Dog Agility Obstacles are not Always Equipment pt 2
Here are some more of your great answers to our question about your biggest obstacle in dog agility. Some are quite common while others may leave your mouth open in disbelief. But all have this in common, they WERE your obstacles. You got through them and can now give hope to others on the other side. This helps encourage others to keep up trying until they overcome as well.
My biggest obstacle is getting my commands out in time. I run a very high drive Golden in agility. Her answer to frustration etc. is to bite me in the ring. Once at a winter show, she actually grabbed my arm, twirling me around 3 times like a huge human tug toy. I am unable to get the same drive (reaction in training and show n go’s) So when she leaps at me, I down her and excuse ourselves, walking quietly out of the ring. I take private lessons to work on my timing and distance from her. Also if she goes off course, we continue, I don’t try to restart her. (very frustrating in her opinion! At our level the “Q” is gone anyway) After many donations to the clubs, I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we have had several runs in a row with no biting and have even gotten a “Q.”
Other than me learning what the heck I was doing and where I should be and when, we’ve had 2 major obstacles. My Terv gets very excited when other dogs are running and used to go berserk – barking and snarling, especially short haired dogs. When long haired dogs or other herding breeds run he’s much better and just watches – but put a GSP or Weimaraner out there and he just can’t stand it. We’ve mostly worked through it, but he still tries to start up now and then.
His other main issue was peeing in the ring. He just got his conformation title a couple months ago, meaning he’s an intact male. I thought I’d finally gotten through to him that he couldn’t pee inside the ring – any ring – and we were finally Q’ing in classes. Then a few weeks ago we were in a trial and there was a vine growing up the fence – right near the weave poles. He started to go into the weaves, but he just couldn’t help himself. You could actually see him thinking about it and arguing with himself. Even the judge laughed and said it was just too tempting.
I am just now coming back to competing in agility after about a 12 year “break.” I now feel I am better prepared for what was my “obstacle” in my other dogs sports would surely be an obstacle in agility.
My challenge in competition has always been my nerves. I would be the one that would be pacing all day before my turn, or throwing up in the bathroom beforehand. I was the one who left every competition frustrated and/or disappointed – because inevitably, we weren’t “perfect.” As I started competing more, I realized that I had to do something. I knew that nothing was going to chance unless * I * changed.
A friend forwarded me a copy of “With Winning In Mind.” It had a lot of great information, but I forgot the important part… “I” still had to change. After a little while, and almost quitting dog sports, I went back to it, embraced the concepts, and my whole approach to competition has changed.
I have fun! I’m excited about every competition – regardless of how it goes. I am either rewarded with a good score, a ribbon, or maybe a title – or I am given valuable information on what I need to work on in training to make us even better for next time. I celebrate every success within the run – and no longer focus on that one missed obstacle or missed move.
So, as I start competing in agility again – I’m excited, not just about what I might win, but most importantly about what I might learn. At my first agility trial in some 12+ years, I learned a big one. Apparently, you need to wait until the judge FINISHES saying “Go” before you leave the table… I left on the “ga” instead of the “o”!
I was and will always be our biggest obstacle. Luckily, my dog, Ginger, is smart and covers for me. After my old rescue dogs died within a week of each other, I was heartbroken. I had never not had a dog. I began looking for a puppy and ran across an ad for Border Collies in our paper (never having had anything but mutts before, I didn’t know any better). I went to see them and fell in love with a small red & white one that came every time I knelt down. As Ginger grew, I realized she really wanted to do something more than run around the property and chase things. I had seen agility on TV and started cobbling equipment together based on what I saw. Later, I found a training club & joined. At the first trial we entered, I was so green that I didn’t even own a crate. I told my dog to lay down on our blanket and dashed off to what was left of the judge’s briefing. I was concentrating so hard on remembering what the judge was saying that I didn’t realize someone was yelling “loose Border Collie”. Finally,I heard the person & looked out of the ring to see my poor forlorn Ginger standing next to a total stranger. I was so embarrassed. It was a small trial and we were one of only two in our jump height. We did OK despite our frazzled nerves and when the other dog didn’t finish the course, we took first place. I thought- ‘this isn’t so hard’, not realizing it wasn’t me that was making it look easy. As we progressed, I was able to just tell Ginger what obstacle to do & she did it. She loves to do agility so much she will do it without me as she demonstrated to everyone when I fell three jumps from the end & she finished the course before coming to check on me. I let her watch the dogs ahead of her & when I get lost she goes on until I catch up. She has shown me the benefit of owning a very smart dog. I’m not sure I want to know what she thinks of being handler-challenged!