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Shiba Sports - Q&A
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    I would like to start a thread to focus on sports/activities that you can do with your very intelligent Shiba. Please post your sports related question here that you are too shy to ask elsewhere.

    I have been training/competing for Rally Obedience, Agility, Coursing and Nosework with my 2 Shibas. I know others who have done Competition Obedience, Tracking and Flyball with their dogs.

    If you are interested in doing more with your Shiba and would like to get more information, this is the thread for you. Ask away!
    Post edited by Calia at 2012-10-13 09:10:47
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 1165
    I'll be taking the 1hour+ drive down to San Diego to see if my Shiba and Shikoku have what it takes to do lure coursing (www.luratics.com) on March 24th.

    My Shiba is a shy and sensory reactive dog so I'm not sure what other activities I could do with him...maybe Nosework and Tracking?

    Jesse

  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8408
    @sandrat888 - I changed this to the exercise category.

    But excellent topic! :)
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • brscrnsbrscrns
    Posts: 447
    Hoshi is 1.5 years old and we got at 4 months old from a rescue (SIRA). I have signed him up for a Nosework class at Petsmart. Hoshi has had some basic training from Petsmart but he is still sometimes a bit scared of new things. He is very curious, so once he gets used to something he is usually comfortable. Do you think his fear will cause a problem?
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    Hi Jesse,

    Coursing Ability Test is great for any dogs that have a strong prey drive and physically fit to run the whole course (600 yards for any dog over 12 inch at wither and not a flat-faced breed or 300 yards for flat-faced breed and dogs under 12 inch at wither). It is great that you plan to train it with your Shiba and Shikoku.

    Please keep us posted on how it goes.

    For anyone that is interest in learning more about Coursing Ability Test (CAT), check out this AKC page, http://www.akc.org/events/coursing_ability_test/index.cfm

    Nosework can be a great start for any shy/reactive and even aggressive dogs to gain confidence and does not have to feel too pressured like many of the other activities. I would encourage you to check out Nosework classes in your area. Only 1 dog gets to search at any given time and people in class or at a Nosework trials all go out of their way to accommodate dogs that need a bit more space, so you can enjoy the search.

    In fact, I think Nosework is great for any dogs, period! It is very fun for dogs and does not require much prior obedience training.

    Start your Shiba with Nosework and as you progress, you can decide if your Shiba may enjoy other activity.

    Tracking may work too, but it is very space/labor intensive to train at least at the beginning. I would suggest trying Nosework first.
    Post edited by sandrat888 at 2012-03-15 11:28:33
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    @brscrns

    Your local Petsmart offers Nosework classes? It is a relatively new sports and not many certified instructors across the nation yet.

    I would suggest you to find a certified instructor in your area if possible, http://www.nacsw.net/certifiedinstructors.php

    It does not sound like Hoshi's fear is so extreme that he can not function at all, he should be fine. I have a fearful/sensitive standard poodle in my girl Maluko's class and she has improved so much since she started Nosework. The first time she was in class, she barked and growled even at the instructor, who avoided eye contact and she got spooked by the noises from the next door pizza shop easily. Today, she can focus on searches either indoor or outdoor and is much more comfortable with strangers around. In fact, her owner took her to an Odor Recognition Test a few months ago and she found the order in less than 20 seconds!
  • brscrnsbrscrns
    Posts: 447
    The trainer for the Nosework class also teaches basic commands required through Petsmart but she adds some of her own personal touches. Our Petsmart has changed some criteria, the class size (4 max) for one, which I think makes it more personal.
  • tkfushtkfush
    Posts: 131
    I am actually curious if anyone has done earthdog work with their shiba? (My fear is it encourages digging and I don't want the HOA coming after me because my dog dug up the entire park on our last walk looking for a vole or something!) But seriously, has anyone worked on this with their dog and what is you feedback on it?
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    The height for earthdog tunnels is under 16 inches I believe. Many Shibas won't clear that. You can still ask to practice with the various terrier clubs. I took Beebe to an earthdog match. She wanted the rat but she was too tall to squeeze in the tunnels. You could probably build your own tunnels also.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    @brscrns

    Nosework is a fun sport and if you intend to go for a trail some day, I would suggest you find a certified trainer.

