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  #1  
Old 10th October 2011, 10:03 AM
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Agility....maybe!

Had Raine's final obedience class last night and with the extra time we were again allowed to work on some of the agility equipment. Not so much about the actual equipment but used more so for recall and sits/downs.
I am not up on the names of the equipment so bear with me!

One of the tunnels is very long so the trainer shortened it which involved removing the sand bags and squishing it to a smaller/less long tunnel.
Raine about came out of her skin! She was the most excited about something as I have ever seen her in my life (and she pretty much stays in an excited state). The trainer saw her and exclaimed "Oh MY! Look at Raine's face!"
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt if I had let go of her leash she would have happily "attacked" that tunnel out of pure joy. She might not have gone through it at that moment but she would have had a wonderful time jumping on and more than likely dragging it around (her version of play).

She easily jumps up on the stationary tables (even when not prompted) so those were fine for her. She did great at sitting on it and staying for a 5 second count. She would sit/stay for hours....and drool if food was presented to her.

She will jump over anything (using the come command during training with the jump poles) and when presented with a tunnel she never gave entry into it a second thought.

Our problem is this.....

I have been using certain words for her to associate with certain tasks but the words used in agility are different for the same tasks. I don't know if I can use MY words or if I have to start at square one and use the more traditional words. For example....anytime I want her UP on something I say "up" and point. This facility uses "table" "over" "jump" etc....When she goes under something on her own (I've set up objects for her in the past) I would say "go in" meaning enter under something and they use "tunnel".

I am really torn as to what to do. The trainer says she should FOR SURE be involved with agility. She has no fears and a very investigative personality. She doesn't shy away from anything we have tried and tries things on her own and gets me in trouble! She got on the tilt table and thought it was a good place to start jack-hammering. The noise was loud as the corners would hit the ground and she was scaring the other dogs. The trainer YELLED and I quote...."RAINE! Get off that table before you give the other dogs a heart attack!" She also mentioned to the class (for my benefit) "Dogs should not be allowed to use equipment they have not been properly introduced to. To do so could create a negative association with something."

Well....Raine doesn't give a hoot! She will do anything that is asked of her as long as food is around. If food is taken out of the equation she has to have a conversation with herself and make a determination if she should comply. She is forever thinking about ways to have fun and entertain herself. If she wants to get on a table and jack hammer it since it wobbles and she finds this fun then she doesn't care how much trouble she gets in or gets me in!

Her recall is worthless unless you show her food before you call her. Cami was the same way so in this situation having achieved the same results with two dogs I take the blame. I worked with Cami her entire life and this never got any better. It would be crazy to think it would get better with Raine. In that aspect I don't think agility would work since she would need to be off leash eventually. But on the flip side she seems to LOVE the equipment and I know she loves to learn.

Any thoughts? Classes are filling up (most are full). We have a small window here to make a decision.
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  #2  
Old 10th October 2011, 10:45 AM
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How old is Raine now? If she's less than 18 months, that's a bit too young to be doing a "real" agility class and working on jumping/weaves/contact equipment.

But...I would get her into agility. You may find that having her off leash in class (eventually) will lead to a better recall. Or, failing that, it will give you strong incentive to work hard on getting a solid recall.

Agility could give you an excellent outlet for all of Raine's energy.
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  #3  
Old 10th October 2011, 12:12 PM
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She is 15 months old now and this info is taken directly from the facilities website:
Beginners Agility Level I
1-3 obstacles. Dogs must be handled on leash. Jumps will be set at 8" or 12". Table will be set at 8".

They don't list specifically what obstacles will be introduced but we can assume poles and a table (stationary) due to what is included in the above text. The 3rd might be a tunnel?

I don't think I can worry about 8 or 12 inches since my couch which she jumps on and off of or OVER many times a day is much higher! I know repetition could be an issue with developing joints but Raine has already taken care of that potential issue.
I fully expect her to have joint related health issues at some point in her life due to her inability to not use her legs as springs at such a young age. We are continuously working on that without much success.

Any of the classes that would work for us time-wise are booked. I am going to try to get on a waiting/cancellation list and if that doesn't work we will have to wait till the next set of classes start and I assume it would be after the holidays.

