It's certainly different handling a dog whose head isn't right at the same height your hand normally falls. Sometimes it's hard to get Skeeter to be on the correct side of me. If I get him to target my hand he'll sometimes hop and hop and hop trying to actually reach my hand. I'll have to figure something else out.
This is a pretty big intro agility class nine people. We've spent two classes introducing the dogs to obstacles. Weirdly, I kind of feel like I've never done this before. I don't remember teaching Solo anything, I just remember him doing stuff. With everything except weaves, we pretty much pointed him at it and he did it. We had to go back and fine tune later due to this original approach (contacts? what contacts?) but really, I got off very easy.Obstacles don't look the same to a little dog as a bigger dog. It is not obvious to Skeeter that the tire is to be jumped through. Even at a very low height the A-frame is like a mountain. Skeeter thinks nothing of hopping onto it and sitting there, looking cute. Solo never thought of it as an easy chair it was something to go over, like a downed tree or a fence or a baby gate. Skeeter's always thought of the world in multiple dimensions with a lot of relief, and habitually does things like hop up onto the back of the couch and take a nap there, or jump onto the desk to check out what I'm doing, things it would never occur to Solo, due to his size, to do.

So Skeeter doesn't think it's weird to hop onto the low dogwalk and hop off to sniff the floor and hop back up again. Solo saw it as of a piece and something to be accomplished all at once because, being a bigger dog, he lives in a flatter world than Skeeter does.

I'm pleased with Skeeter's progress. He fears nothing and conquered the collapsed chute tonight with no trouble. Buja boards and the like don't faze him at all. He has learned what "jump" means. And he loves tunnels, but all beginner agility dogs love tunnels.
Mentally he's very different to work with than Solo. Solo immediately got into the idea of doing the physical stuff and found the obstacles inherently rewarding. Skeeter does the obstacles because he wants food. Although he has a lot of drive, which can be weird and scary in a dog his size (no wonder the little old ladies were so disappointed in him) he doesn't have the same kind of work ethic that the Border Collies have sometimes he seems like he's all id.

He's all about what he wants, and he wants it right now. It rarely if ever occurs to the Border Collies that something might be more interesting than me, but Skeeter has a broader vision. He knows he'll be rewarded for going over the jump, but there's a chance there'll be some liver dropped under the frame over there...

Skeeter doesn't have the kind of stamina Solo has, although I am sure it will develop. Solo can make good use of an entire hour's rental of the training space without faltering or wanting to stop doing agility or even deteriorating much in terms of performance (a trainer I know who hates him as a working dog said, "I'll say one thing for him, he's got a motor on him"). I could see Skeeter's eyes starting to bug out and point in two different directions after about 20 minutes. Of course, he's younger. He'll be three in November and is very puppylike in many ways.

He doesn't cue off my body language as intuitively as Solo does. Maybe this will be an advantage I won't be able to unintentionally send him in the wrong direction as easily. I was pretty sure he'd be easy to keep up with on course but he's a lot faster at this than I thought he was. He doesn't bark at all in class. This surprises me.

I am going to teach him to jump into my arms at the end of a run.

Anyway, so far, so good.

Melanie Lee Chang > Form ever follows function. Departments of Anthropology and Biology >
University of Pennsylvania > Louis Sullivan (Email Removed) >
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I am going to teach him to jump into my arms at the end of a run. Anyway, so far, so good.

Delighted to hear of your latest dog-training class with Skeeter, Melanie. Now, tell me something. You share your life with three dogs, but what about men? I have noticed that women like you end up with the worst sort of men, because you are too unapproachable for all but the most hardened sociopaths. That is a shame because you are very pretty and semi-intelligent to boot. You were gone from this group for a long time, and I thought maybe you were having a torrid love affair, and maybe you were. But now you're back, sounding more celibate than ever.
Not that it's any of my business, of course.
Charlie
It's certainly different handling a dog whose head isn't right at the same height your hand normally falls. Sometimes it's ... I get him to target my hand he'll sometimes hop and hop and hop trying to actually reach my hand.

Yep, yep, and yep!
When I first started running Rocsi, I often found myself losing her, because she A. wasn't naturally in the plane of my peripheral vision and B. would cross behind me for no apparent reason.
I'll have to figure something else out.

