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Old 09-07-2012, 09:53 AM   #1
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Hi all,

I am wondering how many of you experienced agility trialers continue with, say, weekly lessons with a dog trainer. My dogs seem to get bored with the weekly lessons and it gets harder and harder to get them revved up. Usually, things are better at trials and I think this is because it's a different location, different people not to mention my excitement is higher. I should mention that my dogs are not the border collie/ sheltie types who can run a course over and over at a high level of energy.

They "know" how to do all the obstacles, and I am NOT saying there isn't room for improvement with both handler and dog, but it just feels like the weekly training runs are maybe working against us as far as enthusiasm goes.

Any thoughts would be appreciated

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Old 09-07-2012, 10:55 AM   #2
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Welcome to df emazarak.
I am sure some of our agility members will be along soon to answer your question.
Doesn't your trainer change the set up around and put different things in the run so it isn't the same every week?
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:13 AM   #3
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My sister and I have Shih Tzu x Maltese and have said the same thing, they are not a dog you can keep running a course or obstacle over and over, they get bored, not like high energy breeds. We built most of our own equipment and when we do train, we will only run them for 10 or 15 minutes.

I am trialing Remmy right now and do not do any classes and very little training. He just got his third Advanced Standard last weekend so is in Masters in everything but Advanced Snooker. For some reason there is less chance of finding a Snooker Class at most trials. He has a trial on the 15/16 of Sept. with two Advanced Snooker so hopefully we can complete it then.

I did take some classes in 2009 when I first started and do have the opportunity to train over regular equipment in the fall and spring, but no instructor, so can stop when I want to. I know I could use more instruction in handling but haven't figured out how to do that yet without souring Remmy on training.

Last edited by Kyllobernese; 09-07-2012 at 11:14 AM.. Reason: Add: what kind of dog do you have?

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Old 09-07-2012, 11:30 AM   #4
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Thank you both. techie, yes, she changes things around and we target different goals, but I still think that because everything else is the same, the excitement level begins to dwindle.

For now I have decided to pull one of my dogs out of weekly classes and will try and build excitement back up by just taking her over a few obstacles, big praise and excitement and stopping while we're ahead.

Would love to continue hearing from others

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Old 09-07-2012, 12:36 PM   #5
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Here is my dog's average weekly schedule....

25-30hrs at work with me.
2 hours of agility class mon/wed
2 hours of time throughout the week spent actively working on new things and brushing up on old skills (sometimes we pull out all our agility stuff)
And between 5 and 10 miles of waking/jogging

He also goes just about every where with me. Rarely does he sit home and not do much, unless that's what i'm doing.


As far as your classes if your dog is getting bored, then you should talk to your instructor about varying it up more. Every week at my classes we do something differnet. One week we might work on putting courses together, some weeks we work on technical handling, other weeks we work on easy stuff to build confidence etc.

I know i've posted this before, but here is an excellent course we did part 1 and part 2 then put it all together. You can see I don't have a high energy dog... And really I Should have a constantly exhausted dog because he's always going but I think it keeps his life interesting.

We do agility because Dyno enjoys it, not in the sense of most Higher energy breeds, but in that we both have loads of fun. I know when i'm not having as much fun, neither does Dyno and his interest wains.

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Old 09-08-2012, 01:04 PM   #6
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Both my agility dogs attend weekly classes. Roughly an hour and half (of course we're not the only team in class) Ion on Tuesday mornings, Ashenpaw on Wednesday mornings. Then on my lunch breaks at work I do a ten minute session with each one focusing on a skill we struggled with or need to perfect... or simply doing my one jump exercises. The main reason I continue with the classes is because I as a handler need the feedback to keep adjusting how I'm handling my dogs. My instructor gives me pointers on how my body is positioned and when that is 'lying' to my dog. Also we are constantly developing new skills. Ashenpaw is now entirely in Excellent classes in the AKC rings. Ion just debuted in Novice and both dogs handle slightly differently.