    Does your trainer @ Petsmart has the certification from National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW)?

    Regardless of certification, I am sure your dog will have fun in class, but a certified trainer can help with setting up the dog for success and teaches skills for you to read your dog's search behavior and body language, so you can more effectively work together as a search team. Regardless of whether you intend to go in trial, you will have the flexibility to make that decision down the road without worrying about fixing bad habits picking up in early training.

    Either way, kudos to you to consider doing more with your Shibas. They will enjoy the opportunity to try something new and fun!
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    @tkfush

    You probably can find local earthdog clubs that are willing to let your Shiba join their practice or fun match to see how yours like it, but you will not be able to enter an Earthdog trail with your Shiba.

    Just curious why you are interesting in Earthdog? Does your Shiba already like to dig?
  • tkfushtkfush
    Posts: 131
    Thanks! I'm not specifically looking to enter into any competitions, just something fun for the dog!

    Honestly, I haven't looked into the details of Earthdog yet. Yesterday was the first I heard of it when I got a newsletter from the trainer we used and it had a brief article on what Earthdog was (no specifics on what dogs can enter) and this thread came up so I thought it perfect opportunity to ask the question.

    Yuki is always sticking her head into holes in the ground (which freaks me out because I don't want something worse than a rabbit to jump out at her) and tries to dig. We have been discouraging the digging but our trainer said we may need to just give her a spot that she is allowed to dig so she can get her digging desires out! We haven't done this yet because, well we really don't have a spot that we can let her dig without paying fines from our HOA.

    She also LOVES chasing rabbits, birds and flies in the neighborhood and during walks will constantly dive into bushes in hopes of flushing something out to chase!
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    @tkfush,

    It never hurts to find a good instructor/facility to start any kind of training regardless of whether you have intention to compete or do more with your dog. You will not get the same experience and a fair shake at whatever sports you want to try if the instructor is not up to par.

    No matter whether Yuki can compete in Earth Dog events, you should look for opportunities for her to try. It never hurts to engage your dog in new, fun activity and broaden their horizons.

    My girl loves to dig too and I thought about getting a kiddie sand box for her with treats in a plastic bag buried as a reward, but I have not got around to it yet.

    If she likes chasing, try to find a local coursing club or better a coursing ability test in your region. Take her to the test site and just watch from the side line. That's what we did and my boy went crazy when he saw the moving plastic lure and we entered our first coursing ability test then and there and there is no turning back.

    Coursing Ability Test info can be found here, http://www.akc.org/events/coursing_ability_test/

    Try different activities/sports with her and keeps her body and mind busy. You will both have a blast!
  • LeoJDHuLeoJDHu
    Posts: 323
    Lure coursing sounds like a lot of fun and something Leo would love! I recently bought a flirt pole and he loves playing with it. On walks, he'll chase birds and squirrels and stalk flies/bugs.

    Looking at the Upcoming Events on the AKC site, there doesn't appear to be anymore events in California for the rest of 2012...

    Is there actual training courses for coursing? I couldn't find any...

    Of all the sports (i.e. Noseworking, Agility, Rally, Flyball, etc), can someone rank them in terms of difficulty or recommended order? Kind of like a "recommended curriculum" of some sort...
    Leo "JD" Hu | Cream Shiba Inu | DOB: 8/19/2011 | Southern California - LA/OC

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  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Hi Leo: Here's my input I am sure others will have different advice since they have had a different journey..

    I'd say it depends on where you are with your dog and the emotional level of the dog, health, and age. For me I tried them out just to see....

