NADAC Forum

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Rsquared on June 01, 2019, 08:50:13 PM

Title: Toy in the ring
Post by: Rsquared on June 01, 2019, 08:50:13 PM
My dog Crispy is a very reactive dog who is scared of other dogs—especially big ones.  I don’t know if he didn’t get socialized as a puppy or if he had a bad experience with dogs before I got him when he was 9 months old, but he doesn’t trust dogs—even sweet old Scooter who he’s lived with for 2+ years now.

Much of Crispy’s agility trialing has been fraught with him running amuck and worrying about things happening outside the ring or staying fixed on the start line with an Exorcist-swiveling head scoping out all the dogs outside the ring behind him while I’m yelling to deaf ears, “OK!  OK!  GO!  CRISPY!  CRISPY! CRISPYYYYYYYY!!!!”

Today was a little different.  I got to bring a toy in the ring.  Thank you, NADAC!  Since we were using the double run format, round one I ran with a toy and round two I didn’t.  I’m happy to report that his round two runs were all Q’s.  This is a big improvement.  I think using the toy on round one helped him to relax and I now have hope that he may someday run in a trial with confidence.

However , I learned that using a toy is only allowed at the Intro and Novice levels.  I was wondering why this is?  It seems that if you’re willing to forgo a Q for using a toy that it shouldn’t matter what level your dog is at.  He’s got his Novice Superiors in Weavers and Standard and I would like to continue using the toy at the Open level if it will help boost his confidence.

Thanks for listening!

Ronni



Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Chris Nelson on June 02, 2019, 03:04:14 PM
Hey Ronni,

It's mainly because it's so new for our people, that we want to ease into it.

I agree that forgoing a Q doesn't really matter what level it is.   

The issue we wanted to avoid is the unknown of whether someone having a toy in the ring is going to cause issues for the next dog coming in.

In my opinion from what I've seen, it doesn't affect anything.

But, if it was an Elite class, and someones NATCH was on the line, they would be pretty annoyed if their dog got distracted by another dog with their toy.

That's not to say it will never happen in the higher levels, but we definitely want to have an acclimation period and see how it goes first :)
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Rsquared on June 02, 2019, 09:05:52 PM
OK, I understand that you want to try this out during an acclimation period and I agree that it doesn’t seem to affect the next dog, though it possibly could under the right perfect storm circumstances.  I certainly wouldn’t want to spoil a NATCH run that was on the line.  So maybe you’ll consider toys for all levels but Elite? 🤔
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Heidi Konesko on June 03, 2019, 04:22:21 AM
Hi, ive been wondering what all of the rules are around using a toy in the ring.  Can someone give a recap, or point me in the right direction?
Heidi in NH
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Chris Nelson on June 04, 2019, 09:36:01 AM
Hi, ive been wondering what all of the rules are around using a toy in the ring.  Can someone give a recap, or point me in the right direction?
Heidi in NH

A quick recap:

1)Toys can only be brought onto the course for Intro and Novice.
2) It is considered training, so you'll get an E and your 60 seconds of training time.
3) You need to declare it at the beginning of the run.   So you can't have a toy in your pocket, and then when things go haywire in the middle of the run decide to pull out your toy. 
4) Common sense and respect for other dogs is paramount.   Toys should be kept within a reasonable distance of the handler and dog.  Best example is that if you bring in a frisbee, you shouldn't be throwing it the entire length of the ring.    Same if you have a ball, you shouldn't be throwing it towards the start line where another dog could be lining up to run.
5) All normal safety rules apply, and the judge has final say.    So if you're throwing a toy while your dog is still on the contact, and they jump off the middle of the dog walk because of it, the judge isn't going to feel comfortable letting that happen again and will ask you to leave the ring for that run.
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Chris Nelson on June 04, 2019, 09:37:30 AM
OK, I understand that you want to try this out during an acclimation period and I agree that it doesn’t seem to affect the next dog, though it possibly could under the right perfect storm circumstances.  I certainly wouldn’t want to spoil a NATCH run that was on the line.  So maybe you’ll consider toys for all levels but Elite? 🤔

I wouldn't rule it out.    I think we'll have a MUCH better idea of where things could go in December.    We've had one weekend under our belts and no issues so far, and a lot of positive feedback from competitors.  So I think it's very possible to expand it a bit, once we have a solid view of how it's going to work in real world environments.
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Kyle on June 04, 2019, 11:00:31 AM
I don't know if there are certain "parameters" for a toy in the ring or not, but I sure had a scare last weekend while watching a dog with a toy. It was a ball on a rope. The rope was about a foot long. When given the toy, the dog was near the dog walk. I really thought it was going to carry the ball, with the rope dangling, across the dog walk. Thankfully, the dog dropped the ball before getting on it. I could just see that rope getting caught on the side supports of the ramp or the dog stepping on the rope partway across and having an accident. It was really scary.

