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thinking or obsessing

ok... I lied. I really am thinking about the DW this week... not training it---this week or next---just thinking about it... thinking what I am doing wrong so that its not as much fun for either of us... I think Stella was worrying about whether she was right or wrong and it was making her striding all weird and getting her farther and farther from being "right" which is so hard for me to accept because she was doing SO WELL...
1) I know my sessions have gotten too long, belabored... so yes, keep it short & sweet... and if we don't get running contacts trained before the snow, we don't... she's 4, we still have time : (
2) Insecurity about my decision: Maybe I should have stayed at 37 inches height longer... she was doing really great but we were only there for max five sessions... other heights I stayed until it was so very routine... 90% good hits... I rushed it because of bad weather coming...
So, now I'm trying to think of the things Stella loves and how to use them... I wish I had a trained squirrel for her to chase!!! But meanwhile... 
3) she loves horrible stinky tripe which I can deliver to a bowl squeezed from a tube,  just a lick for the run, a big squirt for the good striding. The sort of manual manners minder 
4)She does love to tug, but not always and the toys she likes to tug are usually not the good ones to throw... I could do the drag the toy major lead out - not for whole session but for variety
5) its possible I am wrecking the soccer ball---the stress of so much fail may be transferring and dampening her love of the soccer ball : (   so maybe just some plain soccer games without the DW running, before after and during breaks... 
6) obstacles (jump and tunnel) at either end... I've been setting them pretty far out from the DW... maybe I should have a tunnel at both ends,  maybe I should bring them closer, to have her thinking low running and not jump at the contacts... but then if that works its something else to fade... maybe I should do some sessions with and some without
7) I was thinking it was best to be consistent, but now I'm thinking variety variety variety to lighten the training mood... get us out of our training ruts
8) note to self: she seems to like the clicker in this RDW context... but that ties us back to food rewards, so again, for variety?


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 18th, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
Sorry to pick out just one thing... but I am interested because I'm experiencing something similar... about the soccer ball.
What makes you think you're "wrecking" it? Use it too much? Not enough? She has less drive for it?

I wonder this because Razor seemed to LOVE the flying disc for a really long time and we had so much fun w/ it. But now he's dissin it for squirrels... and that makes me sad. Disc overkill perhaps?
Nov. 18th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
aside from I've successfully added the think/stress ingredient to something that used to be pure animal pleasure???? don't you think its got something to do with what or how you do with the soccerball or flying disc? whether you are working with it or playing with it? ideally Stella should feel: ok yay, now we're playing dogwalk-soccer or weavin-soccer and not: ok, here we go, everybody's got their work clothes on and I'm gonna get paid in soccerballs now for the good work I do but not the crappy work and I am not sure I always know the difference cause I have this rookie boss and oh nooooo I'm not making enough soccerballs and I am feeling so much the growing hole in my heart that soccerballs should be filling... let me stop wanting soccerballs, maybe thats the solution
Nov. 18th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
OMG... Stella is SUCH a GIRL! I'm fairly certain Razor would NEVER delve that deep into why or whynot a frisbee shows up in play.
I just think he used to dig on it... and now.. not so much. But then, we've also recently had an injury... so maybe he's just protecting that.

don't knock yourself on the rookie boss thing. I think you're doing awesome. ;)
Nov. 18th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
and thanks for the pep talk... I can really feel I'm screwing up a great dog... and get paranoid that she doesn't think I as fun as I used to be... on a leash walk now, other than going to the park in the morning, she randomly just digs her feet in and says I'm not going ...WTF! where did that come from, she used to want to go wherever or whatever with me, oh yeah life is all good... other people she might 've given a hard time occasionally, but never me... I broke something
Nov. 18th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
When my clients tell me their dogs refuse to go on walks (to varying degrees) normally I find something that's frightened or bothered them. Not always, but often.

Does Stel have a mat behavior? (I'd be shocked if she didn't you guys are ON TOP of everything!)

