Copper and Chaos

Agility adventures


Yesterday was the day that decided Penn’s fate. Was she coming back to live with me or getting dropped off at the local shelter. Well, it was in her hands. She could either do well at the seminar or fail to excel. I tried to remember my last post advice to myself& just take a deep breath& relax. I actually had people I knew in this seminar with me. We did a late night supper& early morning breakfast which helped calm my nerves a little& at the same time, add to the stress of ‘..but if we do bad, these people know me. Embarrassing!’.

Don't abandon me, mom! I'll be good I promise!

Don’t abandon me, mom! I’ll be good I promise!

I am, of course, kidding when I say she was going to become a shelter dog. I was planning to keep her regardless of her behavior but my happiness on the drive home was definitely going to reflect how we did. So, how did we do? Well. I think everyone who saw her seminar failure in September was very surprised. The amount of work that I put into her focus showed& she only had 1 runaway zooming session and it was the very first run so I will cut her some slack on it. She also came back ..that whole stress-related disappearing recall? So gone.

She looked like a champ out there running! She was motoring around the course, taking her blind crosses, paying attention when I asked for things I don’t normally ask her for& the best part? She tugged. She tugged like a maniac, amid distractions in a new place AND with new dogs/ people present. I feel like I could hold a seminar on tugging because I’ve put SO MUCH work into getting a tug drive on the red dog. The fact that she tugged yesterday was the highlight of our entire trip. I was actually able to tug her to the start line& had to hide the tug once we got there. It was just such a fabulous day overall& I still have an overflowing heart from my happiness at our success.

It is so nice to put in effort& then see it returned in spades when it counts. I know some people had doubts (and I did, as well, when I was feeling particularly negative) whether or not that whole pesky focus issue would ever be resolved. I am so, so relieved to see major progress in that particular area. Basically, once people doubted if my amazing red babydog could actually do agility, I decided to show them that yes she can. Chances are I can make her better than YOUR agility dog ..even if they are a herder! My crazy competitiveness has some perks. People thinking we may not have success in the agility ring? I am bound& determined to show them just how very, very wrong they were to ever doubt my gun dog. That motivated me to work very hard on all the things Jess told me would improve our teamwork& focus. Shocking news: it worked! Our first seminar feels like a bad dream these days! Guess that is why she’s a world champion, hey? Also, it poured rain the entire time so I didn’t bother bringing out the video camera for any video ..though, I am regretting that decision now!

And then ..I came home to Penn officially allowed to trial!

And then ..I came home to Penn officially allowed to trial!

After a successful yesterday, we had a LONG drive home. Then today I got Penn’s AAC card. We can officially head to trials! If we had of had another seminar with zero success, seeing this card would have made me want to rip my hair out. The fact that Penn& I showed lots of progress means that I was overjoyed to find this gem waiting for me. I am very fickle and in the moment with my emotions, apparently! Now, I have to go pretend to run a course (which I will post tomorrow) and then curl up with my very amazing, lovely Vizsla for some serious snuggle time!



8 comments on “Success?

  1. Em
    November 19, 2013

    Hey! So exciting about Penny’s tugging. Lu’s has certainly improved but I wouldn’t say she’s a maniac by any stretch- how did you go about making her a tugging maniac, if you don’t mind me asking. I love new ideas :)

    • yv0nnej
      November 19, 2013

      Patience. So much patience. Sometimes I wanted to give up ..a lot. Haha
      No, but seriously. I would get Penn hyped up with nose touches, weaving through my legs or spins then I’d grab the tug, wiggle it around, throw it& let her bring it back when she was ready. Then we would tug (which last .02 seconds at first) and then I’d reward with a treat. I slowly increased the amount of tug time& decreased the food reward so she associated the tug as the reward. Once she started tugging for more than a few seconds, there were times I would train with ONLY a tug. Want a food reward? Too bad. Tug or nothing, pumpkin. She quickly learned tugging was better than no reward. Then, when I could get her to tug, drop, re-take it& tug again, we spent a lot of time working with tugs AND treats& I just varied. When I could sense her losing interest in the tug, it went away& I rewarded with a treat once. Brought the tug back out& made it the only reward until she accepted it.
      Oh, and I always, always, always ended the game on her. I made the tug disappear when she was still high on tugging. Replaced the tug with a food reward. Hid the tug at all times except for when she was already really amped then brought it out& played chase, tug, throw, retrieve. Put it away after 2 minutes. Now, she will reliably tug for upwards of 2+ minutes without releasing& will tug past other dogs/ people. I feel like I must have done something right because bird dogs don’t tug LOL! Sorry for the novel, also!

      • Em
        November 20, 2013

        Ok! Don’t be sorry for the novel, more info is great.
        Lu will tug and she’s started getting more into tugging since I give her a food reward sometimes. She’ll also train quite well for a TOY, but not necessarily a tug at this point.
        I like the idea of ending it when she’s still amped about the tug, I try and let her ‘win’ when she does strong tugs but maybe I should ask her to ‘give’ and then hold it out of reach… hmm.. Did you chase, tug, grab it out of her mouth, throw it, and repeat? Or did you ask her to give it up? So it sounds like I should probably just keep doing what we’re doing! Which is also nice to just have some confirmation, too!

      • yv0nnej
        November 20, 2013

        I usually ask her for a release ..if I tug it out of her mouth, it makes her more shy to re-grab it. I think grabbing it out of a mouth would destroy her tug drive, but that might be totally different for your girl. I think I’ll write up a post on it as a few people have asked me about it!

  2. Elissa
    November 20, 2013

    Yeah for you guys! Your Penn is still pretty young, so you’re doing great! Tug seemed to have a switch go off when he turned 2 and was MUCH more reliable about not acting like a crazy thing or doing the zoomies in class. In fact, I could no longer exercise him before class or he would be lazy! We have mixed results about tugging, also – he’ll tug like crazy at home, and he and Daisy have pretty epic tug of war competitions with each other sometimes. But in the ring…there are so many other things he’s distracted by! So I would look forward to your tugging post, as well. :)

    • yv0nnej
      November 20, 2013

      Glad to hear they do get a brain at some point ;) Hoping I don’t end up with a lazy V, though! Trying to instil drive now to avoid that!
      I have a few people ask how I managed to get a tug drive fairly reliably, so I will post that before we go away on the weekend! I meant to do it today but I’m just too tired.

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This entry was posted on November 19, 2013 by in Agility, Penny and tagged , , , , , .
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