We were also told in our briefing that a small toy may be attached to the leash. Gotta say, if I'm leash running, I'm *not* handing the leash to the handler!! I'm dropping it at the end of the run....I'm not a fan of being a "target".....

Just my humble opinions,
Kyle
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Sharon Nelson on June 04, 2019, 05:25:26 PM

We were also told in our briefing that a small toy may be attached to the leash. Gotta say, if I'm leash running, I'm *not* handing the leash to the handler!! I'm dropping it at the end of the run....I'm not a fan of being a "target".....

Just my humble opinions,
Kyle

That just happened recently at a non-NADAC trial.  Leash runner, not even trying to hand the leash to the handler because the dog was on course........... left the course to go "get" his toy on the leash, missed and got the leash runner.  The leash runner was dong nothing but quietly and calmly walking across the ring.

I think that the judges might need to brief the leash runners that the "toy" needs to be carried in a way that the dog can't accidentally see it.  And yes, I do think that if a toy is attached then putting the leash on the ground should be the only option for them.  Not a leash in the air for the dog to target to as the leash runner tries to give it to the handler.

We need to keep those leash runners safe!
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Chris Nelson on June 04, 2019, 10:25:24 PM
I personally am of the opinion that we baby people a little too much.    I'm in a bit of a mood tonight so maybe I'll regret saying that!

But we have sterilized things to the point that anyone can enter a ring and it's not 'our' job to make sure their dog is safe.    Which doesn't jive well with me.

No I don't want a leash runner to ever be a target.   But if that is something that a dog is even remotely thinking of doing, do I really want that dog running anyway?   
I would rather have the dog get suspended and the problem fixed early, then let it fly under the radar or be covered up by us 'helping' to make the dog seem better behaved then it is.
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: dogrsqr on June 05, 2019, 05:02:39 AM
Can’t some of this just be common sense?  Or don’t agility people really understand dogs?  Is a tennis ball as a handle braided into a leash really that big of a deal?  I know if I saw it becoming a problem I would either ask that my leash be dropped, discontinue using that leash or teach my dog they only get to grab the toy after they are leashed.  Dogs are pretty amazing at learning if we take the time to teach and are consistent.


If I was running leashes it would be gathered up with the leash and I would present the collar loop to the handler.  The dog wouldn’t even see the ball. 

Maybe I just live in an area where we don’t have problem dogs or people are smart enough to keep them out of the ring until they’re ready to be there.

Gina Pizzo

Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Sara Langston on June 05, 2019, 06:29:53 AM
Hi, ive been wondering what all of the rules are around using a toy in the ring.  Can someone give a recap, or point me in the right direction?
Heidi in NH

A quick recap:

1)Toys can only be brought onto the course for Intro and Novice.
2) It is considered training, so you'll get an E and your 60 seconds of training time.
3) You need to declare it at the beginning of the run.   So you can't have a toy in your pocket, and then when things go haywire in the middle of the run decide to pull out your toy. 
4) Common sense and respect for other dogs is paramount.   Toys should be kept within a reasonable distance of the handler and dog.  Best example is that if you bring in a frisbee, you shouldn't be throwing it the entire length of the ring.    Same if you have a ball, you shouldn't be throwing it towards the start line where another dog could be lining up to run.
5) All normal safety rules apply, and the judge has final say.    So if you're throwing a toy while your dog is still on the contact, and they jump off the middle of the dog walk because of it, the judge isn't going to feel comfortable letting that happen again and will ask you to leave the ring for that run.

Thanks so much for the recap, Chris.  Helps a lot.  One question:  How should the handler "declare" that this is a "toy run"?????  Should they tell the judge, the scribe, the gate person???  Not clear on that.  Thanks. 

