Clean Run - July 2012 - (Page 5)

Editorializing… Children at Agility Trials By Brenna Fender I’ve been doing agility since the mid-90s, but I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from competing since my second child was born in 2006. Recently, I’ve been bringing my kids to a few local trials to watch, and my children, who are eight and five, always want to help out. Volunteers! How great, right? They’ve mostly been leash runners, with me supervising them as they walk from the entrance to the exit of the ring. They don’t run, don’t swing the leash, don’t walk behind the dogs to pick up a leash, and they don’t make eye contact with the dog on course. I can’t say they are perfect, but they do a good job. What’s a little surprising, however, is the number of people who have asked me not to have my children in the ring during their runs. Many said that their dogs were afraid of children, or just flat-out didn’t like kids. A few said that their dogs liked kids too much and would come over to play. At least one person indicated that she felt her dog could be a danger to my daughter. I’m grateful that competitors have been polite and kind to my children, even while asking them to leave. But as agility grows and the pool of volunteers shrinks, where are clubs getting their workers? Boy and Girl Scouts are becoming popular choices, and certainly 4-H groups and other groups that contain children will also be tapped. Plus, more youth are handling dogs on their own, and those kids may be your chute straightener or even your pairs partner. What will you do when all the bar setters are kids? The answer is, of course, train for it. During the early years of agility, we did a lot more proofing in regards to equipment and ring conditions than we do now. Now most jumps look the same, but back then, our dogs might have to jump a hurdle shaped like a bone with cutouts of howling wolves as standards. So when we went to class, we dressed up our jumps with clothes, stuffed animals, and anything else we could think of to make sure that our dogs would be confident to take whatever obstacle was before them in the ring. We proofed for other distractions too; I can remember practicing weaves with my dog with his toys scattered all over the floor around him and after rubbing hot dogs on the poles. We had “judges” move around the ring while wearing clunky rain gear, and spectators using umbrellas. We were creative. How can you proof for young workers in the ring? Ideally, you would find young people to come to your practice and be themselves while you work your dogs. If you train alone and don’t know anyone with children, this might be a challenge. Are there kids in your neighborhood that you can borrow from their par- ents? If you train in a group, ask everyone in the class to bring underage relatives or friends with them to be spectators. Ask 4-H groups if they would like to come to your class for a presentation on agility. Homeschool groups or private schools might also enjoy a field trip to a dog training facility. Teach them how you would like them to behave before you bring the dogs out. If you can’t get kids to come to you, you will have to go to them. This may be less than ideal because you won’t have as much control over the situation, so you will have to be vigilant. But asking your dog for simple behaviors on the outskirts of a playground or on a sidewalk near a schoolyard can be a good way to start to teach your dog to attend to you despite the presence of small people. When your dog is ready and performing without distraction, move closer. Use lots of rewards, and if your dog responds well, ask some of the more quiet children to feed your dog treats. If your dog seems particularly concerned by or aggressive toward children, consult a behaviorist. Do not put any children at risk. In a perfect world, we would socialize our dogs to children well enough that we know our dogs recognize kids as human beings that have to be respected and that aren’t really that odd after all. I realize this does take time and exposure and works best when you start with puppies. But we must all realize that the sport of dog agility is not exclusive to adults, so training our dogs to be good citizens around any age group should be on our training lists from the start. At the very least, we should train our dogs to be able to ignore children working in and near the ring or watching as spectators. We train our dogs to ignore adult bar setters, running judges, and stewards wearing hats. To be successful in the ever-changing world of agility, we should prepare our dogs to work in the presence of children. Also, we should educate children on appropriate and safe behaviors around dogs when at a trial. Parents don’t see everything, so gentle explanations about the right way to behave (rather than raised voices or rude comments) will go a long way in helping to strengthen the relationships between children and agility competitors. If you need help training your dog to work around children, one option is to contact Jennifer Shryock B.A. CDBC, Founder of Family Paws Parent Education, doggonesafe.com, (919) 961-1608. Brenna Fender 5 Brenna Fender is a freelance writer with an undergraduate degree in mass communications and a masters degree in elementary education. She lives with her husband, two young children, a Whippet, a Papillon, and a Beagle. Over the years, Brenna and her dogs have earned titles in agility, obedience, conformation, hunting, rally, and lure coursing. The husband and children are far less impressively titled. Contact her at BrennaFender@gmail.com or visit her blog at laughingattherain.blogspot.com. July 12 | Clean Run http://www.doggonesafe.com http://laughingattherain.blogspot.com