If I can, I will always try to have access to a more experienced agility handler's feedback. They can see what I cannot while I'm running... then with their feedback I can get a better feel to when I run it right.

A good instructor should also be able to help you find ways to motivate your dog effectively. I would ask that very question if I were you.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:12 PM   #7
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As an agility instructor myself, my goal is to help my students with less than drivey dogs find their motivation. This involves many, many variables. One is good handling on the part of the handler. In most cases where the dog is getting bored, the handler is handling the course without speed. You gotta RUN!!!

I don't know if that's your team's issue, but if your trainer is good, he/she will know your issue. Go talk to your trainer. A good trainer will not take this personally and will work with you to help your dog "refind" the fun in agility.

Sometimes a break is a good thing for dogs. I give my boys breaks in the heat of the summer and very cold of the winter. Otherwise, we work four to five times a week. I do not go to classes as there aren't any trainers with more experience in my metro area other than myself, so I'm kinda stuck with me. I do attend seminars, privates and workshops with trainers from other areas of the country, however.

And don't be afraid to admit if your dog just doesn't like agility all that much. I don't believe in forcing a dog to do a canine sport they don't enjoy. Again - I'm not saying this is your team as I don't know you and your dog at all. If he's having fun at trials, then, obviously, he still likes agility. But at the same time, we've all seen the teams where the canine partner just doesn't care for the sport but is being forced to play.

Also, the heat plays a factor in the summer months. If you are training in a hot locale, the heat may well be the reason motivation has gone into the dumps. You may find your dog perks up as the cool temps move in.

As I said, there are many, many reasons a dog might be experiencing motivation issues. If you feel your trainer isn't helping you with this issue, find a new trainer. A new trainer might be just the ticket to get you and your dogs moving forward again.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:59 PM   #8
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I was ready to quit doing Agility with Kiska as she obviously was not enjoying it. She did really well at the one indoor trial I had her in, earning three Q's (Jumping, Snooker and Gamblers), then did not do too badly in her next two outdoor trials but since then she has shut right down and won't even go over the first jump. She just seems to be overwhelmed in the big outdoors. After two trials outdoors of her doing this, I have not entered her again. Unfortunately almost all our trials are outdoors but when I train her in an arena she is super happy to do everything with her tail wagging and a happy look on her face.

Our next indoor trial is in November and I am going to give her another try and see if she still likes it at a trial. If she does, I guess I will just have to go farther afield and find some indoor trials for her.

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Old 09-28-2012, 12:00 PM   #9
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I'm another one who teaches agility, albeit for fun these days, but the dogs and handlers still need to complete the course - and, in the order it's meant to be in!!!

If you were in my group, I'd probably be looking at your enthusiasm, if you enjoy it, then usually the dogs do too, but that's not to say all dogs enjoy the sport. I'd also ensure your dog is fit and healthy. Look at the height of the hurdles, could they be too high? Is the same equipment used week in and week out, variety is the spice of life. Some dogs prefer the contacts while others don't, so there should be a happy medium. Saying that, I have dogs that cannot do certain pieces of equipment for various reasons, so I never make them do it. I've been in a group myself where the instructor insisted the dogs completed that particular piece of kit, that's not the way I work personally, I believe if the dog doesn't enjoy it, then the handler won't either. It's a two way team, each must trust and respect the other.

There are some dogs though who just don't like it. I had one of those many years ago and we stopped trying after a time as she just "shut down".

If you don't already know, you could try to work out just what it is your dog likes doing in agility and what he/she doesn't. Concentrate on the each piece of equipment that's not so exciting, one at a time, build up confidence and enthusiasm. In time, your dog will learn to like some, but love most of the equipment.

I have various classes, some collies, but mostly not, we have dogs ranging from Bichons, loads of terriers, a Chow-chow (now he IS a challenge!) Bull Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Shih-Tzu's, Tibetian Terriers and a couple of Old English Sheepdogs, to name but a few. They all clear the route, they're not fast, but they are accurate.

So, good luck to you both.

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