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Switching to a new agility trainer

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Farley

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 30, '12 12:19am PST 
For those that were following my past posts regarding trying to deal with Farley's over-excitement in the agility ring, I just wanted to post that I found a new trainer and we start classes with her on November 10th in an indoor arena. smile

Not only does she teach agility and have AADC titled dogs herself, but she is also a +R trainer with tons of experience, so accommodating Farley should not be a problem, as training is also well within her scope of experience. I understand that I need to work with my dog and I am responsible for his behavior, but I also believe the environment should be controlled in order to set the dog up for success, and in Farley's case I felt I had no control over his agility environment and my previous agility trainer didn't do much to help us out and I was feeling pretty powerless. I felt like the odd one out in the class with the "crazy" dog because everyone else's dogs seemed so perfect whereas mine would get very aroused and overexcited and act out.

I e-mailed this new trainer and explained to her my concerns about the classes, and expressed Farley's need for a more controlled class environment. She replied that she has much experience with handling very overexcited dogs and that she would be able to accommodate for Farley so that we can work on his focus and control within a controlled environment. She also mentioned the class will be small and the dogs enrolled so far are quite calm. The classes are the same price as the other ones and they will be on Saturday mornings instead of Tuesday nights, which works better for me anyway.

I'm glad I have found a new trainer that is willing to accommodate for Farley so we can succeed. I REALLY didn't want to give up on agility (which would be giving up on Farley as well). I know Farley has a lot of potential when he is able to channel his focus/energy and now I feel we will do even better together in this new environment. smile
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Smokey

Let's play tug!!
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 30, '12 1:07am PST 
I'm so glad you found one that's a better fit.

The first week of our basic obedience class made me nuts with everyone invading our personal space. The instructor seems to be a really good trainer with dogs, but of course training humans is harder, and I wish the classroom management was better. One dog physically touched Smokey on a break while he was in the middle of peeing, and another one tried to aggressively resource guard Smokey's toy, and then tried to dig it out of my bag after I put it away (I should add, they started off clear across the large room, and I have no idea what they were doing on our side in the first place). Everyone was instructed to get a front-clip harness if the dog pulls, and none of the dogs are particularly large, but the owners seem to be completely incapable of standing still, turning around, or noticing that I'm turning red while suddenly pivoting, loudly calling my dog and quickly walking away. I have yet to come up with a diplomatic way to tell them to get the h3ll away from us.
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Farley

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 30, '12 1:20am PST 
Thanks Smokey smile

I know what you mean about the personal space thing. In our old classes, everyone in my class knew that Farley got overexcited and couldn't work with other dogs near by, and yet with the entire arena open for them to spread out, they would all crowd 2 feet away from where I was trying to work Farley. I felt almost stupid that I had to actually request they move away and spread out. Farley is great at agility and knows what he's doing but with his excitability, it was unfair to expect him to take a jump when 6 other dogs were goofing off 2 feet away from it. That was sort of the last straw for me. I guess some people just don't understand that some dogs need more space than others. shrug

Edited by author Tue Oct 30, '12 1:25am PST

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Jackson Tan

Lad about town
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 30, '12 2:45am PST 
Sounds like a much better class! You gotta have your personal space, it's the reason I don't go to OB class in my town either .... it's in a public oval with kids playing, people jogging, other dog walkers etc. plus people who come to watch, with everyone side by side doing lure training on flat collar, no lead ... I was like, yeah, no thanks, I don't need that stress laugh out loud Good luck and let us know how he goes!
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Squ'mey

too old to eat- any more KD
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 30, '12 8:36am PST 
cheercheer Great news! I really hope the new classes are more fun for you both.
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ARCHMX Asher RL1X RL2X RL3X RL

we will dance in- the ring without- words
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 30, '12 6:24pm PST 
good job, Farley.

Let me just suggest one thing. Farley's behavior is not YOUR problem, it is HIS issue. HE needs to be in an environment where he can own his behavior and make good choices. Your job is to set him up to succeed and allow him the opportunity to make those correct choices, then reward them. It sounds like your former trainer was not able to help you do that and your new trainer MAY be able to.

Just don't beat yourself up about his behavior. It is HIS behavior, not yours.

I hope I said that in the right way, but what I really mean is that while it is something you can help him with, it is not your fault and being embarrassed or feeling bad does not help him. Success builds confidence and more success.
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Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 31, '12 7:17am PST 
Well put Asher... thank you for the reminder. And Farley... best of luck! laugh out loud Have fun!
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Smokey

Let's play tug!!
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 2, '12 9:56pm PST 
Asher, I also appreciate that you're always the first to remind people not to take it personally. I think it's important, because feeling guilty and ashamed usually leads quickly to giving up, doubting your instincts, and trying to ignore the problem instead of working on it. I struggle to trust that I'm not being ridiculous or overprotective when I go to great lengths to control his environment, that the ways I work with him are the best thing to do, and that I'm not a terrible foster parent when he goes over threshold. But I also know that no book, class, trainer, or behaviorist is going to be a magic bullet, and we're all just trying our best to do right by our dogs.
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Rexy

I dig in mud- puddles!
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 2, '12 10:51pm PST 
I'm so glad that you've found a more understanding agility trainer! That seriously makes all the difference... way to go

Please keep us updated!

Smokey, there comes a point where the extra management and vigilance just becomes second nature. I don't really stop and think about it anymore, it's just how life is for us with this dog. smile I also have a much better support system in place now (vs. when we first adopted her) and I think that makes the biggest difference.
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ARCHMX Asher RL1X RL2X RL3X RL

we will dance in- the ring without- words
 
 
Barked: Sat Nov 3, '12 5:08am PST 
Aw, shucks,red face I just know because I live it.

I think I am really lucky in that I have a fantastic support group to shore me up. Between Ali, the class, former students, we all support each other and that helps a lot. We have a yahoo group. We email. We talk at class. We have get togethers.

It also helps to know you are not alone. You are not the only person out there with this problem, so draw support, be it in person or online, from people who are going through the same thing.

I will tell you something else. Every aggressive or reactive dog I have encountered is scary smart. That is why they have problems. The learn the wrong things as fast as they learn the right things. But if we make an effort, they DO learn the right things quickly too.
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