panel jump, hopped off the table to go say hi to the judge who was a friend of ours and then came and hopped back onto the table, found an interesting smell near the start and smelled it for 15-20 seconds while I jumped around making strange noises trying to get his attention, ran out of the ring and around the x-pen where our old Lab was and then came back into the ring to finish the course (actually got a Q, 1st place and our NA with that one), etc. At the beginning I dealt with it in a punishment/scolding-based manner, and that got me a stressed dog. You also have a stressed dog, or he wouldn't be trying to get out of the stressful situation. You might not have lost speed like I did with Dusty, but the steps to reduce the stress are still the same. A dog who thinks agility with you is the most fun thing in the world will run fast and be focused on you. In order to make agility the most fun thing in the world for your dog, you need to reduce the stressfulness of the situation as much as possible and make agility obstacles more reinforcing.
I agree with keeping agility FUN. When I teach classes no student of mine is allowed a "frowny face". I chastise students for using negativity and words such as No, Uh-oh, or for barking harsh commands "SIT! "WAIT!" etc.
It's amazing what just changing a tone of voice can do to a dog
If the dog does something else, our reply is always, "Oh what a silly!!! Let's do that again!!!" All upbeat and fun.
The only time I allow any negativity or correction is if the dog leaves the ring. They the student may give the dog heck outside of the ring, but as soon as they are back in the ring, better put that smile and happy voice back on
With Murray, I'd continue to run him but expect nothing from him. Just getting one sequence down without a problem and with a fun attitude would be a winning situation for me. Then we'd work from there, keeping stress totally out of the picture. Only YOU care if you win, the dog doesn't. He's just out to have a good time with you
BTW, Lydia, isn't this the show where you were doing both Agility and Obedience? To me, that right there is WAY too stressful (to a handler). I've done it, but won't do it again. I don't even like running Rally and Reg-Obedience on the same day, it's too much stress for me. I much prefer to kick it back a notch, relax, no that I am not rushed, and focus on one class at a time
Just FYI, it wasn't a contact issue (we have running contacts by the way). He was no where near the contact.* He was 1/2 way across the flat part of the dog walk and jumped from there at a 90 degree angle (a purposeful jump off not a slip/fall off or a jump over the contact which he couldn't even see from where he was) to see the water bottle. He was definitely looking for a lure anywhere on the course and the bottle was the closest thing he could see.
We've been doing agility and obedience and even rally together at shows his entire career.* This is NOT a stress issue in agility.* I can't "stress" that enough.* Even my trainer says he's distracted but definitely not stressed.In training after we pivot I have him look at my face and I give him a treat. It doesn't happen in a trial situation though. He usually watches me peripherally.do you make Murray "check in" before you send him?
I make Caleb look at me, head up, before I send him for anything to help get his mind on the game and not wandering.* He has such a high retrieve drive that he is just beside himself until I send him so I also use it to not only get his mind on the game but to cool his jets some.* I don't ever send him without him "checking in" first. I don't accept a side glance or watching peripherally. I only accept the periphal in heeling because he is not built the way let's say Goldens are that can look up at the face the whole time they heel.Originally Posted by rottnlabs
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
You have running contacts, meaning that you have clear criteria such as "run full speed down the board and hit the area between these two slats with both front feet"? Or do you do something like slow him down verbally and point to the bottom? That is a) not a running contact and b) is almost guaranteed to cause stress. He doesn't know exactly what he's supposed to do, you're probably being harsher than normal, and there have probably been several times in the past where he's gotten scolded for making a mistake even though he doesn't know his job. So he's going across the dogwalk, he knows you'll start to act strange as soon as he hits the down ramp, he starts looking for an outlet, he sees something that looks interesting, and he's off.
There are probably thousands of dogs who have done that little agility lure coursing bit and been fine. Why do you think your dog is the only dog to have a problem with it and be completely unable to work past the problem? If agility was as much fun and laid-back as lure coursing, he wouldn't be looking for a lure. He'd stay with you having fun instead of being off looking for something better to do.
*cough* civility, civility *cough*
Zeke RN, agility miscreant and CGC failure