Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 20

How do you use the practice jump? Is it the same old figure-eight pattern over the jump you’ve used for years with every dog you own? Instead, look at the practice jump as a way to remind your dog of what you want from him in the approaching run. Does your dog have a bar-knocking problem? If so, use the practice jump to rehearse the exercises you use in training to remind your dog of proper jump form. Perhaps your efforts would be better served by using the practice jump as an opportunity to reinforce your stay on the start line. Are you about to walk into a course with a send or gamble? Send your dog ahead over the practice jump. Practice the skills you want to see repeated on the course. Whatever the warm-up activity, you need to evaluate how it will affect your upcoming run. When your dog enters the ring you should be confident he has rehearsed a skill you want duplicated on course. area or would gain an advantage by sending the dog ahead. Has your warm-up included precision heeling, attention drills, hand signals, and the like? This type of warm-up causes the dog to focus intently on the handler, and the dog’s focus is not likely to shift immediately to the obstacles. Does this type of focus complement the style of course you are about to run? It does if the course is tricky, flows poorly, or has tight turns, threadles, and requires technical maneuvers. If your upcoming run involves distance work, however, you probably want the dog focused less on you and more on obstacles. Why not send the dog off to nose-touch a target a few times? Or do sends over the practice jump? Walking casually to ringside will benefit you more than strict head-up style heeling. your other dogs or were off visiting friends? Your dog might be worn out and unable to perform or he might behave in a crazed fashion, exploding from anxiety. I watch too many handlers standing just outside the ring gate allowing the dog to eat food or tug on a toy while the handler is not mentally engaged with the dog. The handlers look out at the course wondering if they remember the proper order of obstacles, or if it is time for them to enter the ring. Then there is the on-deck handler, nervously getting hand touches, high-fives, spins, and so on from the dog. This interaction is freshest in the dog’s memory when the team enters the ring. Is it one the handler wants? Will it enhance the team’s performance? testing ideas in training You have an opportunity to test warm-up ideas and routines whenever you train your dog, not just in competition. Your dog should be warmed up every time before he runs in practice. Think outside the ring when you attend your next training class. Does your dog perform differently when he is permitted to drag you from your car to the practice field? Now see what happens if you ask for a controlled walk from the car to the field. What if your dog is required to sit at the entrance to the practice field and has to wait while you enter the field and then turn to invite him? What if your dog is not required to wait to be invited? These behaviors and the reinforcement they provide matter to your dog and they should matter to you. For maximum benefit, go one step further. Take time to consider how the other sports you enjoy with your dog affect (for better or for worse) your dog’s performance in agility. For instance, dogs that learn how to pivot and move their rear end toward their handlers while heeling around the inside post of a figure-eight pattern have better rear-end awareness in agility. Yet because they are so tuned in to their handlers, these same dogs sometimes struggle to learn obstacle focus and distance skills for agility. The next time you seek to improve your performance, remember to think outside the box and outside the ring. Warming Up Your Dog’s Frame of Mind Have you ever stopped to consider your dog’s mindset before his run? You need to be aware of and strive to create the proper mindset since there is no reason to think that the mental state you have been allowing your dog to develop all day should change for the better simply because you have walked beyond the ring gating. Preparing your dog to have the proper mindset is something you will work on all day at the show (I’ll discuss that more in a bit), but you also need to make it part of your warm-up. I think that a dog’s mindset is different from his level of arousal. I recommend that you read Susan Garrett’s series of articles, “Starting as a Team,” in the CR April, May, June, and August 2008 issues. In April 2008, she does an excellent job of explaining the dog’s state of arousal and its impact on the dog’s ability to execute learned behaviors. I think there are two aspects of a dog’s mindset: focus and attitude. Proper focus is what you want to nurture in the last 5, 10, or 20 minutes before you enter the ring, and you can lay the groundwork during your warm-up. Attitude is part and parcel of the dog’s overall state of mind and can be affected by both trial environment and handler actions. Preparing your dog to have the proper attitude is something that you need to plan for before arriving at the competition and that you will work on all day long at the trial. Focus, the first part of mindset, is sometimes referred to as being either handler- or obstacle-centric. What is the dog most concerned with: focusing on you or focusing on where the next obstacle is? We want a handler-focused dog when we encounter tricky or tight portions of a course, and we prefer an obstacle-focused dog when we have a wide-open 20 Needing handler focus for their upcoming run, this team starts their warm-up with hand targeting. attitude is everything Attitude, the second part of mindset, is the dog’s overall frame of mind and is influenced by everything that has taken place, or that has failed to take place, both inside and outside the agility ring. Have you evaluated your dog’s overall attitude? What type of personality does your dog have? How does that personality mesh with your day-of-show behaviors? Has your dog been sitting in your lap all day or perhaps in his favorite chair? Has your dog been permitted to wander or visit other people and dogs at will? If so, your dog has been indulging in self-reinforcement all day. If you have a dog with less motivation and drive, why should the dog now work for you? He has been in control of access to reinforcement all day, and you were absent from that picture. If you have a dog with drive and motivation to spare that has been self-rewarding all day, why should that dog now follow your rules on course? In fact, why not make up his own course and help himself to a favorite obstacle repeatedly? Has your dog been stressing (perhaps barking or yawning) in his crate or in your motor home while you ran D Rachel Tabor Flatley operates Pawsitively Fun Dog Training in Wellington and Delray Beach, Florida. Known as a personable, creative, and resourceful dog trainer, Rachel believes in different training techniques for different personalities of dogs and handlers. Her approach has allowed her to work successfully with many breeds in sports including agility, obedience, tracking, herding, and Rally obedience. Contact Rachel through www.pawsitivelyfundogtraining.com. Clean Run | December 08
http://www.pawsitivelyfundogtraining.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - December 2008

Clean Run Magazine - December 2008
Think Outside the Box (and the Ring)
Editorializing: Just One More Run
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Trainer’s Forum
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Treadmill Walking
Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style, Part 9: Common Sequences
Agility Class Etiquette
K9 Kudos: Seeing Spots
Foundation Fundamentals: Flatwork Skills Wrap-up
So You Want to Raise an Agility Star
Canine Health Care: FAQs
Conquering Ring Nerves: Feeling Overwhelmed by Big Goals?
Retraining Agility Skills
Skill of the Month
Walking the Course…Backward?
Agility Organization Update
Using Silent Running to Improve Body Language
Letter to the Editor
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - December 2008
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 3
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Editorializing: Just One More Run
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 14
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Treadmill Walking
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 18
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style, Part 9: Common Sequences
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 23
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 29
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Agility Class Etiquette
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 36
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 38
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - K9 Kudos: Seeing Spots
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 43
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Flatwork Skills Wrap-up
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 46
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 50
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - So You Want to Raise an Agility Star
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Canine Health Care: FAQs
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Conquering Ring Nerves: Feeling Overwhelmed by Big Goals?
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Retraining Agility Skills
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 69
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Walking the Course…Backward?
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 73
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Agility Organization Update
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 77
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Using Silent Running to Improve Body Language
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - December 2008 - 84
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