Author Topic: Dilema - To Show or Not  (Read 949 times)

Rubidawg

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Dilema - To Show or Not
« on: January 08, 2011, 09:42:04 PM »
Grady has one leg towards his RA title. After our experience at the last trial, I decided he wasn't quite ready to go off leash and we needed some work. Something has happened and he's getting "out of sync" when we enter the ring. I think it has something to do with the connection to the leash, as he'll do sooo MUCH better on leash than he does off leash.

So, I had been working with him as much as I can. But with travelling so much with work lately, getting home late and being so cold out (I have circulation issues in the cold), that I wish I could work with him more.

We have our club's trial coming up in 1 month. My goal was to work with him the past couple of months, with distractions being my focus, and then work to get our RA in Feb with our club.

However, today we had our show-n-go. Even though I haven't been able to work with him as much as I woulda liked, this was going to be my "marker" to see if we should even register for our Feb trial or just keep working. I figured it's a setting he's used to so it wouldn't be a problem. Well, not so much. Today, I took off the leash and his mind quickly wandered off - whicc was odd cuz it was very similar to a class type atmosphere for him. We did the serpentine weaves, lost  him for a second but got him back. Took the right turn (next to an open gate) and almost lost him again. Went into the 3rd cone which was a fast pace and he saw a little dog in a down stay next to the fence and he took off like a bolt of lightning, up to the fence and apparently lost is hearing. :smash:

So now I'm thinking it's not worth entering him and we definitely need more work. I'm  doing trophies for the Feb trial and know I'll be busy as it is. But if his focus isn't there, and mine is all over the place,  I'm just not sure if I should even bring him.

I was thinking about it and thought maybe I won't compete but just bring him for the exposure. It will definitely be PACKED and I can work with him a li bit when I'm not running scores or trophies.

BUT... we've got another issue now. ::) This has been an issue before, but has gotten worse very recently...which before, it was getting better.  He's EXTREMELY whiney when he's in his crate. He keeps his eyes on me and if he cant  find me, he's crying a high pitched whine which sounds close to a pig eing slaughtered. :brood: I had a few comments today about his "issues" from other club members. He was ok at first, then I took him out to potty, then back in, then out to "warm up" then back in, then out again to run the course, then back out to potty, then back in is crate and that's when he just went off and he whined the rest of the afternoon.

I definitely see some issues :brood: and know they need to be worked on. One of my 2011 goals was to listen to what he's telling me, but between the issues if I put him in the crate for too long, then the issues with distractions....I just don't know what to work first.

So, thought I'd ask for advice on the issues but also ask to see what ya'll think about either entering him (more so for exposure, as at this point I do't think we'd  Q nor do I really care, I just want to get him used to the settings) or do I just bring him for exposure to the sights at the trial and being in his crate (even tho I'm going to be quite tied up with the trophy table) or do I just go to the trial, do the trophies and leave him home? Shawn said that he can bring Grady down and take him home so I can "work," which we would do whether we enter or not. But at this point....amd I pushing him too far and expecting too much if I bother to enter/run him? Or do I take the baby steps and just bring him, not entering? Or take VERY tiny baby steps, continue with classes and working him and just let him veg on the couch while I'm gone all weekend? I have a feeling I know the answers. ;)

Sorry so long! But I don't know why suddenly his attitude has changed about the ring and he's losing his focus and my main goal is to make sure we have fun...but mostly that HE enjoys it and at this point, I'm thinking his anxiety and stress is getting the best of him. Thanks for any input ya'll have. I really do appreciate it.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 09:52:11 PM by Rubidawg »
Dawn
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RocketBoxer

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Re: Dilema - To Show or Not
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2011, 09:52:39 PM »
Personally I would not enter him. It doesn't sound like he is ready - and you won't be confident going in. I think it would be better to work really hard with him and when you are totally confident that you both can do a good job then enter again. I have gotten to the point where I think it is better not to enter if your dog is not ready - I think in the long run it does more harm than good.

But I do think it would be good exposure for him to be there - and especially if you can spare some time to work him at the trial. He has also to learn that it is okay for him to be left in a crate - and that you will come back for him. Does he still whine if you cover his crate so he can't see out?
Kerry
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Rubidawg

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Re: Dilema - To Show or Not
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2011, 10:04:31 PM »
Thanks Kerry. At this point, I'm definitely going more in the direction of NOT entering him, which is disappointing as I was hoping to get our title with our club, but I know there are always going to be other opportunities. I'm pretty sure if I'd enter him, it would do more harm than good. So, I'm glad to hear that you agree. I dont wanna push him too far and want to keep it positive for both of us.

