Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 22

Trainer’s Forum By Brenna Fender Webb Anderson When I see a dog that is slow off the start line but speedy during the last half of the course, a couple of ideas immediately come to mind. First, I would try to determine if a specific obstacle is the cause of the dog’s angst. The table and weave poles are most often found in the middle of the course, making either of them a likely culprit. I suggest that you start keeping a journal to identify whether the speed picks up immediately following any particular obstacle. Avoidance problems can certainly occur with any obstacle but are often seen with the table or weaves. Your dog could be dreading that particular obstacle and then picking up My dog almost walks the first half of the course, and then he speeds up for the last half and runs like a world-class dog. It’s almost like he knows that the end is coming and he hurries to finish. Is it possible to change his performance on the first part of the course so that his speed is more consistent? Webb is an AKC agility judge and currently competes with Nigel, the #1 AKC agility terrier and #1 Schnauzer. Webb is a full-time agility trainer and coach. Contact him through his website at www.performanceplusk9s.com for seminars or lessons. speed once the unpleasant obstacle is behind him. If this is indeed the case, there are many things you can do to make the obstacle a more exciting, pleasant experience for your dog, and thus eliminate the problem. If obstacle avoidance is not the problem, I would look next at your start-line performance. Start lines should be trained for speed and accuracy just as you would train any specific obstacle. Begin by teaching a fast takeoff from a sit or down at the start line. I do this with a “Ready, Steady, Go” game that teaches the dog to blast off to a target. Once the dog blasts off the line to your satisfaction, you can ask him to do it over an obstacle, and then a series of obstacles. Another option to decrease startline stress is to run with your dog. Some dogs become worried when left alone at the start line and creep toward the handler through the first several obstacles. It often takes them time to build up speed after such a slow start. I would also consider simply breaking the dog’s pattern. If you’ve ever ridden a horse, you know that horses often develop the habit of racing back to the barn once the ride is over. They walk slowly from the barn but run like the wind when headed Kathy Lofthouse Your dog is fully aware that he is approaching the end of the course when he kicks into a faster gear. This is a very common scenario and occurs for several reasons. At the typical trial the start and finish lines and the entry and exit gates are set at the same end of the ring. The course meanders around in various directions, but eventually the dog is going directly back the way he started. This point becomes important to many dogs, especially those that lack motivation. Add the fact that 22 Since 1988, Kathy has competed successfully in USDAA and AKC to tournament and championship levels. Kathy enjoys introducing a variety of dogs to agility in a positive way and is also available to help resolve problems. Contact Kathy at runjumpweave@prodigy.net or visit www.runjumpweave.com. ILLUSTRATIONS © CLEAN RUN there are often canopies providing shade only at the beginning and end of the course. Perhaps we can empathize a little with dogs that are asked to run a course in the midday sun while going away from the closest available shade. Most dogs, including our agility teammates, are smarter than their owners think. All animals gravitate to the place they receive the most rewards and are more aware of directions than humans. Agility competitors, quite predictably, aim to complete the entire course and then reward their dogs. Horse riders are aware of the importance of ensuring their horses walk when headed toward home so that they don’t have a horse that expects to gallop at full speed toward home every time. Our dogs are simply anticipating where their rewards are going to be found so they go slowly away from that location and faster back toward it. In the agility world we want the dog to accelerate quickly at the start of the course. Dogs are very sensitive to direction, so for dogs that display the above behavior we need to provide many significant rewards when they are going away from the end of the course. At my start-line seminars, I provide the opportunity for dogs to run beginning sequences of the course just as if it is a normal course, but with one difference. On these courses they go straight out of the other end of the “ring” a few times and are rewarded there. It is interesting to see the outright surprise on the more experienced dogs’ faces and the difference in Clean Run | February 08
http://www.performanceplusk9s.com http://www.runjumpweave.com

Clean Run Magazine - February 2008

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

Clean Run Magazine - February 2008
Contents
Editorializing: Barbarians at the Gate?
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
On Course with Annie Lehman
Basic Turns
Trainer’s Forum
Do You Have a Preferred Handling Speed?
Foundation Fundamentals: Dealing with Distractions, Part 2
Case Study: The King of the Off-course
Conquering Ring Nerves: How Do I Stop Shaking When I Step to the Line?
Sports Retraining for Agility Athletes
When Pigs Fly: What Is an Operant Dog? Why Should I Care?
Power Paws Patterns: Number Three
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Increasing Challenges on the Ball
Spy Kids: Balance in Training
Skill of the Month
When the Click Doesn’t End the Behavior: Conditioning a Release Signal
Shelter Champs: Dunk
Distance Challenge
Letters
Agility Organization Update
Nested Courses for Mardi Gras
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - February 2008
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Editorializing: Barbarians at the Gate?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - On Course with Annie Lehman
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Basic Turns
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 18
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 23
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Do You Have a Preferred Handling Speed?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Dealing with Distractions, Part 2
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Case Study: The King of the Off-course
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Conquering Ring Nerves: How Do I Stop Shaking When I Step to the Line?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 38
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Sports Retraining for Agility Athletes
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 42
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - When Pigs Fly: What Is an Operant Dog? Why Should I Care?
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 45
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 46
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Power Paws Patterns: Number Three
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 50
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Increasing Challenges on the Ball
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Spy Kids: Balance in Training
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 59
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - When the Click Doesn’t End the Behavior: Conditioning a Release Signal
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 68
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Shelter Champs: Dunk
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Distance Challenge
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Letters
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Agility Organization Update
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 84
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