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Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

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Lauren
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Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Lauren » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:28 pm

We finally went to our first agility lesson today. And it went ok, i guess. Xena had a really hard time focusing on anything other than the horses. :(

When we first got there the instructor said that I could introduce her to the miniature horses. They were in their paddock and Xena was on lead outside of it. She walked up quietly, a little nervous and the horse who likes dogs gently extended it's nose to smell her. Xena did the same. then chomp! she bit him on the nose! :o thank goodness it was a gentle slow motion chomp. the instructor said, "Well, we have never had that happen before." :oops:

During the lesson, Xena kept loosing focus on me and or the equipment and kept trying to look at the big horses. Three of them right beside the agility ring. I had her on a long line in case she decided to go for them. Well, she did. She went over the jumps and right past the instructor (who was positioned to catch Xena if there was a problem) The instructor stepped on the line, but it slipped right out from under her foot and before I knew it Xena was in the pasture walking up and sniffing the BACK legs of these horses!!!! :shock: I ran in the other direction and called her because lord knows, I don't want her thinking that I am trying to herd these guys. The instructor was able to grab the tail end of the line and pull her out.

All in all a very disappointing first day. She was not allowed off lead at all, of course, and she was flighty and hyper 90% of the time. I sure hope we can get better at this. It is the same problem with skateboards, joggers any animal. She totally ignored her favorite toys. She lost her "whats that?" At least she would still take treats, just not work real hard for them. HOW do I turn this chase and bite thing under control????
Lauren from Western NC

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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by GSDNanny » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:43 pm

Well just from my experience, I have always trained something new to any of my dogs without any distractions whatsoever. At some point, then I introduce distractions for corrections and proofing. But until that point, I want them to focus and understand what is being taught. Stock that is moving or even just in sight is probably the ultimate distraction. Sounds like you will have to teach solid focus on you only or desentizing Xena to the horses before you can actually teach the agility at that location. Maybe someone else on here has a solution.

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Schlussdibusti
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Schlussdibusti » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:59 am

Look for another instructor. Are you kidding? She has horses right next to dog training area! Then can't catch a dog that's making a b-line for the horses although positioned to do so? What a mess, probably threw Xena back three weeks of training.

Sorry to be so harsh, but really............
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Dutchringgirl » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:21 am

Im glad Xena didnt get kicked!!! That is really not a good situation to put green dogs in.
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Lauren
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Lauren » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:56 pm

I am glad that I was not just overreacting. I felt that it was way too lax. Even she said," I'm surprised he didn't kick, He doesn't like dogs." :shock: I am also afraid for her horses. One good bite could mean infection and a lifelong fear of dogs.

She told me that I can come and train there anytime. I think that I will forgo any formal training there until I have a bomb proof dog (or she puts the horses up) and just use the place to teach Xena how to ignore a horse.

I can tell that Xena will like this a lot. When she does focus she is throwing out behaviors just trying to hit the jackpot. The dog has no fear. If you tell her "tunnel", she may go through it or she may trounce along the top of it. She runs over the a frame and teeter for fun (without being asked :| ).

The bottom line is there is so much boring groundwork that I have to do before I get to the fun working together like a machine part that I should really just be doing that at home anyway... I guess it is time for a working journal. :eew:
Lauren from Western NC

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Dutchringgirl
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Dutchringgirl » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:01 pm

in any sport there is alot of boring ground work, I had the same with horses but groundwork is very important and is the support for any further work. I think I would have let loose on that woman if she told me that its a good thing she didnt get kicked because that horse dosnt like dogs !

Even in the upper levels, horses or dogs or what ever, the ground work is important. Make it fun, get your recall sharp, and your regular obed. work great, you can work her on a picnic table for her downs and sits, or think up fun ways to work.
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by alspyce » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:58 pm

Dutchringgirl wrote:in any sport there is alot of boring ground work, I had the same with horses but groundwork is very important and is the support for any further work.

Heck, I thought the groundwork with the horses was a lot of fun! (And if you did it right, it also kept you from hitting the dirt on that first ride. :eek: )
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by CaroleBoaz » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:16 pm

I never really knew what a temptation horses were to dogs until I took my two Belgians to down to Tennessee to look at a puppy.

My normally very obedient Malinois made a bee-line straight to the woman's two horses from the car. After the Belgian (draft horse) threw a kick at her, my Malinois hid in the trees and wouldn't go near them again. I didn't see if he connected, but she learned to stay away from horses.

But in Agility, usually the first few lessons are on leash. Some dogs have to stay on leash the whole 8 weeks. Sounds like you need to find a horse-free training location.