    1. Nose work is great all around for any dog and any skill set of handler and health.
    2. Rally seems to flow best if owners and dogs have had a little obedience training and you can follow signs. Not an absolute but your dog needs a little focus. Fine for young and old dogs.
    3. Flyball is for the really drivy noise tolerant dog, as owner if you have noise aversion, this sport can be trying. A ball driven dog can pick it up pretty quick. However, if a dog has space constraints and is dog aggressive there can be issues. Good shoulders on your dog are important for the sport.
    4. Agility is fun but there are a lot of things that go into it i.e. human handling side and dog skill training. You also should seek a good working relationship with a decent agility trainer. Some folks have gone it alone before trial but usually they have a very biddable dog and super skills to begin with and up on all the rules. I do not fall into that category with my current dog (LOL). It is easier to share facility space for practice and equipment. Equipment can be expensive. One thing is to make sure your dog is in good health, hips and knees in order for this sport (orthopedic check). My first dog I had to retire before her novice title because of bad hips ...basically I did not know any better and pushed her beyond what she could physically do. She was a great worker and the best agility dog but her body was not in line with the sport.


    Currently whatever I do with my dogs I try to have a good time and not worry about perfection and it seems to fall into place. Some people are more serious than others. Some teams are very serious so you have to take it at a level that is comfortable for you. Get out there and try it to see what you guys like : )

    Snf
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    @LeoJDHu

    The CAT (Coursing Ability Test) upcoming event file (http://www.akc.org/pdfs/events/coursing_ability_test/CAT_Upcoming_Events.pdf) is constantly updated, so you should check back periodically.

    I would suggest contacting local coursing clubs and see if you can join their practice sessions. I am not aware of coursing classes at a regular training facility, but since Lure Coursing is common for sighthounds, a good place to start is local sighthound groups or clubs for more information.

    If I remember correctly, your Shiba is pretty young, right? Coursing Ability Test is only open to dogs over 12 months in age, but you may be able to do practice run (usually shorter distance and a straight run) with a local club. However, I am sure they will have some age limit too to ensure the dog's growth plate is not adversely affected.

    If your Shiba is too young for CAT now, you can focus on working on his recall and keeping him physically fit until he is ready. Most of the CATs are done in an open field, so a good recall is needed to make sure the test runs smoothly and everyone is safe.

    I would say Nosework is probably the easiest to start and it works for any dog, any breeds at any age. It is also very accommodating to shy, old, disabled, fearful, reactive or aggressive dog.

    It requires no prior obedience type training and is great for any dog to play the search game with their human. There is no correction or downside for dogs and the human gets to learn a lot about how their dog works, what their search styles are, ability to read their dog's body language.

    The dog has the nose to do the job, but it is up to the human to communicate/train the dog searching for those 3 specific scents are fun and urgent (a trial is usually timed). The human has to learn to trust and correctly read their dogs. In a trial, the handler does not know where the hide is, so he is relying on his pooch to find the hide, but it is up to the human to alert the judge and commit (you only get 1 chance in a real trail). Once you commit, there is no turning back and the judge will tell you either you get it right or not.

    Rally Obedience requires the dog to have some good pet obedience skills and be able to focus and work with distractions. I would suggest trying the CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test first to see where you and your dog is in terms of readiness. CGC is not required, but it is a good way to get a rough idea of your dog's current level.

    Agility requires a lot more skills/foundations to be relatively successful, so it may take a while before you and your Shiba can run a course smoothly, but if you are willing to put in the effort and has a great instructor, it is very satisfying for both the dog and you and it is addicting!

    I do not know enough about Flyball to comment, so I will leave that to lindsayt.

    There are also tracking, freestyle, treibball, freestyle, competition obedience to consider too.

    Like Snf suggested, go and try different activities and explore and experiment.

    Be sure to find a good instructor that is open-minded and train positively (very few instructors in this day and age will say outright they are totally for corrections, and many will say they use a hybrid approach or they only correct the dog when the dog blows them off. Stay away from those instructors!).

    Remember you will have a very different experience depending on where you learn it from. And don't risk your relationship with your dog over some stupid sports. There are always humane, kind and fun ways to train. Making it fun does not necessarily mean you can't do it well!

    Have fun and enjoy engaging with your dog on a different level!

  • hkfirewolfhkfirewolf
    Posts: 113
    So Jade is in Rally and Agility classes. Both trainers are fantastic and believe in positive training methods. Couldn't be happier.

    I really want to get her to the point of earning her CGC but those classes are on Thursdays at 6....when I have to work. In her current state, I don't know if she would pass it. Any suggestions on what to do?
    Owned and loved by "Jade"
    ~ DOB: 5/18/11~ Cream Shiba ~
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    What do you mean by current state?

