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And this is the kind of situation where starting with a trainer experienced in competition makes all the difference to beginning students.

Unfortunately, that wasn't an option for me. Tomorrow, we start with a new instructor - one who also seriously competes in agility - as opposed to the one we started with - who only gets an agility title to add the brag to her conformation dogs. So we may be trying to make a lot of changes. Since DH and Sassy aren't too set in their ways, they can probably make any changes easier than Spenser and I can/will. But I hope we're both trainable.

I know that while we're hoping for the most help with DH and Sassy, there is a lot of tuning - some of it maybe not so fine - for Spenser and for me. He's got his Novice title and is showing real progress but I want to make sure we really are as solid as possible in basics as we move on.

As it happens, DH didn't like "tire" anyway and uses just "jump" for all jumps. I like the "over" for the broad jump because it may warn the dog that it's longer - but I'm not sure he doesn't make that discrimination on his own anyway. DH also uses "tunnel" for both open and closed. I use "chute" because I can keep repeating it if he gets hung up to encourage him to keep coming through. I may try to make a change from "tire" to "hoop" but it has that "chute" sound. Maybe it will be a "hup". If I can re-train, Spenser can too.
Ideally you want a dog that does know the obstacle names. There will be times when your body language just ... all :-) - and he had to work so hard to do what I said instead of what I meant.

I once sent Spenser into a tunnel right at the end of a run. It was a trap - and he loved tunnels. It was one of our first trials and his "turn" was non-existent. So I did the whole "don't mention the elephant in the room" thing. Sent him right to it. Had a clean jumpers run going into the last jump. Spenser was very happy to do what I asked. At least on that one, I know why I said what I said. Sometimes the wrong word just comes out for no comprehensible reason.

~~Judy
Spenser - Carbor Talk of the Town, NA
Sassy - Can CH Carbor Back Talk
OTOH, a lot of people in this area of the country, including me, use all of the T words and do it without fallout. There are a lot of things you can do to help your dog differentiate voice timbre, tone, etc. And when you take the T away, there isn't that much similarity AAAble, IIIre, UUhhnell, EEter
OTOH, a lot of people in this area of the country, including me, use all of the T words and ... dog differentiate voice timbre, tone, etc. And when you take the T away, there isn't that much similarity AAAble, IIIre, UUhhnell, EEter

The problem isn't the DOG the problem is ME. And that's true for a lot of handlers. The HANDLER is more likely to speak the wrong obstacle name when it is similar to the correct one.

Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com /
http://dog-play.com/shop2.html
OTOH, a lot of people in this area of the ... T away, there isn't that much similarity AAAble, IIIre, UUhhnell, EEter

The problem isn't the DOG the problem is ME. And that's true for a lot of handlers. The HANDLER is more likely to speak the wrong obstacle name when it is similar to the correct one.

Honestly, I haven't found that in either myself or my students. Oh sure, I call things the wrong name all the time but not just the T words! I'll say aframe when I mean dogwalk, chute when I mean tunnel, etc.

One thing I personally don't care for is calling all the obstacles the same thing (i.e., "walk it" for dogwalk and teeter and aframe; tunnel for both tunnel and chute). They are different and the dogs do different things to complete them, so I think verbal differential cues really help. Cala takes the dogwalk at a dead run. If she didn't know it was different than the teeter, it could be a real problem.
I disagree. I don't think the dog hears the 'T' as much as they hear 'eeter', 'unnel', 'ire'. If it were truly a big problem, we wouldn't see so many dogs whose names start with a 'T'.

Now that I can agree with. I'm currently running a dog that was started by someone else. I tried to adapt to her commands, and it just wasn't happening. It was much, much easier to teach her my commands.

So why are different 'T' words a problem, yet 'hoop' isn't confused with 'here'? :-)

I disagree again. Most people I know that are currently competing, including many accomplished instructors, use different words. Different parts of the country have different norms.
Debbie
It isn't the dog.
So why are different 'T' words a problem, yet 'hoop' isn't confused with 'here'? :-)

After Robin's comment on her word word choices I doubted my initial comment that teeter - tire - tunnel would be more frequently confused than say tire - weave. But having skimmed a couple linguistics and speech sites I'm back in the camp of beleiving those t words will have a higher frequency of error than other obstacle choice names.

According to my research there are several elements that come into play with word mistakes in which a simple wrong word substitution is made (to distinguish from a huge variety of other possible speech mistakes). The first element applies 99% of the time and that is that the confused word is the same part of speech, which "here" and "hoop" are not. That's consistent with my observation that I don't have a problem confusing getout and getin despite the fact that they share two other elements that apply to word choice mistakes of having the same number of syllables and the same stress pattern. Hmm - same number of syllables - maybe not the same stress pattern - I'd hve to check on how that is defined.
You disagree with what? That it is common for instructors not to teach separate words? Well I suppose it depends on a number of factors, most importantly what your definition of "common" is. I've never used it to mean "most" so the point is hardly refuted by reference to what "most" people you know do. It is also my observation that practices tend to be very heavily regional, which you seem to agree with. Personally *I* don't use the same word for both objects but then I started my agility training when the sport was still quite young. It was several years after that where I began to see same word use. Since I haven't noted it impairing performance for those folks I can hardly naysay it.

Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com /
http://dog-play.com/shop2.html
I, personally, don't have any more problems with 'T' words than other obstacle names. I use tunnel, tire, table. Rather than mix up obstacle names, I more frequently can't spit out the name at all with fast dogs.

Yes, in our area, anyway.

I don't use the same name because the obstacles are different. If the chute and tunnel are close, I want to be as clear as possible in directing the dog.
Debbie
Might also depend on venue? I compete in AKC almost exclusively, and our obstacles are closer than what you'll find in NADAC. I think the tighter the course, the more important physical and verbal cues are.

Debbie
As it happens, DH didn't like "tire" anyway and uses just "jump" for all jumps.

Whee! We get to do the "obstacle commands" thread. ;-)

I use the same command for pretty much anything that requires jumping, namely "hup"... I've been using that for 30 years or more, saw no reason to change it when I started doing agility. Now, as to where I originally got it from- I haven't a clue.
However, I don't use obstacle commands much for jumps- most of the time, I only use directionals.
I like the "over" for the broad jump because it may warn the dog that it's longer - but I'm not sure he doesn't make that discrimination on his own anyway.

We never do the broad jump, but on the one occasion we encountered it at a run-through, I just said "hup" and all three dogs jumped it... Morag and Rocsi had never even seen one before, but took it in stride. (Pun intentional. ;-) )
DH also uses "tunnel" for both open and closed. I use "chute" because I can keep repeating it if he gets hung up to >encouragehim to keep coming through.

I use "chute" for both, which sometimes turns into a sort of hissing sound.. and I also say "GET in the chute".
I started out using "tunnel", but it 1. takes too long to say 2. is one o' them durn T words.
Ideally you want a dog that does know the obstacle ... be enough - at leastif you do snooker and gamblers.

I partially disagree on this (and yes, I know I'm replying to Diane, not Judy, at this point). I agree that gamblers needs more than body language, but find that directionals are the most important, not obstacle names- although obstacle names can help.
Stopping and thinking about it, I really don't have all that many obstacle commands- "hup" for jumps (which, as noted, I rarely use), "weave", "walkit" for the A-frame and dogwalk - there's never a discrimination, and visually they're distinct from each other - "teeter" or "push" for the teeter (there, I think the dogs can use the extra verbal cue), and "chute".
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