I've gotten the bouncing-at-the-hand syndrome from time to time - IMO, hand targeting with a foot-tall dog is definitely counterproductive. One thing that helped with Rocsi was playing a send-to-toy game (gave her the idea of looking in the direction I pushed with my hand). Another was being conscious of where my FEET were pointing - she takes far more direction from my feet/stride than the others, for the obvious reason that she's a lot closer to 'em.
This is a pretty big intro agility class nine people.

Wow. You have got small classes! We're just finishing up an Intro class (which I assisted with), and we had at least 15 dogs on the first night. One - a PWD- got kicked out of class the first night; went after another dog, and bit the other dog's handler.
A couple more dropped out after a class or two, leaving us with (if I'm not forgetting anybody) a baker's dozen - two Border Collies, a Terv, a Sheltie, two English Cockers, two Yorkies, two Corgis, a hound/shepherd mix, a Dobe, and a Golden.
We had to go back and fine tune later due to this original approach (contacts? what contacts?)

Just as a point of note (your instructor is probably already on top of this): if your class is doing 2/2's on contacts, you may want to rethink that for the teeter, especially since you do NADAC.

2/2's turned out to be borderline unsafe for Rocsi, AND tended to lead to course faults, because she's so small and light that one of two things sometimes happened:
One, sometimes she would be airborne over the tip point, and the teeter wouldn't tip. Two, sometimes the teeter would rise up under her back feet. Even if it wasn't actually hazardous, both things could get her faulted. The fastest and safest method for her turned out to be to run to the tip point - which for her, is IN the yellow - "surf" the board down, then run off as it hit the ground. It's a split second slower than running through and/or a 2/2, but unless you're planning to do AKC and get hung up on whether or not you get first place (it can matter for MACH points), it's safer IMO. And as regards course faults, it not only prevents fly-offs, but it makes it perfectly clear to the judge that your dog touched yellow.
Solo saw it as of a piece and something to be accomplished all at once because, being a bigger dog, he lives in a flatter world than Skeeter does.

Interesting observation!
Skeeter does the obstacles because he wants food. Although he has a lot of drive, which can be weird and ... sometimes he seems like he's all id. He's all about what he wants, and he wants it right now.

Just curious... does he have any toy/prey drive?
I could see Skeeter's eyes starting to bug out and point in two different directions after about 20 minutes. Of course, he's younger. He'll be three in November and is very puppylike in many ways.

It's interesting, to me, that little dogs seem to mature earlier physically - Rocsi was adult size and weight at 9 months- but mentally later, which goes hand-in-hand with their longer life spans. She turned 3 in June, and this season has really started to show signs of mental maturity (well, as much mental maturity as you ever get with a Jack. ) Last weekend, she went 6/8, and both NQs were my fault; I was in the wrong place to handle a gamble, and sent her off course in Elite Jumpers.
He doesn't cue off my body language as intuitively as Solo does. Maybe this will be an advantage I won't be able to unintentionally send him in the wrong direction as easily.

Yup. I can send Rocsi off course accidentally (usually by pointing my feet the wrong way), but tiny shoulder twitches don't send her haring off 30 feet the way they do Morag.
I was pretty sure he'd be easy to keep up with on course but he's a lot faster at this than I thought he was.

Heh heh. Welcome to the geez-this-dog-is-hard-to-keep-up-with club! Thing about fast little dogs is that you don't have the natural distance that you do with a larger dog (especially a herding dog), so even if the ground speed is the same, your handler path is longer - at least at the beginning.
I am going to teach him to jump into my arms at the end of a run.> Anyway, so far, so good.

Very cool! Thanks for the update... I'm looking forward to seeing Mr. Skeeter run one of these days.
When I first started running Rocsi, I often found myself losing her, because she A. wasn't naturally in the plane of my peripheral vision and B. would cross behind me for no apparent reason.
Yes! Skeeter does that all the time. It's often something like I'm holding the toy in my left hand next to my body, and I have the right hand out, but since he wants the toy he goes to the wrong side. I have to be much more careful about cues than I do with Solo.

Just as a point of note (your instructor is probably already on top of this): if your class is doing 2/2's on contacts, you may want to rethink that for the teeter, especially since you do NADAC.