    From easiest to hardest to train and for the dog to learn, my ranking is:

    Nosework (easiest)
    Rally (depending on the dog, you can earn a title in 2-3 months after starting training)

    Agility and Flyball- depending on the dog and type of training, some dogs can go from start to title in about 6 months, but it really depends (especially with Agility) how much time you spend on learning the foundations. It took Beebe just over 6 months to be able to learn to perform the tasks in public under pressure, with her first title earned at 1 year after training for Flyball. I will say hands down the skills required for the dog to learn take the longest with these 2 sports. Agility has more elements to master, but Flyball has way way more pressure on the dog since it is done in a team setting with offleash dogs.

    SnF is absolutely correct about the dogs needing to have good shoulders. I take Pat Hastings view point, in that the dogs who do sports should be the best representatives of their breeds in terms of build and ability. In general, sports like Agility and Flyball can be hard on a dogs body, so they do need to be sound. This is partly why I sought out my second bitch, Farrah. She has the drive and build for hard work, and she will be Beebe's successor in Flyball. She is preparing for her first tournament next week. Once she earnes her title, I will probably retire Beebe from Flyball due to her build.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    @hkfirewolf

    CGC is a relatively easy test and you should have no problems passing it if your dog does well in Rally. The 10 test items are listed on the AKC website, http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/training_testing.cfm . Spend some time testing on your own with a friend in a public place and see how she does. This should give you a base line of where you are and what areas you need work on.

    You do not necessarily need to take a CGC specific class to pass, so if your schedule does not allow it, prepare on your own. Good luck!
  • InoushiInoushi
    Posts: 555
    Are there respectable none akc sports events?
  • catloreecatloree
    Posts: 1541
    @lnoushi- Agility isn't strictly AKC. There are several other venues. USDAA, ASCA, NADAC, TDAA, etc. Each venue has different kinds of courses with different rules. NADAC, for example, has a course that is entirely made up of tunnels, called 'tunnelers'. USDAA has several different games, including 'Snooker' & 'Gamblers'. It's fun to play in the different venues :). I've done USDAA, NADAC, & AKC courses with my Pom, but AKC is our main titling venue.

    Edit: Check out www.agilityevents.net to see which venues have trials in your area.
    Catherine (human), Elwood (Shiba), & Sadie (Pomeranian)
    Post edited by catloree at 2012-03-16 10:55:00
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    @Inoushi

    Nosework is totally not AKC. There are other organizations that hold events for different sports. I know ADPT, UKC both have Rally. It does not really matter much which venue you choose as long as you are having fun and that there are enough trials/activities in your area.

    I like AKC events because they are enough of them in the area for me to choose from and it's nice to be able to keep all you titles/progress with one registry. However, I will not limit myself to just AKC events.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    Flyball is not AKC. The hosting bodies are NAFA and U-FLI.

    If the issue is lack of registration, AKC will now accept mixed breeds (Canine Partners), and purebreds without pedigrees (Purebred Alternative Listing), whih requires spay and neuter. I opted for a PAL number for Beebe so she could title in AKC.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    So Elee, the Shiba, that won that Crufts Factor recently, obviously did Agility too.

    Here is a video of her doing Agility


    There are more videos of Elee here, http://www.youtube.com/user/Eleeshiba/videos

    I have heard people saying they are worried about people seeing these videos and get the wrong impression that Shiba is easy to train. Run out and get a dog on impulse and dump the dog when it does not turn out.

    I would say people like this will find any reason to get a dog without doing much homework and give up the dog easily if things don't go as planned regardless of the videos. Even if you tell people Shiba is difficult to train, there are still many people out there that thinks they are exempt from this and can take the challenge. Aren't we all Shiba owners fall into that category? :)
  • InoushiInoushi
    Posts: 555
    That's thing, I really don't want to neuter kenshin, especially if we do more serious sports. From what I understand intact males tend to have healtheir joints when participating in sports as well as gain better muscle density. Im probably going to start with nose work, because ken is reactive, however when we run an obstacle course by my house he ignores everything, there was a dog that was barking at him and he blocked it out completely, just kept his gaze on me. He has high drive so I think he would really benifet from a sport, lure coursing in particular.
  • GatsuGatsu
    Posts: 651
    I really should get Guts into agility! Because I know he'd dominate! YEAH I SAID IT!
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    I wouldn't worry too much about the joint and neuter correlation if he is done growing. They do seem to keep lean much more easily which is a total plus in a performance dog. Do whatever is convenient for you.