Sara
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Janice_Shavor on June 05, 2019, 06:32:37 AM
At the trial this past weekend, the judge clearly briefed that if you bring a toy into the ring, you hold it up and wave it so the judge knows you have a toy.
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Chris Nelson on June 05, 2019, 10:14:32 AM
Hi, ive been wondering what all of the rules are around using a toy in the ring.  Can someone give a recap, or point me in the right direction?
Heidi in NH

A quick recap:

1)Toys can only be brought onto the course for Intro and Novice.
2) It is considered training, so you'll get an E and your 60 seconds of training time.
3) You need to declare it at the beginning of the run.   So you can't have a toy in your pocket, and then when things go haywire in the middle of the run decide to pull out your toy. 
4) Common sense and respect for other dogs is paramount.   Toys should be kept within a reasonable distance of the handler and dog.  Best example is that if you bring in a frisbee, you shouldn't be throwing it the entire length of the ring.    Same if you have a ball, you shouldn't be throwing it towards the start line where another dog could be lining up to run.
5) All normal safety rules apply, and the judge has final say.    So if you're throwing a toy while your dog is still on the contact, and they jump off the middle of the dog walk because of it, the judge isn't going to feel comfortable letting that happen again and will ask you to leave the ring for that run.

Thanks so much for the recap, Chris.  Helps a lot.  One question:  How should the handler "declare" that this is a "toy run"?????  Should they tell the judge, the scribe, the gate person???  Not clear on that.  Thanks. 

Sara

What's been working best for me is the handler just waves the toy around at the start line.

Honestly as long as the judge can see you have a toy when you start the run is the big thing.

I just don't want people going out for a Q, and then pulling a toy out when the run goes sideways.

Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Heidi Konesko on June 06, 2019, 12:17:01 AM
I would like to surprise my dog with the toy by pulling it out of my pocket during the run, so how about if the handler gives the judge the “E” signal at the start line?
Heidi in NH
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Sara Langston on June 06, 2019, 06:26:50 AM
Thanks, Chris.  Good idea, Heidi. 

Sara
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: BeckyAH on June 06, 2019, 07:49:51 AM
I personally am of the opinion that we baby people a little too much.    I'm in a bit of a mood tonight so maybe I'll regret saying that!

But we have sterilized things to the point that anyone can enter a ring and it's not 'our' job to make sure their dog is safe.    Which doesn't jive well with me.

No I don't want a leash runner to ever be a target.   But if that is something that a dog is even remotely thinking of doing, do I really want that dog running anyway?   
I would rather have the dog get suspended and the problem fixed early, then let it fly under the radar or be covered up by us 'helping' to make the dog seem better behaved then it is.

Yeah.

I mean I have a problem dog which may make me LESS tolerant of this in some ways, but dammit if I can work through the mess Molly was, other people can work through some training issues.

That said, I don't have a problem helping people teach their dog the correct behavior via training at trials and just taking the E.  Training in the ring doesn't have to be just obstacles and if they want to take the E and do that, great and let me help.

What do you even do with a dog who targets any toy they see in someone's hand?  I know it doesn't come up OFTEN in life but surely to goodness 'it is being held so go make a flying leap for it' isn't behavior most people want anyway!
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Kyle on June 06, 2019, 10:38:29 AM
Can’t some of this just be common sense?  Or don’t agility people really understand dogs?  Is a tennis ball as a handle braided into a leash really that big of a deal?  I know if I saw it becoming a problem I would either ask that my leash be dropped, discontinue using that leash or teach my dog they only get to grab the toy after they are leashed.  Dogs are pretty amazing at learning if we take the time to teach and are consistent.


If I was running leashes it would be gathered up with the leash and I would present the collar loop to the handler.  The dog wouldn’t even see the ball. 

Maybe I just live in an area where we don’t have problem dogs or people are smart enough to keep them out of the ring until they’re ready to be there.

Gina Pizzo

Common sense? I don't mean to be rude buuuut, they write movies, books and songs about people's lack of it. At the NADAC Trainer's Seminar we talked a lot about it. I would really like to believe it's possible.....buuuut.... And, no, I don't believe that a majority of agility people *really understand* dog behavior. That has not been their focus in life like some. Most have a dog or two and enjoy playing with them. Their level of training is quite different than, say, mine, or Sharon's, or Chris', or Amanda's or most likely yours (I don't know you or your dogs, so am making a big assumption). And, yes, a tennis ball can be a pretty darn huge thing to some dogs, whether it's attached to a leash or not. It could be their most favoritist, bestest, most wonderfulest thing (IOW - obsession) in the whole wide world.

I think its great that if you noticed a problem you would have the leash dropped. Other handlers may not be quite as observant or understanding of what behavior the dog is truly exhibiting and may *not* ask the unwary, innocent leash runner to drop it. Or, maybe the handler *thinks* they *are* training the dog to leave the leash runner alone - but just this ooooone time the dog just gets too darn excited and - whomp, chomp! Once again, we're probably not talking about you......

