Question for people who compete with their dogs

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Postby mnp13 » March 21st, 2006, 7:31 pm

During a compitition, do you change the inflection of your commands? Personally, I am of the opinion that a whispered command should be followed as quickly and accurately as one that is harshly yelled at the dog. Yes, those are two extremes.

I was recently told that during an OB routine, if the judge tells me to down my dog and doesn't hear my command even if the dog downs immediately I will lose points because he didn't hear it. This didn't make any sense to me.

Do you use your voice as 'compulsion' in the ring / on the field?

When I was at Nationals last year I watched people 'tune up' their dogs before entering the ring. They loaded the dog with collars, e-collar, prong collar and then choke. They did heavy compulsion OB with the e-collar first, then took that off and used the prong, then removed that just before they stepped on the field leaving only the choke chain. While on the field they were screaming the commands at the dogs, including when the dog was 6 inches away from them at a heel.

I'm not saying either way is right or wrong, I'm just interested in other people's experiences.
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Postby katiek0417 » March 21st, 2006, 8:46 pm

I've been studying up (with Greg's help) to try to enter Sacha into an AKC obedience trial. They specifically say in their rule book (for obedience) that you need to use a normal voice for commands (no increase in volume). In fact, depending on the judge, you will lose points for using a louder voice.

I have noticed whenever I work her, I use a louder voice (as compared to home). I don't know why. If she knows the commands, then she should know them whether I yell them or say them. Right? I've also noticed that right before a trial (before we're called "on deck"), I take a prong out of her collar, and really give her a couple of good corrections...again, I don't know why. I'm not sure if I do this more for her or myself.

With the puppy, I'm trying something different. With her, I'm using "competition commands" and "home commands." Dutch for competition, English for house. I've heard several people saying that they do this (including people who have trained with the Donovans). I mainly started doing this since having Asja and Rusty here. They have their "competition" commands, which I don't use...but I use their "loose" house commands ("come here," "lay down," etc)....

I don't know if this removes any "compulsion" but I feel like it is just another method to let the dog know that it's time to listen....
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby Pitcrew » March 21st, 2006, 9:20 pm

I use commands exactly as I train. My dogs are extremely tuned in to my body language. I prefer that. I also do get them used to whispered commands, that way they really have to pay attention. I prefer to be calm, assertive and positive.

That is kind of BS about that judge. If he gave you the command to down your dog he should be paying enough attention to know when you gave the command and that your dog did it promptly, that's his job. Your command is for the dog, not the judge. What sport was this?
In AKC obedience you can lose points for excessively loud or harsh commands.

I don't have a big problem with compulsion if its done right, but if someone needs to use e-collars and prongs immediately before a test, I personally don't think they are really ready to compete. If you are still correcting that much, either they or their dogs must not know their job. If that aggression is really necessary, they must be working the dogs in a drive they cant handle. I cant imagine the kind of stress that puts on the dogs.
I find it hard to imagine all that. Do those people train that way too? That was a national event? I suppose some people are impressed with that but I would rather see a dog respond to a natural tone, or even better, almost invisible cues.
I want my dogs to be as calm and focused as possible. Yelling and corrections just isn't it. Too much tension, stress, avoidance... I have a hard time believing these dogs perform well. It wouldn't be fun for me either. Not an atmosphere I even want to be around.
You will find an agility trial to be pretty much the opposite of that. An occasional hard a$$, but really a much more positive atmosphere.
I would recommend watching a lot of different competitive performance events. I think you would find what you saw pretty rare. When you see people working their dogs with the attitude and performance you like... do what they do.
You will see a lot of stuff at the show next weekend. Even without watching people train you can tell how they train by how their dog performs. Its not about perfection of the performance, its about the working relationship.
"Pedigree indicates what the animal should be;
Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be;
But, Performance indicates what the animal actually is."
- author unknown
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Postby odnarb » March 22nd, 2006, 2:02 am

mnp13 wrote:During a compitition, do you change the inflection of your commands? Personally, I am of the opinion that a whispered command should be followed as quickly and accurately as one that is harshly yelled at the dog. Yes, those are two extremes.

I was recently told that during an OB routine, if the judge tells me to down my dog and doesn't hear my command even if the dog downs immediately I will lose points because he didn't hear it. This didn't make any sense to me.

Do you use your voice as 'compulsion' in the ring / on the field?



I use the same voice.
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Postby Sarah » March 22nd, 2006, 2:43 am

I tend to start raising my voice in competition, but that's a stress thing on my part, and has nothing to do with the dogs.

When you give a command in AKC obedience competition, the judge does need to hear it so that they know the dog is obeying you and not anticipating the command. I've not known this to be an issue for anyone, it's not like you have to scream the command for the judge to hear, just speak in a normal voice. They don't need to hear what you said, just that you spoke. (Of course, you can use signals instead- then it would need to be something visible)

I assume the Nationals you refer to were Schutzhund or something like that? In AKC obedience, all of that would be a huge no-no. You can't use an e-collar or a prong collar on AKC show grounds. Harsh corrections would also be frowned on, and could probably get you thrown out.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » March 22nd, 2006, 10:12 am

What were they correcting before they went in the ring? Were the dogs outside the ring ignoring commands, or were the owners just correcting nothing to assert their dominance?

I can't imagine trialing a dog that needed that many corrections outside the ring. :|

My dog would walk away if I tried that in agility...kinda hard to use a correction when the dog is naked, not that I correct in agility anyways.
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Postby mnp13 » March 22nd, 2006, 10:53 am

I should add that not everyone did the collar thing I described, but enough people did it that it made me wonder about it.

When you give a command in AKC obedience competition, the judge does need to hear it so that they know the dog is obeying you and not anticipating the command.


That makes sense, or that the dog is not hearing the judge say 'sit' so the dog sits.
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