    My boy Ike is not neutered, and he has earned his CGC and Rally title. Agility was really fun with him and he really loved it, but it was a constant struggle to keep his focus as he was always on the look out for bitches to breed, and he did take off after girls who were running their own courses a few times after removing his own leash. He even followed one no more than an inch from her butt while she did her entire course. I was totally impressed with his agility at that point and called it good.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • LeoJDHuLeoJDHu
    Posts: 323
    Thanks for the responses! You're right - Leo is only 7 months at the moment.

    I checked out a local training facility - Wag & Wiggles in Tustin (for those who live near here) and they offer courses in Nosework, CGC, Rally and Obedience. I'll start with those and revisit luring once Leo is 1+!
    Leo "JD" Hu | Cream Shiba Inu | DOB: 8/19/2011 | Southern California - LA/OC

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  • InoushiInoushi
    Posts: 555
    @lindsayt That's funny!

    I've been waiting for 2 years to start training to give him the best growth chances. He's got this really burly build about him but very agile. 5 feet leaps are a joke for him, I imagine he can get six feet with a running start. I was even interested in a pulling competition, I think shibas would be a good fit for that. Nose work is what im going to enroll him in first. I have him trained to find cat trails (Ive been keeping track of the feral population), and he can detect them very well and will do it on command. If he was more people friendly I would do search and rescue.
  • I have been meaning to try something with one of mine, so I just checked into local nosework classes. There are some in SF starting in May. It may not work with my school schedule (which is every other weeekend though I have a bit more time off in June) but if it does, I'm going to try Toby. I did a totally made up "nosework" game with him last night: put treats in a variety of boxes of different sizes, some upside down covering the treat, some not, and one big on with the treat out in the open. It was fun to watch him figure it out, move the boxes, bite and pull boxes out of the way, etc. but the most fun was to watch him struggle with the big box, then just jump in and get the treat! :) He got a click for that for sure!

    anyway, how some other dog sports? I've thought of weight pull (for the Akita obviously, not the Shibas) but then I thought of Lindsay's dog scooter. Not an official sport, but I'd love to hear more about scootering too, if people have done that. That sounds super fun! Lindsay, do you have pics?
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    @Inoushi and @shibamistress

    I met someone who used to breed Malamute and for a period of time had Shiba told me her Shiba held the UKC title of weight pulling. I don't remember exactly the weight that little Shiba can pull, but it was an outrageous number, so if you want to explore the possibilities of doing weight pulling with your Shiba, you know you were not alone. :)
  • InoushiInoushi
    Posts: 555
    Awesome. I know they have some pulling for smaller weight classes. It looks like it would be naturally appealing for a shiba.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    I have only gone by myself, so no photos :(
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    I just heard about Treiball, has anyone done it? Sounds fun. We are going to start training next week. Any experiences/impressions?

    Seems like something can practice at home with inexpensive equipment.

    also I was curious if it could "awaken" an annoying herding instinct? (don't want a heel nipper) or a dog that herds me or my friends...or if in training not to bite the ball would take care of that?
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    Ooo, neat! You will be the first person on this forum (maybe even the first Shiba), to try it. I don't think it will trigger any latent herding instinct to the point where your Shiba will herd you. Their herding drive isn't that strong, but, it may result in a ball crazy dog, which would also be neat. Good luck, take pictures!
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    Thanks! I introduced a ball that I had in the house to Koj and he was more interested in it that I thought he'd be - he played, chased and pushed it with shoulders, but was also trying to bite it (was funny) so I sat on ball when he did that...

    But I don't really know what I'm doing yet so didn't do that too long...