Clean Run - July 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - July 2012

Clean Run - July 2012
Contents
Editorializing: Children at Agility Trials
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
The History of the Virtual Agility League
Agility Mind Gym: See Success
Agility After Joint Replacement
Power Paws Drills: On the Diagonal
Higher Than a Kite: Training the Over-Aroused Agility Dog
From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers
Not Your Normal Agility Dog
Building Blocks: Building Hands-on Confidence and Control
Principles of Self-control on the Agility Course
Chute Straight
Small Dog vs. Large Dog Handling
I Decided to Be Happy... and Then I Was! Tips on How to Get a New Attitude
Footwork for Agility: Front Crosses
What’s in Your Toolbox?
Clean Run - July 2012 - Clean Run - July 2012
Clean Run - July 2012 - 2
Clean Run - July 2012 - Contents
Clean Run - July 2012 - 4
Clean Run - July 2012 - Editorializing: Children at Agility Trials
Clean Run - July 2012 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run - July 2012 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run - July 2012 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run - July 2012 - 9
Clean Run - July 2012 - 10
Clean Run - July 2012 - The History of the Virtual Agility League
Clean Run - July 2012 - 12
Clean Run - July 2012 - 13
Clean Run - July 2012 - 14
Clean Run - July 2012 - Agility Mind Gym: See Success
Clean Run - July 2012 - 16
Clean Run - July 2012 - 17
Clean Run - July 2012 - Agility After Joint Replacement
Clean Run - July 2012 - 19
Clean Run - July 2012 - 20
Clean Run - July 2012 - 21
Clean Run - July 2012 - 22
Clean Run - July 2012 - Power Paws Drills: On the Diagonal
Clean Run - July 2012 - 24
Clean Run - July 2012 - 25
Clean Run - July 2012 - 26
Clean Run - July 2012 - 27
Clean Run - July 2012 - Higher Than a Kite: Training the Over-Aroused Agility Dog
Clean Run - July 2012 - 29
Clean Run - July 2012 - 30
Clean Run - July 2012 - 31
Clean Run - July 2012 - 32
Clean Run - July 2012 - From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers
Clean Run - July 2012 - Not Your Normal Agility Dog
Clean Run - July 2012 - 35
Clean Run - July 2012 - 36
Clean Run - July 2012 - 37
Clean Run - July 2012 - 38
Clean Run - July 2012 - Building Blocks: Building Hands-on Confidence and Control
Clean Run - July 2012 - 40
Clean Run - July 2012 - 41
Clean Run - July 2012 - 42
Clean Run - July 2012 - Principles of Self-control on the Agility Course
Clean Run - July 2012 - 44
Clean Run - July 2012 - 45
Clean Run - July 2012 - 46
Clean Run - July 2012 - Chute Straight
Clean Run - July 2012 - 48
Clean Run - July 2012 - 49
Clean Run - July 2012 - 50
Clean Run - July 2012 - 51
Clean Run - July 2012 - Small Dog vs. Large Dog Handling
Clean Run - July 2012 - 53
Clean Run - July 2012 - 54
Clean Run - July 2012 - 55
Clean Run - July 2012 - 56
Clean Run - July 2012 - I Decided to Be Happy... and Then I Was! Tips on How to Get a New Attitude
Clean Run - July 2012 - 58
Clean Run - July 2012 - 59
Clean Run - July 2012 - Footwork for Agility: Front Crosses
Clean Run - July 2012 - 61
Clean Run - July 2012 - 62
Clean Run - July 2012 - What’s in Your Toolbox?
Clean Run - July 2012 - 64
Clean Run - July 2012 - 65
Clean Run - July 2012 - 66
Clean Run - July 2012 - 67
Clean Run - July 2012 - 68
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