I have not taken part in any dog sports or competitions. It has been time consuming just to get one of my dogs to lie down and another to learn to sit and stay.
One of my dogs is a border collie mix. She would probably love dog sports. I am really not sure how to go about training her though. Suggestions?
Having dogs in sport can only improve the audience experience. I would love to see a few police Alsatians take part in a local rugby game. It will also improve the status and self esteem of rugby medics. Hmm gory injury time. And the rules can also change. Never mind the score; the real score would be who’s still breathing at the end of the game. And the end of the game would for the slow and uncoordinated be the e-n-d of the game, literally.
Dog sports aren't like soccer or anything. They aren't human games. Although that would be intersing, it doesn't exist.
If you do a search online there a lot of websites with tips for training. When I started training my dog I made like little obstacle courses in my yard or got him to jump over a broomstick balanced on two chairs. You really need a lot of patience and you need to repeat and reward a lot. For hurdles (jumping over stuff) I had to jump over the thing myself, give the command, and eventually he got it and started jumping over. After a while he would get really excited about jumping over because he knew I'd be clapping and praising and treating. It was bad when I had to keep him in a room with a baby gate though he'd just jump over it! I haven't quite figured out how to teach a dog to do weave poles, poles that the dog goes around like a slolem skiier.
Anyway for agility competitions your dog needs to know how to:
jump over hurdles
go through tunnels
climb up and down a-frames and teeter totters
sit and stay for however long you tell them
and probably go through a tire/hoop
For flyball your dog needs to know how to:
wait while a bunch of other dogs are barking around him
jump over hurdles
come when called
Dog sports are definately worth a try!
I've set up an agility course for my dog in the garden. This is just for giving her something different to do. I've trained her to be my disability assistance dog. She loves working, I don't have to ask her twice to do something, it's all play to her.
My dog is 9 years old and still eager to learn new things which shows the saying "you can't teach and old dog new tricks" is not the truth.
I find it's best to give my dog a walk before teaching her something new, it gets rid of her excess energy making her easier to manage.
I think all dogs should do something to excercise their brains as well as their body. As for border collies, I don't think they should be kept as pets unless they are going to be worked in some way - agility, fly ball etc. I love the breed, I've had them in the past and I'm probably going to have one as my next dog, but only because I shall be working it.
That sounds really awesome! I think helper-dogs are the most intelligent and well trained dogs on earth!
I would like to teach fly ball to my dogs but since I bought a second dog, my old dog is giving me alot of trouble and is not really in the best state to teach her anything. Fly ball is a sport that any dog, pure or not, can participate unlike dog exposition etc... and is really fun to watch. The dog need to run a small obstacle course, hit a box with his paw, the box shoot a ball in the air and the dog catch it and bring it back to his master. It can also be played in team.
I've never taken part in any of these competitions, but I have watched some of the agility competitions on television. I have to say that participating in something like this seems like it would be a great idea for any dog owner. It gives the owner a chance to bond/spend time with the dog while keeping the him in good shape, and the dogs really seem to love it!
Good luck with your dog, jharsika. I hope you win some competitions if you decide to compete.
I find training dogs very boring, i tried some time ago to do it that training thing with my dog but he didnt learn anything. He got worse with time, when you made him a care, he would piss at your feet. But he was a very nice dog. I cold him pluto and had a very nice roled tail.
Lot's of good topics about that. Woundhealer started one thread here, http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-82433.html, and qazwsx741 another http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-80390.html.
I am training with my BC myself, and a key to success is activation and to read your dog. Always stay one
step ahead and be quick to reward the behaviour you want. Take one step at a time, but have a long-term goal.
Best of luck!
Jade and I found an agility club about 12 months ago. She's five years old now, and we'd been looking for a club for some time.
Initially we enrolled in a 6 week beginner's class, and I soon realised that it wasn't so much that Jade needed training... more like both of us...
After a year, we are now both much improved... (Jade more than me.... but she is younger!!), and we are now training twice a week.
