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Old 11-05-2010, 06:49 PM   #1
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Default Maybe Agility...

Me and River have been looking for something to do together, other than all the things we do “at home”…

We want to have fun first of all, and I’d also like to do something that could strengthen the bond between us even more, and make River even more focused on me and eager to work together with me.

We decided against defense work because I see too much coercion used to train dogs in this sport, plus River is too much of a pacifist and I don’t want to push him.

Obedience is out of question, at least for now, River gets bored very easily and I doubt he would have fun.

So maybe we could try some agility…

I’d like to know from people who play this sport with their dogs if you noticed an increase of the dog’s focus on you, and consequently a better control on your dog, even outside the agility track… or any other positive outcome?

We already had a chat with the trainers, they invited us to go and watch the training tomorrow. I’ve never really been interested in agility before and I never took my time to research it, so everything is new for me, and every suggestion and advice will be appreciated
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:39 PM   #2
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Agility is obedience in the fast lane, so you have to have fairly decent control to begin with. As you build skill sets there is a carry over into other areas including the every day life aspect. In the long run it teaches the dog to function with both the thinking and non-thinking portions of the brain, and perception skills. Meanwhile you become aware of your body language more as the bond strengthens.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:24 PM   #3
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Agility absolutely increases the bond between owner and dog, and yet, the focus and control outside of the agility field is much improved.

Agility does require obedience before you can even begin, but a good agility trainer will help you either find another trainer to get you ready with obedience for agility or will help you with your obedience skills themselves.

Get a good trainer and go for it!!!

(Oh, and I ust came back from a NADAC agility trial this evening...four runs, three first places.)
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:19 AM   #4
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Thank you both for the info!

What degree of "obedience" would be needed? If you mean basic education we are ok with that and River is quite obedient... He knows how to walk at my side off leash, he has a very good recal even with other dogs or other strong distractions around (cats, rabbits, sheps, horses and so on). He knows the command "stay", and the positions "sit", "down", "get up", and he can go from one position to the other on command, even from distance, or stop and take the said position during heel... and other small things. Aside from the recall, which is very reliable in every situation, all the other exercises are performed well if there are no strong distractions, while he tends to lose his focus if there are other dogs around (but the truth is, we never worked on that, in everyday life I only need the recall to be ALWAYS reliable and we are ok with that).

Would that be enough to start?
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:46 PM   #5
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For my school, I require a stay, sit, down and come all off lead in heavy distractions.

I also like to see reasonable leash manners.

Everything else I teach.
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:46 PM   #6
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Thank you for the advice! Then I think I should go for a bit of obedience first, to help him get more focused with strong distractions around The recall is the only thing I worked on with heavy distraction, and he does that very well. The "sit"...mmmh. If there are other dogs around he looks like he is sitting on needles And as for the "stay", I doubt he would last more than five seconds
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:44 PM   #7
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You'll need a good, solid stay. I'd work up to five minutes myself. That's more than you'll ever need for agility, but it will serve you well in the exciting environment agility provides.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:52 AM   #8
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I guess it depends on the class you go to - I go to one tailored for 'naughty' dogs and there was no obedience requirement for us to join, like the others I went to first.

We go just for fun more than anything but Oscar really enjoys it and it has built up his focus no end. Very few of the dogs we train with are perfectly obedient, the class is a vehicle for building that up enjoyably. Many people that are turned away from the more formal clubs come to train with us and many to great success (they are my inspiration for Oscar).

However, I know our class is kind of an exception, our trainer competes at Champ level but she has a very relaxed style and she works with the dog's natural tendencies, then brings in the control. I doubt i'd ever have been able to join another club with Oscar because him and obedience aren't a good fit as he is so distractable.

However, I have got more control over him since using agility as a 'prize'. He LOVES agility and the rewards he can get for focus, though I still have a battle with 'WAIT' (our time limit is about 5 seconds before the nose starts going). I've got a training session with a lady who competes at high levels with his breed and she too doesn't put too much emphasis on the firm obedience with her pointers - but she does with her BCs and Poodle.

I love it though, Oscar loves it, and Simba enjoys a little bit of jumping and tunnels. I've met loads of lovely people too so would definitely recommend to you and River!
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:52 AM   #9
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Thank you for sharing your experience I think River would enjoy it too, he's a ball of energy and he loves to jump, climb, run end so on...



Quote:
Originally Posted by agilityk9trainer View Post
You'll need a good, solid stay. I'd work up to five minutes myself. That's more than you'll ever need for agility, but it will serve you well in the exciting environment agility provides.
I went to talk with another trainer today, the nearest one to my house (it takes about 1 hour to reach it), it's the second one I visit and this one made a better impression on me. He has been two times in the national agility team and people told me good things about him... he too suggested to work a little more on obedience and to polish some aspects of River's behavior (and mine too) before we start agility. River is very well behaved to be a wolfdog and compared to many other Czech WDs he has a very good temperament, but it looks like I did some mistakes which lead him to have a little problem with impatience and self control: there are some situations in which he is not used to simply "wait" so he gets a bit frustrated. The trainer thinks his focus problems for example in presence of other dogs are probably related to that (other than to the breed itself). So we will be working on this for a while and on basic commands (sit, stay and heel) in presence of distractions. The recall is already very good in every situation and he was impressed with it

He was also impressed with how friendly he is (wolfdogs tends to be shy) and that even if he is a 22 months old male he is still friendly with other male dogs.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:26 PM   #10
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Sounds like a good beginning.
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