    I will try to get pics/vids - but I'm a gramma (young gramma!:) so the whole computer/interweb thing is a challenge - haven't been able to post pics yet...will try harder :) I know there are instructions, I just have to put my thinking cap on...
  • brscrnsbrscrns
    Posts: 447
    Here is a good "How to" video for Treiball.

    It looks like it would be a fun game!
    Koji's mom - where are you from and where is the training at?
  • AnnaAnna
    Posts: 621
    I wish we had a Coursing class nearby because I think Hammond would love it.

    We're in a beta-test of nosework being offered at the human society where he's done all his obedience classes and he loves it so far. He's the fastest in his class! (with a basset hound, a papillion, and a black lab mix). The instructor went to a seminar and I think is planning to get certified (she's done lots of nosework events with her dog, who helped her do field work tracking down bird nests). If they keep offering it or offer higher level classes, we'll be signing up for those!

    This weekend he (finally, 2 weeks late) starts agility and I really think he'll have fun with that, too. I expect trying to keep him focused on me will give the biggest challenge.
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    @brscrns: we live in Honolulu...There are limited training facilities here on our small island (lot's of "traditional" harsh training clubs) (Sirius is here, but is it about 3 times cost of most classes and lots of people wont do it because of cost...sad state of affairs, but positive training is catching on slowly...there are a handfull of good trainers...

    We are so lucky to have found a great trainer - part of APDT, does BAT, works with wounded warriors in Hawaii, agility, levels etc...She holds classes in various places around island...

    Koji has been in her classes since he was a puppy and now we have small classes at my house with small groups...we are starting Treiball next week...wish us luck!



  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    @Anna,

    I think this is not ridiculously far from you. http://www.wyldepups.com/
    You may want to contact them and ask when they will have a practice/fun session. Since Hammond is young, ask them if they allow younger pups to participate in practice.

    Our local coursing club usually does monthly practice (usually much shorter distance and a straight-line run) open to the general public through online sign-up.

    Glad to know that Hammond is enjoying Nosework. It is a great activity that any dog will love. Agility is fun too, but it usually requires more training and focus than some other activities.

    It is wonderful that you are taking Hammond to different training classes and activities, so he gets to experience different fun activities with you!
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    Ran across this great introductory article to explain the basics of Dog Agility from a spectator's perspective.

    http://agilitymach.hubpages.com/hub/Visiting-Your-First-Agility-Trial-How-to-be-a-Spectator-at-a-Dog-Agility-Show
    Post edited by sandrat888 at 2012-08-31 00:29:25
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    I thought I would bump this thread.

    I am looking for support and key pieces of advice related to anyone who has done Rally (novice level) with their dogs. I am pretty sure I will be trying my very first ever Rally Trial at the end of May with my now 16.5 month old Shiba, Berrie Bear.

    Last night we went to a 3 hour clinic and went through every novice Rally sign then ended with a 15 station course run thru. I was pleasantly surprised that I have done enough with Bear to have a pretty good foundation with all the novice signs we could encounter. My biggest problem still remains his choice to stay focused on me rather than put his nose down and go smelling. If I have cheese (or chicken) in my hand he seems to keep his nose up looking to me (85% of the time) and staying loose leash while we go through the moves. When he does decide to be focused none of the moves were a problem. I think the hardest one was the "Stop and Down" sign as we haven't worked a lot on moving downs from the side or even downs from the side when I stop, but I think this one will be quick to work and shape.

    So after the clinic the person teaching it says she thinks we would be ready enough to try a trial that is coming to my area at the end of May. I was aiming for one in July, but she said that one is busier and more chaotic as it does conformation, obedience, and rally whereas the one in May is only obedience and rally.

    I figure I will probably dive in and try it. Worse case scenario Bear is distracted, keeps his nose to the ground and we lose several points through the course for tight leash L-). Best case Bear surprises me and works with me through the whole course :-bd . My success though won't come even from a Q score of 70, it will come when me and Bear first touch our toe/paw inside any trial ring and look at each other at the start line. And, at least with Rally I have the trust of the leash to keep him safe from the zoomies :P

    In the meantime, I have an idea of what I should work on, mainly his focus to work with me so his nose stays off the ground without needing treats.