The biggest problem is that Jade loves to play.... so much so that our first run round every course is a nightmare... and the second one is much improved.... However, this is a major reason why we have not entered an official competition... as in a competition you get one run only !!
Maybe next year...
Our 3 dogs are all 'agility addicts'. My wife is a judge, trainer and competitor in agility events.
The best way to start is to enrol in a local club. There you will get proper tuition for both you and the dog (it is often harder to train the owner/handler than it is to train the dog). You can then start to enter agility competitions (my wife is away every weekend at one competition or another - there are hundreds).
Beginners/novices will start at level 1 (although many competitions are for levels 1-3). As you get better and gain wins or places in competition you move up the levels.
The 'kings' of agility are the collies - particularly border collies. We have 2 collies - Max (a Welsh collie cross, and Maddie - a border collie). Dogs run in 3 categories - small, medium and large - with jump heights adjusted for each category (the rest of the course remains the same). Our highest grade dog is Minnie - a schipperke - she runs in the small category and is level 6.
If you want more information about agility then wiki has a decent article on it - I would recommend it to any and all dog owners - it keeps you and the dog(s) fit.
PS @malcolm - most agility events will have several competitions that you can enter. Our dogs will typically get 3-5 runs each over a weekend event (you can enter agility runs or jumping runs and there are normally competitions like 'pairs' or other one-offs). Entering competitions is fun and gives you a chance to measure your progress. You will find that it is a friendly atmosphere and you will get plenty of tips and advice. Don't worry about not finishing or getting eliminated - everyone starts that way. Our first dog (Max - the Welsh collie cross) used to get eliminated every time he ran - often he would just do a runner halfway around the course. He now has a wall full of rosettes and cups/trophies.
The thing about assistance dogs is they're using their brains all the times. People forget that dogs need mental as well as physical stimulation. During last winter when the weather was too bad to go for much of a walk, I taught my dog some tricks and doggy dancing. She did the dancing while I sat there. She took to it really quickly. She's ten years old now and still learning new things. Dogs which are bored get into mischief, and worse so it makes sense to keep them stimulated.
Your dog was showing you total disrespect when he peed at your feet. If you check out my thread that Idoru put up, you'll see that I don't do "dog training". If you read up on dog psychology you'll find you can become pack leader without boring dog training as you put it. I have rescue dogs and some of them start of a bit pushy, but I find when I apply dog psychology I have a much better relationship with them.
You can do some great fun things with your dog. People are envious when they hear my dog shuts doors for me. You know what it's like, you're sitting comfortably, in winter and someone comes in the room and leaves the door open. You can either sit in a draught, get up and shut the door or you could do what I do and get your dog to shut it for you. Of course, he will want paying for this by the way of a food reward, a pat on the head or whatever else makes him happy.
Thanks... I was aware of that... but the first run at any new course is a nightmare... We typically have 6 or 8 runs on a training night.... 2 runs on each course... the first run (and hence third, fifth etc) is always problematic... partially Jade mucking about, and partially my navigation... We'll see about entering some competitions next year... I need to free up some weekends I suspect !!!
You just have to persist and eventually it will click. Minnie is now senior level (6) and regularly wins events.
Thank you for the laugh Shelly is also food obsessed, but I was able to use this to my advantage when I started trianing her. I still do. I've managed to stop her heading for food when we're out. I know of a blind person who was in a supermarket after it had just had a change about. Just as she was leaving the manager started laughing and told her that her guide dog, muffin, had just pinched a scone off the display. An assistant then told her he did the same on the way in. luckily the manager saw the funny side of it. She has now done some more training on leaving food alone. Scones at nose level are very tempting.
Unfortunately you can't do that with a Schipperke. Minnie has no concept of 'other people's food'. All food, by definition, is hers. Any food that she doesn't yet happen to have is simply hers in waiting. She is a complete hoover.
