advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

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advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by Filvinci »

our sophie is just 6 months old. She is a mini
We started an agility foundation course a couple of weeks ago.
we only had two lessons so far and she is still getting used to the new environments, having dogs around etc.


At home she is making faster progresses and i am trying to teach her tricks that may be useful later on in agility

we are completely new to agility and i was wondering if you could share your experience with contacts.

the minis are so small, will they need to stop with 2 on 2 off at contacts ?
if yes, i was thinking of starting to play a target-n-wait type of game
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by zeta1454 »

You do need to be very careful with starting a young puppy on agility as you can cause damage to joints and risk injury. If you have started a reputable professional course they will probably have explained that at this age you should mainly be doing ‘flat work’ with your mini so definitely no A frame work etc. The following quote is from a website for dog agility and I have put the link to the full website below:

“As long as your dog is a puppy, he should never navigate a full agility course. While dogs under 1 year old can complete courses consisting of low jumps and tunnels, they should not be put onto any contact equipment (like the A-frame or dogwalk) and not be taught to perform weave poles. Your puppy should also absolutely not jump high.”

https://spiritdogtraining.com/agility/a ... -training/

Generally speaking though any games you play with your mini such as target and wait will always be useful. Any work / training that increases the bond and trust between you and your dog is going to be really helpful with any activity you plan to undertake in the future with her :)
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by Dawnspell »

I think it really depends upon how serious you are going to get in your agility. If youre wanting to compete then you really need running contacts to keep your times low. In which case I wouldnt try teaching anything that might be difficult to undo at a later date.

Even though they are a small breed they can still get excited and take a flying leap off equipment and miss the contact if thats what you were meaning by do they need to stop.

There are loads of other things you can do at home to help with agility. They need to learn they have back legs and where they are (proproeception)so walking along the rungs of a ladder thats laid on the floor. Get one of those football cones with holes in and put canes through the holes so its a spiral she has to walk around picking her feet up as she goes.

Teach desire for a toy so that you can throw it forward and get speed for going ahead over jumps etc at a later date.

Wrapping around an object.

Get a hula hoop one of the ones in segments and think of as many ways as possible that she can interact with it. eg walking through it, weaving through it. using the 2 halves and crawling under it, holding the 2 halves together and asking for paws up on it, walking over it on the ground even better if you have 2 to lay together. These things all teach confidence.

Im sure your class will give you other homework too.
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by Filvinci »

thank you so much for all the tips. i will sure try

on your first point, yes of course, we are just doing foundation work, not yet proper agility, no jumping or things like that. we are very very careful
Our puppy is cherished and we have been researching this type of topics a lot

we started on the path because she loves training . Every time i come home (i am away for days at a time) she takes me to her training mat and basically tells me she wants to train and be asked for behaviours

She has a good toy drive. At home she has good food drive too, but out in the field, i don^t think it^s strong enough for agility. i am yet to find a healthy treat that would get her crazy enough for work at the training field
(i have a great recall treat, but it^s not suitable for agility)
Last edited by Filvinci on 14 Mar 2022, 23:01, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by Dawnspell »

For agility youre better off working on the toy drive than food drive.

Jasper is not food motivated, he wouldnt accept food on the patio never mind the garden or out on a walk. It took me around 8 months to get him to accept food as a reward away from home, and even now it still depends on where we are and whats going on. Its not the food, its that the environment is more rewarding.
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by mikegoodson1 »

I know it's not what you asked but as I have taken my two mini's to agility training and done some competitions, it really is worth at a young age to try and teach weaves (especially as this involves no jumping and therefore is easier to start them early on) and learning "left" and "rights" - again, great commands to use.

I loved agility with my two, a great bond with your pooch.

Have fun :-)
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by Filvinci »

thank you so much for the advice, i really appreciate it
I have so far taught her "right", and i will soon start on "left"
I set up a channel of poles in the garden to get her started on weaves some time ago, but we haven^t started traning yet. We^ll definitely have a go
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by Filvinci »

mikegoodson1 wrote: 19 Mar 2022, 22:29 I know it's not what you asked but as I have taken my two mini's to agility training and done some competitions, it really is worth at a young age to try and teach weaves (especially as this involves no jumping and therefore is easier to start them early on) and learning "left" and "rights" - again, great commands to use.

I loved agility with my two, a great bond with your pooch.