 
  #4  
Old 10th October 2011, 01:44 PM
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OMG!! I hope you take Raine to an agility class. You will have so much fun! As far as the phrasing goes - you can use what you want to use. Just because most people say tunnel or whatever - doesn't mean anything. You could call the tunnel "zebra" if you want - as long as raine knows what to do when you say that.

And if you take a good agility class- you won't be naming anything until after she fully understands the obstacle. Just like with 'sit' you aren't supposed to 'name' it until after they are doing it properly.

The way our agility is going - I literally say nothing to Rocky. I put him in a sit/stay - which I stand still and look at him - he sits. He knows not to move until I say my release word - which is "OKAY" in a happy voice. Other people use other words "Free" or "Remel" or "Ostrich" - i mean they all use different things.

I set him up where he can see a clear line of obstacles and he does them - we've trained properly on them so he knows get on the table, down immediately and stay. The tunnel is his favorite too - he zips through that thing like you would NOT believe. Which is funny because he is SO so tall and has to practically crawl through.

I really encourage you to try it - even if you are hesitant about off leash stuff. Hopefully raine will focus on you and will work on a bond/attention span a bit with agility. Her rewards can be treats or tugs. I'm sure you won't do too much off leash stuff right away anyway Let us know if you do decide! I can't wait for stories from Raine and agility!
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  #5  
Old 12th October 2011, 01:38 PM
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She is the perfect age for agility training. A Boxer's bones fully bind at 14 months of age so any training prior to that should be minimal. So....go for it!
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  #6  
Old 12th October 2011, 02:28 PM
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Yay!! go for it!!!
I jump Snatch at 12" and Oxford.. don't laugh.. but he is just starting back after TPLO issues, so he is in the yorkie categorie at 4". The surgeon said no jump, so for him to have a somewhat of course, he does 4"

Yes, for the phrasing, use what you want.
I use:
"ok" for release
"hop" for jump and tire
"walk it SLOOWWWW" for the walk
I use the same name for the teeter.. with added SLOOOOWWW DOWNNN!!! to me, the teeter and the walk look the same on approach.
"over" for the a-frame
"tunnel" for either kind of tunnel.

You will have so much fun!!

I want to add obedience for Oxy.. i am looking for a affordable class..

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  #7  
Old 17th October 2011, 10:29 AM
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Malcolm felt the same way as Raine about the obstacles - the instructor was being very serious about properly introducing the obstacles and reinforcing them heavily...meanwhile, Malcolm has hopped up on the wobble board and is going back and forth!

I think you'd both have great fun in an agility class! I hope you give it a shot!
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  #8  
Old 17th October 2011, 02:51 PM
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No doubt about it, go for it! You both will have a great time, especially Raine, LOL, as will your audience.

More importantly you will develop a special bond as you work together as a team. This was an unexpected bonus for us. Agility is more than the visible fun stuff of handling obstacles, which comes fairly easy for boxers. Think about Raine eagerly looking to you for guidance, trust, working together, succeeding, and then celebrating. It adds to the relationship and I really think you will enjoy it.

BTW, as you know, with boxers, you never know what might happen, other than they will have fun. Be sure to always have fun and roll with whatever occurs, including the occasional boxer burn. Layla once did decided to take a detour off the A-frame and walked ON TOP of a tunnel for awhile.

Have fun with it!
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  #9  
Old 17th October 2011, 04:59 PM
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Last week, Snatch decided to jump OVER the tunnel..

He was, as usual, heading towards the tunnel for no reason : he crossed the course to go from obstacle #2 to go to the tunnel - which was supposed to be #7 on the list.. <<patience>> ..
Anyway.. I said "NO Snatch!!!" as he entered the tunnel.. so.. HE BACK OUT OF IT!!!

He looked at me.. and jumped over it, maybe thinking "oh, if i'm not supposed to go IN the tunnel, maybe I should go OVER it?

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  #10  
Old 21st October 2011, 03:36 PM
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I started training Rocky at 10 months. I let him do all the obsticals, but we kept everything very low. He will be 2 in November and I still don't have him jumping in the 24" class Instead..I run him in the preferred classes.

Agility is a blast.. I say go for it!!