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Today was my dogs first agility trial, and we did horrible! Our problem is that she can jump and weave just fine, but only with a treat. Otherwise, she runs away and wont come back. She is older, 6 years old, but I wanted to start competing for fun, and she is really fast and a good jumper.She is aso very smart... sometimes too smart The other dogs were awaiting their owners command every second, where as mine would be breaking her neck by pulling on the leash,and even jumped out of the ring!Does anyone have any tips on teaching better obedience? She doesnt ever use toys, and I dont want her training to become dependent on treats
 

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When she does just fine, does she always get a treat? Or can I assume you have tried fading the treat and made it more random ? How do you get your dog to focus on you instead of a food scrap?

Sounds like she may already be too dependent on treats but you can change that.
 

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When I've trained with treats, I've started out with the dog getting a treat every time he performed a particular command and then I gradually started varying that up. Sometimes he got it every third time he performed a command, for instance, other times every fourth or fifth, until I could get him to go through a complete obedience or rally sequence without a treat, which you can't use in the ring anyway. Then he generally got a treat of some kind afterwards, though now we're down to the point where he's okay with waiting until after the competition for that ring is done. When I was first housebreaking, he got a treat when he came inside after taking care of business outside. Now, he knows he's going to go through a sequence of various commands--I keep changing things up so it doesn't get predictable or old--before he gets that treat. But he actually likes to train or "work," as I refer to it, and will sometimes ask to do so himself. Loves the treats, attention, and praise, I guess.

I'm not sure what to tell you about agility, as we've only played with it, and while my dog can get going so quickly that he gets ahead of me and turns and barks at me because he doesn't know what obstacle to take next (which drives me nuts), he doesn't even care about treats then. He just wants to do all the jumps and obstacles, though he's still slow at weave poles and we haven't had much of a chance to practice on an A-Frame. Have you done any sports besides agility? Maybe he either needs to try or go back to some basic obedience stuff for a while, so he gets used to watching you more closely. I started with Rally Novice, played around with agility without competing (neither he nor I were ready to when their was a trial locally), and then this fall competed in Beginner Novice Obedience. I find he's watching me more closely even after just Beginner Novice Obedience. I haven't done much with agility since then--the trial was only two weeks ago--but as I said, he's watching me more now, so I suspect if I tried a little agility now, he'd be more likely to watch me for cues as doing that was rewarding for him in obedience. And if you're really worried about your dog bolting and not coming when called, a basic recall is required in BNO (if you haven't done that yet), so you'd have to be working on that.
 

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It sounds like you just need more basic obedience work. I'd take your dog to a field like a football field with a 60 foot long line. I'd practice recalls from a sit. Then try a send out to an object. Make it small then as the dog gets better reduce the size to nothing.

Get the dog used to hand/arm signals. Use what ever voice commands you like but be consistant. Only reward success. But you must show the dog what you want. It will take time no doubt.

Plan ahead for what commands you will use for agility and try and incorporate them into your basic training. If you can't run fast enough to keep up you will have to be able to direct the dog.

Watch what the experts are doing and do what you can to duplicate it. No point in reinventing the exercise.

Also I'd stay away from competition untill you can make a run complete.

My GSD's were able to do the most advanced work before we ever entered the first level trial. Maybe not perfect but never failed. It's just the way I compete. A bad performance in the ring just leads to worse performances and " my dog never did that before" events.
 
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