As far as just presenting the loop end and "hiding" the ball/toy.... You said dogs are pretty amazing at learning, and I totally agree. Let's pretend - this is the first time I have the ball attached to my leash at a trial. I have my young dog today. Yay! I've entered him in all 8 classes today - we're gonna have fun! Before I go into the ring I may show the dog the toy, and far enough away from the ring I might even let him play with it. He knows its there now. I'd bet that after about the third run today, where as soon as we get 10' from the ring he gets to play with that toy, he *KNOWS* its there. My puppy ain't stupid!  ;) And I'd bet a lot of other highly excited, over the top, ball/toy crazy dogs know it too. As a leash runner, I'm not even going to *try* and hide this thing. Nope, no way. Do I trust a stranger's training to keep my body parts safe from harm? Nope, no way.

I'd love to live in a place where there are no problem dogs and all the people have common sense! Where is this? I'm getting a moving van and coming there!  ;D 8)

Again, just my humble opinion,
Kyle
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: ricbonner on June 08, 2019, 05:42:22 PM
At a trial today, several handlers took advantage of this rule.  This was mostly in intro.  My observation is that these dogs showed a real benefit from it.  The toy seemed to really help all of them.  Also, I didn't see any disruption in any other dogs.  The action was out in the ring and I didn't see any other dogs who were queueing up to even be aware of it.  I didn't obesrve every single dog, but I didn't see (or even hear about) any issues.  The handlers using the new rule looked to me to be using the toy to establish a happy, playful, and handler engaged mental state in the dog.

In summary, I'd say the rule was well used for good purpose with no negative impact to the trial or other exhibitors.
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Richard Wolfe on June 08, 2019, 06:18:54 PM
I agree with Ric.  There was only positive happening in the ring.  There was no hazard nor anything negative about it that I observed.  I was working in the ring in two of the classes involved.  One dog was very distracted on the first run but the toy brought him happily back to the handler.  The dog showed much more focus, not perfect, but much improved on the second run.

Thanks, Chris, for allowing this!!!!
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: ljahans on June 08, 2019, 06:45:09 PM
Yes, I totally agree!  The toy in the ring rule is very helpful to the dogs and handlers!  It reduces stress, helps to break things down and simply helps the handlers and dogs be successful and have fun.  Thank you so much for allowing this!

LeeAnn
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: dogrsqr on June 10, 2019, 05:32:12 AM
Kyle I guess I would like to put responsibility back to the dog owner.  If their dog is going to maul the leash runner to get their toy their going to get at best E’d just like if the dog jumps on the leash runner and at worst written up if the behavior calls for it.  Unless they are a complete idiot they’ll figure out the solution or be gone.

I personally hate that people portray leash running as needing no knowledge or experience or direction.  Leash running is the job that can have the most effect on a dog and their performance.

There are clueless people here but they are usually clued in by the more experienced exhibitors especially if it’s something that likely to cause a problem. 

So let’s just say if you want to have a toy attached to your leash it gets dropped on the ground.  No different than if the leash itself is the toy.


Gina Pizzo
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Bernie Doyle on June 10, 2019, 07:46:00 AM
From a judge’s perspective, I was very pleased with how handlers/teams used the toy in the ring and the “tugging option” during & after runs. They respected the guidelines & were aware of other dogs & “space”.

And, as Ric pointed out, there was definitely improvement between rounds. Happy, connected teams is ALWAYS a good thing!!

Bernie Doyle :- )
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Sillman on June 13, 2019, 06:56:17 AM
That's awesome. I hope things continue to improve. You can always do better, right?
Title: Re: Toy in the ring
Post by: Heidi Konesko on June 18, 2019, 02:45:56 AM
Just want to say that I've used a toy in the ring at two trials now, and i like how my dog is more focused and having more fun.  The first few rimes he didn’t seem to believe that he should get the toy, but then he got the hang of it.  I’m learning some strategies too: wear something with the right size pockets, start with the toy in my pocket and put the toy back in my pocket after playing so that my handling is normal and he never knows when it’s going to be a toy run, don’t throw it near the end of a run and interfere with the leash runner, remember to tell the judge that i am taking an e at the good luck, and a yellow tennis ball sized ball on a short rope is probably going to work best for us.
Thank you NADAC!
Heidi and HiJack in NH