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Old 06-14-2009, 11:34 PM   #1
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Default Agility Fun--More LOTSA pics

Went out to my brother and sister-in-law's place and had some fun with their new pup and agility equipment. A good time was had by all. There will several posts to get the pics up. ENJOY!


Ash and Maverick, my brother's 8 week old Border Collie pup.


Life is good!


Ash on the rail.


Ok... that would be a fault... the paws are supposed to touch.


Maverick following Ash in.


Somehow this is lining up to be bad... someone is about to be run over.


More tunnel fun.


Running the chute in doubles... Maverick followed Ash in.


Yes, there is a dog in there...


There he is! Pausing for a photo shoot.

More to come....
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:44 PM   #2
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Ash going around the tire.... oopsie.


Maverick can't figure out what's inside the tunnel.


I hear breathing! What is that?!


Hello? Can you hear me?!


The hubby and Mya do a little jumpin'.


Is that a reindeer?


Lil' Mave on the rail while my brother watches. A moment later the lil' guy changed his mind and wanted down.


Mya on the rail showin' 'im how it's done!


Parker jumping.. uhhh... sort of.


Parker, come to momma... good boy! Good jump!

More to come....
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:47 PM   #3
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Ok, come on big boy... it's not that high...


We opted to use a leash to guide the big chicken over. What a ham!


Ash showin' Parker how it's done!


Let's explore the theory of the jump, pups... the trick is to go over NOT under!


Hoh yah! That's the ticket right there! And just make it look easy!


And down... that's a wrap!
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:56 PM   #4
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Great photos. Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:46 AM   #5
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It looks like you guys had fun. Thanks for the photos.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:01 AM   #6
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Great photos.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:01 AM   #7
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Thanks, we did have some fun! A friend of mine from work and I are going to get together Saturday after she works and do a bit of actual training. We're going to work on getting Ash to 'bottom' properly. He loves the rail and the frame, but we've never worked on him slowing down and stopping at the end. Thus the 'fly off' the rail photo. He's a quick learner, I just need some pointers to get him in the right direction. My friend is working on getting prepped for her first entry in Agility competition, making her great for aiding me as she's just been through it with a very strict trainer who had a near perfect at a show recently! If we can get Ash roughed in, I may be able to get into the actual agility class sooner.

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Old 06-16-2009, 12:25 AM   #8
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Agility is such fun. Lovely photos, thanks for the share. Maverick is a little cutie.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:30 AM   #9
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My advice on agility...don't do too much training without a professional trainer to help you, especially since I know you want to compete. There are a million ways to mess up your contacts and only a few ways to train them right. Different types of contact behaviors include two on/two off (ie. two rear paws on the contact, two front paws on the ground). This is one of Aslan's contact behaviors. There is 1RTO (one rear toe on). This is sort of Asher's contact behavior, but I raised the criteria to two paws on. It's like a 2o/2o but focuses on the back feet - not the front feet. There are running contacts trained with stride regulators. There are running contacts trained with Rachel Sanders PVC box method (a current favorite). There are contact with the four on the floor method. There is the "hit it" method for running contacts...etc.

There are a ton of different contacts, and you want to choose the right contact before training. I recommend a static contact behavior (2o/2o or 1RTO) if you do not own the equipment yourself. A true, well trained running contact takes more training than a static contact. Aslan has both a static and a type of running contact in his arsanol. Asher right now just has a hybrid 1RTO/2o2o. He will hopefully eventually have a running contact via. Rachel Sander's PVC box method.

The problem with training a contact and then learning about contacts and deciding on a different contact is simple. Retraining contacts will mean you wind up with a confused dog who when stresses will revert to the first contact trained - or just blows them altogther in the ring. This contact may not be the one you want once you learn about contacts.

Before beginning to train, do your homework first.

Other things to consider before beginning training includes weave pole training. Different methods include the Weave-a-Matics, 2X2 (the current trend), channel weaves, guides, and methods you won't want to use including luring, hand signaling, etc. You can even use a combo of methods, like the Weave-a-Matics and the 2X2.