Have fun :-)

I must say i had not investigated weave training before . Thank you for tip. i have now checked on agility nation and i think i can actually do some pre-training work

I will start with the 2x2 preparatory work that i found: body awareness , foot target, NRM training etc, reward line and going round a cone.
when it comes to getting the footwork and proper pacing in the channel, i think i risk getting this wrong though so it will have to wait
As far as i understand some of it will depend on the dog size . Just for my info, were your minis hopping around poles?
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by mikegoodson1 »

To be honest, my mini's never really conquered the weaves and unfortunately I had to stop taking them both to agility before they could because my older boy developed cruciate ligament issues in both knees requiring 2 x TPLO surgeries (we don't think this was related to agility) and my wife then told me to stop taking our girl to agility because she didn't want her to have the same issue! :(

Anyway, I ended up buying cheap agility kit from Amazon, setting it up in the garden and practising with that most nights, as well as going to proper classes. We trained using tunnel weaves BUT an experienced agility owner told me if starting weave training, to actually set them up properly (maybe with fewer poles) and train that way. Then all you do is add more poles as your mini gets used to weaving.

With regard to contacts, we always did running contacts rather than 'stop' because that was how we were originally taught - obviously if a running contact, you need to make sure your pooch hits the contacts but we were lucky there.

I really miss doing the agility, it was such great fun.
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by Filvinci »

mikegoodson1 wrote: 22 Mar 2022, 18:58 To be honest, my mini's never really conquered the weaves and unfortunately I had to stop taking them both to agility before they could because my older boy developed cruciate ligament issues in both knees requiring 2 x TPLO surgeries (we don't think this was related to agility) and my wife then told me to stop taking our girl to agility because she didn't want her to have the same issue! :(
I am sorry to hear that. I understand your wife. it's a lot of responsibility to practice a dog sport. i actually was thinking of asking our school owner who is a top instructor to recommend a specialist vet who could assess if our puppy physically can really handle agility or she has predisposition for injuries. we only want to do this for fun with the kids but , even so, i don^t want to risk injuries

right now he is going to think i am crazy since we hardly did anything in class :) just trying to build drive, get her confident in the environment and focusing
but really we have a puppy that would do anything for us, she is the sweetest thing in the world, the guilt would be unbearable
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by mikegoodson1 »

I can't promote agility enough. It really is such fun and I loved how you built an even bigger bond with your pooch. As long as you go to a proper agility class and of course as long as your girl is old enough, then you should do it. I only purchased equipment for home after attending properly managed agility classes and knew what I was doing and what my dogs were capable of.

You just need to bear that in mind but go for it. It's such fun and there are plenty of beginners competitions around, you don't necessarily need to attend Kennel Club competitions (if you are UK based).
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by Schnauzerluv »

I don't know anything about agility, but my pup is very agile and started doing things naturally on his own. I did get into k9 freestyle. Since he was still very young, we only did "ground work" like walking through my arms held like a hoop, catwalk where he walks and turns with me like a showdog, weaving through my legs as I walk, spins and twirls, "over" hopping over my legs as I sit with my legs straight in front (one side to the other). I think a good basic excersise to teach is "touch", you can use it to teach many different training exercises.

We are working on "crawl" at the moment, for some reason I can't get him to crawl on cue, only on his own when he wants to 🙄.

I notice him using the things he learns in everyday activities, he really tends to put in a show sometimes when we are out. And the bond that happens is amazing.
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by Filvinci »

we had a lot of fun at agility over the weekend. Our little girl (8 year old) got to be the handler on a a piece of a professional agility course with another experienced dog. Sophie was just watching. She is ^mastering^ the tunnel now though
I wish i could play with her like you are doing Schnauzerluv but i have been refraining from do it because my mom has some health issues and i don^t want sophie to learn to weave through people^s legs etc as she might think it^s ok to do it around my mom. i am probably being too careful but i don^t want to risk it
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by mikegoodson1 »

I can still hear myself saying "tunnel tunnel tunnel" and watching Sasha run through it at full speed :)

Here are some pics of Sasha at an agility competition:

This was a running contact BUT she should have been running down a little more than this and running off from the last panel (if that makes sense), rather than jumping from where she did. Which was still legal but puts more stress on her joints.

Image

One of my favourite pics of her. I'm on the left of the picture (cropped out) so she is looking at me mid-jump to know where we are going next.

Image

There are also steeplechase runs/competitions you can do that only have tunnels and jumps - this was great for me especially as Sasha and Oscar hadn't mastered weaves by the time we stopped.
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Re: advice for mini - Run or Stop agility Contacts

Post by Filvinci »

mikegoodson1 wrote: 28 Mar 2022, 09:22 I can still hear myself saying "tunnel tunnel tunnel" and watching Sasha run through it at full speed :)

Here are some pics of Sasha at an agility competition:
so cute!
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