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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Dutchringgirl » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:09 pm

I guess im so used to training something, horse, dog, that Im always doing basic stuff so its just part of my life. Even in mountain biking I still practice basics before I go full speed down a hill like an idiot.

Horses are always fun, then I get to kiss the soft noses.
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by kchristy » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:08 pm

Its really annoying that the trainer said, I'm surprise he didn't kick and then said that the horse really didn't like dogs. The trainer knew you were starting this out for the first time and had horses around that don't like dogs. The other thing you should think about is that if Xena did happen to bite the horse and injury did happen what she could do legally. I tend to be over paranoid, but it could get really bad. Maybe just talk to her about putting the horses in a different area while you train. Or like you said just use it as a place to get Xena used to horses.
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leih merigian
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by leih merigian » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:27 pm

I have to second the opinion about finding a different instructor/location. This is just way too distracting for your pup. (I forget how old she is...)

Above all, you do not want her being able to practice unwanted behaviors, like nipping the horse's nose. You might use her horses/pasture as a distraction training location, but if I were you, I wouldn't allow any interaction with the horses at all, and my goal would be for your dog to become indifferent to them, period. In agility, there are always tons of dogs around, and your own dog needs to become indifferent to them, as well. Otherwise, you get the dogs leaving the ring at will, during a run (you see this all too often, I'm afraid). It doesn't help that often, the "fencing" is simple tape strung along the top of posts (i.e., no barrier at all), but that's the way it is and what you have to train for.

IMO, with agility, people are always over eager to get their dogs on the obstacles. (Note the comments you made about what Luna does with some of them now :mrgreen: ). If you are really interested in this sport, then it's groundwork, groundwork, groundwork before you get near an obstacle. Focus is a big part of that. (Besides, if you don't have any handling language with your dog before you start on obstacles, it takes no time at all before your dog becomes very frustrated at not having a clue as to what you're asking of her. These DSs are very quick and agile, and on an agility course, that will translate into you needing to be providing the cues she needs before she needs them...and when you don't know what you're doing, and you're trying to keep up with your very fast dog...it gets out of hand very quickly.)

Last nite, Geyser (18 months old, and not shoddy in the focus dept.) and I attended our first freestyle class. Guess what a big piece of the homework is this week? Focus. Have the dog sit in front of you and maintain eye contact without any verbal cues, then repeat while the dog is sitting on each side of you. Work up to a minute in each position. To be able to do a whole freestyle routine, the dog has to be able to maintain focus on the handler, regardless of distractions. Same thing in agility or any other sport.

So, like someone else said, make it fun, but focus on your groundwork and ability to ignore distractions before putting her in a situation that will reinforce just the opposite. (Of course, if you don't really care about results or competition or how well you can do, just ignore all of this :lol: )
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Choochi » Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:08 pm

Wow! Just Wow! I don't even know where to begin pointing out how screwed up of a trainer and training environment that is! I would not be going back for lessons if that's the sort of attitude and complete lack of knowledge and just plain ol' common sense the "trainer" already managed to demonstrate on the first encounter. Not to mention she knowingly put your dog in possible danger? A horse can very easily kill a dog, that's not some thing I would take lightly!

Every one always wants to jump right into the sexy stuff, but as every one has already said you really shouldn't be doing obstacles and especially any sequencing until you have done some basic flat work, and have the necessary system and focus required. Especially if you need to keep your dog on leash (which I realize was because the entire environment had the dog set up to fail), you're not ready for equipment unless you're introducing it one piece at a time in an enclosed space.

Flat work can be fun too, you just have to approach it as such. Even with some thing as simple as a tunnel there is so much handling work that can go into it, lets face it, just having the dog run through the tunnel takes next to no time to teach. How you approach the tunnel entry can give the dog instant information if they should come running out of the exit at full speed ahead, or if they should already be banking inside the tunnel anticipating a sharp exit turn and in which direction.

Agility can be tons of fun, but if you rush into it and don't put in the necessary time into proper foundations, it can end up being a miserably frustrating experience for both you and the dog while you patch up holes in your training that shouldn't be there in the first place.

You have some schutzhund experience, you wouldn't attempt doing a blind search if you had no recall on your dog, or you wouldn't attempt a retrieve over the jump if your dog knew how to jump but didn't retrieve... etc I see a lot of people diving head first into agility doing just that.
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Lauren » Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:35 am

you guys have made some very good points. I think that the instructor is just not as observant?, worried?, phobic?, paranoid? as I am because the first thing I said to her is "I am afraid that Xena will go for your horses." That was when she offered to let her meet the Mini's. And when se said I am surprised he didn't kick, She was not being flippant or ugly, just as if she didn't see the terrible way things could have gone when a young dog runs into a paddock of horses trailing a 15 foot line (!) and sniffing their back legs.

