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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had a bit of an epiphany the other night at my Agility training class.

I had originally enrolled Quenya so that I could learn the basics of formal agility. After the first class I realized it wasn't going to work for her. The instructor is very much on the obstacle-focused, not handler-focused side of agility training and while I do absolutely understand why, that is not at all how Quenya operates or works. With the instructor's permission I've replaced Quenya in the class with Skipper, who is the dog I want to compete with most anyway. I'll still be training Quenya, but on my own and in the way I feel she learns best while still utilizing what I'm learning in class with Skipper.

I admit I had myself a little convinced Skipper was a bit of a tough dog to teach. He does not have a reliable come and can't be trusted to obey me off-leash, although he doesn't wander far away/run off. I was still a little nervous about his first time in class this past week. I even mentioned to the instructor he was a bit of a jerk. Long story short he was perfect. I had to drop the leash while he ran the full-length straight tunnel and he performed perfectly, stopping on the mark and waiting exactly like he was supposed to. He went over all of the obstacles very well and even listened to my correction and went where I said when we were going over two jumps in a row and he started to duck out before he second one.

I have gotten so used to training Quenya that I think I've misjudged Skippy's ability to learn and "trainability" per se. When I got him focused on a task rather than "obedience maneuvers" his attitude changed completely from "Nah, I'm doing my thing" to "Awesome, let's go!"
I don't know that he'll ever be the kind of dog that happily obeys just because that's what he's been "taught". If he liked food and treats it might be different, but I honestly feel this dog would be happier without having to eat if it wasn't necessary to stay alive.

I've realized he isn't motivated by what he gets after a performance, he is motivated by the performance itself. Praise and treats don't mean that much to him (I have managed to build up some drive, fortunately), but if he is enjoying what he's doing, he's happy to listen to me so that he can keep doing it.

I know this was a bit of a novel, and might make me seem somewhat moronic, but I found the realization very uplifting in my training journey with Skipper.

It's also made me curious--how do you all keep yourselves straight switching from dog to dog, with each one learning differently and having different levels of motivation? Do you ever have to fight the urge to train a particular dog more than the others simply because they're easier or "more fun" for you to train? (I'm ashamed to admit I've done this because there are times Skipper has frustrated me and I just didn't want to deal with him. Once I realized what I was doing I made myself stop, but still...)
I always love hearing how other mullti-dog owners handle their dogs, so I'd love some anecdotes!
 

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I struggle with that a lot. Echo and Chess are as different as day and night when it comes to training. Chess is extremely fast, smart and easy to train. Echo is far from dumb, but she's lazy, and takes more effort. Also, taking away the treat is harder because she loses motivation quickly. She's also not as sensitive or careful as Chess, which can be very frustrating. She's mostly beagle, and sometimes her ears just turn off.

I generally try to keep their training sessions a few hours apart, because going from one directly to the other is disheartening at times. Something that helps is making sure I think of the positives. While Echo may be more effort to train, she's calmer and not neurotic, and so sweet to everyone and everything. Keeping that in mind helps keep me from getting as annoyed at her.
 

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I deal with that too. Chisum is a handful and not always the most obedient (when he gets his nose into a scent - forget it!) but he's probably the easiest to train. He's very food motivated and will actively work for treats.

Sophie is totally different. She's very, very smart but doesn't handle formal training very well. Honestly, she's super spunky and fun but once you get into formal training with treats no matter how upbeat you keep the session, she gets incredibly serious and frustrates easily. She comes across as stubborn (and maybe she is a bit!) but I've learned it's better to integrate what I want her to know into practical life and teach her things "on the fly" - she does so much better.

Lexy doesn't train anymore. She knows the basics and has settled into mature woman status - she'll do active things but doesn't really want to learn anything new (frankly, she doesn't really need to, she's a gem) and the rest of them she'll be napping behind the stove. ;)
 
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