If she does, take that mat with you... if she starts to balk. Put her in a sit-stay go out 15 ft and lay the mat down. "Go to your mat!" and watch her switch from worrying about "something" to going into "work" mode. Mat behaviors are so very re-enforcing to most dogs. They know EXACTLY what's required of them and they know the rewards are great.
Normally you only have to do this 2-3 times on walks before they're all happy go-lucky again.

What do you think?
Nov. 18th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
hmmmm, worth a try! thnx
Nov. 18th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
Firstly: this is so funny! I am sorry to laugh at Stella's soccerball plight but top marks for hilarity
Nov. 19th, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
happy to amuse!
Nov. 18th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
ok, but nothing compares to squirrels, NOTHING! I wish I could find a tanner who would do nontoxic tanning of roadkill.... OR are you talking about just you and the disc and The Sharp One out in an empty field playing? no equipment or training? Stella has lost interest in toys that smell funny to her for some reason... she doesn't care if they get holes in them or lose their stuffing or squeak, that doesn't bother her... or sometimes she just rotates through favorite toys... she always likes a new toy, the kid/christmas thing,,, and sometimes she doesn't like a toy until one of her friends falls in love with it... of course then it has her friends smell on it... like her green lizard she hated until I brought it to the park and her buds loved it

interesting subject
Nov. 18th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
yes, no equipment. I don't have any issue with drive when it comes to agility (at least, not for the past four years! ahahah)

But we've been playing at disc dog and I was into shaping him to do some tricks and all summer he was loving it. But now, the squirrels are winning. Sucks.
Nov. 18th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
And yeah, maybe a new type of disc with a different smell and feel? Could just do the trick.
Nov. 18th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
: )
Nov. 22nd, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC)
Have you gotten good at throwing the disc accurately... to a specific location in relation to an obstacle? got tips on that?
Nov. 22nd, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)


I'm damn lucky if I keep it aloft enough to give Raze time to get under it. That's my current level of awesomeness.
Nov. 18th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
just sympathy
Shangs-incarnate, thats all I get from reading this. Christ, it is like reading about my first 4 years of agility with Pan word for word.
Not sure if there is any truth to these little theories I have but
- only dog
- big dog
- not naturally structured for extreme control over legs
- trainer has no other dog to switch over to to keep sessions super short
- trainer has no other dog to refocus their love of agility elsewhere when they are stuck in a training rut
- trainer/handler and dog have both progressed quite quickly through agility if that sat back and look at how many years the people they train with have been doing this stuff
- trainer has just the slightest bit of a tendency to do 'well' and enjoys problem solving?
- dog has a real affinity for new things, life growing up has been about being excited about new things and is usually really well socialised in the urban environment (the more dog you get the less they get out into the urban landscape believe me!)
- Play in dogs and humans seems to always seems to have an element of competition to it. Its pretty hard for an 'only' dog to genuinely compete against a slow monkey lady who can't throw for crap and ends up with your favorite stick on the garage roof AGAIN (ok maybe that is just me).

Anyways, when you work it all out tell me what the secret was. I still don't reakon I could have increased Pan's drive without more dogs and much less agility.

Oh and I always found it could help if a did a "power" week of training and then left it for a full month. Something happened in both our minds.

Love to you and the stell
Nov. 18th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
not just sympathy, I remember something
Hey I just what I did with Pan's dogwalk when she was still an 'only' dog. And it blew my mind that it worked so well because I thought she would be too sensitive for it.


You get out a brand new toy, so freaking brilliantly new that you can even leave the tags on it and everything. That will prove to her that it is fancy.

You rev her up about wanting the new toy

You go out to the plank set up in the yard and she gets ONE GO to get it right. That's all.

IF SHE HITS IT: She gets the toy thrown! Woot! etc etc etc. She gets another go but no more than 3 goes in a row.

