Thursday, April 24, 2008

agility marathon

It's been an agility training marathon around here lately!

Monday night Abby had a private lesson with Donna. We're working on teaching her correct jumping form, teaching to still take an obstacle even when I'm moving laterally away from her and to take any obstacle between me and her, unless she's specifically told not to. Part of this is teaching her these skills, and an even bigger part is teaching me when to use them and to trust her.

Tuesday night Kittie and Abby had class outside at Mona's, both did really well. I practiced drifting away from Abby in the weave poles and she stayed in, such a good girl!

Wednesday we had class at the barn. I split that class between the girls, both of them always still want to do more at the end of class, which is exactly what I want! Last week Abby fell prey to the poop left behind from horses.....which totally surprised me. This week I walked her all around the barn, clicker and chicken in hand, whenever we passed poop and she looked at me, she got a click and some chicken. I figured this may work, or she'd know where all the poop was and would go running off for a snack. She was a good girl and didn't even bother with any of it!

I sometimes worry about over training, most people with pugs would *never* train as much as I do, but I've been training a couple of nights a week, plus real short sessions at home for years now, and they just get more and more excited the more they practice. My dogs rarely eat a meal out of dish. I still hand feed about 80% of their food to them. Sometimes we do agility, other times it's trick training and sometimes I'll just hand feed them without asking for much more than a sit and their undivided attention, which isn't hard to get! I think undertraining when you trial regularly is a bigger issue; there's no opportunity for reinforcement except for verbal, there's a better chance at the experience being percived as stressful (long day, strange place, we act funny) and they're less likely to really fully understand their job. I think training really builds a love for what they're doing, much more than actual trialing.


Jamie said...


You are so right! I train the pugs every day. We have a schedule (more for me so that I don't skip the things). Throughout the day, a few minutes here and a few minutes there we work on things. We'll be out hiking and I'll ask for a few things. They really seem to like it. Though, it still transfers to stress in the ring, though. We'll need to continue working on it. I personally like training a lot! And, the pugs like it! I like the idea of hand feeding. Is it too late to start??

Thanks for the great post! Have fun playing with your pugs.

Are you going to attend the PDCA nationals?

Jamie :0)

Margie said...

I think you are spot on - I train almost every evening. The A-frame is not at full height at home but I work Clancy every day working on his contacts and now I've started to use stride regulars and that's helping with his contact's also. Weaves everyday plus now I'm starting discrimination drills and distance work.

The puppy gets the basics everyday plus we are starting some distance training. I should have done that with velcro Clancy but didn't even thing about (big regrets now). Even Molly is getting back in the swing of things. They work for their supper all the time. :-)

I'm a firm believer you got out what you put in. :-) And it's a huge bonus that all the pugs enjoy the time they spend working.

westoverpugs said...


I'm not sure about PDCA nationals. I would love to, but it's so far away for me this year. I'd have to fly, and either get Bill or someone else to come along just to be able to bring Kittie and Abby...and then still end up leaving Rudy & Willy home. I have several things I need to make decisions about soon...the invitational, pdca etc.

Are you planning to go?

It's never too late to start hand feeding.

Jamie said...

I am presenting my work on PDE, so I am going. Though, I have wanted/planned on going the last two years and life has conspired against me!

I am going to start hand feeding. I think it's a great idea!