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General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Sharon Nelson on April 24, 2013, 01:07:24 PM

Title: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Sharon Nelson on April 24, 2013, 01:07:24 PM
Hi, judges and competitors.
    This is a note to all competitors and judges that we will immediately addressing a current issue that is becoming more and more of a common problem.  It has always been assumed that a competitor is in "control" of their dog when the lease is removed.  In the past we have not had to address issue, as it was a rarity to see competitors use methods that made a judge wonder about the control of the dog at the start line as the leash is removed.  But the concerns are getting higher as we see more and more instances of handlers releasing dogs and the dogs have crossed the start line and the leash has not yet been placed on the ground.  We now also have several instances of unsafe runs when the leash gets tangled in the dog's hair or the handlers fingers as the dog bolts across the start line and they have yet to be completely "freed" from the leash.

    We have never had to fault handlers for a lack of control at the start due to a dog's bolting as the leash is removed but we have now had many instances of dog's crossing the start line and the handler is still holding the leash or have attempted to drop it, but it has not hit the ground before the dog crosses the start line.

    The control at the start line is one of the first tests of "teamwork" of the team during the run.  For a handler to not be able to control their dog while the leash is removed and safely placed on the ground will hereby be addressed by judges at trials.  The judge may give a 5 fault penalty for the leash not hitting the ground before the dog crosses the start line to an elimination if the judge feels the dog is totally out of control during the removal of the leash.

    This is not "new" and control at the start has not previously been such an issue as it currently seems to be.  With the many instances of dogs crossing the start line before the leash has been safely removed and put on the ground we are now going to have to address this issue.

     Handlers, be sure that you can safely remove your dog's leash and that the leash is "on the ground" before your dog crosses the start line.  You may not hold your dog by the scruff or use any harshness to attempt to control the dog while the leash is removed.

Sharon
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: MoabDiane on April 24, 2013, 01:18:50 PM
Glad to see this addressed.

And hoping that by accidentally hooking my bracelet on my dog's leash before it was removed....thus delaying our start, while said dog sat ever so politely and unmoving...wouldn't be faulted! LOL!

(and thanks to Sue for helping me unhook it and the other Sue for detaching it before handing me my leash at the end - whew!)

diane
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Sharon Nelson on April 24, 2013, 09:51:20 PM
Glad to see this addressed.

And hoping that by accidentally hooking my bracelet on my dog's leash before it was removed....thus delaying our start, while said dog sat ever so politely and unmoving...wouldn't be faulted! LOL!

(and thanks to Sue for helping me unhook it and the other Sue for detaching it before handing me my leash at the end - whew!)

diane

Nope you wouldn't have been faulted!  And it was a great demonstration of a dog under control while you were accidentally "attached" to the dog's leash by your bracelet!  Awesome example of control at the start!

Sharon
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Chelle on April 25, 2013, 07:50:56 AM
I too am happy to see this addresses as I have witnessed many near crashes at the start line or near the first obstacle. It will also hopefully curtail the frantic leash flinging at the leash runner...Thank you Sharon
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Stardax Dachshunds on April 25, 2013, 09:48:51 AM
I am curious as to how this rule applies to competitors with small dogs, who carry their dog into the ring and remove the leash while the dog is being carried.  They then proceed to place the dog on the ground and “GO”.  That in my view does not demonstrate any type of control at the start line.  I know it is done for motivation, but…..
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Audri, Cee Cee, Lily, Toto, and Calypso on April 25, 2013, 12:57:51 PM
I am one that does NOT do a sit/stay with one of my dogs at the start line.  It is simply too stressful for her.  In order for me to get a good run out of her, I am playing with her, engaging her and getting her excited before we start the run.  It is NOT for lack of control.  I could put her in a sit/stay and walk fully across the arena and she would sit there, but would she then run the course with fun and a smile on her face?  Absolutely not.  It is VERY stressful for her to sit there like that.  Oh she would do the course, but she would be tentative and looking around the entire time.  She would absolutely NOT enjoy herself.  She is a very nervous dog and it simply doesn't work for her so I have adjusted my training and our runs to do what is good for her.   And please don't say this is a training issue with her.  It is in fact just her nature.  I used to do a sit/stay with her at the start line and a stop at the bottom of all contacts.  It was so demotivating that I actually contemplated retiring her at age 4.  Now that I have stopped forcing her she into a situation that she is uncomfortable with, she has blossomed into an great agility dog (she has always been a great dog!)

I can easily enough get the leash off of her and fling it behind me, but does it hit the ground before she crosses the start line?  I wouldn't know, I guess it would depend on how far I throw it to get it out of our way.  It would definitely be on the ground if I simply dropped it, but then I might trip on it myself.  As far as the leash runner getting hit, IMHO, they shouldn't be that close to the dog at the start of the run to get hit by the leash.  Leashes can't travel that far when thrown as they are not that heavy.

As far as carrying a small dog into the ring handing off the leash and putting the dog down, is this really any different than someone who has to call the dog back to them and catch them in order to get a leash on the dog? 

Are they also going to start faulting those runs where the handler cannot get the leash back on the dog after the run? I seem to witness more issues with a dog not returning to his owner to get a leash on then issues with the leash tripping up the dog or the handler.

This is such a subjective area that it seems it would be a difficult call....

Title: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Lin Battaglia on April 25, 2013, 03:18:53 PM
Thank you Sharon. We've seen this grow dangerous and it's time to make a change. Teams working safely together with a solid start line stay are beautiful to watch.

LinB
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Amy McGovern on April 25, 2013, 06:05:10 PM
This is a question, not criticism.  But I need to understand because I am another one without a start line stay because of dog motivation issues.  While she can do it, she shuts down (and this is the girl who runs super fast and fun otherwise!).  Why do I need to force it?  She is also a little dog.  So I walk in carrying her and we drop (gently!) and run.  Is that going to be faulted?  While I agree one needs control on the start line, I'm concerned if we all have to do stays.

-Amy and the schnauzer pack
Title: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Lin Battaglia on April 25, 2013, 07:50:20 PM
If I'm understanding this correctly, what Sharon is talking about are the dogs that pull out of their leashes, away from their handlers and take off before the leashes hit the ground or before they are actually released.?
Title: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Wild Terriers on April 25, 2013, 09:16:50 PM
I also have noticed a big increase in the frantic start - I wouldn't think this rule would effect people who drop and run - that is a whole lot different than the competitor who is clinging to the dog with one hand while taking the leash off with the other hand - I may be wrong, but it doesn't seem to me that this will be a terribly subjective rule - the times I am thinking of - it's pretty obvious that there is concern that if the physical restriction of the leash is removed that there is no confidence that there will be any control - for example the ones who take off the leash but immediately grab the scruff of the neck.  It doesn't seem to me that this rule is trying to take any of the various ways we choose to start a course - with or without a lead out,wait, stay, or GO away from us, but just to prevent some of the more frantic panicked starts. . .   Just what it seems to me.

Karen
Title: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Arlene Courtney on April 25, 2013, 10:34:30 PM
The situation that is being addressed is the case where a dog bolts as the handler is trying to remove a leash.  The leash typically gets jerked out of the handler's hand and can wrap around the dog's legs or other body parts or tangle around the handler's legs causing tripping.   I have seen dogs dragging leashes over and through equipment which is a serious accident just waiting to happen.  I have also seen handlers almost hog tied by the leash around their legs while the dog is frantically racing down the course often in a totally reckless manner.  In no way is this going to interfere with anyone who "drops" and runs as long as you place the dog on the ground and don't truly drop or propel the dog forward (this has never been allowed).  Dogs don't have to have a start line, but they should be under control from the time they enter the ring until they leave the ring which means the handler should be able to get the leash off  without the dog bolting onto the course.  You can certainly motivate your dog at the start line, but the dog should still be under control.

Just my $.02 for what it is worth.

Arlene
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Ben Philibert on April 26, 2013, 05:36:13 AM
A couple of quick comments....

Audri; Dogs are already faulted for being out of control at the end of the run.  Handlers who's dogs run out of the ring at the end or who can't be quickly and safely leashed up already may be faulted.

Amy; This is not forcing a 'stay' at the start line this is enforcing a safe start line.  What you are describing does not sound to me like a problem, the dogs that would be faulted for this will probably be very obvious.

And everyone, yes, this is a subjective call.....  there is never going to be a way to remove all subjective calls from agility no matter how many rules you try to write down (and believe me other venues have tried to write a rule for every single situation they feel will ever happen).  There will always be situations that require the judge to think, make a decision based on their experience and familiarity with the rules and make a call......  And believe it or not, we are human and we may even make a bad call or miss a call........

Let's all remember, as much as we love this sport, it is still just agility.  Nobody is going to die if a bad call is made, no one is going to be blown up it a bad call is made......   Life is WAY too short, let's all just enjoy it.....

Ben Philibert from just south of Boston.....


Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Kyle on April 26, 2013, 07:19:50 AM
Reading Sharon's post carefully, she is actually saying two things, not just one.

The first is that the leash has to have hit the ground before the dog crosses the start line. That's easy to handle if you "drop and run" - as you carry your dog towards the line, remove the lead and drop it on the ground right behind you one second before you "drop" the dog. If you drop it right behind you, you probably shouldn't trip on it (unless you take a step *backward*, and why would you?) and the leash runner won't be hit by your thrown leash. Gravity should probably handle the part about the leash hitting the ground before the dog crosses the start line unless you haven't judged how closely you put the dog to the start line to begin with. Same thing with the bigger dogs - if the leash needs more time to hit the ground before the dog crosses the start line, just set your dog back from the line an extra 1-2 feet and just drop the leash right behind or off to the side. If you toss, throw or try and hard ball the leash to the leash runner, it's going to require more time to fall....

The second thing Sharon mentions is a safety issue - a dog being out of control during the removal of the leash. We've all seen dogs who have been leaping up and down, lunging forward and backward just trying to *go*, with their handlers struggling (forever) to remove the leash - that's just plain unsafe and doesn't make the sport look good to spectators and visitors.

That's just how I see it - two different issues that needed a solution. I'm sure there's a million ways each of us can think of to solve individuals' problems with the new explanation's requirements.

-Kyle
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Audri, Cee Cee, Lily, Toto, and Calypso on April 26, 2013, 09:59:52 AM


The second thing Sharon mentions is a safety issue - a dog being out of control during the removal of the leash. We've all seen dogs who have been leaping up and down, lunging forward and backward just trying to *go*, with their handlers struggling (forever) to remove the leash - that's just plain unsafe and doesn't make the sport look good to spectators and visitors.

That's just how I see it - two different issues that needed a solution. I'm sure there's a million ways each of us can think of to solve individuals' problems with the new explanation's requirements.

-Kyle
[/quote]

My dog is jumping up and down (usually 2-3 feet in the air) and possibly barking in excitement at the start line because I am getting working to get her excited.  At 35 lbs she is not small enough to do a drop and run.  She also does rolls and various other contortions all in fun.  Again, she is a VERY NERVOUS dog so I do whatever I can to get her excited and take the stress out of the start of the course.  I have a new leash that has a different clip that makes getting it off easy, but I also have other leashes that I use.  As far as setting the dog back further, that doesn't always work based on how the course is set up.  I try to set her up back at least 3-4 feet so I have a good running start with her, but in some of the smaller venues that I compete in, it is not always possible or you are actually out of the ring itself.   

Simply dropping the leash on the ground with a dog that is a "release and run" is not the answer either because it could easily tangle in the feet of the handler or the dog.  With a motivationally challenged dog there is no time to nicely put the leash on the ground to the side.  My other option would be, get her excited,  take the leash off, put it on the ground then take some additional time to work to keep her excited.   This would take no more time than someone putting their dog in a sit/stay and then walking out to their position.  I am just taking my time back at the start line instead of walking out. 
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: TheQuestKnight on April 26, 2013, 11:33:03 AM
My wife and I both currently run and have run dogs that have NO start line stay (all BCs); but they are pretty good about waiting to leave us in their dust until their leash is fully off and on the ground.

That said, there have been times with all 4 dogs when they bolted prematurely and got themselves, us or all parties concerned, tangled up . . . and we SHOULD HAVE BEEN FAULTED or 'E'd ; but we were not for whatever reason.

We trial VERY infrequently now due to our dogs' ages and the lack of reasonably close trials; but we work on impulse control DAILY in a variety of situations here at home and with agility equipment here at home . . . and our dogs behave quite well.  However, that doesn't translate all that well when they are on an adrenaline rush at a trial.

Our biggest concern is NOT whether we get faulted or eliminated, our biggest concern is the PUBLIC'S perception of how our "trained" dogs are behaving.  John & Joan Q. Public don't see the score sheets and don't understand the judge's signals, so there is a very real chance that they walk away with the impression that NADAC is tolerant of such behaviors, which is NOT true!!!

I do not believe that this is a new policy in any way; but I do believe that it is a policy that has, over time, lost it's "teeth" in eforcement.  Fact of the matter is that I wish that this policy had been STRICTLY enforced back when we were all getting tangled up . . . a specific fault or 'E' at that time would have made us take notice . . . and we would have devoted as much or more time and training into start, as well as finish, line behaviors as we did with all of the obstacle and path stuff . . .

Al & Barb Ceranko, Dred, Gael & Pelli in OH . . . Flurry & Kali, probably still getting tangled up at The Bridge 
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Amy McGovern on April 26, 2013, 02:31:14 PM
Amy; This is not forcing a 'stay' at the start line this is enforcing a safe start line.  What you are describing does not sound to me like a problem, the dogs that would be faulted for this will probably be very obvious.

Thanks!  I didn't want to force the stay.  She is in control :)  Thank you for clarifying!  (And yes, she isn't really dropped.  Usually, I carry her in, put her on the line, kneel next to her while I wait for the "good luck", and then stand up and run.  But "drop and run" is what people call it, when you carry the dog in.)

-Amy and the schnauzer pack
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Shirley Wallace on April 26, 2013, 07:06:36 PM
I wish I had a video of one of Whisk's tunnelers runs from about 6 years ago, and you would know exactly what Sharon is talking about.  He ran a half of a tunnelers course with his leash caught around his muzzle before I could stop him.  He was totally out of control - took off before I could even get the leash all the way off.  We were lucky that neither of us were hurt.  It was a real eye opener for me.  It was definitely not safe for either of us!
Shirley
Title: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Wild Terriers on April 26, 2013, 08:01:02 PM
Thank you Ben for the reality check!  Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!

Karen
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: KarissaKS on April 28, 2013, 05:09:05 PM
I dug up an old video that clearly shows NO control at the start line. lol

Luke doing Elite Tunnelers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHfB6JWC2I0#)

Thankfully we've come a long way with self control in front of tunnels since then.  ;)  Stuff like that could be dangerous -- I cringe when I see how Luke's neck wrenched around like it did when it got caught in the slip lead before I could get it totally over his head.

I see stuff like that all of the time. Many times it could be solved by people not using slip leads. Before I got her harness, I was using a quick release collar on my border collie because she was not a fan of slip leads being pulled over her head. She wouldn't bolt off, but she'd still yank her head backwards at the unpleasantness of it going over her ears.

I rarely ever do any sort of a lead out with Secret or Kaiser, but that doesn't mean they are out of control (well, the Klee Kai has his crazy days, lol). A simple hand around the chest while you unleash them should be more than enough "restraint" at the start if needed. I don't think this new rule will have any effect on the majority of teams out there.
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: dogrsqr on April 29, 2013, 07:30:42 AM

My dog is jumping up and down (usually 2-3 feet in the air) and possibly barking in excitement at the start line because I am getting working to get her excited.  At 35 lbs she is not small enough to do a drop and run.  She also does rolls and various other contortions all in fun.  Again, she is a VERY NERVOUS dog so I do whatever I can to get her excited and take the stress out of the start of the course.  I have a new leash that has a different clip that makes getting it off easy, but I also have other leashes that I use.  As far as setting the dog back further, that doesn't always work based on how the course is set up.  I try to set her up back at least 3-4 feet so I have a good running start with her, but in some of the smaller venues that I compete in, it is not always possible or you are actually out of the ring itself.   

Simply dropping the leash on the ground with a dog that is a "release and run" is not the answer either because it could easily tangle in the feet of the handler or the dog.  With a motivationally challenged dog there is no time to nicely put the leash on the ground to the side.  My other option would be, get her excited,  take the leash off, put it on the ground then take some additional time to work to keep her excited.   This would take no more time than someone putting their dog in a sit/stay and then walking out to their position.  I am just taking my time back at the start line instead of walking out.

Audri,

I'm not sure I'm understanding your start line routine.  Hopefully your dog is not jumping up and down, barking and rolling around on the ground in the ring while the dog before you is still running.  I would definitely think that waiting for the "good luck" taking the leash off, reving her up and going would be the best option.  Doing all that other stuff while the dog before you is still running is an invitation for trouble. 

Gina Pizzo
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Tracey Kroll on May 08, 2013, 12:46:42 PM
I have seen the occasional run that I think this rule is seeking to address. Always scary when a dog runs with the leash attached!! I'm wondering if someone can clarify the not holding the dog by the scruff part. I have seen handlers whose dogs like to bolt take their arm and hold it across the dog's chest. It in no way looks harsh and wouldn't trigger the "gasp factor" by the visiting public but the dog also isn't in control because without the arm it would probably have already triggered the timer and taken a few obstacles (which may or may not have been the ones the judges selected <g>).  Holding the scruff is illegal, is body blocking with an arm or other appendage also faulted?

My current kids have a start line (although the Aussie would prefer not to), retired dog didn't but waited very patiently while I took off the leash and then we started together. That being said, I am course building at a trial this coming weekend where I had previously been a secretary for nine years so lots of people ask me questions, refer new people to see me, etc. Would love to know the answer to above just in case anyone asks me this weekend.

Thanks in advance for the info and as always, for the emphasis on safety!

-Tracey Kroll
Kansas City, MO
w/ NATCH Brogan ("I'm not starting this unless you do too"), Merit the Aussie ("PleaseSayOKPleaseSayOKPleaseSayOK...") and Crosby the Sheltie

Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Kyle on May 09, 2013, 12:01:47 AM
Sometimes I'm slow on the uptake...I should have asked this question awhile ago. Since it's being stressed that "the leash must hit the ground before the dogs crosses the start line" - what if I hand the leash to the leash runner (while my dog is in a stay)? It's just something I like to do rather than drop it or toss it. Will that be a problem?

I would just assume that if my dog breaks the stay and crosses the start line while I am handing the leash to the leash runner and before it's in the leash runner's *hand* then we've bombed...  :( 

Thanks,
Kyle
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Sharon Nelson on May 09, 2013, 01:00:18 AM
Sometimes I'm slow on the uptake...I should have asked this question awhile ago. Since it's being stressed that "the leash must hit the ground before the dogs crosses the start line" - what if I hand the leash to the leash runner (while my dog is in a stay)? It's just something I like to do rather than drop it or toss it. Will that be a problem?

I would just assume that if my dog breaks the stay and crosses the start line while I am handing the leash to the leash runner and before it's in the leash runner's *hand* then we've bombed...  :( 

Thanks,
Kyle

Handing the leash to the leash runner is perfectly acceptable!! 

Sharon
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Kyle on May 09, 2013, 08:53:24 AM
After re-reading the posts on this subject, the dogs/handlers who seem to be the most concerned about this issue are those who have "nervous", "stressed" or "motivationally challenged" dogs. My gut feeling is maybe a different technique could be tried to teach the "stay". There's a million different ways to teach a basic "stay" and maybe folks with nervous or stressed dogs need to find a different technique and "re-teach" it?

To me, "stay" is a trust issue. The dog needs to trust that one of two things will *always* happen at the end; I *will* return to you, or, I *will* call you. It's our job to teach the dog that one of those things will happen and that while they are "staying" life is still OK. If the dog feels that life is *not* OK while it's staying, that's a *training problem*. That problem is lack of trust for the nervous or stressed dog. Teaching those dogs stay is a bit different than teaching "Mr. Robust" to stay.  ;)  I'd say the steps used, the tone of voice, the body language, amount of reward *and* correction is going to be very, very different.

Just something to think about...finding someone to help you re-teach "stay" in a new way so that dogs don't have to suffer nerves or stress at something so much fun as agility...

JMHO, as always,
Kyle
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Linda W. Anderson on May 09, 2013, 09:49:33 AM
After re-reading the posts on this subject, the dogs/handlers who seem to be the most concerned about this issue are those who have "nervous", "stressed" or "motivationally challenged" dogs. My gut feeling is maybe a different technique could be tried to teach the "stay". There's a million different ways to teach a basic "stay" and maybe folks with nervous or stressed dogs need to find a different technique and "re-teach" it?

To me, "stay" is a trust issue. The dog needs to trust that one of two things will *always* happen at the end; I *will* return to you, or, I *will* call you. It's our job to teach the dog that one of those things will happen and that while they are "staying" life is still OK. If the dog feels that life is *not* OK while it's staying, that's a *training problem*. That problem is lack of trust for the nervous or stressed dog. Teaching those dogs stay is a bit different than teaching "Mr. Robust" to stay.  ;)  I'd say the steps used, the tone of voice, the body language, amount of reward *and* correction is going to be very, very different.

Just something to think about...finding someone to help you re-teach "stay" in a new way so that dogs don't have to suffer nerves or stress at something so much fun as agility...

JMHO, as always,
Kyle

Great comments, Kyle.  Back when my Yellow Lab, Dax, was still in service dog training 9 years ago (he was dismissed due to cataracts) our puppy raiser leader taught us to use "Wait" and "Stay" with the dogs.  "Wait" means to remain where you are until I call you or tell you to do something different, period.  "Stay," on the other hand, means remain where you are until I return to you, no matter how long I'm gone or whether not you can see me, period.  I use "wait" at the start line because I plan to have my dog move at some point.  My dogs seem to know the difference, although the old girl, Ezri, often chooses to disobey.  She has old dog privileges, thorough.=)   It is definitely a training issue and like Sharon said it could save their life.   Linda
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Audri, Cee Cee, Lily, Toto, and Calypso on May 10, 2013, 07:50:22 AM
After re-reading the posts on this subject, the dogs/handlers who seem to be the most concerned about this issue are those who have "nervous", "stressed" or "motivationally challenged" dogs. My gut feeling is maybe a different technique could be tried to teach the "stay". There's a million different ways to teach a basic "stay" and maybe folks with nervous or stressed dogs need to find a different technique and "re-teach" it?

To me, "stay" is a trust issue. The dog needs to trust that one of two things will *always* happen at the end; I *will* return to you, or, I *will* call you. It's our job to teach the dog that one of those things will happen and that while they are "staying" life is still OK. If the dog feels that life is *not* OK while it's staying, that's a *training problem*. That problem is lack of trust for the nervous or stressed dog. Teaching those dogs stay is a bit different than teaching "Mr. Robust" to stay.    I'd say the steps used, the tone of voice, the body language, amount of reward *and* correction is going to be very, very different.

Just something to think about...finding someone to help you re-teach "stay" in a new way so that dogs don't have to suffer nerves or stress at something so much fun as agility...

JMHO, as always,
Kyle

Kyle-while I appreciate your comments, you are slightly off base on some of them.  My dogs trusts me explicitly.  She is not nervous that I won't come back or that she can't come to me at all.  She is nervous about what is happening AROUND her.  She is afraid that one of the dogs behind her might charge her.  She is nervous that the people at the scoring table might come and hurt her.  I am not sure what happened to her when she was with another family from 4-8 months old, but what I was told was that she was left outside running all day to chase cars and bark on the "owners" front porch all day.  She was chasing the school bus, etc.  When I got the call that she was being returned (I was her original foster mom and she was born at my house), I said I would come pick her up after work.  When I got to the shelter 4 hours later, I came in and said "hello".  She came running to me.  It was later that I found out that for those 4 hours, she cowered under a table and would not come out for anyone or anything no matter what they did.  She has been lunged at by other dogs and now cowers behind my legs for the most part.  She does occassionly take the "best offense is a good defense" type attitude and can make a lot of noise, but in general, she is terrified of other dogs that she doesn't know.  If I put her in a stay at the start line she  is constantly looking around and behind her to make sure nothing is coming at her.  If something is amiss on course she runs from it, keeps checking back at it or totally stops to look at it to make sure it won't hurt her. 

And Gina--no I don't do that with another dog in the ring.  It is done before we enter the ring, then I begin the process again when the next dog is getting the leash on and walking out of the ring, while I wait for the good luck.  She is generally rolling around and jumping as I am trying to get her leash off because she is excited. 

Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Sharon Nelson on May 10, 2013, 11:33:58 AM
Kyle-while I appreciate your comments, you are slightly off base on some of them.  My dogs trusts me explicitly.  She is not nervous that I won't come back or that she can't come to me at all.  She is nervous about what is happening AROUND her.  She is afraid that one of the dogs behind her might charge her.  She is nervous that the people at the scoring table might come and hurt her.  I am not sure what happened to her when she was with another family from 4-8 months old, but what I was told was that she was left outside running all day to chase cars and bark on the "owners" front porch all day.  She was chasing the school bus, etc.  When I got the call that she was being returned (I was her original foster mom and she was born at my house), I said I would come pick her up after work.  When I got to the shelter 4 hours later, I came in and said "hello".  She came running to me.  It was later that I found out that for those 4 hours, she cowered under a table and would not come out for anyone or anything no matter what they did.  She has been lunged at by other dogs and now cowers behind my legs for the most part.  She does occassionly take the "best offense is a good defense" type attitude and can make a lot of noise, but in general, she is terrified of other dogs that she doesn't know.  If I put her in a stay at the start line she  is constantly looking around and behind her to make sure nothing is coming at her.  If something is amiss on course she runs from it, keeps checking back at it or totally stops to look at it to make sure it won't hurt her. 


Audri, I do understand where Kyle is coming from.  As a person who does re-hab with fearful dogs, I do understand why Kyle says that a stay is a "trust" issue.  I get a lot of dogs in the have fear, not of me, but from their surroundings.  It is my job to get them to trust me that the things that they fear will not "get" them... Sometimes it takes years for them to realize that I will not ever let those things invade their space or cause them harm.

I also understand where you are coming from in trying to keep the dog safe and not expose her to those things that she is afraid of.  To not allow her to be exposed to those things that she fears and keep her close to you also works with many dogs.

There are so many ways to work with fearful dogs.  Kyle and I tend to work the dogs around the things that they fear and let them learn to trust us that there will be no harm done from those "things"...  I have several dogs in the training program right now that came with massive fear issues and many of those fear issues is fear of people or fear of other dogs.  Those dogs can now be in large crowds of people and other dogs and they have lost that fear..... they are not going to go up to a strange dog or person, they totally ignore them and they also have to trust that a strange dog will NOT ever come into their space and no strange person will ever try to pet them or feed them or invade their space.   They are happy, joyful and confident in their surroundings.  I am their protector.   No other person pets them, feeds them or comes to them to talk to them.... so they don't need to fear strangers anymore.  I have crated an environment where they trust that bad things don't happen to them.  Even if I walk away (like in a stay) they trust that their space will not be invaded  by other dogs or people.

But this is what works for me and that doesn't mean that it will work for everyone else.  I work only on the mental state of the dog and that is my focus.  I know that Kyle works much like I do with dogs.  But that is "our" comfort zone, so we use the methods that work for us.

I also know that Kyle didn't mean to cause any insult when she said that a start line stay is a matter of "trust".... in our training methods, that is exactly what it is... for us..... if the dog trusts us and our methods then they can be left and be fully confident that no harm will come to them when left and therefore no reason for fear.   But if I didn't have total confidence in my own training methods then it would never work for fearful dogs.

Whatever methods you use, if you have confidence in your methods then you are well on your way to helping your fearful dog..... if you are confident, then they can become confident.

Sharon
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Kyle on May 10, 2013, 11:41:34 PM
Thank you Sharon, for saying what I didn't. You hit the nail on the head. Sorry to Audri if I offended, it was most certainly not intentional. Having rescued, trained, worked with, placed and owned many dogs (too many to count) that sound quite similar to yours, I am quite sympathetic to them...it breaks my heart to see dogs be frightened of the world around them.

Sincerely,
Kyle
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Audri, Cee Cee, Lily, Toto, and Calypso on May 11, 2013, 11:41:06 PM
Kyle you didn't offend me and I didn't mean to sound like you did and Sharon thanks for the insight.  I do rescue and have had probably 500 dogs through my house in the past 7 years, but very few of them with the fear issues you have had to deal with.  The exception is Lily.  When she came to me, she would sleep nose to nose with me and never left my side.  I can't tell you how many times I tripped over her!  She now allows me to be about 5-6 feet away from her, but she still won't tolerate me behind a closed door.   Couple this with the fact that she is a very soft dog and any type of correction from me, even unintentional such as a dropped shoulder or a look, is a major cause for her to shut down. 

I do try to take Lily and my other dogs to as many places and events as possible.  In general, Lily has begun to enjoy these outings.  We have a wonderful dog store in our area that holds many events each year and has yummy treats so Lily especially enjoys those outings. 

Unfortunately, Lily has also had some very bad experiences with dogs lunging at her or staring her down while walking with her or running by and crashing into her crate while she was in there.  We have also had instances of walking by crates with dogs lunging and barking from within.   While I try to control these circumstances and move her away or try to comfort her with petting or treats, I can't always control what the other handler does with their dog.  Lily is by no means perfect in her crate.  She is barky if another dog walks by, but I do keep her covered to minimize this and also try to crate in an out of the way spot.   

We have come a looooong way in 4 years of agility with her and I credit agility with building her overall confidence.  It used to be that even going to the start line was a stressful thing for her.  She would be panting, yawning and looking around all the time.  Now, the start line is a relatively happy place, but I doubt that I will ever really get a "happy" sit/stay out of her.   But, if I get a happy dog at the end of the run, I am happy with that. 
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Sheila & the Shelties on June 07, 2013, 12:07:53 AM
I'd like to add more people need to be "aware of the stare."  It is easy to miss, and border collies are prone to it.  But I have seem many people with dogs staring at another dog to intimidate them and the owner does not even notice.  This happened at a trial recently where an exit from a tunnel was close to the start line, and a couple of dogs exited the tunnel right into an intimidating stare that put them off course.  If you don't know what the stare is, learn to recognize it.  While I mentioned border collies, there are not the only ones.
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: ScottDillard on November 19, 2013, 08:18:18 AM
On the lighter side, I made a video of my overexcitable corgi's start line problems when he was young (be sure sound is on - no barking involved): Turn Ein Loose (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nd4n4wNWog#ws)   
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Ashley Huffman on December 18, 2013, 10:59:54 AM
On the lighter side, I made a video of my overexcitable corgi's start line problems when he was young (be sure sound is on - no barking involved): Turn Ein Loose (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Nd4n4wNWog#ws)

Thank you for sharing.  My Schnoodle and I are still in our first year of competing, so seeing this video makes me feel better and know that we are not alone  :)
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: bill fehn on December 18, 2013, 01:56:35 PM
Ashley,

I hope you are making videos of your practices and your runs. There are many reasons for doing so.  One indirect benefit I found is when I am struggling working on something new, is to look back at our older efforts and see how far we have advanced. It puts the current issues in prospective and makes have a positive attitude about the future easier.

Good luck,

Bill Fehn
Title: Re: Start line probelms
Post by: Lin Battaglia on December 21, 2013, 09:50:05 AM
If I can offer a training suggestion. Some of the dogs may run beautifully after they get away from the start line....but they have very bad impulse control. So go back to your beginning training and do everything in small increments. Using only one hoop or jump, with the leash on the dog, walk to the obstacle, stand up straight and be calm. Let the dog know you have a treat. Tell the dog to sit and give the treat, then turn and walk away from the obstacle. Repeat the same thing but this time touch the collar/leash, don't take it off, give the treat and walk away. The dog NEVER gets the first obstacle. Gradually build on this so that everytime the dog goes to the line, he thinks he will get a treat and he must control his impulses and focus on you. Grow this by starting to remove the leash, give the treat and then put leash back on and walk the dog away from the first obstacle. When you get to where you can remove the leash and walk past the first obstacle, immediately turn and go back to the dog, put the leash on, give the treat and walk away. The dog at this point still never gets the first obsatcle. This process could take weeks. For the handler, it also helps to claim the space as you walk away from the dog, cross in front of the dog between the first obstacle and the dog, keeping the front of your body facing the dog (keeping eye contact). Keep telling the dog to stay. Stand still and go back again, leash on treat and walk away. Eventually you will let the dog come to you (face the direction you will be going), taking the first obstacle and getting a treat. PUT THE LEASH ON AND WALK AWAY> Have fun with this, it takes time to train. The dog will mirror you and your own excitment, be calm and be relaxed.

LinB
mdt-Agility Ability LLC
Nevada
Title: Re: Start line probelms
Post by: Yvette Cook on January 06, 2014, 08:26:41 PM
If I can offer a training suggestion. Some of the dogs may run beautifully after they get away from the start line....but they have very bad impulse control. So go back to your beginning training and do everything in small increments. Using only one hoop or jump, with the leash on the dog, walk to the obstacle, stand up straight and be calm. Let the dog know you have a treat. Tell the dog to sit and give the treat, then turn and walk away from the obstacle. Repeat the same thing but this time touch the collar/leash, don't take it off, give the treat and walk away. The dog NEVER gets the first obstacle. Gradually build on this so that everytime the dog goes to the line, he thinks he will get a treat and he must control his impulses and focus on you. Grow this by starting to remove the leash, give the treat and then put leash back on and walk the dog away from the first obstacle. When you get to where you can remove the leash and walk past the first obstacle, immediately turn and go back to the dog, put the leash on, give the treat and walk away. The dog at this point still never gets the first obsatcle. This process could take weeks. For the handler, it also helps to claim the space as you walk away from the dog, cross in front of the dog between the first obstacle and the dog, keeping the front of your body facing the dog (keeping eye contact). Keep telling the dog to stay. Stand still and go back again, leash on treat and walk away. Eventually you will let the dog come to you (face the direction you will be going), taking the first obstacle and getting a treat. PUT THE LEASH ON AND WALK AWAY> Have fun with this, it takes time to train. The dog will mirror you and your own excitment, be calm and be relaxed.

LinB
mdt-Agility Ability LLC
Nevada

Lin,
Thanks for posting this! I am going to try this with my youngest in class when I go back next week! I sure hope it works but he will usually stay in class, its just in the competition ring that's the issue since the rules are "somewhat" different and no treats are involved once we are in the ring. I am also working on other things to help with his self control, but it does not hurt to have many tools in the toolbox to work!

Title: Re: Startline problems
Post by: Lin Battaglia on January 07, 2014, 07:37:57 AM
Good luck Yvette. Keep positive and set yourself up to succeed. There are many other training opportunities and times and places to practice this behavor. Take a Hoop into your house, your garage, front yard, back yard. Drive around with one hoop and stop anywhere you can and practice. Keep him thinking and offer different places where he will have to give you the behavor. Keep calm yourself and make it be fun. Use food and sometimes a toy. Take the stress out of it. You didn't say how old your dog is so that could also be part of it ? Have fun.

Lin
mdt-AA LLC 
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: LeeAnne McAdam on January 07, 2014, 10:02:03 AM
Yvette...I know you joined the seminar list so don't forget to work on the "Teaching a Behavior" exercises that we've all been working on, too! :)
Title: Re: SPECIAL note to all judges and competitors
Post by: Yvette Cook on January 08, 2014, 06:26:25 AM
Most definitely! Working sits every moment I can!