IF SHE MISSES: "what a bummer stella! Oh! That totally sucks doesn't it cos we all know this special toy only flys when little hairy dogs hit their planks in the special zone of goodness. Maybe I should have bought you a better toy that would fly no matter what. Oh well. We will go inside and wait for the toy to recover from its sleepyness and maybe we will get it to fly later." And then I would sadly go inside with sad dog and put the toy up on the shelf and go back to making dinner. We wouldn't try again for a good 20mins or even the next day.
Nov. 19th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC)
Re: not just sympathy, I remember something
YESS CLICK CLICK CLICK JACKPOT PENNY! I will try this... she loves fancy with tags ("such a girl")
Nov. 22nd, 2011 04:22 am (UTC)
Re: not just sympathy, I remember something
One try for the great new toy sounds like a good plan.
Nov. 22nd, 2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
Re: not just sympathy, I remember something
I'm having trouble picking the right toy... suggestions? Liza? Penny? Rosie? Anyone? tug toys generally don't throw well and throwing toys usually aren't really tuggers... she doesnt like those tennisball-tugger combos...
Nov. 22nd, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
Re: not just sympathy, I remember something
Hmmmm, We tend to like ball-shaped things. And I know Stel loves the soccer ball. Maybe something LIKE a soccer ball but new? One with fancy colors or squeeks. I would even look at KID toys (not just dog toys) to see what you can come up with. A 1/2 sized soccer ball with some of the air let out might rock.
Nov. 23rd, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)
Re: not just sympathy, I remember something
What about a new open rubber Soccer ball on a rope, like Matilda's. You can throw it and tug with it.
Nov. 19th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
Re: just sympathy
Cant get the second dog for awhile yet... life is too complicated and not financially secure enough and it took us forever to convince the landlord to let us have ONE dog and she (HA!) was supposed to be a SMALL dog only... but I am sure you are right. I have watched stressed out agility handlers get their second dog and it takes the crazy perfection pressure off the first dog and adds a little faux-sibling competition that is macrobio-healthier than that other only-dog micro-pressure and lets the slow monkey lady (agility junkie) handler get a taste of some of that success juice if only a little squirt because both dogs can't be all fail all the time its against the law

BUT---thanks so much for your very thoughtful been there suffered that perspective!!!!!!

Tho I think I am less monkey lady and more hippopotamus lady and its a really good thing for both me and Stell that leadouts make her more drivey!!!!
Nov. 22nd, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
Re: just sympathy
Can you "borrow" someone's dog for a while? Honest... I think that might be brilliant. Get a "seasoned" dog who would be ok w/ hanging with the Stell and use them as a decoy and also an ego boost for you. Two weeks should do it. Go for a 5+ year old with lots of agility under their belts who is maybe semi retired. (and quiet, so you don't get in trouble w/ the neighbors!) How fun would that be??
Nov. 22nd, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
Re: just sympathy
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. cool idea. have to think on that.
Nov. 22nd, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
Advice -- that you didn't request. hehehe
Stell is really nicely socialized, but best if you got a dog to stay who would generally ignore her. You don't want her to be thinking "SLEEP OVER!!! PARTY!!!" So an older dog would be great. Maybe someone in a class you like, or someone you know has a dog who they don't generally work with as much anymore. I would loan you Nova (she'd be perfect) but the drive would be hell. Then do the switching out thing. Honestly... I could be a blaster! and sometimes friends like the idea of having a dog-free break now and again.
Nov. 22nd, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Advice -- that you didn't request. hehehe
someone also who wouldn't be afraid that I would wreck their dog
Nov. 22nd, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Advice -- that you didn't request. hehehe
Pfft A dog that's 5-8 years old and has been doing agility for a while Is NOT going to be "wrecked" by anything you do or don't do. They're not going to fall off a dogwalk or lose all their motivation or be struck my lightening.

I wouldn't borrow a dog in "training" under let's say 3.... but I would totally feel confident loaning you Razor, Nova or even Ruben (who is slower and not motivated.. so not very helpful).

Put that OUT of your mind.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )