Clean Run Magazine - February 2008 - 23

back home. This may be happening with your dog, but there might be an easy fix. Contrary to popular belief, dogs can count! Okay, so maybe they can’t count, but they can develop a sense of how long they are typically on course. By altering your dog’s sense of how long he will be on the course, you might be able to change the behavior. Try running courses in training and end the run when you are less than halfway through. When you are about a quarter of the way through the course give your dog a release word, praise him, pet him, and then leave the field to reward him just as you would at the end of a run. Alter the timing of when you end every run. Sometimes it may be after only a few obstacles, while other times it may be much later in the run. By keeping your dog guessing when the run will end and the reward will begin, you might be able to eliminate the “leaving the barn” behavior. If you see improvement at home but not in the ring, you might need to sacrifice some entry fees to do the same thing at a trial or two. Be sure to warn the gate steward and the competitor behind you, though. Finally, don’t worry. Your dog will pick up on your stress and this may translate to slower starts. Try to identify the cause and then implement some of the methods outlined above. Good luck! Anne M. Andrle The fact that your dog does run fast at the end is actually great news and shows that he is capable of a fast performance and motivated by his reward. We only need to capitalize on that earlier in the run. Since this dog is looking forward to his reward at the end of 18 to 20 obstacles, he runs faster after performing his “quota” in expectation of the reward. I think the easiest way to fix this is to put the dog on a variable reinforcement schedule at trials. What this means is that you need to vary the number of obstacles your dog does before you leave the course and run happily to his reward—sometimes after the first four obstacles, sometimes after the first jump, sometimes after eight obstacles. The goal is to create an environment where the dog never knows where/when he might be reinforced, creating kind of a game: “Will it come now? Or now?” The eventual result, if you are consistent, should be a dog that speeds up throughout the entire course. This process takes discipline on the part of the handler since it costs both money and Qs. Sacrificing a few Qs and entry fees now can create great long-term rewards. If the dog is allowed to continue to move slowly on part of M.S., PharmD Anne owns MACH2 ADCH Cody, who is a three-time Grand Prix Finalist, two-time Steeplechase Finalist, and three-time AKC/USA World Team Tryouts competitor. Anne also owns ADCH Ski, 8th place, 2005 26" Steeplechase and a 2004 Grand Prix Finalist. Contact Anne at anne@xtremeagility.com. the course, you most likely will exceed standard course time anyway, creating an NQ. During practice sessions, randomly practice leaving after the first jump of a course to run and reinforce your dog, or after two, three, or four obstacles, bouncing up to eight, then back to four, and so on. Always leave the dog wanting more and quit after extremely short sessions, when the dog is still fresh. Do not wait for the dog to slow down or lose enthusiasm. Another technique is to place a food bag or toy at a designated spot on course. The dog should not know the reward is there, but upon completing the designated sequence, the handler scoops up the toy/food and celebrates with the dog, making a big deal of “finding” the dog’s favorite reward right there on course. This makes the course the most exciting place to be, not necessarily running away from the course to get rewarded at the end. This makes the transition to leaving partway through a course at a trial more understandable for the dog. Make sure you let the person behind you know you are leaving early however. Good luck! their attitude when they receive rewards in a different place than usual, especially those who have been competing in a lackluster fashion for some time. In the late 1980s when I was training my second agility dog, Rufus, who was a very clever English Shepherd, I knew it was important to make sure he was thoroughly motivated with toys and food. To avoid the scenario you are describing I made a point of rewarding him with a thrown toy and jackpot food rewards for going fast through the ring and out the other end on several occasions before I started running regular complete courses with him. February 08 | Clean Run Another reason for the above phenomenon is that most dogs that are not running at their full potential in the ring are running in a stressed frame of mind. For tips on how to avoid this scenario, I recommend the Clean Run focus issue on Motivation, Drive & SelfControl. It costs less than the price of most agility runs and contains a wealth of information. Sometimes there are certain obstacles that become more and more stressful to the dog for various reasons. Observers would notice such dogs visibly brighten once they pass the obstacle that bothers them. This dog should be withdrawn from competition and enjoy a period of stress-free, highly motivational training until both handler and dog are supremely confident on all obstacles and can run a course without even bothering about “bogey” obstacles. Then both the dog and the handler will enjoy running at top speed whether they are heading toward their rewards or not. 23

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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