She has an amazing talent for persuading people to give her food. She is a pure black Schipperke - black eyes, black coat, even black gums. She will sit and look at anyone eating. It is really quite spooky - this little black dog stares at you with her black eyes. Eventually most people get spooked and give her some food
Dogs know how to look cute right enough. I've not heard of the breed Schipperke before. She's a lovely looking dog, and great little jumper.
I haven't worked out how to insert an image into a post, so I've done the next best thing and used Shelly as my avatar. I think it's likely to be the first of many cute photos I use of her.
In my opinion, dog training is really wonderful. But up to now, I doubt whether my dog would like to be trained. Maybe he does, while I still worry about this.
Thanks for the encouragement, here's an attempt (which worked!!) to include a picture of Jade in flight taken by one of our colleagues earlier this week.
(ignore the ugly human - that's me !!)
Looks good Malcolm. I see that Jade runs at full height (we call it standard in the UK - I'm not sure what the term is in the US). How is Jade on the weave poles? (That's normally the one that causes problems for novices).
We started on "medium"... but she is too fast on that, the full height makes her think, and slow down a little so I can keep up (when she jumps them, rather than going under !!!).
She "loves" the A frame and the dog walk... the weaves she is OK at... but isn't very quick through them as we have to slow down to make sure we get a clean entrance. Could be better is probably the best description....
She's actually better when the course is more complicated... and to be honest her biggest problem is probably me !!! As we are both beginners (well, 1 year veterans now !!) we are both learning each time we go.... but she definitely picks things up quicker than I do...
The strange thing with the weaves is that when we are out walking locally, there are a few poles near one of the bridle paths... they are thicker than weave poles... and slightly wider spaced... but Jade weaves through them each time we go near without prompting !!! And now is using the new park benches as "tables"... jumping up when instructed, and laying down...
The most important thing is that we both seem to enjoy it.
This weekend (Sunday 10th August), Jade and I are taking part in our first competition. Its a fun show with only a couple of classes for beginners only. The two classes are Agility and Jumping.
Hopefully the weather will hold out, and my Mum will manage to take some pictures.
Our first aim is to get around the complete course without being disqualified.... second aim to go clear (or close to clear), and then we have to learn to do all that and do it faster !!!
I'll try and remember to update this topic to let you know how we do !!
Malcolm (and Jade)
Oh well... we failed at the first attempt....
She cleared the first jump OK... then ran past the dog walk, and the next two jumps... which counted as a refusal.... and three refusals was elimination...
We did complete the course OK (didn't fail apart from a few more run pasts), but obviously that was it.
What I wasn't ready for was the waiting.... we got there at 9:30am, and it was almost 12:30 before we got a run. We were entered in the jumping course, but it was going to be about 4pm before our run and we had a long journey home to do, so we called it a day after lunch.
Next time I think we'll take a picnic, some comfy chairs / blankets and a good book, and just relax until it is our turn....
Malcolm (and Jade)
Don't be discouraged - it takes time. Minnie (our Schipperke) was eliminated in her first half dozen runs when she started (Skippers are notorious - one smell of food and off they trot). Perseverance paid off, however. She has just won-out up to Level 6 and regularly comes home with silverware.
Waiting is always a problem. My wife has a camper van so she can make a brew and relax between runs. One thing to do is to get in with a group of regulars - normally from a dog-agility club. My wife, for example, belongs to the Wilmslow club and there will normally be a group of them at each weekend meet, which allows for socialising, sharing meals etc. It also gives you the chance to cheer on others when you are not running.
My favorite dog sports would be:
- Waterfowl hunting retreiving.
- Upland game pointing and retreiving
- Dock dog, long jumping
Thanks... the things we've picked up are;
- at training, treat it like we are at a show (ie put Jade back in the car between runs)
- take things to do.. (a book, laptop or whatever)
We'll see how it goes.... but one of the things I do need to do is to free up some weekends... We'll see how it goes...
Thanks for all your advice, Malcolm (and Jade)
My very best dog sports are canine freestyle and heelwork to music.
I am kind of crazy because I work this with newfoundlands. But some day I will perhaps be brave enough even to compet. For now we are just having loads of fun when we are working on tricks.