Some of you remember that one of the main reasons I kept Angel (my alleged foster dog) was because she appeared to be a great agility prospect. Well, we've just completed our 3rd agility class in an Agility 101 course, and the girl has IT. In large doses. She absolutely loves it. So far she's been introduced to jumps, the tire, dogwalk, tunnel and chute, and we just started weave poles. I've been able to drop the leash after one or two run-throughs with it on each obstacle, and whenever I put it back on she dances around "Aw, mom, I want to go again!". She's incredibly motivated by praise and people cheering her on (and the treats don't hurt either). It's such a joy to have a dog who really really enjoys this!
There's a smooth border collie in my class: I didn't even know they came in smooth until I met this dog. Very cute. Plus an 8 month old Cardigan Corgi, all feet and ears. Name of Stumpy :-). Absolutely adorable.

Debbie the Dogged das at spamcop dot net
"Poodles are space aliens who think they've disguised themselves as dogs." - Paghat the Ratgirl
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Some of you remember that one of the main reasons I kept Angel (my alleged foster dog) was because she ... on (and the treats don't hurt either). It's such a joy to have a dog who really really enjoys this!

so when can i come watch? :-)
-kelly
we've just completed our 3rd agility class in an Agility 101 course, and the girl has IT. In large doses. She absolutely loves it.

Yay! It's so much fun to work with a dog like that.
She dances around "Aw, mom, I want to go again!". She's incredibly motivated by praise and people cheering her on (and the treats don't hurt either). It's such a joy to have a dog who really really enjoys this!

You've probably seen me say this before, but... my agility instructor says that dogs do agility for one or more of three reasons: some do it because they like to please and work for their handler, some for the rewards they get, and some - this is the rarest trait - because they intrinsically enjoy doing the obstacles.
Dogs who do it for only one reason are harder to work with - the ones who only do it for the handler usually being the most difficult. Most dogs who do well in agility do it for at least two reasons; the dogs who do best tend to be those who do it for all three. Sounds like you've got a 3-reason dog. ;-)
Some of you remember that one of the main reasons ... joy to have a dog who really really enjoys this!

so when can i come watch? :-)

It's in barn in Issaquah, and I'm sure the teacher won't mind if you come and watch. There are some really cute dogs in the class: we're up to one regular border collie, one smooth border collie, one Heinz-57 largish dog, one American Eskimo, one Shitzu, Angel, and my personal- favorite-after-Angel, an absolutely adorable 9 month old black and white Cardigan Corgi named Stumpy.
If you're serious, email me and I'll send you directions/time.

Debbie the Dogged das at spamcop dot net
"Poodles are space aliens who think they've disguised themselves as dogs." - Paghat the Ratgirl
Angel loves the jumps, tunnel and dogwalk - still not 100% sure about the chute yet, but getting there. We have ramps at home that she loves to zoom up and down, so to her the ramped obstacles are already second nature. I forsee no problems with the rest of the obstacles, once we get to them, except perhaps for the teeter.
Dogs who do it for only one reason are harder to work with - the ones who only do it for the handler usually being the most difficult.

Laika, my toy poodle who I took classes with a few years ago, was like that. He did it for me and the treats, but that was it. I finally stopped with him because it didn't seem worth it to me to try to get him to like something that didn't come naturally.
Most dogs who do well in agility do it for at least two reasons; the dogs who do best tend to be those who do it for all three. Sounds like you've got a 3-reason dog. ;-)
All of this info is cool: I hadn't heard it before, and yes! I think so too. My teacher said we'd probably be ready to start competing in 8 -9 months - blew me away, as I thought it would take longer. However, Angel does have a tendency to be possessed with what I call "zoomies" and what my teacher calls "going hoohaw" - suddenly taking off and running laps around the ring at full speed just for the sheer joy of running. Hopefully we can convince her that the agility ring is not the place for that, unless I've instructed her to.

She is really fun to watch while she's doing it, though :-). One doesn't expect a small fluffy dog to be able to run that fast. You know those cartoon where the runner's legs morph into wheels to indicate speed? She's sort of like that :-). One of the local sighthound clubs has lure coursing that's open to non-sighthounds: I gotta get her over there one of these days and see how she does.

Debbie the Dogged das at spamcop dot net
"Poodles are space aliens who think they've disguised themselves as dogs." - Paghat the Ratgirl
You've probably seen me say this before, but... my agility instructor says that dogs do agility for one or more of three reasons: some do it because they like to please and work for their handler, some for the rewards they get, and some - this is the rarest trait - because they intrinsically enjoy doing the obstacles.
Solo fits all these criteria but I think it's #3 that makes him so fun to work with. He's always been easy to motivate (self-motivated) and can train a lot without getting bored, tired, or sour. But, #1 and #2 are definitely also factors.
I still haven't figured Skeeter out. Right now he's primarily a #2, I think, but I see potential for #3. He certainly enjoys being animated!

Melanie Lee Chang > Form ever follows function. Departments of Anthropology and Biology >
University of Pennsylvania > Louis Sullivan (Email Removed) >
that dogs do agility for one or more of three reasons: some do it because : they like to please ... out. Right now he's primarily a #2, I think, but I see potential for #3. He certainly enjoys being animated!

I think for many dogs, doing obstacle stuff is fun and all, but agility doesn't necessarily become a self-rewarding behavior until you start sequencing. I find that for my dogs and a fair number of my students, the real lightbulb goes on when they realize that yes, they can RUN around and DO stuff FAST. Both of my girls can only stand doing so many short sequences they want to keep going!
You've probably seen me say this before, but... my agility instructorsays that dogs do agility for one or more of ... do best tend to be those who do it for all three. Sounds like you've got a 3-reason dog. ;-)

This is SO true. The difference between running a dog who is just doing it for you and a dog who truly enjoys the game is astounding. I don't know if Wylie is a 2-reason or 3-reason dog; he enjoys the obstacles to an insane degree, but not on his own, so even though he finds doing obstacles a better reward than food or toy, he isn't the kind to go off and self-reward with obstacles. The game specifically involves me as part of the joy of playing, so he has reasons 1 and 3 down; I'm just not sure of reason 2.

Christy
I think for many dogs, doing obstacle stuff is fun and all, but agility doesn't necessarily become a self-rewarding behavior ... and DO stuff FAST. Both of my girls can only stand doing so many short sequences they want to keep going!

Mmm hmmm. I get really bitched at when we do short sequences in class. Wylie is the kind of dog who could easily handle the 35-40 obstacle courses like they have at NADAC nationals - too bad he doesn't have a handler to match!

Christy
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