I love horses. I have worked with them since I was 8 yrs old. I even love the groundwork when I am "breaking" them to ride. For some reason groundwork with a dog is not as fulfilling to me. Maybe i am just getting old and want to get to the 'good stuff'. Like my 102 yr old grandmother told the cop, "I didn't have time to wait for the red light." :lol:

I do understand it's importance. I live in a equestrian area. If I ever hope to allow her off lead on a hiking trail she HAS to be good with horses. By good, I mean able to totally ignore them. I have kids and their friends riding bikes in the yard. I have skateboarders passing and indoor cats, and little rude squealing neighbor girls running up, and chickens and cats. ALL of this I discussed before purchase, mind you.
Xena as to be good with them. And yet I can see progress. I really can. Just today she decided to greet strange dogs nicely for the first time. :P I realized she can down stay on a busy street while I clean out the gardens. She can pass strangers at a heel and not try to greet them even when she REALLY wants to.

I caught her curled up with the cat snuggly sleeping just this week. We are getting there. inch by inch. Sometimes I just don't want to wait for the red light!!!! :dsshock:
Lauren from Western NC

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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Schlussdibusti » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:16 am

Like my 102 yr old grandmother told the cop, "I didn't have time to wait for the red light."
Grandma's rule! :wtg:
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Dutchringgirl » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:23 am

Schlussdibusti wrote:
Like my 102 yr old grandmother told the cop, "I didn't have time to wait for the red light."
Grandma's rule! :wtg:
Agree!!! :lol: :lol:
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Dutchringgirl » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:30 am

I spent most of my life training horses at the top level, and I saw waaay to many accidents and deaths because of people wanting to just get the big horse and jump the big stuff and skip all of the basics, my point is NOT that you want to do that, but my point is the trainers who are so willing to take $$$ and say, " sure, you can do that" next thing that rider was in the hospital. I do not blame the rider/ handler, I blame the trainer for not saying" sure you can do that, BUT after learning the basics " If the rider dosnt want to, then they can go find another trainer. Someone will take money. I would NEVER mix dogs and horses, I never allowed dogs on my farm for that reason, and in case they didnt get along with my dogs. For her to be so blind to that fact is just ignorance. Its not your fault, its hers and Im glad Xena didnt get hurt. I am now into mountain biking and I still see the basics skipped and people going to the big cool stuff and going home in an ambulance. Even when I was training for Ring lll I spent hours just doing basic obed. It paid off with the coolness of being able to do the big stuff.

Even if you do find the basics boring, still plug away at them, It will pay off and be very worth it.
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by alspyce » Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:34 pm

Having had herding/working dogs and horses together for about 40 years, I do have to say that it can be done. Lyric goes to do the barn chores with me every morning, totally ignores the horse, and knows that the fence is a boundary she is not allowed to cross. My JRT does evening chores and pretty much just looks for mice. The horse is also use to seeing the dogs running around all the time, and everyone just ignores each other. It's just one more distraction to work through with your training. :twocents:
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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by CaroleBoaz » Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:07 pm

I agree that you need to get the dog used to horses. You say it was your first class. We all know that first class can be chaotic due to a new location and all the distractions. Ignoring any issues with the trainer's agility instruction, can you go early and work with him on "leave it" with the horses? My guys learn "leave it" very quickly .

I've been to many beginners level agility classes. Some work on all foundation ground work, some work on the equipment from the first day. It's all done in a safe manner, and I have no issues with either method.

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Re: Please help! 1st Agility lesson~ with horses.

Post by Dutchringgirl » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:08 pm

I do agree that horses and dogs can co exist, but it has to be done gradually. Not expecting the poor dog to learn agility AND deal with the horses from day one.

Im sure each trainer has their own way of beginning. I did "touch" where they put their front feet on a mat and then we also started right in on the weave poles since that takes a long time to learn.

Touch is something you can work on at home too. Get a mat and teach her that "touch" means put her front feet on it. When you do the walk or A frame up and down, the dogs should stop with their front feet on the wood, then when they come down, they stop when all four are at the end. Then you could use your mat and run her up to it and say "touch" and she should stop with her front paws on it.

you could teach her "left turn' and "right turn" when you say Left or Right she turns that direction. There are a lot of little things that are fun you can do at home. If you havent subscribed to Clean Run, you should, there are tons of " do at home" exercises.
Lisa, Thalie CGC & Sadie, Cookie the Basset, CT
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