26 October 2007

Share the Burden of the Wanted Advice!

There has been a topic request!

Be a Pack Leader But Don't Be Bossy and Fight with Your Dog Because That's Not Being Her Friend and She Doesn't Like It and Then Refuses to Touch the Target

Bratty dogs! Some dogs get so wound up they become brats. A lot of time they like to do this in class when everyone is watching! Or at the dog show. Then they don't do it at home. Then you tell everyone this and they are sort of like, well whatever. It is sort of like kids. I personally do not have any of them but my nephew took the truck away and made the little boy cry at day care! He has been labeled bully now and my sister weeps for this fact and then gets more stressed out the next time she takes him to school and then he takes the truck away again! Although he calls it a maquina. He is so cute.

OK, but sometimes I think the dogs sense your need to have them hit that target NOW and then they decide they will not do it. They are just ready to do the next self rewarding thing and hitting that target is just not on their list today. I like to just put that dog away til another turn. I have lots of dogs to rotate when I practice and if someone is not up to doing it the way they have been shown all this time, and they have CLEARLY been demonstrating all this time, they can miss a turn. If that is the thing they want-a turn because it is so much fun and after a turn you get a frisbee or the ball or a treat. Missing some turns can be highly motivating. Then the next time just go to that thing, one jump, then the a-frame or whatever it's happening on, they HIT THE TARGET, pull them off that course and go PLAY because you have to be super highly clear that they did the right thing. Go on and do one more obstacle, you BLEW-your-chance-baby to show your dog the path away from the dark side!

This only works with dogs that do clearly know that job is hitting the target. I think the dog of the topic requestor here does know that. Remember, just like you say, the dog will only do agility if she thinks you are a friend and not a mean girl!

Also that is a lovely sequeway into part two of the topic request. Which I will preface with, because of the Above issue, it is good to stick with fun matches and trials you don't care so much about a Q, because you will be less attached to Finishing the Course. At the beginning level, dogs don't get it that the dog show is important to you because of your POINTS and TITLES and perhaps you even want to win a BLUE RIBBON and a FANCY Q ribbon! OOOOH AAAAH!

So the dog does something great, you barely acknowledge it and move on to the next thing. Their first time in this new and stressful place, and they do something Fabulous AGAIN and you just go on to the next thing because you are so excited you are doing so good! And perhaps you will win!

So you miss on a lot of training opportunities, which in the long run, forest for the trees big picture scheme of things are VERY valuable training opportunities. WOW you did a contact at your first dog show-I am running you STRAIGHT out and playing FRISBEE! It is like a friend present! Like a friendship bracelet or a beenie baby or a hand sewn lunch bag or a dog wallet!

I can say this one from experience having a teeter bailing, judge barking dog that should have not been having to perform that teeter in the ring on my time, not hers. It took a while to undo that, of just heading in there, doing 4 things and a teeter and running out which was my second training phase and worked great. People would be either-aghast-YOU OnLY Did 5 things and She was So Fast You Will Not Get a Q! Or, What Good Training Idea! We missed out on some Q's. Big whoopie doodle. The dog has no idea what a Q is. I don't ever pick up ribbons so she doesn't know what those are. She just knows frisbee vs. no frisbee.

We even do this with Hobbes. Even though he is just a handful of Q's away from a LAA Platinum, (something like 5 gazillion Q's) if he goes down on that table and has had a bar in the beginning of the course, I pull him and give him a giant bowl of dog food which he loves. If he's clean, we go on and he gets the giant bowl of dogfood at the end. His table thing is the whole thing of why I get to run him, and he is a big super star of agility and can still have a serious issue.

So reader Mary asks, "And please advise which I should select (ONE ONLY):"

1) Go to one day of USDAA trial in Turlock in November, on basis of Q'd 7/10 classes at recent ASCA trial.

ASCA is a whole universe away from USDAA. Very, very, very different course style and no ability to train in ring if contact missed. And much, much different vibe of wanting to win and Q. I would highly advise hold off on USDAA! Unless you luck out with a generous judge, novice level courses can be way more challenging than a masters level ASCA. Really. But wow big congrats on all those clean runs at ASCA!!

2) Go to two days of Advanced Distance Seminar and Gamblers Seminar with Jim Basic somewhere in Petaluma (someone's backyard?) in November that costs $200 plus maybe Motel 6, and it says "dog should know Left, Go, and Right" and your dog is a little sketchy on Right [geeze, who isn't???).

