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I use directionals. I use obstacle commands. I'd put a penny in my shoe if I thought it'd help.
I haven't seen a lot of tunnelers courses, maybe 10 or 12, but they've not had the tight challenges we face in Excellent. That's why I use different names for the tunnel and the chute. I think directionals help me on a more open course, and obstacle discrimination helps more on a tight course. When the dog is faced with four or five options fairly close together, 'left' isn't helping much. I'd use a 'here' or 'out' and the obstacle name in that scenario.
Debbie
I see them often enough. I can't scan course maps to show you, though.

Debbie
Heh. I never use "no" with the dogs, and "Go!" ... would act for my dogs like it did for Matt..

My ultimate goal is to keep "No" for those Voice Of God times. Mostly I use "eh-eh" for the anytime ... when he's headed totally off course and getting unfocused. After a repeated "here" doesn't work. (Although he IS getting better.)

Okay, but how would a "no," something you use for the "Voice of God" help a dog who is getting unfocused? In almost all cases, getting unfocused/confused is actually a handler, not a dog, issue. He may not be sure what you want, you may actually be misdirecting him with body cues, or you may have failed to give him the proper foundation to find working with YOU to be exciting enough to want to stick with you. In any of those scenarios, the NO as a punisher is inappropriate. Do try to eliminate it totally from your vocabulary it's nonspecific, and even if it works to turn him around, it probably has the wrong result a dog who does stop but who now also feels punished on the agility field and probably for something that isn't really his fault.
What was really frustrating about this tunnel was that it was a trap entrance - and we had done it right and I was really excited about that. Then to have him pop back out because of MY error was just plain awful!

Yep. He obviously understands that No means he did something wrong but he doesn't know what. Further might speculate, not having seen you of course, that the No shuts him down, hence the inadvisability of using it at all in this training context.
Instead, if he is heading off some other direction than you want, simply shut up. If at all possible, shut up and turn your back, let him come find you. When he does, big, big praise and try again. As long as you're yelling something at him he knows where you are and that you're still engaged with him. Further, he might think that the yelling, no matter what it is, is bad, so maybe he better stay away awhile longer.

One of the most effective things a friend of mine did to her BT who would decide to do his own course was to simply run away. This was before the new AKC rules on dogs coming out of the ring, and she just ran out of the ring and right back to the tent while the dog was still out there jumping whatever he wanted to. The dog eventually realized that she was GONE. And boy did he look for her then! When he came flying back to the tent she greeted him and praised him for coming, asking him where he'd been. After that he has been much better about keeping his beady little eyes ON her.
Herding people - what terms are used for right and left turns? DH is thinking of trying to teach Gee and Haw to Sassy. Are there better words?

Clockwise "Come-bye" or "Go-bye" counterclockwise "Away to me"

Diane Blackman
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the NO as a punisher is inappropriate. Do try to
eliminate it totally from your vocabulary it's nonspecific, and even if it works to turn him around, it probably has the wrong result a dog who does stop but who now also feels punished on the agility field and probably for something that isn't really his fault.

You're absolutely right. (Even when the "no-o-o-o" is for *me* and not for him - he doesn't know the difference.) The "no" is not only counterproductive but it doesn't tell him what he should be doing. And I'm trying. DH and I are keeping track and calling out to the other when we say it. One instructor suggested putting a quarter in a pot each time. It's not a lot of money - even if you use it a lot - but it gives you a visual reminder.
Why is it that bad habits always seem harder to break than good ones?
Yep. He obviously understands that No means he did something wrong but he doesn't know what. Further might speculate, not having seen you of course, that the No shuts him down, hence the inadvisability of using it at all in this training context.

Absolutely correct. It's taken me a while to get this through my head but it's one of the biggies I'm working on.
It doesn't even take a "no" to shut him down. He would do it if he has to go back and do an obstacle that he went past or missed for whatever reason. THAT we've been working on a lot and I think we're really making progress.

And Sassy is even more sensitive. A harsh word to her - a "down" that gets repeated with a little edge of frustration - and she shuts down.
One of the most effective things a friend of mine did to her BT who would decide to do his own course was to simply run away.

The dog eventually realized
that she was GONE. And boy did he look for her then!

I'd really like to have the nerve to try this but I suspect with Spenser that this could take HOURS. Especially if he's in a place that has lots of other interesting things. Oh sure, he'd miss me eventually but he would bug a lot of other people first!
What I have done a couple of times was to turn away, call him and run in the opposite direction on the course. That alone usually gets his attention and he follows.
I'd like to think that I'm fixing some of these things and that's why Spenser is improving lately. I suspect that a large share of it may be a combination of experience (on his part) and that some more of his brains have showed up finally. And maybe some of it is me.
~~Judy
Spenser - Carbor Talk of the Town, NA
Sassy - Can CH Carbor Back Talk
It doesn't even take a "no" to shut him down. He would do it if he has to go back ... past or missed for whatever reason. THAT we've been working on a lot and I think we're really making progress.

If you have a dog who shuts down easily, the best thing to do is NOT stop them and make them return to an obstacle they've missed or not done correctly. Instead, simply let them go on and circle them back to the obstacle again within a sequence even if you have to make that sequence up on the fly. And when they get it right, praise them as you go on. Usually missed jumps are our fault anyway. Emotion: smile
I'd really like to have the nerve to try this but I suspect with Spenser that this could take HOURS. ... of other interesting things. Oh sure, he'd miss me eventually but he would bug a lot of other people first!

You might be surprised. Try it in class first. If he starts self-rewarding (or venting stress) by zooming/doing extra jumps, just calmly wait for him. Don't move out of the position you were when you were directing him correctly, and my bet is he'll come back. And if you praise him as soon as he turns his head toward you, he may come back even sooner.
I'd like to think that I'm fixing some of these things and that's why Spenser is improving lately. I suspect ... his part) and that some more of his brains have showed up finally. And maybe some of it is me.

I'm sure it's both. The challenge of training a dog to make an intricate pattern at full speed while unleashed is a large one, for both human and canine.
I think the tighter the course, the more important physical and verbal cues are.

My experience in running USDAA- and even more so, JRTCA (and you haven't seen "tight" and "weird angle" until you've seen some JRTCA courses) concurs. I still use directionals more than obstacle commands, but there's no way I could run one of those courses in absolute silence.
It doesn't even take a "no" to shut him down. He would do it if he has to go back ... went past or missed for whateverreason. THAT we've been working on a lot and I think we're really making progress.

In my experience, it has a lot to do with the handler. When Bodhi would shut down, it was mostly in trials, and it would happen after an error regardless of whether I asked him to redo an obstacle or went on. In practices, he would redo things quite happily and not shut down, because I didn't give off the "oh crap that was wrong" signals like I did in trials (unintentionally of course.) That is a very difficult thing to overcome, at least in my case, so hopefully that isn't part of the equation with Spencer.
And Sassy is even more sensitive. A harsh word to her - a "down" thatgets repeated with a little edge of frustration - and she shuts down.

Are you sure these are Schnauzers and not Shelties!?! The standards in my classes are not particularly soft. Do they get softer as they get smaller?
Christy
As to safety, I've never seen a dog approach a teeter as if it was a dogwalk,

NEVER?? Are you serious? You've never seen a dog run up a teeter and launch?

I've seen plenty of those, though none that I can attribute to the dog thinking the teeter was a dogwalk.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
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