Aslan and Asher were trained with Channel weaves combined with guides. I'd recommend a combo of either Weave-a-Matics with guides as the poles are raised and 2X2s or Channels with guides as the poles are raised and 2X2s.

Choosing the right trainer will make or break your success. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad agility trainers out there. They don't mean to be bad or think they're bad, but they just don't understand the deeper aspects of the sport. Look at a trainer's titles. I wouldn't go to a trainer with anything less than a MACH or ADCH or maybe a NATCH. I would ask the trainer what system they adhere to. They should begin throwing out names like Mecklenberg, Derrett, or explain that they teach a system that will match each student, which is best. But really, any system should work fine for you at this point. You can mess with systems when you are really further along. You'll mention systems to make sure the trainer is up to date on agility info.

Ask what weave method they use and why and what contact method they use and why. You will need to avoid a trainer who lures weaves or uses hand signals to get the dog through the weaves. You will also want to avoid trainers who say they get the dog to slow down in the yellow of the contact zone and then jump off. This isn't a contact behavior...it's just sloppy training. Avoid trainers who say you can learn a running contact behavior quickly. This can't be done with a larger dog. It can be done with a chi.

Look at the trainer's students. What level titles to they have? You'll be looking for MACHs, ADCHs, NATCHES, titles with Ms in them (MX, MXJ, MAD).

A trainer who has run clean in a trial doesn't tell you much. I've seen some pretty lousy handlers and dogs run clean in a trial. This happens. So don't get impressed with things like that. Look for titles and students' titles and knowledge. Also look for positive training, of course.

Good luck. If you play on the dogwalk (the "rail" you're talking about), be sure to limit it to only one or two sessions so you don't mess up any future contact behavior.

Agility is really hard. It's much more difficult to train correctly than Rally. However, if you get a good trainer behind you, you can get Ash to reach any level you'd like. But don't go it on your own, and don't let a friend who doesn't have anything above a Master's title help train you. You will live to regret that...and fast!!
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:34 AM   #10
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Thanks for the boat load of info! I can't answer all the questions precisely, but the trainer I will eventually swing into class with has had numerous AKC High in Trial runs, that was the result of her most recent trial two weekends ago. I know she's had MACH before that I have heard for sure, and possibly one of the others. And she runs several Borders personally. She's had students run and title, but I'm not sure the level. She has been training for well over twenty years and has been through the changeover of training strategies (same as you have spoken about)! She's also my work places primary trainer and I have spent lots of time eyeballing the classes. She is good.

Yes, my knowledge of agility as a sport is limited at the moment, as was my knowledge of Rally back last winter. But it is something I mean to remedy. The hard part of getting into the actual classes is the high demand rate for the class for beginner level. I see what you mean about the contacts being tricky! And yeah, she has NEVER said they are quick learns! Especially with a dog in motion. Ash and I have only before played around on the equipment at the dog park prior to now. So I know he is not afraid to go across the walk, in fact he loves it. When we went out to the brother and sister-in-laws farm it was more or less to just see if after Ash's rally training he would 'watch me' more than before rather than just do his own thing. The answer is an unequivocal yes! In the photos it is clear to see that he is watching, even on the jumps. It seems his obedience is enough to lay the groundwork. I would have to say I am 99% certain that Alice could guide me to competitive level and we would be able to work well together. I do not know the precise names of the methods she uses, but I could ask. And yes, at work we have the guides for the weaves. After seeing my friend with her boy Max (previously Alice's dog) work his way through to not needing them anymore I can see precisely why that is the method of choice! Slick.

Agility is a lot to learn. Ash stuck to Rally with amazing interest. I am proud of everytime I look down to see him in a perfect heel, or sit, or front. The good thing with this is that now he is eager to see what fun I will guide him into now. I have hopes that that connection will help us get a toe hold into agility. With Rally Ash could get a bit distracted... out amoungst the agility equipment the other day he was ignoring the pup at his heels, the toddler running at his side, the dogs barking in the background... he just watched me for what was next. I think we can capture this interest and hone it... with care of course.
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