It's at Connie, Otterpop's team lady's agility place in Penngrove-she teaches up there. Jim will do it again at his house soon, he loves doing seminars. Wait til it's at his house. Cheaper! I am always one to find the budget way to do the agility! I love a bargain!

3) Go to CPE trial over Thanksgiving Weekend, so you can evaluate BAD FRIEND POST firsthand, and also avoid all potential Thanksgiving family fun (which usually involves doses of un-fun and probably gaining back weight you lost), and which will remind you of 30 years ago when you were twenty-five and rode horses in Elk Grove.

CPE is a good place to start-more similar to ASCA but you cannot train in the ring. I would warn that the winter shows there are shoved into smaller rings to fit in the covered arena and can be tight for novice big dogs who don't turn tight yet. I am going here on the Sunday of Thanksgiving, will think about if way to fit Arial in my car? You would fit. It is the extra dog...I would NEVER miss family fun for a dog show!!!! But your family fun may be everyone screaming at eachother and then a dog show would be nice and you can listen to all the ladies talk about dogs instead for 3 days!

4) Just go to ASCA trial in Santa Barbara where the really nice people are (i.e., they think your dog is wonderful), who will probably get you and your dog interested in sheep-chasing on top of Agility, when you are done teaching in December and not stressed out, but maybe involving another Motel 6 or else a really cold tent, and remember that's a really long time not to get to run around a nice grassy course in the daylight, instead of a disgusting dirty arena in the nighttime or Dee's grassy field in the nighttime.

I think ASCA other fabulous place to start, especially with your dog because everyone loves her there! And more especially from the training in the ring and open, flowing course design. Yes, they will bring you to the herding world and you will start driving to places like Lodi where the sheep are and get your own long bamboo stick! These may become your people! Also Santa Barbara is nice but that is one long drive now, there is lots of traffic the whole way to Santa Barbara!

4) Pay off a little of enormous credit card debt.

If it is enormous start paying now due to the cost of dog shows and gas to get there! I have had to become a dog agility teacher to offset the costs of the dogs! And once you get addicted to the dog shows, whatever flavor you end up with, it is like crack and you will not pay the other bills to enter the dog shows. And sleep in your car then you're going to want a bigger car to fit your stuff in and then a new bill of car payment and it is the downward spiral. You will start start to see the clean cut, pastel blouse wearing equivalent of crack whore at the dog shows. The dogs get a new toy and handmade food and the dog mother is living in someone's garage or something trying to pay for all the dog shows! You will see a lot of the hardcore full time dog show-ers are either retired, or have super high paying professional jobs they can take fridays off of. Or are professional dog trainers Everyone not in that category I belive scrimps on many things to make it to all these dog shows.

5) Pay you for this advice.

I have so much advice just spouting from my big fat snotty snob mouth at all times I just love to hand out the burden of unwanted at inappropriate times so having people actually ask for the advice is a blessing from Oprah.

I think my final pick is either the ASCA or the credit card and go to a lot of fun matches til the next close ASCA? There are 2 in a row this month!


Unknown said...

Dear Laura,

This was just so great!!! I mean, just what I needed. I'm reading it way more than twice!!!

Your biggest fan (But I may not be for long! I've lost almost ten pounds so I can run faster, to try hard to sometimes beat Ariel to the Table so she can learn about skidding to a stop on a slippery surface which is not exactly like coming to a stop on a towel on the ground. I've never lost weight in my life except because of EXTREME HUMAN RELATIONSHIP TRAUMA,so this is much better since it is due to EXTREME DOG RELATIONSHIP HARDCORE CRACK-LIKE ADDICTION FUN!)

Unknown said...

Poor sister! EXTREME DAYCARE TRAUMA for mother. Does your sister need to lose weight? Could be a good thing.

Oh, and it really is cute that he calls it a maquina. Good aunt! I had a nephew who was a BITER of Others in Daycare. (He skipped the truck and went right for blood.) He is seventeen, now, and hasn't bitten anyone in years and years! So it all turned out all right. Just remind your sister of Cuteness and Long View of Things.

team small dog said...

Good for you on the fast running skinniness! Yes, we had you pegged as potential crack dog agility addict from the start. Say goodbye to the rest of your life and get that credit card payed down.