We haven't gotten that far yet just tippy boards for now. They have told me that they think 2o/2o is important even for small dogs. Skeeter is about 13" tall and is a flyer, so I agree that he'll need a stop on contacts otherwise he'll just jump over them.
The fastest and safest method for her turned out to be to run to the tip point - which for her, is IN the yellow - "surf" the board down, then run off as it hit the ground. It's a split second slower than running through and/or a 2/2, but unless you're planning to do AKC and get hung up on whether or not you get first place (it can matter for MACH points), it's safer IMO.
Nope, not doing AKC. No thanks.
> Solo saw it as of a piece and something to be accomplished all at once > because, being a bigger dog, he lives in a flatter world than Skeeter >does.
Interesting observation!
I realized a better way to put it is that what Solo considers an obstacle, Skeeter considers landscape.
Just curious... does he have any toy/prey drive?

YES. But I have to develop it further at the club, which has many distractions. At home he will hang off tug toys. He's not comfortable enough at class and is kind of half-hearted about it. He loves toys.

Interestingly, Solo was always kind of "meh" about tugging at the club although he loves to tug at home. Our agility instructor noted how revved up he gets when he's about to run a course (he goes from 0-60 in about .5 seconds), caught me with Solo on the start line quivering and staring and barking and said, "Give him the tug now." And wouldn't you know it but he grabbed it and hung from it. Using agility to create a motivating toy to use in agility!
It's interesting, to me, that little dogs seem to mature earlier physically - Rocsi was adult size and weight at 9 months- but mentally later, which goes hand-in-hand with their longer life spans.

I was expecting Skeeter to grow up faster Harley was always very mature, and I got her at 15 months but I'm used to this late-maturing thing because of the Border Collies. Solo is very different at 5 than he was even at 3 or of course at 16 months when I got him.

Heh heh. Welcome to the geez-this-dog-is-hard-to-keep-up-with club! Thing about fast little dogs is that you don't have the natural distance that you do with a larger dog (especially a herding dog), so even if the ground speed is the same, your handler path is longer - at least at the beginning.

I was hoping to get more of a break. I don't handle Solo at a distance because he's Solo. At least it keeps me in shape.

Melanie Lee Chang > Form ever follows function. Departments of Anthropology and Biology >
University of Pennsylvania > Louis Sullivan (Email Removed) >
Nope, not doing AKC. No thanks.

Honestly, that's too bad. There are a couple of things about USDAA that I really don't like which I'll share with you. First and foremost are the slats on the equipment. They are high and sharp-sided, which can lead to foot injury/toe jams. AKC mandates low, rounded slats. Then there are the jump heights I think (and someone can correct me) that you'll have to jump 16" in USDAA, whereas in AKC you'd be able to jump 12" a big difference for a little dog, especially over time. Of course you can do the Performance division which would help.

NADAC is super for small dogs though. I know you have philosophical differences with AKC and I can sympathise with those, but you are missing a fun and interesting venue.
First and foremost are the slats on the equipment. They are high and sharp-sided, which can lead to foot injury/toe jams.

Not necessarily. Most clubs nowadays do multiple venues, so most with slatted equipment don't have toe-busters.
Then there are the jump heights I think (and someone can correct me) that you'll have to jump 16" in USDAA,

If Skeeter's over 12", and if Melanie ran him in Championship, yes. Rocsi, at 12.25", would be required to jump 16" in USDAA Championship.
I know you have philosophical differences with AKC and I can sympathise with those, but you are >missing a fun and interesting venue.

Fortunately, in this area (and Melanie's basically in the same area as I am), there's no need to do AKC to have enough agility to do. With NADAC alone, I could trial 2-4 times a month, 8-9 months of the year, without ever traveling more than 3 hours away; add in USDAA and CPE, and I could probably trial full-time. Of course, it's a moot point in my case, since AKC doesn't want my dogs on their trial grounds, let alone participating.
Of course, it's a moot point in my case, since AKC doesn't want my dogs on their trial grounds, let alone participating. Why wouldn't Rocsi be allowed on AKC grounds?

Gwen
Fortunately, in this area (and Melanie's basically in the same area as I am), there's no need to do AKC ... it's a moot point in my case, since AKC doesn't want my dogs on their trial grounds, let alone participating.

YEah, we don't have that option here, and of course as you know *I* have philosophical differences with NADAC and have decided to refuse to put any more money in Sharon's pocket, so I don't do NADAC. I wish, wish, wish we had CPE here, but so far no go, and my local club is too small to do it when we're already doing UKC and adding AKC.
Why wouldn't Rocsi be allowed on AKC grounds?

Rosci isn't registered as a Parson Russell Terrier with the AKC.

Unregistered dogs aren't allowed on AKC (or CKC, here) grounds.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
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