I haven't tried covering the crate at the trials, but have done that at home and if he knows I'm there...he throws a whiney fit. :wall: I haven't done it in a long time, so that may be something to try again....and who knows, maybe it's different at a trial? But I wonder if he'd be even more stressed if he can't see anything at all? Today, a member commented that he would NOT take his eyes off me and if he couldn't see me, he'd whine even louder. Someone else suggested a thunder coat...but I'm more about working with the issue than using something like that, that won't really make him understand it's not that bigga deal. And if we're ever in a situation where I don't have the coat...I'd rather us both learn to deal with the stress, than rely on something that may not always be there (I never had a security blanket when I was a kid, maybe that's the issue, lol).
Dawn
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BoxerWB

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Re: Dilema - To Show or Not
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2011, 10:46:20 PM »
I agree with not entering him, though it'd be great if Shawn could bring him by when you have time to work him and keep exposing him to the show scene.

For the whining, I agree with trying to cover the crate.  I think it'd be different at home because he'd be able to hear that you are nearby and that would set him off. But try it at class when there are other noises and see how it goes.  I cover Xena's crate at trials and it seems to help her calm down - makes it a safe little cave in the middle of a busy place.
Julia
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Rubidawg

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Re: Dilema - To Show or Not
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2011, 11:07:00 PM »
Good to know that works for you and Xena, Julia. :thumbsup: We start classes back in 2 weeks, so I'll bring something to cover it and see how it goes. If we can atleast get him more comfortable in the crate, maybe the rest will start to fall into place. Just so weird because even tho that was an issue when we first started Rally, he had gotten better about it. But lately been going back in that direction again. I've been walking up to the crate and treating him when he is quiet and that's helped too...but he's just so stressed even still (he'll get quiet after a while, but still very tense)....he MUST be with me at all times. Love him to death, but he's got to get used to me being off doing my own thing. Down/out of sight stays would NEVER happen if we ever went into formal obedience, lol. He'd come find me, and lay down. Maybe this is contributing to his issue in the ring too?
Dawn
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Re: Dilema - To Show or Not
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2011, 09:00:08 AM »
Yes, try covering the crate and then leaving so he doesn't know if you are there - and then see if he settles down. You could also have a friend stand nearby and if he whines tell him to be quiet.
Kerry
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BoxerWB

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Re: Dilema - To Show or Not
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2011, 09:56:00 AM »
Maybe even have the friend give the treats when he's quiet, so he learns good things happen even when you are gone. 

Funny you mention out of sight stays - a woman w/a GSP in my class has started having the trainer correct her boy whenever he breaks a stay because they are convinced he started breaking to make Jen come back.  Whenever she came back to correct him, he'd get all happy and wiggly.  So there are ways to work on that sort of issue with "attached" dogs. It's also more like what happens in the ring because they generally don't call the handler back unless the dog is being disruptive.
Julia
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Christina

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Re: Dilema - To Show or Not
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2011, 10:01:17 AM »
We covered Star's crate in the beginning when he started whining and crying like a dying animal (it sounds horrible), so I know where you are coming from.  He will start and then settle down.  It was a learning process for him though.  The big thing we have learned is to just ignore him.  Even when we are in the same room, you have to completely ignore him.  Now we can leave the crate uncovered, he starts screaming, but stops when we don't pay any attention to him.  When he started whining and we would yell or go to the crate, he got what he wanted, so the ignoring really works better than anything else. 

Be careful with covers, Star has decided to pull them in and try to eat them before  :wall:
Christina
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Rubidawg

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Re: Dilema - To Show or Not
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2011, 12:04:51 PM »
Christina - He's fine in his crate at home, even tho he's very rarely crated at home anymore. It's at trial where there is so muh going on that he seems to breakdown (or also that it's *not* at home, his comfort zone so he freaks out). But I do ignore him when he whines but there have been a few occassions where it's disruptive to the other dogs and I do have to go back and correct him. (probably only a small handfull of times). He's fine if I'm standing right there with him, but walk away and it's a nightmare. I go back and treat only if he's behaving and do ignore when he's not.

Julia - yeh, think I'll ask some folks in class to treat him for me. I joked yesterday at the sh ow-n-go that I'mgoing to put a sign on his crate, "If I'm not acting like a baby, please give me a treat." lol
Dawn
Rubi, CGC - 2.16.05
Bauer - Rocket's Kindred Spirit RN CGC - 4.16.12
Ms. Kitty - 3.15.02
Forever In My Heart: Grady, Branwen's Northern Sky BN RA CGC - 12.22.07 - 5.25.12