    I would appreciate anyone's advice (or even sharing your story) for a brand new Novice A handler and dog in Rally.

    Thanks.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    You can do it :) Focus on focus and you will do fine. If you have any Rally run thrus or fun matches in your area, that will help immensly as long as the obedience is there. Practicing in new settings before the trial will really help proof things. Also try rehearsing some Rally moves in busy stores like Petco and Petsmart. If the surface is on dirt, or barn, go practice in a dirt area or horse arena. Same with concrete surface or grass.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @lindsayt, thanks for the words of encouragement and tips. We will have one more Rally clinic session with run thrus (outdoor setting), we will have one actually Rally class (of 6 we are going to take in an outdoor setting), and an opportunity at Rally Run thru's a week before the trial (indoor setting) in regards to some more formal training support with someone watching and advising.

    The actual trial also has run thrus the night before which we will probably sign up to do 1 or 2 of those. I believe the trial will be in doors at a convention center.

    I like the advice of maybe working on a few of the moves in a busy store, like Petsmart, as that really would be about training for the focus. If I can have a few short successes with focus in a pet store that is probably a big step for us.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1249
    @redcattoo I have never dared any trials in rally and have the same issues as you, keeping Juni's focus when she's not fed treats at every sign. We have practised doing a couple of signs in a row and then have the treats in a box after the end and could probably work on that until we've expanded to a whole rally course.
    Stop and down is also difficult, I have to move my arm slowly, vertical all the way to the ground to make Juni understand, but as long as I don't touch her it's ok. Plus her down are pretty pathetic, her belly hardly touches the ground.

    Now to my own problem, last year Juni started enjoying and getting pretty ok at trails/tracks but now when we've started again after the winter she's all confused and without any focus. I'm not sure what to do to get her into it again. I am thinking letting her sit and watch me do the trail because in the past that has made her excited about it, and maybe putting more treats in the actual trail, like every 5 steps or so. But I'm not sure she'll be interested in the treats actually. I am trying to be careful with the wind direction, what else can I do?????
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @Juni, I am excited and scared to take this leap of faith. The thing giving me courage is that it is on leash, so at least I don't have to fear the zoomies like I would in upper levels of Rally, Obedience, or Agility trials.

    I have noticed the faster I moved through the fun course we did at the end of the clinic the more Bear remained more focused. It was getting started or pausing that created more issues, like he was saying okay you don't know what you are doing right now so I am going onto doing other things. I want to believe if I have his focus before we start and dive in with confidence so things continue to flow through the course that we will be okay. That is my mental self talk I have to use.

    I am sure I will have nightmares of walking into the ring (no treats) and Bear absolutely not focusing on me because his nose is in the ground and I have no treats to redirect his nose too. I am reminding myself, so what if that happens? Okay, I look embarrassed? Why would I be embarrassed though? How many people even have the courage to really test this type of bond you build by doing Rally, Obedience, Agility, ect? What is the worse outcome? I pay $96 to enter 4 trials in 2 days and we get no Q's at all, but we have a new story to tell ... and the story will be sad, but funny in that odd failure sort of way.

    I know nothing about tracking, so I wouldn't know what to do about the trail. My instinct would say yes, treat it like a regression stage, take a step back to more basic training and rebuild.
    Post edited by redcattoo at 2013-04-29 15:17:55
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    Dogs often do better if you pick up the pace and there really is a noticeable difference if you go thru your practice runs at a faster pace. Also, and this may sound crazy but it does work, is to drop your leash or remove it when you practice. You will be working harder for focus, but the dogs really do better. Then you won't be fiddling with the leash and they won't be able to pick up your tension thru it.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    No practicing without the leash doesn't sound crazy, we do that though only when at home inside and if in an indoor training class where I can see he is keeping control. I do that because eventually I do want to be able to trust him off leash so I see that as a baby step also.

    The only reason I do also need to practice with leash, other than safety of environment if outside, is so I don't screw it up with some of the signs like the ones that include finishing right (where the dog goes behind you) and especially the one where you turn into your dog and he comes around back so I am in motion and he is in motion ... my hands get all tied up with that one.

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